Friday, December 6, 2013

My Old Aunts Play Canasta in a Snow Storm

by Marjorie Saiser

I ride along in the backseat; the aunt who can drive
picks up each sister at her door, keeps the Pontiac
chugging in each driveway while one or the other
slips into her overshoes and steps out,
closing her door with a click, the wind

lifting the fringe of her white cotton scarf
as she comes down the sidewalk, still pulling on her
new polyester Christmas-stocking mittens.
We have no business to be out in such a storm,
she says, no business at all.

The wind takes her voice and swirls it
like snow across the windshield.
We're on to the next house, the next aunt,
the heater blowing to beat the band.

At the last house, we play canasta,
the deuces wild even as they were in childhood,
the wind blowing through the empty apple trees,
through the shadows of bumper crops. The cards

line up under my aunts' finger bones; eights and nines and aces
straggle and fall into place like well-behaved children.
My aunts shuffle and meld; they laugh like banshees,
as they did in that other kitchen in the 30's that
day Margaret draped a dishtowel over her face
to answer the door. We put her up to it, they say,
laughing; we pushed her. The man—whoever he was—
drove off in a huff while they laughed 'til they hiccupped,

laughing still—I'm one of the girls laughing him down the sidewalk
and into his car, we're rascals sure as farmyard dogs,
we're wild card-players; the snow thickens,
the coffee boils and perks, the wind is a red trey
because, as one or the other says,

We are getting up there in the years; we'll
have to quit sometime. But today,
deal, sister, deal.

Monday, December 2, 2013

To a Young Girl in a Window

by Margaret Widdemer

The Poor Old Soul plods down the street,
       Contented, and forgetting
How Youth was wild, and Spring was wild
       And how her life is setting.

And you lean out to watch her there,
      And pity, nor remember,
That Youth is hard, and Life is hard,
      And quiet is December.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Happy Nurses' Week

People Who Live Near the Hospital 

by Tina Kelley

Sick ones and survivors look down and see

real life going on, presumably unscarred,

the tricycle on the lawn, the garage door open,

the truck on the highway going under

the overpass, emerging on.

From the solarium window the scene below

looks fragile, cinematic and deaf,

a model railroad, an oasis of health,

the people there unknowingly blessed

by the wishes of those who wait.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

CinCity...who'd a-thunk it??

Sin City

by David Lehman

Cynthia was feeling sinful in Cincinnati.

She had changed her name once, which was a pity.

She was looking for a new name,

But not necessarily a new flame.

Was there a sir to sin with?

The evening was a blur to begin with.

Came the first day of spring, and in the trees

Birds sang, enacting one of life's mysteries.

The wind played, and the clouds wandered like the lonely poet

In Wordsworth's poem. Did she know it?

What was the meaning of her laughter?

That depends on if you're a son or a daughter.

As the river south of the city flows,

Cynthia reads the poems that name her, and glows.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day

preface to Leaves of Grass

by Walt Whiman

This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


by Sharon Olds

I've said that he and I had been crazy

for each other, but maybe my ex and I were not

crazy for each other. Maybe we

were sane for each other, as if our desire

was almost not even personal—

it was personal, but that hardly mattered, since there

seemed to be no other woman

or man in the world. Maybe it was

an arranged marriage, air and water and

earth had planned us for each other—and fire,

a fire of pleasure like a violence

of kindness. To enter those vaults together, like a

solemn or laughing couple in formal

step or writhing hair and cry, seemed to

me like the earth's and moon's paths,

inevitable, and even, in a way,

shy—enclosed in a shyness together,

equal in it. But maybe I

was crazy about him—it is true that I saw

that light around his head when I'd arrive second

at a restaurant—oh for God's sake,

I was besotted with him. Meanwhile the planets

orbited each other, the morning and the evening

came. And maybe what he had for me

was unconditional, temporary

affection and trust, without romance,

though with fondness—with mortal fondness. There was no

tragedy, for us, there was

the slow-revealed comedy

of ideal and error. What precision of action

it had taken, for the bodies to hurtle through

the sky for so long without harming each other.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday in CinCity. The Baby, I Love Your Way Edition. Everyday.

Peter Frampton played with the CinCity Ballet yesterday, their last performance of the season. I remember Frampton as the pretty faced, curlied haired man-boy of my college days whose music played in the background on someones radio somewhere. Never bought his music, but I thought this would be an interesting way to spend a Saturday afternoon.

It was more than interesting. It was phenomenal. Exuberant. Muscular and athletic. And beautiful.

If I can ever find a rendition of Friendly Fire to post, I will post it here. The man knows his way around a broken heart. The dancing that accompanied it has come and gone, but is not forgotten. Like all good heartaches.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Saturday in CinCity. The Eastward Ho Edition.

Journey by Train

by May Sarton

Stretched across counties, countries, the train

Rushes faster than memory through the rain.

The rise of each hill is a musical phrase.

Listen to the rhythm of space, how it lies,

How it rolls, how it reaches, what unwinding relays

Of wood and meadow where the red cows graze

Come back again and again to closed eyes—

That garden, that pink farm, that village steeple,

And here and there the solitary people

Who stand arrested when express trains pass,

That stillness of an orchard in deep grass.

Yet landscapes flow like this toward a place,

A point in time and memory's own face.

So when the clamor stops, we really climb

Down to the earth, closing the curve of time,

Meeting those we have left, to those we meet

Bringing our whole life that has moved so fast,

And now is gathered up and here at last,

To unroll like a ribbon at their feet.

HoneyedHaired Grrrl should be making her way back home tomorrow, air traffic controllers willing. Flight arrives at CVG at 2:45pm giving the airlines hours and hours of useful daylight time to delay flights and reroute before her father and I must be at work Monday morning.

And speaking of my young one...once you're discovered in North Dakota can fame and fortune be far behind?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Yeah, It's Been of One of Those Days

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House

by Billy Collins

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.

He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark

that he barks every time they leave the house.

They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.

I close all the windows in the house

and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast

but I can still hear him muffled under the music,

barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,

his head raised confidently as if Beethoven

had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,

sitting there in the oboe section barking,

his eyes fixed on the conductor who is

entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful

silence to the famous barking dog solo,

that endless coda that first established

Beethoven as an innovative genius.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Certain Days

by Grace Paley

On certain days I am not in love

and my heart turns over

crowding the lungs for


driving blood in and out of

the skull improving my mind

working muscles to the bone

dashing resonance out of a roaring sea

at my nerve endings

Not much is needed


good sense


a noisy taking in and a

loud giving back

Then my heart like any properly turned

motor takes off in sparks dragging all that machinery

through the blazing day

like grass

which our lord knows

I am

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

An American Tune

"...I don’t know a soul who’s not been battered

I don’t have a friend who feels at ease

I don’t know a dream that’s not been shattered

Or driven to its knees

Oh, but it’s all right, it’s all right

For lived so well so long

Still, when I think of the road

We’re traveling on

I wonder what went wrong.I can’t help it,

I wonder what’s gone wrong."

My car has a tape player. I know. You can barely find cassettes anymore, certainly not at the library, so when driving long distances I'm forced to hunt through any nooks and crannies I may have cleaned and stored old music. Found a box to throw in the car on this last drive up to Lake Erie with several from Paul Simon, including the concert at Central Park with Art. Still timely after all these years. And, now that I'm home I've suffered 12 hours at work with Simon and Garfunkle earworms in my head. You're welcome.

Please note: photo, Lake Erie sunset by Lisa DeJong

Monday, April 15, 2013

Dipping a Toe Back In...

The Undeniable Pressure of Existence

by Patricia Fargnoli

I saw the fox running by the side of the road

past the turned-away brick faces of the condominiums

past the Citco gas station with its line of cars and trucks

and he ran, limping, gaunt, matted dull haired

past Jim's Pizza, past the Wash-O-Mat,

past the Thai Garden, his sides heaving like bellows

and he kept running to where the interstate

crossed the state road and he reached it and he ran on

under the underpass and beyond it past the perfect

rows of split-levels, their identical driveways

their brookless and forestless yards,

and from my moving car, I watched him,

helpless to do anything to help him, certain he was beyond

any aid, any desire to save him, and he ran loping on,

far out of his element, sick, panting, starving,

his eyes fixed on some point ahead of him,

some possible salvation

in all this hopelessness, that only he could see.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

looking for a tiny hint of spring...any hint...anywhere...


by Richard Wilbur

A word sticks in the wind's throat;
A wind-launch drifts in the wells of rye;
Sometimes, in broad silence,
The hanging apples distil their darkness.

You, in a green dress, calling, and with brown hair,
Who come by the field-path now, whose name I say
Softly, forgive me love if I also call you
Wind's word, apple-heart, haven of grasses.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


by Louis Jenkins

January finally drags into February and one fumbles with
numb fingers at the ordinary knots and hooks of life. People
are irritable, difficult. Some days you want to stay in bed
with the covers over your head and dream of paradise. A
place where the warm sea washes the white sand. There
are a few palm trees on the higher ground, many brightly
colored fish in the lagoon, waves breaking on the reef
farther out. No one in sight. Occasionally an incredibly
large, split-second shark darkens the clear water. Sea birds
ride the wind currents, albatross, kittiwake, ... and pass
on. Day after day, sea wind and perfect sky .... You make a
big heap of driftwood on the beach

I've been down for the count with  all of some variation of the many influenza strains not covered by the 2013 flu vaccine. There's been much moaning and gnashing of teeth; usually the cat, as I've attempted to carry him with me from one unsatisfactory lay-about spot to another. Fortunately I was able to catch up with years worth of Law and Order episodes I had missed while I was busy working and living a life so was able to see what Chris Noth, AKA Mr. Big, looked like when he was, I don't know, eighteen/nineteen years old. Handsome dude at ay age.

Today will be my version of the Flu Treadmill Test whilst I go grocery shopping in the midst of snow falling. Here in CinCity that's the Bat Signal to rush to any food market and buy up all the bread and milk on the shelves. Gluten and lactose be damned.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


by Marianne Boruch

I walked out, and the nest
was already there by the step. Woven basket
of a saint
sent back to life as a bird
who proceeded to make
a mess of things. Wind
right through it, and any eggs
long vanished. But it my hand it was
intricate pleasure, even the thorny reeds
softened in the weave. And the fading
leaf mold, hardly
itself anymore, merely a trick
of light, if light
can be tricked. Deep in a life
is another life. I walked out, the nest
already by the step.

please note: photo by DarlingBridget from Homespun Bliss Blog