Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Proposals
by Cecilia Woloch



Mistaking me for someone else, he asked me to marry him. This has
happened more than once. The first time, I was eighteen and the boy had
a diamond ring in a box. It was the Fourth of July, it was dark, he said, Happy
Independence Day. Of course, the ring was too large and slipped right off
my finger into the grass. (It belonged to someone else: the woman he
married, eventually.) And when I was twenty-one, that redhead, sloe-eyed
and slinking out of his grief, said he'd imagined I'd be his wife. But he was
mistaken. It wasn't me. Then a drunk who drove too fast, who threw the
proposal over his shoulder like some glittering, tattered scarf. I staggered
out of his car, saying, No thanks, No thanks, No thanks. And the man over
eggs one morning, in the midst of an argument, saying he planned to wait
for spring to ask for my hand, then he never asked. (So of course, I married
that one for a while; spent years convincing him I was not his cup of coffee,
not his girl.) And in Prague, on a bridge called the Karlův Most, a stranger,
a refugee, who mistook the way I stared at the river for thinking of suicide.
Who mistook my American passport for his ticket out of there. And
others-the man whose children grabbed the food off my plate, called me
her; the man in Chartres Cathedral humming the wedding march into my
ear. And tonight, at dinner with friends, happy, discussing their wedding
plans, a man I've known for a couple of hours turning to ask me to marry
him. I don't know who they think I am. Do I look like a bride in these rags
of wind? Do I look like the angel of home and hearth with this strange green
fire in my hands?

Monday, December 29, 2008

You Made Crusty Bread Roll...

by Gary Johnson



You made crusty bread rolls filled with chunks of brie
And minced garlic and drizzled with olive oil
And baked them until the brie was bubbly
And we ate them thoughtfully, our legs coiled
Together under the table And then salmon with dill
And lemon and whole-wheat cous cous
Baked with garlic and fresh ginger, and a hill
Of green beans and carrots roasted with honey and tofu.
it was beautiful, the candles and linens and silver,
The winter sun setting on our snowy street,
Me with my hand on your leg, you, my lover,
In your jeans and green T-shirt and beautiful feet.
How simple life is. We buy a fish. We are fed.
We sit close to each other, we talk and then we go to bed.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

First Snow

by Pamela Porter



That last day of the year
we hung upside down
on the world, air hot
as exhaust from the black
taxis of Buenos Aires,
and while roses in Parque Rosedal
opened their fragrant mouths
like a Palestrina choir,
the two of you ran to the window
calling, "Snow!"
From the windows
of all the office towers,
workers tossed the year's
papers into the open air,
faces serious as ice.
December's memos, the first
flakes, floated on the bitter wind;
windshield wipers plowed the drifts
of November's announcements.
October fell, with the date and hour
of a funeral, then September,
August, the grey decisions
of July, a list
of those to let go, jealous tangos
of June and May set free
into the azure sky.
We walked the Avenida
in that bright disorder,
the neatly tied loose ends
flung open, the hoary
edges of graphs
flaming in the sun.

Saturday, December 27, 2008



Spent the holidays in Neurodramaville, and "Hey!! Nobody died!!"
Good days indeed. Boring as hell, but we set the bar low on wanting No Drama Today days.

Another Saturday in CinCity

The Marsh in Winter
by Timothy Walsh


If you stand and listen,
you will hear the voice.
Reeds sharp as rapiers rasp the wind.
Frost creaks in the trees.
Sunlight, ice-bright, falls from the sky.
Scattered cedars and junipers loom like shadows.
Sheathed in ice, a willow droops heavily
Across the path.
Driven snow packs the creviced bark of cottonwoods.
Once-hidden bird nests now plainly marked
by a white cap of snow...

Out on the marsh, blue water shows through shifting ice.
Tall brown reeds, slim as dancers, bend in the breeze.
A hundred thousand cattails, each one lit
by the low-angled light of a westering sun,
each brown seed head blazing
like the head of a saint.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On This Holy Night

Sacred spaces surround us everywhere--from stables
to coffee houses,
prison cots to sick beds,
even ordinary living rooms.






Christmas Eve

Have a few minutes before I need to start wrapping and cooking again this morning. Hubby is at work for 12 hours, Grrrrls are over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house, and I have a few hours unencumbered to finish wrapping gifts, walk the dog, clear off the dining room table, find where I've hidden the stocking stuffers, cook up a little Fazzoletti coi Funghi (Little Handkerchiefs with Portobello Mushrooms), attend the evening mass (Sister MaryMartha), and drink bucketfuls of coffee. I'll be spending the next two days with my other loved ones in Neurodramaville so our little family at home will share Christmas wishes this evening. Hopefully before 9pm so I can load up on the beauty rest:>)

Wishing all of you and your loved ones much love and joy. Enjoy.




"...Always on Christmas night there was music. An uncle played the fiddle, a cousin sang "Cherry Ripe," and another uncle sang "Drake's Drum." It was very warm in the house. Auntie Hannah, who had got on to the parsnip wine, sang a song about Bleeding Hearts and Death, and then another in which she said her heart was like a Bird's Nest; and then everybody laughed again; and then I went to bed.

Looking through my bedroom window, out onto the moonlight and the unending smoke-colored snow, I could see the lights in the windows of all the other houses on our hill and hear the music rising from them up the long, steadily falling night. I turned the gas down, I got into bed. I said some words to the close and holy darkness, and then I slept."


please note: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


"...Bring out the tall tales now that we told by the fire as the gaslight bubbled like a diver. Ghosts whooed like owls in the long nights when I dared not look over my shoulder; animals lurked in the cubbyhole under the stairs where the gas meter ticked. And I remembered that we went singing carols once, when there wasn't the shaving of a moon to light the flying streets. At the end of of a long road was a drive that led to a large house, and we stumbled up the darkness of the drive that night, each one of us afraid, each one holding a stone in his hand in case, and all of us too brave to say a word. The wind through the trees made noises as of old and unpleasant and maybe webfooted men wheezing in caves. We reached the black bulk of the house...'

please note: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Monday, December 22, 2008



"...For dinner we had turkey and blazing pudding, and after dinner the Uncles sat in front of the fire, loosened all their buttons, put their large moist hands over their watch chains, groaned a little and slept. Mothers, aunts and sisters scuttled to and fro, bearing tureens. Auntie Bessie, who had already been frightened, twice, by a clock-work mouse, whimpered at the side board and had some elderberry wine. The dog was sick. Auntie Dosie had to have three aspirins, but Auntie Hannah, who liked port, stood in the middle of the snowbound back yard, singing like a big-bosomed thrush.

I would blow up balloons to see how big they would blow up to; and, when they burst, which they all did, the Uncles jumped and rumbled. In the rich and heavy afternoon, the Uncles breathing like dolphins and the snow descending, I would sit among festoons and Chinese lanterns and nibble dates and try to make a model man-o'-war, following the Instructions for Little Engineers, and produce what might be mistaken for a sea-going tramcar.

Or I would go out, my bright new boots squeaking, into the white world, on the seaward hill, to call on Jim and Dan and Jack and to pad through the still streets, leaving huge deep footprints on the hidden pavements."


please note: A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What's Actually Important About the Holiday Season

I'm wrapping presents today--when I'm not drinking another cuppa coffee or looking out the window or reading a very important blog posting. Stopped by Writerquake and found out my preppy name which is always handy information and found this lovely little test, the Little Black Dress Test. Self knowledge is always a good thing. At least that's what Kiki and Corkie say...




Your Little Black Dress Says You're Quirky

You are lively and outgoing. You are naturally friendly.
You enjoy meeting new people and making new connections.

Your style is whimsical and unique. You're good at putting together interesting outfits.

If you were a shoe, you would be: High heeled boots

Dear Santa, just in case--

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Cardinals by John L. Stanizzi


I had seen them in the tree,
and heard they mate for life,
so I hung a bird feeder
and waited.
By the third day,
sparrows and purple finches
hovered and jockeyed
like a swarm of bees
fighting over one flower.
So I hung another feeder,
but the squabbling continued
and the seed spilled
like a shower
of tiny meteors
onto the ground
where starlings
had congregated,
and blue jays,
annoyed at the world,
disrupted everyone
except the mourning doves,
who ambled around
like plump old women
poking for the firmest
head of lettuce.

Then early one evening
they came,
the only ones—
she stood
on the periphery
of the small galaxy of seed;
he hopped
among the nuggets,
calmly chose
one seed at a time,
carried it to her,
placed it in her beak;
she, head tilted,
accepted it.
Then they fluffed,
hopped together,
did it all over again.

And filled with love,
I phoned to tell you,
over and over,
about each time
he celebrated
being there,
all alone,
with her.


please note: photo by Tom Merigan

Monday, December 15, 2008

Share The Love


The Conjugation of the Paramecium
by Muriel Rukeyser

This has nothing
to do with
propagating

The species
is continued
as so many are
(among the smaller creatures)
by fission

(and this species
is very small
next in order to
the amoeba, the beginning one)

The paramecium
achieves, then,
immortality
by dividing

But when
the paramecium
desires renewal
strength another joy
this is what
the paramecium does:

The paramecium
lies down beside
another paramecium

Slowly inexplicably
the exchange
takes place
in which
some bits
of the nucleus of each
are exchanged

for some bits
of the nucleus
of the other

This is called
the conjugation of the paramecium.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Something About the Wind by Sidney Hall, Jr.


There's something about the wind coming off
the ocean, the waves washing the rocks

that makes a person who is quickly annoyed
by cigarette smoke and men
putting nails into roofs

forgetful and unconcerned.

If you are easily disturbed
you need to get an ocean.


please note: photo by Ron Karpel

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The Older I Get, the Older I Get.

This business of getting older and doing so with some grace is a tricky little duck. No sense going on about the looks and body department. That infrastructure is crumbling as I write and girders must be hoisted.



However, dancing...that has been a bit of a bittersweet surprise. The Hubby and I met while dancing along the steamy waterbanks of this beautiful river city when the humidity was high and the moon was full and we were seventeen years younger. Doesn't seem like so many and it really has flown by, but our muscle memory must have a short memory and our fast twitch muscles have quite forgotten how to twitch. We went to the swing dance on Madison Avenue Thursday night and met the new generation; the ones we compete against for floor space.



What's a woman of a certain age to do? The white ankle top socks are simply not a good look for me.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hot Diggitty Damn




please note: video found at A Time To Dance. Thank you, Maria.

Another Saturday in CinCity

Piano
by Patrick Phillips



Touched by your goodness, I am like
that grand piano we found one night on Willoughby
that someone had smashed and somehow
heaved through an open window.

And you might think by this I mean I'm broken
or abandoned, or unloved. Truth is, I don't
know exactly what I am, any more
than the wreckage in the alley knows
it's a piano, filling with trash and yellow leaves.

Maybe I'm all that's left of what I was.
But touching me, I know, you are the good
breeze blowing across its rusted strings.

What would you call that feeling when the wood,
even with its cracked harp, starts to sing?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cuppa Kindness..."Please, Sir, Could I Have More?"


This is a season when FoodBanks across the country are asking for help and donations. I'm sure your local one is, I know our FreeStore is, and our neighbors to the northeast have also been hard hit. Cups of Kindness is offering beautiful artwork and pottery with monies going to the Foodbank of the Akron/Canton area. Rather risky items for the herd of hippos living in this household, but I see several things that look perfect for the aunties and grannies in the family. Take a look when you have time.

"When the Moon is in the Seventh House..."

Monday, December 1, 2008

Latex. It's a Good Thing.


Two things here--one is that HoneyHaired Grrrl and I went to the the production of Rent put on by her high school. Rent is the La Boheme of a New York artiste community in the early 80's. HIV is the death sentence carried by the young, attractive, vocally blessed characters we meet; the modern day equivalent of tuberculosis/consumption/the white death in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I doubted that these kids in this midwestern auditorium really understood the bone-chilling fear and hysteria that accompanied a positive ELISA/Western Blot test 25 years ago.



Which brings me to the second thing. HIV infection has a longer survival rate in the United States than Diabetes Mellitus. This to me is miraculous. I remember the early eighties when AIDS patients were admitted to the ICU for the comfort care(read this as respiratory therapy and narcotics)we could provide. We didn't put those young men--they were all heartbreakingly young and they were all men--on ventilators. We had no medical therapies to provide. We had nothing but treatments to ease the struggle of breathing and medication for pain.

I was reminded of those days when I was driving HoneyHaired to the orthodontist and I heard Robert Gallo, one of the gurus of AIDS talking on NPR this afternoon and discussing his Op Ed piece in the Washington Post(linked to in his highlighted name). We've come a long way in 25 years and President George W. Bush is a part of that I was surprised to hear, but thankful.

Here's hoping to a new campaign to educate our young and old, apparently the "geriatric" population is a fast rising and overlooked population for new diagnoses of HIV infection. The Viagra Generation. Perhaps it could become a new Martha Stewart-style mantra, "Latex. It's a good thing."

please note, photos: Rent, AZT, AIDS quilt in Washington,D.C. in 1997