Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Another 16 yr old Gunshot Wound to the Head, Another Mother Crying,"Oh God, Why Have You Taken My Baby?" Another Round of Drive-Bys.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
"There are those --soldiers and nurses, poets and priests--for whom death is a sure companion."
Nancy Gibbs, TIME, Essay-The Light of Death, May 5, 2008
The flags remain at half mast. Yellow ribbons line Route 32 and dot neighborhood streets in this part of the country to honor Matt Maupin's return to his family. Military jets flew in formation overhead while I watched my daughter's soccer game yesterday near Lunken airport and a plane looking suspiciously Harrison Ford-ish-Air Force One flew in ready to land. The Sunday morning newspaper has as its headline, "Maupin's long journey home finally complete." Another young man is now forever caught in the face of his youth and the countenances of two more parents are etched with grief. Painful days for this community.
We have the C-Stars come to our hospital before they are deployed in their military service to Iraq, Afghanistan, or the military hospital in Germany. I can't remember the specifics of the acronym, but they are nurses, respiratory therapists and physicians who spend time in our Surgical and Neuro Trauma units in preparation for their next tour of duty overseas. I enjoy their company, their extra pairs of hands in caring for our patients with traumatic brain injury or head bleeds. We compare notes about what's happening in their hospitals, how they're doing certain procedures, play six degrees of separation and see if we have any acquaintances in common. We share stories about our kids and pets and get out the photos we all carry. They spend about a week with us between the two trauma units and working with the simulator. This last batch is due to deploy in early May.
At the end of the week we say our goodbyes, "great working with you," exchange emails, "take care," and "thank you for your service." What we don't say, because even after working closely with someone for a few 8 or 12 hour shifts, we don't know them nearly well enough to say these words, "Please come back home alive. Come back home to those three baby girls you showed me and your lovely wife who is now living far away from her family. Be brave. Come back home to your boxer dog who looks like a twin to my goofy BrutusBoy. We will think of you often and keep you in our prayers even though we can't possibly remember all your names and faces. Please come home safe and sound. Unharmed. Undamaged. Unscarred."
And so, at the end of our shifts together, the air becomes thick with what we don't say when we say,"Take care." Stay safe.
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
with thanks to http://scienceblogs.com/twominds/ for their original post--they have fabulously interesting material for like-minded individuals, or if you have a neuro-odd-ic sense of humor. God, I am so funny, I can barely contain myself.
“Lost dog: one eye, three legs, answers to Lucky”
He’s deaf. His hair breaks loose in greasy clumps.
Four orange teeth hide in his rancid mouth.
His claws were misplaced several homes ago.
A foggy stare burns out of fused black orbs.
That he’s pathetic wouldn’t come to him:
He can’t afford the luxury of doubt.
How many homes were his, the rescued cat?
How many names? My husband calls him Peter,
Which suits, but it is not his own true name.
His secret name is Quisling, Dorian Grey.
Cranky but not noble, a survivor
Who will elude, and never, ever die.
He does not purr, but if he takes your lap
He’ll bless you with a squint that looks like peace.
From our tall patch of woods, hawks eye the yard
For moving snacks.
He plies the garden path,
But something in his creaking stride dissuades.
It is well known that prey should walk in fear,
But he has seen too much to fret mere death.
From time to time, alone, he wails aloud,
His cries all that his ruined head can hear.
He does not like us much at all, I know.
At certain moments he looks wise to me,
As he drinks deeply from his dish, then stares
As deeply into thin air, but the wisdom
In his mien is in my mind alone.
He is not grateful for this life we give him.
We’re his second, third or fourth redeemers
After all. It all comes down to food.
His only thought is, Feed me, feed me now.
please note--art by janetstevens.com
And, the poet this morning is my Auntie Lynn. She
can also be heard some days on WAMU 88.5 American University Radio
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
In her room at the prow of the house
Where light breaks, and the windows are tossed with linden,
My daughter is writing a story.
I pause in the stairwell, hearing
From her shut door a commotion of typewriter-keys
Like a chain hauled over a gunwale.
Young as she is, the stuff
Of her life is a great cargo, and some of it heavy:
I wish her a lucky passage.
But now it is she who pauses,
As if to reject my thought and its easy figure.
A stillness greatens, in which
The whole house seems to be thinking,
And then she is at it again with a bunched clamor
Of strokes, and again is silent.
I remember the dazed starling
Which was trapped in that very room, two years ago;
How we stole in, lifted a sash
And retreated, not to affright it;
And how for a helpless hour, through the crack of the door,
We watched the sleek, wild, dark
And iridescent creature
Batter against the brilliance, drop like a glove
To the hard floor, or the desk-top,
And wait then, humped and bloody,
For the wits to try it again; and how our spirits
Rose when, suddenly sure,
It lifted off from a chair-back,
Beating a smooth course for the right window
And clearing the sill of the world.
It is always a matter, my darling,
Of life or death, as I had forgotten. I wish
What I wished you before, but harder.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I've been off for a week now and having a fabulous time, dollinks... Pilates, dance classes, reading, writing, movies, music, running up and down the streets and byways of River City... But, now the time has come for me to go back and work for The Man. However, there will be dancing and merriment tonight with Dance Master Len before I return to caring for sick and bad brains.
please note--art by tartx
Waking to a hazy grey light
and another day of impending snow,
The night spent warm and sleepy.
accustomed to legs and arms entangled,
always seeking each other.
This bed though,
as long as it is wide,
room to stretch and
turn without the touch of another.
Waking, sleeping, waking, sleeping,
and the lights across the river change
from red to green to yellow
adrift over empty streets,
flashing to a silent rhythm.
Debris in the river passes swiftly by our window.
My husband always looking…
hoping for the gruesome. “Look!”
I say in my best pirate voice,
“There’s a bloody stump floating by,”
to entice him
watching the river flow by;
Sunday, April 20, 2008
long inside — enjambed,
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
of omelets, bacon, and onions,
accompanied by the music of eating:
metallic chimes of forks and knives
tapping ceramic plates, percussion
of coffee cups hitting tabletops,
the occasional morsels
of overheard sentences
concerning biofuels and predictions
of impending restructurings
in one company or another.
“…can’t keep spending money... How can they keep her on…
…flies out every week…
district in Missouri… upgraded last month…
…a Crown Royale…great ride.”
And all the while,
snow is falling lightly,
from a wind so fierce the snow is
horizontal outside the window in front of us.
A giant log rolls by
adrift from upriver.
Roots barely visible above the waterline;
separated from its native soil,
Maysville perhaps, Pittsburg, Coney Island,
now in an unknown element and riding the currents.
"#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER" "Eerie and fascinating."-USA Today
...'nuf said. I don't finish books that I don't like unless they're really, really bad and then I kinda like them for their awfulness.
No, what I shall do is to find the quintessential sentence of the book, the one sentence-maybe two-that contains the entire storyline--
--if you have very loose associative thinking. And, I will pull out of the book my new favorite words. That way, everyone knows I've read the book, there's no book report and I get new favorite words to ramble on about inappropriately. (ex. radiculopathy) Okay. Game on.
The Thirteenth Tale--A tale in which stories, lives, and histories are built upon the whisperings of ghosts.
Quintessential Sentence--"The colored logo of a construction company had survived, but beneath it, two pale gray stains the shape of paragraphs and, slightly darker but not much, the shadow of a signature. It had the shape of writing, but the meaning had been bleached out by months of sunshine."
Favorite Word--"...a moment of vertiginous, kaleidoscopic bedazzlement..."--couldn't choose just one, this was all or nothing.
please note--art by tartx
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
It leaves white, wooden crosses
standing along roads and fast moving highways,
some with fresh plastic flowers, by others
bouquets now sun- faded and disheveled.
All with writings on the hammered strips of wood
illegible when driving by at 60 MPH
even in the slow lane.
Reminders that death is ever present in life,
although difficult to mow around.
It is grief that has placed the
large cardboard box in our dining room
filled with my mother-in-law’s papers,
next to the piano, under the birdcage,
waiting quietly to be filed in manila folders
with headings written in black permanent marker—
“Doctors’ Bills”, “Letters from Lisa”, “Mom’s Old To-Do Lists,”
and grief that collected the fossils and rocks
from my brother’s apartment
to lie in rest dusty on our bookshelves.
It is grief that finds other tasks for me,
distractions and obstacles,
that keeps me from climbing the stairs to the attic floor
and my daughter’s empty bedroom;
her clothes that need to be sorted through and given away,
the scent of her in half-filled perfume bottles on the dresser
Grief is not always practical.
It is, however, steadfast.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
What does it take to
make a man finally speak
How to Crush Ideological Opposition. In Haiku.
Dismiss, minimize, slander.
Placate the masses.
Having gone through this recently yet once again--the business of disagreeing with a policy and requesting that more thought and discussion be placed to the longer view and wider implications of new restrictive procedures--the first words I heard were, "Annie, are you starting trouble again?"
Monday, April 14, 2008
One night only, Saturday, April 28, 2008
at Molly Malone's in Covington
Everybody’s got a story.
A grab-your-attention moment in the sun.
Not all stories are spoken
and tales of glory drift away;
comedies, tragedies, the everyman’s anthology of fables
yellow and crumble to the touch,
torn bits of discarded and weathered memories.
Ever hear the one about the old man in the ER?
Old man lying on a stretcher in the hallway of the ER-
one of the many homeless men that travel through the
hallways and units of this hospital,
carrying a Hamilton County Public Library card
in his pocket, $1.68 in change,
and years of bad luck or bad choices
in the lines of his face,
the filth in his pores, the look of surrender in his eyes.
One of the cocksure med students
says to him, “Hey…
Any words of advice for us as we start out?”
The student had to lean over and
bend closely to the old man’s face;
his breath coated with years of cigarettes
and God knows what else
as he weakly scratched out,
“I would have bought the red truck.”
Everydamnbody’s got a story.
I still shake my head
wondering what that old man meant.
please note--art by Leroy Skalstad
Sunday, April 13, 2008
"Last Night at the Farm, Spring 2005"by Lilly Marsh
Last night, I hadn't known how cold the house was
Until I was already downstairs.
Coming back up that long series on dark treads,
Ascending towards the dark rectangle at the top,
The dog nosed the door ajar.
I saw the light from the bedside candle spill forth,
Across all the angles and shadows of the door frame.
Our old farmhouse is so full of angles and shadows.
The narrow stairwell hall was dark and colorless,
An abstract study of gray and black,
Repeated patterns stark and stern.
But the candlelight fell golden across all the shadows, and,
I ascended, drawn back into the warmth,
Called back to bed by you.
Could tell the age
Of the old woman who
Was called Susanna
I knew she spoke some English
And that she was an immigrant
Out of a little country
Trampled by armies
Because she had no visitors
I would stop by to see her
But she was always sleeping
All I could do
Was to get out her comb
And carefully untangle
The tangles in her hair
One day I was beside her
When she woke up
Opening small dark eyes
Of a surprising clearness
She looked at me and said
You want to know the truth?
I answered Yes
She said it's something that
My mother told me
There's not a single inch
Of our whole body
That the Lord does not love
She then went back to sleep.
7 April 2008
When last walked these trails
we found the carcass of a young deer
lying in the creek bed
with her neck heartbreakingly arched
and her face turned up towards the sky.
It was a dry summer that year
with not enough water in the creek
to cover the dusty brown fur
that gave no rise and fall
or distort the dull globe of open eye.
We stayed and looked long,
you and I,
each wondering the logistics of such a fall-
the height she had to jump
to clear the wooden walls of bridge;
perhaps not hard for a running deer.
What makes a wild, young creature leap to her death?
Merely not knowing what lay on the other side?
Or joy of the jump
with eyes steady on the stars?
note please--art by anikistit tampereella
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
By http://walisabeth.blogspot.com/, for whom I've now retitled this--
...and The Home of the Bref.
walisabeth was tagged by Drewby, who was tagged by Jen-jen, who was tagged by...you can see where this is going can't you??. Don't have many blogger friends yet, and my readership is in the ones and twos, but here are five folks who just might come out and play:
and citykin@ http://www.citykin.com/
Now hush all while I tell you the story...
Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Last year, SMITH Magazine re-ignited the recountre by asking readers for their own six-word memoirs. They sent in short life stories in droves, from the bittersweet (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”) and poignant (“I still make coffee for two”) to the inspirational (“Business school? Bah! Pop music? Hurrah”) and hilarious (“I like big butts, can’t lie”).
but wait...there's more...
Here are the rules:
1) Write your own six word memoir.
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links.
5) Don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.
6) Have fun.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Every night lights are extinguished
and not all rekindled with the break of morn.
And, so it was with you.
Doused to dreams by Morpheus
and the cancer dwelling within,
your light grew cool,
and was gone.
It’s absence but a minute change
from the breath before.
Your love a blaze lamented
too hot by some it touched,
erratic in its warmth,
bending side to side with drafts of winds,
and drafts of change.
I mourn not the loss of flame
not having felt the heat,
but grieve the lack of it for those I love
whose ways are dark