Showing posts from May, 2008

Never Too Early to Start Planning

The Man Next Door Is Teaching His Dog to Drive by Cathryn Essinger It all began when he came out one morning and found the dog waiting for him behind the wheel. He thought she looked pretty good sitting there, so he started taking her into town with him just so she could get a feel for the road. They have made a few turns through the field, him sitting beside her, his foot on the accelerator, her muzzle on the wheel. Now they are practicing going up and down the lane with him whispering encouragement in her silky ear. She is a handsome dog with long ears and a speckled muzzle and he is a good teacher. Now my wife, Millie, he says, she was always too timid on the road, but don't you be afraid to let people know that you are there. The dog seems to be thinking about this seriously. Braking, however, is still a problem, but he is building a mouthpiece which he hopes to attach to the steering column, and when he upgrades to one of those new Sports Utility Vehicles with the remote ignit

..where the deer and the antelope play...

We're making plans to fly away to Montana. We don't give a hoot about no stinkin' oil prices. (Well, actually, we're really quite worried about them.) We have friends out in Dillon, they just got a divorce, had some other disruptions in the family, and we thought it would be a good time--friend wise-- to visit with them. Bad time--gas prices wise, but don't know that it will get better. Our college girl is a bit mopey about not going, but she has decided in her Junior year to switch majors, which is fine, but that places her in summer session right now picking up some required courses, Microbiology and Physiology. Crazy girl. And honey haired girl will probably (hopefully) have a summer job next year at the zoo or a vet's office/somewhere animal-oriented, so this seemed a good time to take a more adventurous vacation. Too bad it's still snowing in Montana. We'll be leaving the barely 60 degree grey drizzliness of CinCity to the end-of-prolonged winter w

What We Want by Linda Pastan

What we want is never simple. We move among the things we thought we wanted: a face, a room, an open book and these things bear our names— now they want us. But what we want appears in dreams, wearing disguises. We fall past,holding out our arms and in the morning our arms ache. We don't remember the dream, but the dream remembers us. It is there all day as an animal is there under the table, as the stars are there even in full sun.

"There was no way I would be able to squeeze the enormousness of this spirit into one tiny little body."

I've read about this woman before, Jill Bolte Taylor,a Harvard trained neuroanatomist, and her memories of the experience of having a stroke. The following article from The New York Times reminded me of her again today and from there was led to a video of her lecture. For anyone who works with brains or works inside a brain this is a fascinating travelogue of her experience. It's 18-20 minutes, so grab your favorite cuppa of caffeine. What follows is an entirely different perspective on what we tend to think of as our "mind," and as she calls it, "a stroke of insight."

Soldier rest! thy warfare o'er...

Soldier rest! thy warfare o'er, Sleep the sleep thast knows not breaking, Dream of battled fields no more, Days of danger, nights of waking. Sir Walter Scott My only brother, my only sibling, died a year ago. He was no longer in the military, had been discharged years ago, but had his own battles to fight for many, many years. It just happened to be Memorial Day weekend when he fell through the cracks of the VA Medical System. No offense to any ER nurses or docs. It was one of those bad alignment of the stars when everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. His ashes are scattered along the Tidal Pools off Highway 1 near Half Moon Bay among the sea stars, the red albalone, the anenomes, the harbor seals... I do believe he is peaceful there. It's a rugged, beautiful, plentiful piece of the earth. I can see why he liked to go there to talk to God. God feels present along that rocky coastline with a vigorous and masculine force, yet the intertidal landscape itself is very fragile. E

Boarding House by Ted Kooser

The blind man draws his curtains for the night and goes to bed, leaving a burning light above the bathroom mirror. Through the wall, he hears the deaf man walking down the hall in his squeaky shoes to see if there's a light under the blind man's door, and all is right. please note--art by Edward Hopper

Put Down the Pen, Sir, and Step Away from the Desk

Generally at the eve of a holiday weekend I would be nagging about wearing your seatbelts and preferably a helmet for the next 48hrs. Tonight I'm just going to ask you not to stick Bic pens in your eye. Thanks for the cooperation. Oh, and no running with scissors you crazy cats. interested?? Please see:
We saw a movie yesterday that has given me pause. Starting Out in the Evening had a 4:30pm showtime. Easy enough for my hubby and I to walk up to the Esquire Theatre after we brought the honey haired girl home from school and she settled in to study for her last exam. Wasn't expecting more than a few hours out of the house not spent in the hospital, but surprisingly, the movie has lingered with us and carried over to the morning. The movie's storyline centers around a literary giant, one of the intellectual writers of the 7o's, and the loss of his hold over his writing, his past work, and his health. Although he admits to not having a plan for his novels, "I just follow my characters around and hope they do something interesting," he finds after ten years of waiting they have not. And, for an author whose literary theme may have been personal freedom, he finds that he may just have squandered his time and reached a dead end. I thought about this character and I th

Looking for a Rest Area by Steven Dunn

I've been driving for hours, it seems like all my life. The wheel has become familiar, I turn it every so often to avoid the end of my life, but I'm never sure it doesn't turn me by its roundness, as women have by the space inside them. What I'm looking for is a rest area, some place where the old valentine inside my shirt can stop contriving romances, where I can climb out of the thing that has taken me this far and stretch myself. It is dusk, Nebraska, the only bright lights in this entire state put their fists in my eyes as they pass me. Oh, how easily I can be dazzled— where is the sign that will free me, if only for moments, I keep asking.

Brains. Older and Wiser.

Ha-ha. Told you so. I just knew that getting older was going to be good for something cuz the rest of the bod is going to hell. And just in case anyone is interested in brain physiology given the news lately about Senator Kennedy and reportings of malignant gliomas in the temporal/parietal regions-- here's a short video with song and dance included. Probably the only way to truly learn about the brain. I am all about the education here. Learn away.

Going in for 12 Hrs with #8 Here...

Excellent thumbs up there, big guy.

Thanks, Can You Bag It and I'll Take It To Go??

Now that is just plain wrong. My ONLY defense is that I have vacation coming up in 10 days and I really need one. Seriously. Also, is this the proper way to pack for carry ons?? also reallocated from:

It Happens Like This by James Tate

I was outside St. Cecelia's Rectory smoking a cigarette when a goat appeared beside me. It was mostly black and white, with a little reddish brown here and there. When I started to walk away, it followed. I was amused and delighted, but wondered what the laws were on this kind of thing. There's a leash law for dogs, but what about goats? People smiled at me and admired the goat. "It's not my goat," I explained. "It's the town's goat. I'm just taking my turn caring for it." "I didn't know we had a goat," one of them said. "I wonder when my turn is." "Soon," I said. "Be patient. Your time is coming." The goat stayed by my side. It stopped when I stopped. It looked up at me and I stared into its eyes. I felt he knew everything essential about me. We walked on. A police- man on his beat looked us over. "That's a mighty fine goat you got there," he said, stopping to admire. "It's t

Nothin's a Matter With Your Head, Baby, Find It...

Was not a big fan of disco back in the day, crazy cuz I cocktail waitressed in one. Gotta say though, and I realize that I'm showing my age here, prefer the disco look to the gangsta look. What wouldn't I give to see someone dressed like this come strolling through my unit as opposed to our visitors with the waist of their pants hitting at the nether regions. I reckon the pieces they're carrying now are too damn heavy. Enjoy the soulful vocals of Redbone, Ladies and Gentlemen... (always thought they were singing "What's the matter with your hair...) Hey (hey) What's the matter with your head? yeah... Hey (hey) What's the matter with your mind and your sign? And-a ooh-ohh Hey (hey) Nothin's a matter with your head, baby, find it Come on and find it

Just Going In For A Walk-About

please note--reallocated from:

Homeplace by Jo McDougall

Awake while you sleep, I tie and untie the strings of what went wrong: the farm auctioned, my father buried in Minnesota, you and I alone in a rented room. I remember my father when I was six pushing open a gate on the farm road, stirring the dust of August. The locusts sizzling in the grass, a hum of dragonflies hanging sleepy above us.

Hup Two Three Four, Keep It Up Two Three Four

"I meant what I said, and I said what I meant... an elephant's faithful--one hundred percent!" Theodore Seuss Greisel I really am trying to finish The Inheritance of Loss but was waylaid this past week by the aroma of popcorn, cotton candy, and hayburners. I spent some rainy days amidst sequins and freaks. I shall get back on track in good time, for this show must go on. Water for Elephants-- The gritty glamour of the circus world in all of its ragged edges, hardness, and heart; where the value of life is measured by performance. Quintessential Sentence(s)--" The whole thing's an illusion, Jacob," he says, "and there's nothing wrong with that. It's what people want from us. It's what they expect." "...why the hell shouldn't I run away with the circus?" Favorite Word-- roustabout

Fabulous Poetry Idea--Blackout Poems

Image Read Between the Lines to Find Texas Poet’s VerseMorning Edition, May 9, 2008 Instead of starting with a blank page, poet Austin Kleon grabs the New York Times and a permanent marker — and eliminates the words he doesn’t need. He recently transformed an article about a piano concert into a poem that begins: “Forget about trying to speak … the image is the travelogue.” The newspaper ends up more black than white, and shows another way to read between the lines. Read about this from Jillypoet's site. Both interesting writers and well deserving of a look/see.

Behold by David Lee

And came forth like Venus from an ocean of heat waves, morning in his pockets and the buckets in his hands he emerged from the grey shed, tobacco and wind pursed together in song from from his tight lips he gathered day and went out to cast wheat before swine. And in his mind he sang songs and thought thoughts, images of clay and heat, wind and sweat, dreams of silver and visions of green earth twisting the cups of his mind he crossed his fence of wire, the south Utah steppes bending the air into corners of sky he entered the yard to feed his swine. And his pigs, they come. please note--art by Vernita Bridges Hoyt

Forty Years and Counting...

Day off today and, although I cleaned around the house a small amount, it's another rainy day here in Cincy so I read. Last month's Smithsonian magazine has an article about President Johnson and the events surrounding the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.--"The Unmaking of the President." I love LBJ. Always have. It may not be the most popular choice, but it's not a choice made objectively. He 's the face I remember seeing on our television set while I was growing up and the one we listened to during the turbulant events of the sixties. I think he's fascinating. And although this season's crop of presidential candidates seem to want to distance themselves from the events of the last forty years those issues remain in the forefront of the problems we face today. An unpopular and no-end-in-sight war, poverty, racial inequities. Some of the speeches could be given today without one change in wording necessary to make it relevant. http://www.smiths

For Anyone Having a Grey Day--CRANK IT UP!!

Found this tape in a dark recess of my kitchen, AKA the bookshelf, and have been playing it ever since. I am so hoping to find some white go-go boots there also.

Borrowed Time by David Moreau

I will not die tonight I will lie in bed with my wife beside me, curled on the right like an animal burrowing. I will fit myself against her and we will keep each other warm. I will not die tonight. My son who is seven will not slide beneath the ice like the boy on the news. The divers will not have to look for him in cold water. He will call, "Daddy, can I get up now?" in the morning. I will not die tonight. I will balance the checkbook, wash up the dishes and sit in front of the TV drinking one beer. For the moment I hold a winning ticket. It's my turn to buy cold cuts at the grocery store. I fill my basket carefully. For like the rain that comes now to the roof and slides down the gutter I am headed to the earth. And like the others, all the lost and all the lovers, I will follow an old path not marked on any map.

This Blogsite Makes Me Laugh

Image 14 May, 2008 Kid Who Needs To Work On His Poker Face Kid: "Who would throw chess pieces out a window?!?" Teacher: "You!" Kid: "Heh heh...Yeah..." OVERHEARD BY TOBYLURIO

Characters by Kevin FitzPatrick

Aunt Duly is here wallpapering our kitchen. She is seventy-one years old but still paints silos and moves pianos. If I bet her, she will touch her palms to the floor without bending her knees. When she first sees me, long hair and beard, she comes down the ladder waving her brush: "Judas Priest, Kev, when I was a girl, they used to beat guys like you with chairs. "She has been going up and down this last hour as if her ladder is an escalator, telling me about drunken gravediggers or the grocer who wouldn't serve lawyers. I'm afraid she'll slip or faint, but she is coming down the ladder, telling me about Barney Ruckle in the back pew quietly mocking each bead during the rosary: "Gimme a nickel, Mary. Gimme a nickel, Mary. Gimme a nickel ... "Going up the ladder because she really does have work to do, she pauses halfway and says,"You know, they're all dead now, all those characters who used to make us laugh."

Two More 12 Hrs With a Couple of Ring-A-Ding-Dings


Break a Leg

Honey haired girl is in a ballet recital this evening. She had talked about wanting to take ballet again--she stopped many, many years ago--and finding beginning ballet classes for a teenager is close to impossible. But, the Cincinnati Ballet Company teaches an Enrichment class for high schoolers where she could take ballet and/or musical theater. There is the requisite recital at the end of the year, but since HoneyHaired would only have taken lessons for 10 weeks she wouldn't have to be in it. Well, guess again. Yes, she is. And, it's at the Aronoff Center which is intimidatingly huge. I was going to take her there this past weekend to see Carmina Burana but didn't want her to see how large and imposing the theater is. Perhaps it will look smaller and simpler from backstage. She's down there now. I dropped her at the stage door with her deer- in- the -headlight -eyes. My best advise for her?? "Honey, you guys are down here so early and you are going to practice s

Birthday Girl:1950 by Linda McCarriston

for my mother The day the package came from Sears, you were ironing and smoking, in the one slab of light that elbowed in between our three-decker and the next one. World Series Time, and the radio bobbing on the square end of the board told over what you already knew: The Sox are the same old bunch of bums! you said, slamming the iron into some navy gabardine; the smells of workclothes—Tide and oil—rose up together in steam around you, like the roar of the crowd at Fenway and the shouts, downstairs, of Imalda, getting belted around her kitchen at noon. Some people can make anything out of anything else. If you still can, remember that day like this: you douse your cigarette and squat down close; I open the box addressed only to me and find inside the pair of sandals you call harlequin , with straps as many colored as a life. I am happy. You buckle them on me. Every room is dark but where we are. Every other room is empty.

And a Happy Mother's Day to You, Too

Could not have have gotten through these last twenty - one years without you. Love ya, need ya, mean it.

Windchime by Tony Hoagland

She goes out to hang the windchime in her nightie and her work boots. It's six-thirty in the morning and she's on the plastic ice chest tiptoe to reach the crossbeam of the porch, windchime in her left hand, hammer in her right, the nail gripped tight between her teeth but nothing happens next because she's trying to figure out how to switch #1 with #3. She must have been standing in the kitchen, coffee in her hand, asleep, when she heard it--the wind blowing through the sound the windchime wasn't making because it wasn't there. No one, including me, especially anymore believes till death do us part, but I can see what I would miss in leaving-- the way her ankles go into the work boots as she stands on the ice chest; the problem scrunched into her forehead, the little kissable mouth with the nail in it.

Shall Be Missed

I haven't been back to the cemetery for a year. Last May it was miserably hot and humid as we silently stood by the gravesite tissues in hand and lowered her ashes into the ground covering them with songs, poems, and prayers. My mother-in-law lived less than six months after her diagnosis of small cell lung cancer, and most of that time was spent sick and confined. Dying was a release for her. An end to the discomforts of her body fighting a civil war and losing on all fronts. We saw a hawk that day at the cemetery as the ceremony ended, the large red tailed bird flying low over our heads. We saw it again the day we finished cleaning out her home. We watched it fly in and out of the wind currents with a harsh shriek, circling us, then leaving us for other spaces. Today was not hot. It's a grey, rainy and chilly day. A perfect backdrop for Spring Grove Cemetery and the monuments built there. A "MacArthur's Park is melting in the dark, all the sweet green icing flowing d

Whasssuuuup with Blogging?

"What's it all about, Alfie? Is it just for the moment we live? What's it all about when you sort it out, Alfie? Are we meant to take more than we give..." I've only been aware of the blogging world since March and have slowly. tentatively dipped my toes into its waters of self expression and self revelation. But I wonder, "What's it all about, Alfie?" What will this abundance of photos--babies in hats, trees in autumn, plates of food either desired or just cooked, and the ubiquitous "Portrait of a Young Woman Sticking Out Tongue"-- say about us in fifty or sixty years? Is there a bigger picture here and will blogging be a significant social phenomenon of the new millenium? Is blogging simply the creative outlet of the double 00's generation; the equivalent of the every teen's garage band during the sixties and seventies? Or, is it an indication of a trend towards an increasing self indulgence, a validation in writing of our own imp

Posthumous by Jean Nordhaus

Would it surprise you to learn that years beyond your longest winter you still get letters from your bank, your old philanthropies, cold flakes drifting through the mail-slot with your name? Though it's been a long time since your face interrupted the light in my door-frame, and the last tremblings of your voice have drained from my telephone wire, from the lists of the likely, your name is not missing. It circles in the shadow-world of the machines, a wind-blown ghost. For generosity will be exalted, and good credit outlasts death. Caribbean cruises, recipes, low-interest loans. For you who asked so much of life, who lived acutely even in duress, the brimming world awaits your signature. Cancer and heart disease are still counting on you for a cure. B'nai Brith numbers you among the blessed. They miss you. They want you back.

WHERE? by Kenneth Patchen

There's a place the man always say Come in here, child No cause you should weep Wolf never catch the rabbit Golden hair never turn white with grief Come in here, child No cause you should moan Brother never hurt his brother Nobody here ever wander without a home There must be some such place somewhere But I never heard of it please note--photo by Virginia Todd

Where you gonna go now that you've won* the super fine badge of blogging??

(*stolen from and Neilochka. Thanks. It's an honor just to be nominated.) I'm going to NeuroLand for two days of funfilled bliss. MRI's!! CT scans!! Cerebral angiographies galore!! Please keep arms and legs inside the carraiges at all times and no standing while the rides are in motion. Show me two fingers, stick out your tongue, follow my finger with your eyes. Pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. Please no inappropriate oozing of bodily fluids. Any visitor who voices more than five sentences about their own health concerns will be forcibly removed from the park. Thank you for your patronage.

days of hopefulness and the best peace sign in the world

Sometimes by Sheenagh Pugh Sometimes things don't go, after all, from bad to worse. Some years, muscadel faces down frost; green thrives; crops don't fail, sometimes a man aims high, and all goes well. A people sometimes will step back from war; elect an honest man; decide they care enough, that they can't leave some stranger poor. Some men become what they were born for. Sometimes our best efforts do not go amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to. The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow that seemed hard frozen: may it happen for you.

quietly sad

I haven't felt much like writing these last few days, or even finding a poem to reflect the day. The loss of the 16 year old boy on Tuesday has lingered and I've not been able to completely wash off the raw pain that filled his hospital room and seeped down the hallway until it filled the entire unit with the cries of his family. It was not an unexpected death. The resulting injury from the bullet's path was non-survivable. It had crossed the midline and the swelling to the brain from the blast force pushed his brain downward herniating his brainstem which led to brain death. It was non-survivable once some young boy's index finger pushed back the trigger in a tiny increment of a second. Less time than taking a breath. He either pulled the trigger himself or someone else pulled it. Kids playing to be men with guns not realizing the gun was loaded or perhaps some darker,more malevolent reason. Doesn't matter in the nanosecond of choice to the nanosecond of no return.

by Rumi

Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.