Saturday, January 31, 2009

Night Flight

by George Bilgere



I am doing laps at night, alone
In the indoor pool. Outside
It is snowing, but I am warm
And weightless, suspended and out
Of time like a fly in amber.

She is thousands of miles
From here, and miles above me,
Ghosting the stratosphere,
Heading from New York to London.
Though it is late, even
At that height, I know her light
Is on, her window a square
Of gold as she reads mysteries
Above the Atlantic. I watch

The line of black tile on the pool's
Floor, leading me down the lane.
If she looks down by moonlight,
Under a clear sky, she will see
Black water. She will see me
Swimming distantly, moving far
From shore, suspended with her
In flight through the wide gulf
As we swim toward land together.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Way We Were

Unknown Legend
by Neil Young


She used to work in a diner
Never saw a woman look finer
I used to order just to watch her float across the floor
She grew up in a small town
Never put her roots down
Daddy always kept movin, so she did too.

Somewhere on a desert highway
She rides a harley-davidson
Her long blonde hair flyin in the wind
Shes been runnin half her life
The chrome and steel she rides
Collidin with the very air she breathes
The air she breathes.

You know it aint easy
You got to hold on
She was an unknown legend in her time
Now shes dressin two kids
Lookin for a magic kiss
She gets the far-away look in her eyes.

Somewhere on a desert highway
She rides a harley-davidson
Her long blonde hair flyin in the wind
Shes been runnin half her life
The chrome and steel she rides
Collidin with the very air she breathes
The air she breathes.

please note: photo by fhotogamy and song from Rachel Getting Married

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Chill Factor



please note: photo by 5chw4r7z


Opposing Forces
by Eamon Grennan



Even in this sharp weather there are lovers everywhere
holding onto each other, hands in one another's pockets
for warmth, for the sense of I'm yours, the tender claim
it keeps making ? one couple stopping in the chill
to stand there, faces pressed together, arms around
jacketed shoulders so I can see bare hands grapple
with padding, see the rosy redness of cold fingers
as they shift a little, trying to register through fold
after fold, This is my flesh feeling you you're feeling.

It must be some contrary instinct in the blood
that sets itself against the weather like this, brings
lovers out like early buds, like the silver-grey catkins
I saw this morning polished to brightness
by ice overnight. Geese, too: more and more couples
voyaging north, great high-spirited congregations
taking the freezing air in and letting it out
as song, as if this frigid enterprise were all joy,
nothing to be afraid of.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We're Looking At A Level 3 Snow Emergency Folks

Don't think you'll be going anywhere today...



and here's why your STAT XRAYS are going to be a little late today:>)

please note:photo by the Radiology department in the hospital courtyard where I believe they still stand, frozen stiff.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SNOWDAY!!



In my hometown everyone likes to jump into our cars and get a conga line going.


please note: photos by Ryan Newman, student at DAAP

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hell No. We Won't Go.

Tomorrow the work week starts again. I think I hear my mother calling for me to stay home. Our roof caved in and we have to move out all our belongings. My cat is sick. The dog ate my scrubs. I have a curious case of Benjamin Button. I can't find my stethoscope. I have been relocated with the Witness Protection Program. I have an important appointment with my accountant about the lottery I am almost certain to win. I have a sore throat. I have Obama Fever. I have Bird Flu...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

What Was Lost Is Now Found

Saturday in CinCity



If you watch any of the medical/hospital themed television shows you may have the idea of a nurses's work life as being, well, off-camera. In House we come skittering from the shadows when summoned to assist in resuscitation efforts performed by one of the almighties. In Grey's Anatomy we're the recipients of some junior intern's sloppy seconds who loves us and leaves us. Seriously. There's not a critical care nurse alive who would allow any of the Seattle Six in a patient's room let alone get near the LVAD (Left Ventricular Assistance Device) keeping love interest Denny's heart pumping efficiently.

But that's drama. Real life is watching a well experienced critical care nurse gaze curiously as her brain takes a flying leap and runs flying through the exit doors screaming for the hills. That nurse has not one, but two phones to her ears, one call from the staffing desk listing multiple call offs for the next shift and the other requesting the plan for the five patients waiting in the ER to be admitted, one on another unit, two being Life Flighted in from outside hospitals, and no open beds to place them.



Just another damn case of life not imitating art.

Friday, January 23, 2009

It's Been A Hard Day's Night

On the Assembly Line
by Virgil Suarez



Cousin Irene worked in the cold of a warehouse
basement in New Jersey, soldering the filaments
to GE lightbulbs. The job required steady hands,
without gloves, bare fingers for sensitivity,
and her hands cramped up eventually, after six
hours or so, but the workday lasted ten or twelve,
in so much cold. This was her life for several
years in America—back home, in Cuba, she'd been
a chicken sexer, a botanist caring for orchids,
a potato peeler, a cigar ring paster, a picker
of papayas—all as a volunteer worker because she
wanted to leave the country. So in Trenton,
Union City, Elizabeth, at least she got paid
for the work she did with her hands, though her
choices continued to be blue-collar work, and she
thanked god for her hands, her reliable hands,
so necessary. She came to the United States
through the Peter Pan Project as a teenager
with the promise of a scholarship to an all-girl
boarding school in Kentucky, which never
materialized—she got as far as New Jersey.
Here, at night, she came home from the factory
and soaked her hands in warm soapy water.
She looked on as her fingers moved, these tendrils
of her once young hands—blessed these ten digits
that rooted her life to so much work and possibility.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe
by Elizabeth Alexander


Poetry, I tell my students,
is idiosyncratic. Poetry
is where we are ourselves,
(though Sterling Brown said
"Every 'I' is a dramatic 'I'")
digging in the clam flats
for the shell that snaps,
emptying the proverbial pocketbook.
Poetry is what you find
in the dirt in the corner,
overhear on the bus, God
in the details, the only way
to get from here to there.
Poetry (and now my voice is rising)
is not all love, love, love
and I'm sorry the dog died.
Poetry (here I hear myself loudest)
is the human voice,
and are we not of interest to each other?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Oh Happy Day




"So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

'Let it be told to the future world...that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive...that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].'"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men And Dreamers

"I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear."

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I found the video below from a very interesting and visually beautiful blog,Mouse Medicine. She has written there about the award-winning documentary, playing for change/peace through music. Mouse takes fabulous photos of her city of choice, Cleveland, Ohio, and shows a strong social activist streak clearly noted by a picture of Margaret Meade and her oft quoted comment about the work of thoughtful, committed citizens.

HoneyHaired Grrrl and I volunteered this morning at an orphanage across the river painting hallways and alcoves with other housewives, college kids, and folks from the neighborhood in our efforts to honor this day. Trying to decide on an afternoon movie since we're all off today. It's 2:1 for Gran Torrino with Clint Eastwood so far. I doubt there will be doves and rainbows coming out of anyone's backsides on that screen...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

De Nile Is A Beautiful Thing


Order up a large bucket of boiled shrimp with some green onions, a little beer, a little beach music--till you're busted.
I suggest to lather, rinse and repeat as needed.
What's the order at your corner of the bar??

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Saturday in CinCity and Can It Possibly Be Colder Than Yesterday?


Apparently,yes...



First Cutting
by Susie Patlove



What is the hayfield in late afternoon
that it can fly in the face of time,

and light can be centuries old, and even
the rusted black truck I am driving

can seem to be an implement born
of some ancient harvest,

and the rhythmic baler, which spits out
massive bricks tied up in twine,

can seem part of a time before now
because light glitters on the hay dust,

because the sun is sinking and we sweat
under the high arc of mid-summer,

because our bodies cast such long shadows—
Rebecca, with the baby strapped to her back,

the men who throw impossible weight
to the top of the truck, the black and white

dog that races after mice or moles
whose lives have been suddenly exposed.

How does the taste of my sweat take me
down through the gate of childhood,

spinning backwards to land in a field
painted by Bruegel, where the taste of salt

is the same, and the same heat
rises in waves off a newly flattened field.

In the duskiness of slanted light, we laugh
just as we laughed then, because there is

joy in what the earth gives, allowing
our bodies to mingle with it, our voices

small on the field, our work assuring the goats
can give milk, the sheep can grow wool,

and we will have in our bones the taste
of something so old it travels in light.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More Private Practice Please

I spent the last two days surrounded by the family of a young man, victim of a non-survivable gunshot wound to the head. There was much debate about whether this was the result of the young man playing Russian Roulette or whether his tiny, wisp of a wife shot him. A debate that resulted in a few of our city's police officers being summoned to the unit multiple times.

I was told by one of the visiting teenage girls that she "didn't know a bullet could do that much damage." I didn't know quite what to say to that, but thinking more on it I can see how in certain environments bullet wounds seem rather commonplace. Like tattoos. So-and-so got shot in the arm or the belly or the leg and they got out of the hospital the next day. The finality of a bullet, even a small caliber, could very well be a new event.

We had a sweet doe-eyed student nurse working with us. We explained the location of the back exit and stairwell in case of a hullaballoo. How to call 911 from the hospital cell phones. She paid close attention to the reactions of the two C-STARS also working with us; Jerry, the RN, soon to be deployed for the third time to Iraq and Dustin, the paramedic serving with a special-ops unit. They were underwhelmed by the commotion around them and she too settled into the groove of "business as usual."

So, I've had my fill of sorrow for now. I can still see the face of this patient's father. Funny, the face of grief is so hard to describe, but so universally recognizable. You know that look immediately and it cuts straight to the heart.

After work, I kept to our routine. We had our weekly lesson in the Lindy Hop, though honestly the only place I wanted to hop was into my warm bed to watch the trampy hootchie mamas on Private Practice.
Honeymoon cystitis indeed.

Today I've spent running errands in the 9 degree temperatures and the sun is out, folks are bundled up walking along the city streets next to sleeveless cocktail dresses in the store windows. Had to go to Lenscrafters for a replacement pair of glasses for the HoneyHaired Grrrl. Her's broke inexplicably in the safe confines of her overstuffed bookbag. Cost me less than $40.00 instead of the $168.79 price tag on the frames. Oh yes, first to admit, "I work for the insurance benefits."

The oldies' station is playing a lot of Beatles from their early years--the DayTripper and Paperback Writer days and I think about my other patient, the crack-addled, alcoholic, homeless, let's run from the police for the hell of it seizure patient who, despite the events right outside his room, thinks he's at an insurance office. He looked deeply into my eyes and said, "You will always be very special to me," and then asked, "You and me--we're good?"

Yeah, Bobby, we're good. Thanks for asking.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Coming Home In the Cold Light of Morning

"If deep cold made a sound, it would be the scissoring and gnashing of a skater's blades against hard gray ice, or the screeching the snow sets up when you walk across it in the blue light of afternoon. The sound might be the stamping of feet at bus stops and train stations, or the way the almost perfect clarity of the audible world on an icy day is muted by scarves and mufflers pulled up over the face and around the ears."
--Verlyn Klinkenborg, The Rural Life

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tagged--5 Things I Love

Tagged-I'm it-by Sweet Annie at Blissful Bohemian, and asked list 5 things I luuuuuuvvvvvvv. Only 5?? Here goes: 1. "I love the night life, I got to boogie..." 2. the color red/ orange 3. mapquest 4. men who can make me laugh 5. my sweet clown of a dog and for extra credit--**6. I love the miracles of second chances Anyone else want to play??

Monday, January 12, 2009

The IceStorm Cometh



...just get me to my work on time.

Honestly. I'm Just Digging On His White Socks.

Fair Warning

by Alden Nowlan





I keep a lunatic chained
to a beam in the attic. He
is my twin brother whom
I'm trying to cheat
out of his inheritance.
It's all right for me
to tell you this because
you won't believe it.
Nobody believes anything
that's put in a poem.
I could confess to
murder and as long as
I did it in a verse
there's not a court
that would convict me.
So if you're ever
a guest overnight
in my house, don't
go looking for
the source of any
unusual sounds.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Shampoo & Sponge Bath

by J. W. Marshall


1.

It takes a small face
to see itself
in the handmirror offered

when staff says
it's time to wash that greasy hair.
Says it'll help.

Like a tuber on the pillow
or the shadow of a spade
is how

I remember looking. Water slopped
on my gown and skin and sheets.
When they laid my head back

into the metal basin
I died and happily that time.

2.

There was a terrifyingly large sky
that first day they rolled me
out for air.

Terrifyingly.
And clouds like balled-up cobwebs.
What if the chair got caught

in a crack or on a rock—I watched for that.
There's one the orderly said
meaning a cloud

that looks like you.
There was weakness in each of them.
There was a fraying wind. A mess

he said like you
before your bath.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Quite Simply the Road to Happiness?? No News Is Good News.


I read this blog, The Economy Isn't Happening, almost every day because I think he's funny a lot of the time, he's a guy so I get some testosterone-laden perspective in my day, and although he states he's NOT Robert Goulet I'm secretly hoping that he is and will one day belt out "If I Would Ever Leave You." I also sense he has a kind heart.




His latest post is centered on the idea of not inundating ourselves with news--and by that, he means bad news--and to go on living our lives surrounded by daily, undramatic, non-crime-ridden, non-war mongering activities. He believes we and the world would be much happier.

For the record here, I don't agree with him 100%, but as I said I like the guy's writing and I'm willing to give him what small forum I have to share his point of view. I don't think a person needs to watch CNN 24/7, nor do I believe that necessarily makes a person informed. What I do believe is that the world does not need us to watch TV or listen to its woes every day. What the world needs is for us to give a damn and to participate in the work of the world. Remember Ebenezer Scrooge from a short three weeks ago? " Business! Mankind was my business!"

For those of you who may feel better knowing we are not the only generation to feel overwhelmed by the horrific acts of mankind, I offer a Henry James quote, "Evil is insolent and strong; Beauty enchanting but rare, Goodness very apt to be weak, Folly very apt to be defiant, Wickedness to carry the day; Imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. But the world as it stands is no illusion, no phantasm, no evil dream of a night, we wake up to it again forever and ever; we can neither forget it nor deny it nor dispense with it."

For anyone not on a news blackout, there's over 200 children dead and over a thousand children wounded in this latest Middle East conflict. Last I've heard 14 medics killed. ABC NEWS website has a list of humanitarian organizations that are helping. So run on over to Johnny Truant's House of Idiocy for a laugh and on the way back see what help you can offer for these children trapped in the middle of war. Politics aside, I think if grown men want to get into a pissing contest about geographical borders they ought to get in the ring and duke it out. Like real men.

Seriously???...No, Really. I Mean It. Seriously??



Going tonight for the first in a series of Lindy Hop classes...watched the video...did I mention I'm 53??...uhmmmmmm..., guess I'll wear flat shoes...and pants, definitely wearing me some long pants:>)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tastiest New Piece of Mancake--For Thirteenth Night



Is it that he makes me laugh or that Scottish accent?? Either way, love this man.

And A Belated Happy Twelfth Night To You



"I would I had bestowed that time in the tongues that I have in fencing, dancing and bear-baiting. O! had I but followed the arts!"
William Shakespeare--Twelfth Night, 1. 3


I missed Twelfth Night this year, being instead held hostage in Neurodramaville. No King's cakes or mischief making for us. We pretty much got our asses heartily kicked as did the rest of the hospital. Patients' families always seem so surprised to learn that there are no hospital beds to place their loved ones into. Certainly not the impression given on House or ER or Grey's Anatomy where patient's guerneys go flying willy-nilly to a quiet empty room and crisply starched white sheets. The truth is that the bed is still slightly damp from the disinfectant spray used after the last patient and the nurse may be still putting clean sheets on the bed while the newest invalid is rolling through the doorway. As my mother delights in telling me, "There's no rest for the wicked or the weary."

Any cake I eat better have a little stash of Advil in it to get me through the rest of the day.

please note: art by William Holbrook Beard

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What To Do the First Morning the Sun Comes Back

by Roseann Lloyd


Find a clean cloth for the kitchen table, the red and blue one
you made that cold winter in Montana. Spread out
your paper and books. Tune the radio to the jazz station.
Look at the bright orange safflowers you found last August—
how well they've held their color next to the black-spotted cat.

Make some egg coffee, in honor of all the people
above the Arctic Circle. Give thanks to the Sufis,
who figured out how to brew coffee
from the dark, bitter beans. Remark
on the joyfulness of your dishes: black and yellow stars.

Reminisce with your lover about the history of this kitchen
where, between bites of cashew stir fry,
you first kissed each other on the mouth. Now that you're hungry,
toast some leftover cornbread, spread it with real butter,
honey from bees that fed on basswood blossoms.

The window is frosted over, but the sun's casting an eye
over all the books. Open your Spanish book.
The season for sleeping is over.
The pots and pans: quiet now, let them be.

It will be a short day.
Sit in the kitchen as long as you can, reading and writing.
At sundown, rub a smidgen of butter
on the western windowsill
to ask the sun:
Come back again tomorrow.

please note: painting(considered "outsider art") by Frankie Scarborough

Monday, January 5, 2009

Square Dancing with Sister Robert Claire
by Michael Cleary



First week of junior high, Kel wised off to her
same as he'd done to the one all year before.
I can still see it. Her so short, the uppercut put
all her weight under the whack of her pudgy fist
against the V of his chin. Kel arching a back-dive, landing
legs up, desks dominoing halfway up the row.
Sweet Jesus, she was tough, but bless her the first one
who liked boys best and didn't carry a grudge.

But she sure as hell wasn't one of the almost pretty nuns
you could almost imagine out there in the world.
Picture pie-faced Lou from Abbott and Costello,
lumpy-looking in any duds but now add a thick black
floor-length habit with dozens of folds, hidden pockets.
Around her waist rosary beads big as marbles
dangling to where knees would be.
Hair, ears, and neck under a stiff white wimple,
she waddled the aisles like a wooly toad.

One week she dragged us into the gym
and the alien world of square dancing—and girls.
Shedding blazers, ties, and shoes, we were cornered.
In sweat socks and knee socks, we shuffled like prisoners,
allemande left and dosido stranger than dominus vobiscum.
Robert Claire stood on a chair trying to clap rhythm
into our dumb feet, sometimes leaping down, landing
light as a blackbird. She'd skip and twirl among us
arm over arm until her habit billowed like a gown,
face aglow, God's clumsy children urged toward lessons
of possibility and romance she brought from a life before.
Reluctantly, we learned to move together, touch, let go

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Farmhouses, Iowa

by Baron Wormser


Invariably, a family in each one
And someone opening the fridge to fetch
A carton of milk, someone sitting in
A chair and shelling peas, someone looking

Out a window at a barn, two willow trees.
Solitude broods like a pursuing shadow;
A radio fades in and out -the voice
Eager yet eerie. Three ages anchor

The oaken dinner table: Mom and Dad
Up-before-dawn weary, Grandma perturbed
About half-thawed rolls, the children recounting
School stories, then silent. In the parlor
A whiskey tumbler rests beside a Bible.
The old collie whimpers when a car goes by.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Another Saturday in CinCity

Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
by Dan Albergotti


Measure the walls. Count the ribs. Notch the long days.
Look up for blue sky through the spout. Make small fires
with the broken hulls of fishing boats. Practice smoke signals.
Call old friends, and listen for echoes of distant voices.
Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Look each way
for the dim glow of light. Work on your reports. Review
each of your life's ten million choices. Endure moments
of self-loathing. Find the evidence of those before you.
Destroy it. Try to be very quiet, and listen for the sound
of gears and moving water. Listen for the sound of your heart.
Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope,
where you can rest and wait. Be nostalgic. Think of all
the things you did and could have done. Remember
treading water in the center of the still night sea, your toes
pointing again and again down, down into the black depths.


please note: art by Johnathan Marshall

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Resolutions

This year has the smell of hope to it that makes me feel excited about what is to come. Maybe we really can make a difference in the world. Perhaps we can be the change we want to see. So, I'm going out on a limb here and making some resolutions for 2009.
First of all, St. Vincent de Paul will be my new best friend and I will be clearing out of the house our trash and someone else's treasures. I'm usually a "When in doubt, throw it out" gal, however The Hubby likes to hang onto miscellaneous odds and ends "just in case." In our seventeen years here we have accumulated quite enough for any scenerio or invasion of Barbarians that comes our way. 2009...this stuff's got to go and we'll blissfully have some room to move.

There's the usual--get to bed earlier,
read more books, watch fewer Monk reruns,
drink more water.
Take an additional dance class. Modern, maybe hip-hop. Something different.
I plan to leave every place I'm in a little better than how I found it.
I'd like to enjoy the process moreand worry less about the outcome.
I'll take time to enjoy beauty in the daily.
And as John Burroughs wrote, "One resolution I have made, and try always to keep, is this: To rise above the little things.
Mostly, I'd like to hang in there
and enjoy the ride.
Ad multos annos.