Showing posts from April, 2009

"Cover Me, Tonto, I'm Going In..."

"We're going on a pig hunt.
We're going to catch a big one.
What a beautiful day!
We're not scared.
Oh-oh! A pig!
A troupe of portly pigs.
We can't go over it.
We can't go under it.
Oh, no!
We've got to go through it!"

Going back for two more days in Neurodramaville. Haven't heard yet if any little piggies have come to visit us, but I'm certain we're on high alert for them. Our unit deals with neurosurgical/neurological injuries--which doesn't mean a patient could not additionally have the flu, but more likely those patients would be on the Medicine floors. Visitors are much more worrisome. You know, the folks who come in to see their neighbor's cousin's nephew's girlfriend and bring their carload of school aged children to spread the love. Stay home.

CDC recommendations:
1. Wash your hands frequently with hot, soapy water.
2. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
3. See your doctor--NOT THE ER-YOUR FAMILY DOCTOR--if you…


by David Budbill

Sometimes when day after day we have cloudless blue skies,
warm temperatures, colorful trees and brilliant sun, when
it seems like all this will go on forever,

when I harvest vegetables from the garden all day,
then drink tea and doze in the late afternoon sun,
and in the evening one night make pickled beets
and green tomato chutney, the next red tomato chutney,
and the day after that pick the fruits of my arbor
and make grape jam,

when we walk in the woods every evening over fallen leaves,
through yellow light, when nights are cool, and days warm,

when I am so happy I am afraid I might explode or disappear
or somehow be taken away from all this,

at those times when I feel so happy, so good, so alive, so in love
with the world, with my own sensuous, beautiful life, suddenly

I think about all the suffering and pain in the world, the agony
and dying. I think about all those people being tortured, right now,
in my name. But I still feel happy and good, alive and in love with
the world and …

Officials Say Swine Flu Cannot Be Contained

Loading a Boar

by David Lee

We were loading a boar, a goddam mean big sonofabitch and he jumped out of the
pickup four times and tore out my stockracks and rooted me in the stomach and I
fell down and he bit John on the knee and he thought it was broken and so did I
and the boar stood over in the far corner of the pen and watched us and John and I
just sat there tired and Jan laughed and brought us a beer and I said, "John it aint
worth it, nothing's going right and I'm feeling half dead and haven't wrote a poem in ages and I'm ready to quit it all," and John said, "shit, young feller, you aint got started yet and the reason's cause you trying to do it outside yourself and aint
looking in and if you wanna by god write pomes you gotta write pomes about
what you know and not about the rest and you can write about pigs and that boar
and Jan and you and me and the rest and there aint no way you're gonna quit," and
we drank beer and smoked, all thre…

There's Got To Be A Morning After

Friday night/Saturday morning were indeed memorable. The hospital morgue filled to capacity and the overflow was being sent to some kind of "E Corridor." Don't even want to know what the hell that is or where it is. Driving home Saturday evening after work I passed five police cars encircling some new drama at the No Tell Motel and at the only open gas station on the wrong side of the expressway where I stopped for my empty tank a group of girls were screaming, scuffling and getting into some serious fistacuffs.

Sunday was better in terms of admissions, but the work of repairing the damage done occupied everyone's day. Getting hold of the Ortho service, or portable XRAYs for that matter, was like receiving an audience with the Pope. CT scans multiplied to give visual reassurance that the pool of blood in Tommy's head wasn't any larger and that Grandma's ischemic stroke(from a blood clot)hadn't converted to a hemorrhagic one(the damaged, friable blood v…

Spring Fever??

Worst night and day in "the history of the hospital" in terms of trauma admissions. Warm weather brings in all the motorcycle, motor vehicle, unsteady ladder, falling off roof accidents and the continuation of a gang disagreement brings in the gun shot wounds. I'm going to bed. I suggest you all do so. And, stay there:>)

Questions About Angels on a Saturday in CinCity

Questions About Angels

by Billy Collins

Of all the questions you might want to ask
about angels, the only one you ever hear
is how many can dance on the head of a pin.

No curiosity about how they pass the eternal time
besides circling the Throne chanting in Latin
or delivering a crust of bread to a hermit on earth
or guiding a boy and girl across a rickety wooden bridge.

Do they fly through God's body and come out singing?
Do they swing like children from the hinges
of the spirit world saying their names backwards and forwards?
Do they sit alone in little gardens changing colors?

What about their sleeping habits, the fabric of their robes,
their diet of unfiltered divine light?
What goes on inside their luminous heads? Is there a wall
these tall presences can look over and see hell?

If an angel fell off a cloud, would he leave a hole
in a river and would the hole float along endlessly
filled with the silent letters of every angelic word?

If an angel delivered the mail, would he arri…

Thanks, You Crazy Cats

This lovely award was given to me by the very funny and talented folks, The Watercats.
Part of the deal of the award is to:
1. Post the award on your blog, and link to the person who gave you the award.
2. List seven things you love.
3. List seven blogs you love.
4. E-mail or comment on those blogs to let the people know you’ve given them the award.
So here goes...

Seven Things I Love:
1. I love to dance--ballroom, ballet, jazz, modern, swing, shag, the mashed potatoes, the freddy, the twist, hip-hop, crunk, tango, polka, two step--love them all.

2. and, so I love different types of music,

3. and boxers

4. sunny days in CinCity

4. pink nail polish in the summer

5. exotic locations near bodies of water

6. my grrrls

7. and my man, I love him so

As for the seven blogs I love, take your choice from the blogroll, the blogliography, or from the comments. I have been lucky enough to have caught the eyes of an abundance of funny and thoughtful folks from all over and blessed with their companionship. All of …

Fawn's Foster-Mother

By Robinson Jeffers

The old woman sits on a bench before the door and quarrels
With her meagre pale demoralized daughter.
Once when I passed I found her alone, laughing in the sun
And saying that when she was first married
She lived in the old farmhouse up Garapatas Canyon.
(It is empty now, the roof has fallen
But the log walls hang on the stone foundation; the redwoods
Have all been cut down, the oaks are standing;
The place is now more solitary than ever before.)
"When I was nursing my second baby
My husband found a day-old fawn hid in a fern-brake
And brought it; I put its mouth to the breast
Rather than let it starve, I had milk enough for three babies.
Hey how it sucked, the little nuzzler,
Digging its little hoofs like quills into my stomach.
I had more joy from that than from the others."
Her face is deformed with age, furrowed like a bad road
With market-wagons, mean cares and decay.
She is thrown up to the surface of things, a cell of dry skin
Soon to be shed from the earth's o…

Earth. Oh, happy day.

"...And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the
waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.

And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were
under the firmament from the waters which were above the
firmament: and it was so.

And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the
morning were the second day.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered
together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it
was so.

And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together
of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good..."

Life Story

by Tennessee Williams

After you've been to bed together for the first time,
without the advantage or disadvantage of any prior acquaintance,
the other party very often says to you,
Tell me about yourself, I want to know all about you,
what's your story? And you think maybe they really and truly do

sincerely want to know your life story, and so you light up
a cigarette and begin to tell it to them, the two of you
lying together in completely relaxed positions
like a pair of rag dolls a bored child dropped on a bed.

You tell them your story, or as much of your story
as time or a fair degree of prudence allows, and they say,
Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh,
each time a little more faintly, until the oh
is just an audible breath, and then of course

there's some interruption. Slow room service comes up
with a bowl of melting ice cubes, or one of you rises to pee
and gaze at himself with mild astonishment in the bathroom mirror.
And then, the first thing you know, before you've had time
to pick up w…

How to Prevent Head Injuries and Look Fabulous


To This May

by W. S. Merwin

They know so much more now about
the heart we are told but the world
still seems to come one at a time
one day one year one season and here
it is spring once more with its birds
nesting in the holes in the walls
its morning finding the first time
its light pretending not to move
always beginning as it goes

please note: art by Amamnda Cass

Saturday in CinCity

The word of the day at work yesterday was "Roadtrip," minus the Fritos, Mountain Dew, and celebrity magazines to read out loud in the car. A "roadtrip" in hospital lingo is to move a patient off the unit to another site generally for testing purposes. In an ICU it is for testing that cannot be done with portable equipment being moved into the patient's room, so we're talking CT scans, MRI scans, any kind of angiography, etc.

In an ICU a roadtrip is a bit like camping. You pile up everything in the room and anything in the unit that you will need or could possibly need if all hell broke loose and pack it onto your bed. When you arrive at your destination you unpack it all, move things around--like the patient onto the CT table--tidy up your transport vehicle-in this case the bed, sit for a hot minute, repack your patient and all your earthly belongings back onto the bed, move the bed and said belongings back to the patient's room, unpack, put away, rec…

TGIF. Seriously.


Middle-Aged Men, Leaning

by Bruce Taylor

four movements

They lean on rakes.
It's late, it is evening
already inside their houses.

The children are gone.
Their wives are on the phone
talking softly to someone else.

This frost, this early Fall
upon their minds, a small
measure of patience and regard

as if the twilight world
in bright papery pieces
diminished so and thus.

They lean on hoes
in Spring the green earth
turned once more beneath them

their eyes full of flowers
their hands full too
of the planting still to do

the weeds and drought awaiting
their pocketful of seed
the water they must carry.

In an early winter dark they lean
on shovels, a graying heart
a last bad rap inside them,

looking upward toward the sky
the yard, the driveway, the car
the street, the world

itself for all they know
buried by the falling snow
even as they gasp to breathe

and re-breathe the visible breath,
like a burst cartoon balloon
of an old imperfect prayer.

In summer, after long mowing,
they lean toward a growing
silence in the plush grasses

in leav…

Job Security??

I'll just go on up to the hospital and wait for you all there. You look like accidents waiting to happen.

aaaahhhhhh, the absolute joy of children...

I Love You Like the Pilgrim Loves the Holy Land,

Like the wayfarer loves his wayward ways.

Like the immigrant that I am loves America,

And the blind man the memory of his sighted days.

from the movie, Four Friends

The Titanic

by June Robertson Beisch

So this is how it feels, the deck tilting,
the world slipping away as one
sitting at a desk writes a check.

The Titanic went down titanically
like a goddess glittering,
Pinioned to an iceberg, she sank

almost thankfully while tiny mortals
leapt into the sea
and the band played Nearer My God to Thee.

But what happened to the signals of distress?
Nobody believed it was all really happening.
I still can’t believe that it happened to me.

As a child, I stared horrified at the photograph
and the vision of that scene in the moonlit sea.
We will be one of the survivors, we think,
then something looms up like catastrophe.

All life, it seems, is the morning after
and love is the most beautiful of absolute disasters.

Well, the Easter Bunny Has Come and Gone

leaving behind a trail of jelly beans and flip-flops and toothbrushes in his wake. He knows us well. CollegeGrrrrl was able to come home and the grrrls here spent two days doing not much of anything except yakkadoodeling. We did watch The Good Shepherd, an older movie out on DVD now--Matt Damon, Robert DeNiro, Angelina Jolie. Made us think twice about our burning desires to be CIA agents/spies. Didn't look fabulously fun. Could be a thinly veiled ploy of misinformation to encourage us not to be spies however. You just never damn know in the spy biz.

We had Easter lunch with The Grandmas coordinated with the same effort and logistics of a G20 summit. All was well, no demonstrations or protest signs. At least not public demonstrations. I don't know why at the age of 83 my mother feels the need to compete and feel superior by making the rest of us inferior, but there it is. We simply acknowledge our deficits early in the meal and move on. Yes, Mother, we are truly that shallow and…

excerpt from The Waste Land

by T.S.Eliot


April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

Everybody's Gotta Be a Comedian...


Thoreau and the Toads

by David Wagoner

After the spring thaw, their voices ringing
At dusk would beckon him through the meadow
To the edge of their pond where, barefoot,
He would wade slowly into the water
And stand there in the last of light
To see the mating toads—a hundred or more
In the shallows around him, ignoring him
Or taking him for another, inflating
The pale-green bubbles of their throats to call
For buffo terrestris, leaping half out of the pool
And scrambling to find partners. The atmosphere
Would quiver with their harmonic over-
And undertones, with their loud, decent proposals
Like the sounds of a church potluck, their invocations
And offertories for disorderly conduct,
With the publishing of their indelicate banns
And blessings to the needy in their distress
And benedictions even beyond springtime
To all those of the faith. And he would see
Among this communal rapture, there underwater,
The small grey males lying silent
On the backs of females, hold…

Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.

What with working at the high school tomorrow and working with the brainiacs Friday and CollegeGrrrl coming home this weekend and Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail I probably will not be getting around to posting much over the next few days. Wishing everyone a blessed Passover and Easter. Here's a little sumpin'-sumpin' to put in your straw baskets next to the malted milk chocolate eggs. Go ahead, sing along. You know you want to.

Need Food. Must Go. To. Work.


a thought during Holy Week


"Spring plunges onward, and yet the season seems strangely more patient than it often does here in mid-April. Perhaps it's the long light at evening or the abundance of fair-weather days recently, but a time of year that is emblematic of swift change has offered a consistency, a duration, no one really expects. The grass has risen through old thatch and blossoms have begun to appear on old wood, which reminds you that spring is also a season for dividing the living from the dead--the plants that can't revive, the leaves blown into drifts below the hemlocks, the old stems that won't bud again. Everyone is this neighborhood builds a brush pile about now, and when conditions look right, they set it afire, as though it were a pyre on which winter burned, the last purification before looking ahead toward summer."

from The Rural Life by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Assignment #1: Write a poem about Baseball and God

by Philip E. Burnham, Jr

And on the ninth day, God
In His infinite playfulness
Grass green grass, sky blue sky,
Separated the infield from the outfield,
Formed a skin of clay,
Assigned bases of safety
On cardinal points of the compass
Circling the mountain of deliverance,
Fashioned a wandering moon
From a horse, a string and a gum tree,
Tempered weapons of ash,
Made gloves from the golden skin of sacrificial bulls,
Set stars alight in the Milky Way,
Divided the descendants of Cain and Abel into contenders,
Declared time out, time in, stepped back,
And thundered over all of creation:
"Play ball!"

Have You Ever Been That Woman?

Have You Met Miss Jones?

by Charles Simic

I have. At the funeral
Pulling down her skirt to cover her knees
While inadvertently
Showing us her cleavage
Down to the tip of her nipples.

A complete stranger, wobbly on her heels,
Negotiating the exit
With the assembled mourners
Eyeing her rear end
With visible interest.

Presidential hopefuls
Will continue to lie to the people
As we sit here bowed.
New hatreds will sweep the globe
Faster than the weather.
Sewer rats will sniff around
Lit cash machines
While we sigh over the departed.

And her beauty will live on, no matter
What any one of these black-clad,
Grim veterans of every wake,
Every prison gate and crucifixion,
Sputters about her discourtesy.

Miss Jones, you'll be safe
With the insomniacs. You'll triumph
Where they pour wine from a bottle
Wrapped in a white napkin,
Eat sausage with pan-fried potatoes,
And grow misty-eyed remembering

The way you walked past the open coffin,
Past the stiff with his nose in the air
Taking his long siesta.
A cute little number an…

Another Loss in the World of Healthcare

I had stopped watching ER a few years ago when every show promised to be the


When I heard that the show was ending I wanted to see the finale for old times sake. Like seeing the staff of M.A.S.H. being discharged and sent stateside. And, if all the truth be told, I had to watch my man, George.

Watching that storyline quickly reminded me why I stopped watching. A young boy on a bike hit by a car and now determined to be braindead? Comforting the family and talking about their options, knowing that the Life Center Donor Network staff is awaiting word in the next room? It all hits way too close to home. Hubby works in an ER, he didn't wish to extend his workday any longer than the 12 hours he'd already spent there and I had no need to cry for an entire hour.

Scrubs is possibly the most accurate of all the hospital shows in that it truly captures the essence of hospital care and politics. ER, however, depicted the everyday chaos, absurdity and pa…

Have Not Heard This Song In A Million And One Years...

For those old enough to remember, enjoy.

Driving Into Our New Lives

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Years ago, driving across the mountains
in West Virginia, both of us are so young
we don't know anything. We are twenty-eight
years old, our children sleeping in the back seat.
With your fresh Ph.D. in your suitcase, we head out
toward Kansas City. We've never been anywhere.
We decide to go the long way around
instead of driving due west.

Years ago, driving across mountains, your
hand resting on my knee, the radio playing the folk
music we love, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, or you
singing songs to keep the children entertained.
How could we know what is to come?

We are young. We think we'll be healthy
and strong forever. We are certain we are invincible
because we love each other, because our children
are smart and beautiful, because we are heading

to a new place, because the stars
in the coal-black West Virginia sky are so thick,
they could be chunks of ice.
How could we know what is to come?

Zombie Chicken Award

I found out this morning that I was the recipient of this lovely and prestigious award courtesy of none other than our young star of stage--Georgie K. Buttons.

I'm usually very bad at the awards thing. Choosing only 5 out of so many interesting and well written blogs puts me in mind-spin angst and I end up making no decision. Images of being chased by zombie chickens however has forced me quickly to "cowgirl up."

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all...

Having s…

Teaching Poetry to 3rd Graders

by Gary Short

At recess a boy ran to me
with a pink rubber ball and asked
if I would kick it to him. He handed me the ball,
then turned and ran
and ran and ran, not turning back
until he was far out in the field.
I wasn't sure I could kick the ball
that far. But I tried,
launching a perfect and lucky kick.
The ball sailed in a beautiful arc
about eight stories high,
landed within a few feet of the 3rd grader
and took a big bounce off the hard playground dirt.
Pleased, I turned to enter the school building.
And then (I don't know where they came from
so quickly) I heard a rumbling behind me
full tilt. They were carrying pink balls and yellow balls
of different sizes, black and white checkered
soccer balls. They wanted me to kick for them.
And now this is a ritual—this is how we spend recess.
They stand in line, hand me the ball and run.
The balls rise like planets
and the 3rd graders
circle dizzily beneath the falling sky,
their arms outstretched.