Sunday, May 31, 2009

Poem About Light

by Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno


You can try to strangle light:
use your hands and think
you've found the throat of it,
but you haven't.
You could use a rope or a garrote
or a telephone cord,
but the light, amorphous, implacable,
will make a fool of you in the end.

You could make it your mission
to shut it out forever,
to crouch in the dark,
the blinds pulled tight—

still, in the morning,
a gleaming little ray will betray you, poking
its optimistic finger
through a corner of the blind,
and then more light,
clever, nervy, impossible,
spilling out from the crevices
warming the shade.

This is the stubborn sun,
choosing to rise,
like it did yesterday,
like it will tomorrow.
You have nothing to do with it.
The sun makes its own history;
light has its way.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Saturday in CinCity...One Down, Two To Go.




It's spring recital time at the CinCity Dance Academy as it is in many other cities throughout the country and HoneyHaired has been wished by many to "break a leg." Recitals, graduations, weddings, baby showers...We in the Distracted household are doing our best to keep the economy stimulated with purchases of flowers, photos, DVD's and meals on wheels.

Anyway...one performance last night. Two today. Then the hair freezing glue can go back into the closet to be lost for another year until the challenge of the ballet bun arises anew.

Friday, May 29, 2009

TGIF Again

Now see...now that is just wrong!!!!



Curiously though, I'm very hungry. uhhmmmm, brains...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Counting the Mad

by Donald Justice

This one was put in a jacket,
This one was sent home,
This one was given bread and meat
But would eat none,
And this one cried No No No No
All day long.

This one looked at the window
As though it were a wall,
This one saw things that were not there,
This one things that were,
And this one cried No No No No
All day long.

This one thought himself a bird,
This one a dog,
And this one thought himself a man,
An ordinary man,
And cried and cried No No No No
All day long.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memes and More

My cup runneth over...THANK YOU'S all 'round:>)



A quite hung-over WATERCAT from across the pond has tagged me in a selfless effort to spread the joy and love internationally. I could barely work over the past few days for worry of it all and pondering the answers needed to complete this masterpiece. But, blogger etiquette and duty calls. I shan't break this sacred trust. The rules are as follows:

respond and rework
answer questions on your blog
replace one question
tag eight other people.


TAGGED BLOGS

1. georgie k. buttons
2. a knitting nurse
3. erin davis
4. from skilled hands
5. cheshire cat
6. cause for concern
7. easy for me to say
8. the heART of words

If you have recently been memed, or have done this meme before, please forgive my tagging you. If you haven't had this one placed in your In Box and are chopping at the bit to add your particular styling to it, you just go on with your bad self and do it. (And if you read your name anywhere along this posting and I haven't stopped by your place yet to share the glad tidings I promise I'll get there. I'm moving a little slow today.)

The envelope, please, and the questions are...

1: What is your current obsession?
Cleaning out the front rooms of the 3rd floor attic where we have stored all of the grrrls' old toys and games as well as 17 years worth of Halloween clothing, costumes and paraphernalia from school projects (hat, moustache and sword left from a presentation of General George Custer anyone??).

Trying to figure out what in the hell is happening over in Pakistan. I can obsessionally multitask at both these if I have National Public Radio and the Diane Rehm show on while I am sorting and tossing.

And most importantly, finding a pair of jeans that fit.

2: Which item of clothing do you wear most?
Toss-up, but they're both blue--jeans and scrubs. At this point, scrubs are a lot more comfortable-bagginess and a drawstring waist clearly have a lot to be said for them. My favorite faded and well-broken-in jeans don't fit anymore. Two years of Pilates and my lower half is now shaped a bit differently so I have been on a quest for the perfect fitting pair of jeans. It's morbidly depressing. WAY, WAY WORSE than bathing suit shopping. Jeans, if I can get them on over my hips and bum, stick out about a mile and a half around my waist. What's with that? My best fitting jeans right now??--Hubby's from when we were first married; holes in both knees, but they feel better at the waist and hips.

3: What's for dinner?
We missed any and all Memorial day cookouts with both of us working, so I think I might grill some hamburgers and chicken breasts. Sicilian pasta salad, potato salad, some fresh peas, and there's leftover pie in the fridge. I bet we can find some beer and iced tea somewhere.


4: Last thing you bought?
Textbook on Anatomy and Physiology for CollegeGrrrl and a huge pot of pale,bridal pink geraniums for me.


5: What are you listening to?
Chip Taylor and Carrie Rodriguez--The Trouble With Humans
They soothe my soul after a busy couple of days of Neurodrama. Sunday included four deaths in one hour.




6: If you were a God or Goddess, who would you be?
Mercury. The similarities are too eerily coincidental to be dismissed...the love of cattle rustling, the translating for the gods, the winged shoes, the little cap...

7: Favourite holiday spots?
Happy to be anywhere and loved them all--so I would have to say the spot that is my favorite and gives me a big, wide sense of freedom is the ramp to I-75. I can go north all the way to Canada, south to Key West, or swing on over to the airport and go anywhere I fancy.


8: Reading right now?
I doubt I'm alone in doing this, but usually I have a couple of books going at the same time--right now, A Death in Vienna by Frank Tallis, Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell and A Long Way Gone-Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah.


9: Okay...what were you thinking about just then?
Wondering if I heard the ice cream truck down the street and then I was trying to remember the name of that song.


10: Who's your hero/heroine?
Dorothy Day


11: First spring thing?
Stocking up on the ZYRTEC and Visine A.

12: Funniest thing you saw in your life?
I present to you Tim Conway & Harvey Korman. These two could not be on the same stage without cracking up. Makes me cry laughing.



13: Favourite film?
The English Patient, but right now have a hankering to see Please Don't Eat the Daisies with Doris Day. Oh, and I love All That Jazz.


14: Share some wisdom?
"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."
--Robert Frost

15: If you were a tree, what tree would you be and why?
An Aspen. I'm fascinated by the facts about their propogation--that they grow in large colonies derived from a single seedling and the longevity of their root system. I've read for some, thousands of years. One in Utah may be 80,000 years. Amazing.

16: Fictitious characters who made a lasting impression on you?
Atticus Finch, Anna Karenina, and Holly Golightly

17: 4 words to describe you?
Distracted by shiny objects. Truly, I am.






This award was from sweet annie at blissful bohemian and it "goes to fellow bloggers who visit frequently and raise my spirits with their kind words of encouragement, their beautiful images and their wonderful outlook on life. They make blogging a positive experience and continue to make my life richer."

Sweet Annie says,"Please feel free to pass this award along to your friends. I ask that you do name them but you don't have to link to them. Just stop by their blogs and let them know you've given them this award."

I pass this acknowledgement on the these awardees in no particular order. To all those I've missed, and I know I have in order to end this post in any timely manner, I apologize.

di mackey
silliyak
me doing funny dances in public places
dept. of nance
sweet mango
aglio, olio, and peperoncino
southern drawl




And from ds at third storey window I was given this lovely award. I have been very blessed this year to have "met" many people from many different places. It's been a joy and a bit of a comfort. At a time when it seems as if the world might actually be going to hell in a handbasket for real, it's reassuring to make contact with so many thoughtful, bright, funny, and concerned folks who are all over this small blue planet spinning in space. And for those of you who stop by to read only, I truly appreciate your time.

The temptation to pass this to everyone is very strong and so, I do, but I am listing here a few fellow bloggers who have seen fit to adopt me into their blogging schedules.

lakeviewer
big blue barn west
life in the 2nd half century
prattle from the flatlands
friko's musings
to navigate through life
upon halliburton hill
gaston studio
at the farm
jackc50
halfway to france

Again, thanks to all and spread the love...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

And The Start of Another Week

Evening
by Jo McDougall

From a wood beyond the fields,
something dark has not yet advanced
toward the yellow light
of the kitchen.
A woman puts away the dishes.
A man goes through the mail.
A child leans over the table,
saying her homework.

The dog looks up once and growls
as if not meaning to, a sound
almost inaudible.
He clicks across the floor, nosing for crumbs.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

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...


Huntsman, rest! thy chase is done;
While our slumbrous spells assail ye,
Dream not, with the rising sun,
Bugles here shall sound reveille.
Sleep! the deer is in his den;
Sleep! thy hounds are by thee lying;
Sleep! nor dream in yonder glen
How thy gallant steed lay dying.
Huntsman, rest! thy chase is done,
Think not of the rising sun,
For at dawning to assail ye,
Here no bugles sound reveille.

--Sir Walter Scott

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Saturday in CinCity, The Start of Summer Version

Driving West in 1970
by Robert Bly

My dear children, do you remember the morning
When we climbed into the old Plymouth
And drove west straight toward the Pacific?

We were all the people there were.
We followed Dylan's songs all the way west.
It was Seventy; the war was over, almost;

And we were driving to the sea.
We had closed the farm, tucked in
The flap, and we were eating the honey

Of distance and the word "there."
Oh whee, we're gonna fly
Down into the easy chair.
We sang that

Over and over. That's what the early
Seventies were like. We weren't afraid.
And a hole had opened in the world.

We laughed at Las Vegas.
There was enough gaiety
For all of us, and ahead of us was

The ocean. Tomorrow's
The day my bride's gonna come.

And the war was over, almost.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

epiphanies



So CollegeGrrrl calls me out of the blue and says,"I've had an epiphany." Epiphany she said, my hand to God. I said, "Yes...?" and waited and she proceeded to tell me how she had thought about things, her life mostly, and how it had come to her in a flash of light, the way truthiness generally appears, that I had been right all along "about everything" and she was going to change some things. She was going to put school first and look for some new friends.

I admit I've been worried sick about her, watching her life swerve toward the side of the road where it's easy to fall through the cracks. I've been praying and I even moved the statue of the Virgin Mary closer to the Grrrrl's picture on the bookshelf. Was hoping for some insight, was not expecting an epiphany. I'm grateful, to say the least, for even a day's change of heart.

Today is HoneyHaired's last day of school. She is slowly jogging over that finish line. Can't say I blame her much. She's had a lot of homework most every evening and studies constantly. I believe she's cooked and fried with the whole shebang. The new job has not helped in the short run--she's surprised how tired she is after working. Who knew???

That then officially makes it summer in the Distracted household, especially since school starts again August 11. Obscene isn't it? One week of recital performances and then we're talking ROAD TRIPS to visit colleges and horse country and Waffle Houses. HoneyHaired's promised to explain the mysterious workings of our camera and with luck I'll be able to post a photo or two. The sun is out, the breeze is cool, I've got some perennials to plant, and a stack of unread books next to the couch. Life is indeed good today. Make that this morning. Don't want to anger the gods and assume anything more than that...




For What Binds Us

by Jane Hirshfield

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down --
and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

as all flesh
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest --

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.

please note: photo is from epiphany - a world built from three disciplines - dance, aerial and theatre, grew from the seedling of an idea when Janine Ayres, Paschal Daantos Berry, Ben Watts and five dancers collaborated in 2005.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mingus at the Showplace

by William Matthews

I was miserable, of course, for I was seventeen,
and so I swung into action and wrote a poem,

and it was miserable, for that was how I thought
poetry worked: you digested experience and shat

literature. It was 1960 at The Showplace, long since
defunct, on West 4th St., and I sat at the bar,

casting beer money from a thin reel of ones,
the kid in the city, big ears like a puppy.

And I knew Mingus was a genius. I knew two
other things, but they were wrong, as it happened.

So I made him look at the poem.
"There's a lot of that going around," he said,

and Sweet Baby Jesus he was right. He laughed
amiably. He didn't look as if he thought

bad poems were dangerous, the way some poets do.
if they were baseball executives they'd plot

to destroy sandlots everywhere so that the game
could be saved from children. Of course later

that night he fired his pianist in mid-number
and flurried him from the stand.

"We've suffered a diminuendo in personnel,"
he explained, and the band played on.


please note: photo by Jim Marshall

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Make Way For Ducklings, The Spokane Way

A Picture of the House at Beit Jala

Ghassan Zaqtan
translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah


He has to return to shut that window,
it isn't entirely clear
whether this is what he must do,
things are no longer clear
since he lost them,
and it seems a hole somewhere within him
has opened up
Filling in the cracks has exhausted him
mending the fences
wiping the glass
cleaning the edges
and watching the dust that seems, since he lost them,
to lure his memories into hoax and ruse.
From here his childhood appears as if it were a trick!
Inspecting the doors has fully exhausted him
the window latches
the condition of the plants
and wiping the dust
that has not ceased flowing
into the rooms, on the beds, sheets, pots
and on the picture frames on the walls
Since he lost them he stays with friends
who become fewer
sleeps in their beds
that become narrower
while the dust gnaws at his memories "there"
... he must return to shut that window
the upper story window which he often forgets
at the end of the stairway that leads to the roof
Since he lost them
he aimlessly walks
and the day's small
purposes are also no longer clear.

GHASSAN ZAQTAN
translated from the Arabic by Fady Joudah

Monday, May 18, 2009

In Cold Spring Air

by Reginald Gibbons

In cold
spring air the
white wisp-

visible
breath of
a blackbird
singing—

we don’t know
to un-
wrap these blind-
folds we
keep thinking
we are
seeing through

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Ready

by Irene McKinney

I remember a Sunday with the smell of food drifting
out the door of the cavernous kitchen, and my serious
teenage sister and her girlfriends Jean and Marybelle
standing on the bank above the dirt road in their
white sandals ready to walk to the country church
a mile away, and ready to return to the fried
chicken, green beans and ham, and fresh bread
spread on the table. The sun was bright and
their clean cotton dresses swirled as they turned.
I was a witness to it, and I assure you that it's true.

I remembered this thirty years later as I got
up from the hospital bed, favoring my right side
where something else had been removed.
Pushing a cart that held practically all of my
vital fluids, I made my way down the hall
because I wanted to stand up, for no reason.
I had no future plans, and I would never
found a movement nor understand the
simplest equation; I would never chair the
Department of Importance. Nevertheless,
I was about to embark on a third life, having
used up the first two, as I would this one,
but I shoved the IV with its sugars and tubes
steadily ahead of me, passing a frail man in a hospital
gown pushing his cart from the other direction.
Because I was determined to pull this together,
hooking this lifeline into the next one.

photo from: angelsroostquilts.com

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday in CinCity With the Brainiacs



A weekend at work, with a skeleton crew...I know. I am sooooo funny I can barely contain myself. Hope your weekend is fabulous and you don't run into either of these two characters.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Can't Sleep with Them, Can't Sleep Without 'Em...




Hubby was gone for a few days to hike and visit with our CowGrrrrl friend recovering from breast cancer treatment. It gave HoneyHaired and I more days to have our GRRRRLZ ONLY time and watch Sense and Sensibilty without editorial comment, but we missed him. I didn't sleep well those nights and heard every snap, crackle, pop out in the yard which is probably one of the various wild critters that live in the wooded area behind us. Hubby's home now. Slept great the first night, but the snoring's begun again. And when it's not Hubby, it's BoxerBoy. And when it's not the snoring it's Shadow,the dog next door, howling along with the frequent sirens the squads love to blast on their way to "Pill Hill." Then the BoxerBoy growls and yelps in his sleep in response to Shadow. It could be quite amusing.

So while the video is not of my dog 'cause this dog's way cuter(and I have no inkling how to video &/or youtube)here is a small excerpt of the nightly symphony at our house--and from the groaning responses of my friends at work--many homes. Though, if you are looking for a reason to stay up...

"For the past few evenings it's been almost impossible to come inside before dark. The shadows deepen and converge, the breeze shuffles the leaves in the sugar maples, and an unappraisable sweetness slips down from the woods--all of it with such careful modulation, the entrance of one player after another, that to call it artful sounds like dispraise. I sit and watch from civil twilight until astronomical twilight, from the time the bats first fly, cutting across the bay of light between the trees that line the pasture, until the bats can be seen only when they eclipse the stars."
--excerpt from May, The Rural Life by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Shooting Star

by Robert Polito

"I seen a shooting star tonight,
and I thought of you... "



In a San Francisco basement apartment
There's a woman I keep hearing about, who
Claims for the last twenty years she's lived
With Bob Dylan, and wishes to write a book about it.
That might mostly be new to him—hey man,
You must be putting me on. But she sells scarves
From her own North Beach shop, and according
To this woman Dylan's changed—a lot—
Heavy now, yet kind, if also a little
Crazy, in and out of hospitals, he doesn't look
Like himself. Still, wherever he travels
He mails her love poems in his familiar
'60s style, and she'd be honored to show them around.

A sleepy kitchen at dawn, the woman steps
Towards the kettle, pajamas open to her waist,
An owlish man, drunken, slothful, lags behind.
The glamour of the damaged, but how much
More gratifying for her not to have spun the whole
Hazy farrago out of loneliness, madness, or for money,
And this morning to wake beside someone
Who persuades you he recorded "Shooting Star" just for you.

please note: photo by Don Hunstein

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Survival: A Guide

by Cleopatra Mathis


It's not easy living here, waiting to be charmed
by the first little scribble of green. Even in May
the crows want to own the place, and the heron, old bent thing,
spends hours looking like graying bark,
part of a dead trunk lying over opaque water.
She strikes the pose so long I begin to worry
she's determined to be something ordinary.
The small lakes continue their slide into bog and muck—
remember when they ran clear, an invisible spring
renewing the water? But the ducks stay longer, amusing
ruffle and chatter. I can be distracted.
If I do catch her move, the heron appears
to have no particular fear or hunger, her gaunt body
hinged haphazardly, a few gears unlocking
one wing, then another. More than a generation here
and every year more drab.
Once I called her blue heron, as in Great Blue,
true to a book—part myth, part childhood's color.
Older now, I see her plain: a mere surviving
against a weedy bank with fox dens
and the ruthless, overhead patrol.
Some blind clockwork keeps her going.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Drama Mammas



It may be the effects of the full moon or the brain irritating yearly allergies to spring pollen, but there's been a bit o' drama at Chez Distracted over the past two weeks and I'm hoping it subsides soon. First, there's just end of school pressure with HoneyHaired Grrrl's projects, exams, and recitals barreling down the calendar. She's also starting a job--her first--today after school and that adds to the scheduling can of worms. She's not been one to plan ahead much and we try to let the lessons of procrastination run their course, but it stresses me.

CollegeGrrrrl is having mid-college crisis and has changed her major only to find that it requires a whole lot more studying than she anticipated. Whether or not she stays with it is up in the air and, again, I know this is all part of maturing, but it stresses me.

I want my grrrls to be happy and to do well. It's worrisome to see them having difficulty on their path. I wish I had Magic Fairy Dust to sprinkle on their hard, little blonde heads. I think, as many parents do, that I have been down those paths. I've learned those lessons, and I would like to pass them on so that the next traveler isn't waylayed. They could go on so much farther and more smoothly. That is not the way it works though. At least, not in our house.

So now I have some free-floating anxiety swirling around that does not respond well to coffee and Advil, which is my favorite fix for life's ills. I may have to bring out the big guns and take a nap. Not on a railroad track. Bad idea.

After Monday Comes Tuesday...

And Here You Are

by Michael Blumenthal



It's such a relief to see the woman you love walk out the door
some nights, for it's ten o'clock and you need your eight hours
of sleep, and one glass of wine has been more than enough

and, as for lust—well, you can live without it most days and you
are glad, too, that the Ukrainian masseuse you see every Wednesday
is not in love with you, and has no plans to be, for it's the pain

in your back you need relief from most, not that ambiguous itch,
and the wild successes of your peers no longer bother you
nor do your unresolved religious cravings nor the general injustice

of the world, no, there is very little that bothers you these days when
you turn, first, to the obituaries, second to the stock market, then,
after a long pause, to the book review, you are becoming a good citizen,

you do your morning exercises, count your accumulated blessings,
thank the Lord there's a trolley just outside your door your girlfriend
can take back home to her own bed and here you are it is morning you

are alone every little heartbeat is yours to cherish the future is on fire
with nothing but its own kindling and whatever it is that's burning
in its flames isn't you and now you will take a shower and this is it.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Waltz We Were Born For

by Walter McDonald

Wind chimes ping and tangle on the patio.
In gusty winds this wild, sparrow hawks hover
and bob, always the crash of indigo
hosannas dangling on strings. My wife ties copper
to turquoise from deserts, and bits of steel
from engines I tear down. She strings them all
like laces of babies' shoes when the squeal
of their play made joyful noise in the hall.

Her voice is more modest than moonlight,
like pearl drops she wears in her lobes.
My hands find the face of my bride.
I stretch her skin smooth and see bone.
Our children bring children to bless her, her face
more weathered than mine. What matters
is timeless, dazzling devotion—not rain,
not Eden gardenias, but cactus in drought,
not just moons of deep sleep, not sunlight or stars,
not the blue, but the darkness beyond.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Just Another Crazy Mother For Peace



"...Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
--Julia ward Howe



Be generous in prosperity,
and thankful in adversity.
Be fair in thy judgment,
and guarded in thy speech.
Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness,
and a home to the stranger.
Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring.
Be a breath of life to the body of humankind,
a dew to the soil of the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
--Baha'i Prayer for Peace


Friday, May 8, 2009

Seems Somehow Appropriate for the End of the Week

Letter of Resignation
by William Baer

Dear [blank]: After much deliberation,
without qualm, scruple, or further delay,
I hereby tender my formal resignation
as your lover and future fiancé.
The job provides too little satisfaction:
too many hours of unneeded duress,
a paucity of productive interaction,
uncertain working conditions, and endless stress.
Pay-wise, I'm undervalued and disenchanted:
advancement's slow, the bonus is routine,
my "on-call" overtime is taken for granted,
and benefits are few and far between.
This document, I'm hopeful, underscores
my deep regret. I'm very truly yours....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Nancy Drew

by Ron Koertge

Merely pretty, she made up for it with vim.
And she got to say things like, "But, gosh,
what if these plans should fall into the wrong
hands?" and it was pretty clear she didn't mean
plans for a party or a trip to the museum, but
something involving espionage and a Nazi or two.

In fact, the handsome exchange student turns
out to be a Fascist sympathizer. When he snatches
Nancy along with some blueprints, she knows he
has something more sinister in mind than kissing
her with his mouth open.

Locked in the pantry of an abandoned farm house,
Nancy makes a radio out of a shoelace and a muffin.
Pretty soon the police show up, and everything's
hunky dory.

Nancy accepts their thanks, but she's subdued.
It's not like her to fall for a cad. Even as she plans
a short vacation to sort our her emotions she knows
there will be a suspicious waiter, a woman in a green
off the shoulder dress, and her very jittery husband.

Very well. But no more handsome boys like the last one:
the part in his hair that was sheer propulsion, that way
he had of lifting his eyes to hers over the custard,
those feelings that made her not want to be brave
confident and daring, polite, sensitive and caring.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Twelfth Year

by Mary Jo Salter

That autumn we walked and walked around the lake
as if around a clock whose hands swept time
and again back to the hour we'd started from,
that high noon in midsummer years before
when I in white had marched straight to my place
beside you and was married and your face
held in it all the hours I hoped to live.

Now, as we talked in circles, grim, accusing,
we watched the green trees turning too and losing
one by one every leaf, those bleeding hearts.
And when they all had fallen, to be trod
and crumbled underfoot, when flaming red
had dulled again to dun, to ash, to air,
when we had seen the other's hurts perfected
and magnified like barren boughs reflected
upside-down in water, then the clouds
massed overhead and muffled us in snow,
answered the rippling lake and stopped the O
of its nightmare scream. The pantomime
went on all winter, nights without a word
or thoughts to fit one, days when all we heard
was the ticking crunch of snowboots on the track
around the lake, the clock we thought we either
were winding up or running down or neither.

Spring came unexpected. We thought the cold
might last forever, or that despite the thaw
nothing would grow again from us; foresaw
no butter-yellow buds, no birds, no path
outward into a seasoned innocence.
When the circle broke at last it wasn't silence
or speech that helped us, neither faith nor will
nor anything that people do at all;
love made us green for no sure cause on earth
and grew, like our children, from a miracle.


please note: photo by fdales 1

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Monday, May 4, 2009

and once again, it's Monday morning

First Reader
by Billy Collins


I can see them standing politely on the wide pages
that I was still learning to turn,
Jane in a blue jumper, Dick with his crayon-brown hair,
playing with a ball or exploring the cosmos
of the backyard, unaware they are the first characters,
the boy and the girl who begin fiction.

Beyond the simple illustration of their neighborhood
the other protagonists were waiting in a huddle:
frightening Heathcliff, frightened Pip, Nick Adams
carrying a fishing rod, Emma Bovary riding into Rouen.

But I would read about the perfect boy and his sister
even before I would read about Adam and Eve, garden and gate,
and before I heard the name Gutenberg, the type
of their simple talk was moving into my focusing eyes.

It was always Saturday and he and she
were always pointing at something and shouting “Look!”
pointing at the dog, the bicycle, or at their father
as he pushed a hand mower over the lawn,
waving at aproned Mother framed in the kitchen doorway,
pointing toward the sky, pointing at each other.

They wanted us to look but we had looked already
and seen the shaded lawn, the wagon, the postman.
We had seen the dog, walked, watered and fed the animal,
and now it was time to discover the infinite, clicking
permutations of the alphabet’s small and capital letters.
Alphabetical ourselves in the rows of classroom desks,
we were forgetting how to look, learning how to read.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

When Pigs Actually Fly



have a great race...



...no, no. Please don't wait, I'm still carbo loading.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Saturday in CinCity...Knock on Wood Edition


The past 48hrs have been spent mainly in the company of three families. Two of young men who, though they believe themselves to be Supermen, in fact are not faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive or able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. One boy was going to rehab and one was going home. My third family was comprised of the descendants of a 78yr old grandfather. A guy's guy who loved to play cards with his buddies and go fishing. He'd had to leave his own home recently and moved in with one of his grandsons, but "was always doing something. You'd never see Gramps sittin' still for too long. He liked to go."

He was playing poker two afternoons ago when he developed some slurred speech and left sided weakness. He was diagnosed with an ischemic stroke of the right middle cerebral artery, given an injection of a powerful clot-busting drug without effect and sent to us. In the course of treatment for this gentleman he suffered what is called a "hemorrhagic conversion" and had a large bleed arise from the original point of damage to eventually flood and encompass the entire right side of his brain. This family made the decision to withdraw aggressive medical treatment and to provide comfort care for Gramps.

It may be luck of the draw or the whimsies of the gods, guardian angels or a fate predetermined for us in the beginning of time, but every story has its own ending. In these cases I can't disagree with the denouement. Despite the sadness I am relieved that two young men will get a second chance at living and that this funeral will not be a parent burying a child. And, for today, that's enough.

Six Billion People

by Tom Chandler

And all of you so beautiful
I want to bring you home with me
to sit close on the couch.

My invitation inserted in six billion bottles,
corked with bark from the final forest
and dropped in the ocean of my longing.

We would speak the language of no words,
pass the jug of our drunken joy
at being babies growing into death.

Sometimes, I know, life is stupid, pointless,
beside the point, but here's the point —
maybe we would fall

in love, settle down together,
share the wine, the bills,
the last of the oxygen and the remote.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Commuters

by Edward Hirsch

It's that vague feeling of panic
That sweeps over you
Stepping out of the #7 train
At dusk, thinking, This isn't me
Crossing a platform with the other
Commuters in the worried half-light
Of evening, that must be

Someone else with a newspaper
Rolled tightly under his arm
Crossing the stiff, iron tracks
Behind the train, thinking, This
Can't be me stepping over the tracks
With the other commuters, slowly crossing
The parking lot at the deepest
Moment of the day, wishing

That I were someone else, wishing
I were anyone else but a man
Looking out at himself as if
From a great distance,
Turning the key in his car, starting
His car and swinging it out of the lot,

Watching himself grinding uphill
In a slow fog, climbing past the other
Cars parked on the side of the road,
The cars which seem ominously empty
And strange,
and suddenly thinking
With a new wave of nausea
This isn't me sitting in this car
Feeling as if I were about to drown

In the blue air, that must be
Someone else driving home to his

Wife and children on an ordinary day
Which ends, like other days,
With a man buckled into a steel box,
Steering himself home and trying
Not to panic

In the last moments of nightfall
When the trees and the red-brick houses
Seem to float under green water
And the streets fill up with sea lights.


please note: art by Harlan Simantel