Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why I Support the Green Revolution

"The difference between Ahmadinejad and Mousavi in terms of their actual policies may not be as great as has been advertised. Either way, we're going to be dealing with an Iranian regime that has historically been hostile to the United States, that has caused some trouble in the neighborhood and is pursuing nuclear weapons."--President Barack Obama

To further quote from Jonathan Gurwitz's editorial(Sunday, June 28, 2009. San Antonio Express-News),
"But what is taking place in Iran is about something fundamentally far greater than whether Mousavi is better than Ahmadinejad. It is about the Iranian people expressing a desire for freedom and truly democratic institutions. It is about the enduring conflict between those who use violence to retain power and the people who stand peacefully against that power.

We have seen them in many lands in recent decades — in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Poland, China, Ukraine and Lebanon. We've seen them in the United States, in Selma and Birmingham."

There's been made mention of similiarities in the recent perceived fraudulent elections in Iran and the "hanging chads" presidential elections in Florida in 2000. At least 10 families planning funerals and dozens of Iranian political prisoners could quite rightly take issue with this.

We in America were able to see our dispute follow the rule of law and take it to the Supreme Court, we were able to publicly protest, to write editorials and to bad-mouth our president behind his back and on late night talk shows for eight years.

I support the Green Revolution because I don't like bullies, I believe that Dissent Is Not A Crime, I believe in freedom of speech and thought, and that people have the right of self-determination. I also believe that any government whose crowd control tactics resemble the Flying Monkeys needs to be publicly admonished.

We need to always, and everywhere, fight the Flying Monkeys. We deserve better in this life.

The Effort

by Billy Collins

Would anyone care to join me
in flicking a few pebbles in the direction
of teachers who are fond of asking the question:
"What is the poet trying to say?"

as if Thomas Hardy and Emily Dickinson
had struggled but ultimately failed in their efforts—
inarticulate wretches that they were,
biting their pens and staring out the window for a clue.

Yes, it seems that Whitman, Amy Lowell
and the rest could only try and fail
but we in Mrs. Parker's third-period English class
here at Springfield High will succeed

with the help of these study questions
in saying what the poor poet could not,
and we will get all this done before
that orgy of egg salad and tuna fish known as lunch.

Tonight, however, I am the one trying
to say what it is this absence means,
the two of us sleeping and waking under different roofs.
The image of this vase of cut flowers,

not from our garden, is no help.
And the same goes for the single plate,
the solitary lamp, and the weather that presses its face
against these new windows--the drizzle and the
morning frost.

So I will leave it up to Mrs. Parker,
who is tapping a piece of chalk against the blackboard,
and her students—a few with their hands up,
others slouching with their caps on backwards—

to figure out what it is I am trying to say
about this place where I find myself
and to do it before the noon bell rings
and that whirlwind of meatloaf is unleashed.

Monday, June 29, 2009

find the cost of freedom buried in the ground...

I have torn speech like a tattered robe and let words go;
you who are still dressed in your clothes, sleep on.
--Jalaluddin Rumi, Iranian poet, translated by Jack Marshall

Support human rights in Iran.

please note: photo from Boston.com

Sunday, June 28, 2009

support human rights in Iran

I'm starting a bit early. The green background is part of the support/awareness effort to add one more voice and ten more fingers, though I hunt and peck with two, to the support of human rights and freedom in Iran.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sights and Sounds of Morning

by William Stobb

Run early get home coffee's automatically made
eat fruit shower dress kiss
wife leaving early hustle
children through the kitchen and out
to the sidewalk—love you be good
get smart be nice love you love you bye.
Now before I start writing this poem
water new grass seed planted
where dog piss brought up dirt.
After hose hiss something
walkie-talkie? in the alley
stop listen notice eventually count
at least six small birds
hunting the interior of our ancient lilac.
Mostly some kind of finch or sparrow
but one woodpecker in there I see
ripping bugs out of old wood.
Birds live this way but trees die
so I ring the chime to scare him off
like I can stop the processes.
Lovely pattern doesn't even
look at me—red crown striking striking
in decay I call landscaping.
Again the walkie-talkie
what the hell is going on I poke my nose
across the fenceline.
Between squad cars behind
my garage
two officers in riot gear
flank a neighbor smoking
a cigarette with his two
cuffed hands.

Saturday in CinCity

I try not to talk much about work because, after all, isn't that why we blog?? To travel down another road less familiar than our own?

However, the facts are that I work at a Big Fat Teaching Hospital which is full of unions. I worked there before the nurses had a union, was there as a student when the union was voted in and have been there while union strength has been gradually declining. There's a reason unions exist at this hospital and it's basically because there's not much respect by Administration for the nurses, or really any of us providing the hands-on labor.

Most of us live with that and ignore it because we have other agendas for working there--new nurses come in for the experiences they garner and then move on to travel assignments or, more recently, back to school. Older nurses, the Baby-Boomers, products of our peace-flower power-power to the people generation came and stayed because we felt called to work with the indigent and provide good care to all.
Times have changed though and healthcare is broken. It's difficult to provide good care to anyone. A collapsed system is equal opportunity. How American of us.

It's the end of June and our contract ends June 30th. Negotiations have been in place since March with little movement. The contract ratification begins tomorrow and may or may not pass. A NO vote means a strike. A YES vote means after 30 years of service I will now essentially be paying the hospital for the privilege of working there.

Either way, for this camel I do believe it's the last straw.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

And Undoubtedly Saint Peter Is Right Now Styling His Footwork

Fare Thee Well, Angel

Farrah Fawcett.

A woman I don't believe reached her potential as an actor, but what the hell do I know?? She was gifted enough to be able to show strength and vulnerability coinciding in her characters.

Below is a tiny snippet of a role she had in The Apostle with Robert Duvall. I think maybe her best role. And Charlie's Angels--what a lark that was given the hullaballoo of the seventies.

In any event, rest well, Angel. Death could not dim your beauty.


by Liz Robbins

The couple in the rooms above me smoke. The smell
drifts down into their floor and through the cracks in my ceiling.
When I pass by them in the hall, they nod, Hello, hello, smile,
their arms bloomed with packages. He goes in daily
to an office. She travels to Paris with the airlines.
Once she came home with a sack overflowing with brie,
Gauloises, red wine. She smiled, shy, sideways. Down came
smoke, good silence, for days.

I lie in the dark. Dried roses, sage, scentless in a vase.
I inhale. The smell, the smell.

The man below me smokes also. The smell ascends
through his ceiling into the cracks in my floor. When I pass by,
he cries, How are you? shows his teeth, leaves bowls of chicken
stew outside my door. He never seems to leave, has money
all his own, mysteriously. Once he painted his rooms a beautiful
whorehouse red. Blonde men with long lashes come to his place
to say the weekend. They play Moroccan music, sitars. Cook
with cumin and garlic. Stars shine beyond the windows, two
or three in bright clusters, and the occasional one, alone.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Morning Song

by Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

please note: photo by elsief1

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Horse Country on Father's Day

A Blessing

by James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies
Darken with kindness.
They have come gladly out of the willows
To welcome my friend and me.
We step over the barbed wire into the pasture
Where they have been grazing all day, alone.
They ripple tensely, they can hardly contain their happiness
That we have come.
They bow shyly as wet swans. They love each other.
There is no loneliness like theirs.
At home once more,
They begin munching the young tufts of spring in the darkness.
I would like to hold the slenderer one in my arms,
For she has walked over to me
And nuzzled my left hand.
She is black and white,
Her mane falls wild on her forehead,
And the light breeze moves me to caress her long ear
That is delicate as the skin over a girl's wrist.
Suddenly I realize
That if I stepped out of my body I would break
Into blossom.

Friday, June 19, 2009


by Julie Cadwallader-Staub

The air vibrated
with the sound of cicadas
on those hot Missouri nights after sundown
when the grown-ups gathered on the wide back lawn,
sank into their slung-back canvas chairs
tall glasses of iced tea beading in the heat

and we sisters chased fireflies
reaching for them in the dark
admiring their compact black bodies
their orange stripes and seeking antennas
as they crawled to our fingertips
and clicked open into the night air.

In all the days and years that have followed,
I don't know that I've ever experienced
that same utter certainty of the goodness of life
that was as palpable
as the sound of the cicadas on those nights:

my sisters running around with me in the dark,
the murmur of the grown-ups' voices,
the way reverence mixes with amazement
to see such a small body
emit so much light.

On another note, leaving for a visit with our CollegeGrrrrl and will be gone for a few days. Hope everyone enjoys their weekends and Happy Fathers' Day to all the BabyDaddies out there:>)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When We're Gone, Long Gone

Seems like there are a few who have suffered some losses during the past week or two. This is one of the songs performed by Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson at the Prairie Home Companion show last Friday night. It has stuck with me and thought it may help soothe some others.

please note: song written by Kieran Kane. This has also been performed (and not shabbily, mind you) by Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, and Linda Ronstadt

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fifties Music

by Leslie Monsour

While women sip their daiquiries by the pool,
and men blow smoke into the jacarandas,
the radio plays "Fly Me to the Moon."

A child nearby, on finding a dead bee,
conducts its funeral in petunia beds,
as ants are trying to amputate a wing.

But even thought the bee is dead, it stings
her fiercely on the palm, and dies again.
She studies her small hand in disbelief.

Some fathers offer ice cubes from their highballs,
the station plays "Volare," and the bee
swings up to heaven on its single wing.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Jackie: I don't like chatty. I don't do chatty.
I like quiet. Quiet and mean.
Those are my people.

I've seen bits and pieces of this show, not sure I'm in love with it, although might not mind working at her hospital. Nurse Jackie has a heck of a lot more free time than I do. Maybe she's just more organized and gets her charting done faster. Considering all the oxycodone she takes, maybe she draws hieroglyphics and calls it a day. But her lines...?? Make. Me. Laugh.

The Cure
by Ginger Andrews

Lying around all day
with some strange new deep blue
weekend funk, I'm not really asleep
when my sister calls
to say she's just hung up
from talking with Aunt Bertha
who is 89 and ill but managing
to take care of Uncle Frank
who is completely bed ridden.
Aunt Bert says
it's snowing there in Arkansas,
on Catfish Lane, and she hasn't been
able to walk out to their mailbox.
She's been suffering
from a bad case of the mulleygrubs.
The cure for the mulleygrubs,
she tells my sister,
is to get up and bake a cake.
If that doesn't do it, put on a red dress.

**appears to be breathing from door way

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beautiful Ohio, "Where All the Women Are Strong..."

T'ain't nothing better for a weary soul than to be alongside the banks of the mighty Ohio on a misty summer's evening. It's a beautiful stretch of waterway out by Old Coney where the river bends its path through the hills of southern Ohio overlooking Kentucky.

We went last night to see a group of our most favorite people--Garrison Keillor and his Prairie Home Companion show. Many jokes about flying pigs, beer, and our famous "Cincinnati Chili"--make mine a 4-way, please. Billy Collins was there on stage reading from his newest book of poetry, Ballistics, we heard the latest adventures of Guy Noir, private eye, and all the happenings in Lake Wobegon.

We sang The Star Spangled Banner and Amazing Grace. We heard opera and harmonica solos and a couple of singer/songwriters from the deserts of Australia while the breeze brought to us smells of newly cut grass and honeysuckle.

If you have a chance to hear the program on NPR today Hubby and I are the ones whooping and whistling. We do love our National Public Radio.

please note: music by Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday in CinCity. Ask Not...

Hubby texted me the other day while I was at work to tell me that he'd just seen our neighbor's name in the newspaper's obituaries. I, of course, thought,"no," it had to be our neighbor and friend's's father. Our friend was too young and we'd just seen him in his yard on one of our dog walking expeditions.

I was wrong.

Let me backtrack for a moment. For those of you with kids, you know this. When your kids start school, you basically relive high school all over again for the next 12 years or so. When the school is connected to the neighborhood parish, Our Most Holy Name and Lady of Perpetual Cooking, it's all intensified because you're all together for more events. The same old cliques reassert themselves and women who thrive on running every committee come out of the woodwork. The jocks take over the volunteer coaching postions. You get the "cool" parents, the performers, and the nerdier ones who help out with computer/technical details.

This particular neighbor was half of a couple who could be categorized with Sandy and Danny, the couple from Grease. They were high school honeys who married young, had a cute little family with 3 great kids, always available to help out with fixing a car or a roof, getting a costume together for the parish talent show, or putting a deck up and then hanging with you later to celebrate. He was the father of one of HoneyHaired's best friends. She spent a lot of nights and days at their home and we had much contact with them at the time because of it. The grrrls moved from their grade school into different high schools and so moved in separate circles, which seems a big deal for kids, but not so much for the parents. We remain on the same track together--getting the girls through school and now looking at colleges.

I don't want to write a eulogy about our neighbor, though our small corner of the world will be poorer for the loss of him, as much as I want to write about the surprise that Hubby and I felt, and I think the surprise that we all initially feel when we hear of someone's death. I know that people die. I see it every day and the local news is happy to describe it in technicolor and High Definition. It's that we were so surprised to see it in the neighborhood. It's like seeing your co-workers at a cousin's wedding. The,"What are you doing here??" feeling. Seeing people out of context. For hospital folks it's simply seeing people with real clothes on, or any clothes on to be honest. Seeing your patient's family at the grocery store. You just don't expect them to be there.

So that's it. No big revelation here. No pearls of wisdom. The Grim Reaper goes AWOL from the fourth floor of the hospital every now and again and comes in unannounced to people's homes. As Monty Python so perfectly puts it, "Well, that's cast rather a gloom over the evening, hasn't it?"

by Billy Collins

These are no pages for the young,
who are better off in one another's arms,

nor for those who just need to know
about the price of gold,
or a hurricane that is ripping up the Keys.

But eventually you may join
the crowd who turn here first to see
who has fallen in the night,
who has left a shape of air walking in their place.

Here is where the final cards are shown,
the age, the cause, the plaque of deeds,
and sometimes an odd scrap of news-
that she collected sugar bowls,
that he played solitaire without any clothes.

And all the survivors huddle at the end
under the roof of a paragraph
as if they had sidestepped the flame of death.

What better way to place a thin black frame
around the things of the morning-
the hand-painted cup,
the hemispheres of a cut orange,
the slant of sunlight on the table?

And sometimes a most peculiar pair turns up,
strange roommates lying there
side by side upon the page-
Arthur Godfrey next to Man Ray,
Ken Kesey by the side of Dale Evans.

It is enough to bring to mind an ark of death,
not the couples of the animal kingdom,
but rather pairs of men and women
ascending the gangplank two by two,

surgeon and model,
balloonist and metalworker,
an archaeologist and an authority on pain.

Arm in arm, they get on board
then join the others leaning on the rails,
all saved at last from the awful flood of life-

so many of them every day
there would have to be many arks,
an armada to ferry the dead
over the heavy waters that roll beyond the world,

and many Noahs too,
bearded and fiercely browed, vigilant up there at every prow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Ordinary

by Kirsten Dierking

It's summer, so
the pink gingham shorts,
the red mower, the neat rows
of clean smelling grass
unspooling behind
the sweeping blades.

A dragonfly, black body
big as a finger, will not leave
the mower alone,
loving the sparkle
of scarlet metal,
seeing in even a rusting paint
the shade of a flower.

But I wave him off,
conscious he is
wasting his time,
conscious I am
filling my time
with such small details,
distracting colors,

like pink checks,
like this, then that,
like a dragonfly wing
in the sun reflecting
the color of opals,
like all the hours
we leave behind,
so ordinary,
but not unloved.

please note: pottery by Cathy Michelsen

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Plea For Mercy

by Anne Porter

When I am brought before the Lord
What can I say to him
How plead for mercy?

I'll say I loved
My husband and the five
Children we had together
Though I was most unworthy

I'll say I loved
The summer mornings
I loved the way the sun comes up
And sets the dew on fire
I loved the way
The cobwebs shine
On the tall grass
When they are strung with dew

I'll say I loved
The way that little bird
The titmouse flies
I'll say I loved
Its lightness
And beauty.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What Can I Say?? I've Got a Thing For Flowers Lately.

Four Kinds of Lilacs
by Leo Dangel

"Why don't you turn at the next corner,"
she said, "and take another road home.
Let's go past that farm with all the
different colored lilacs."

"That's seven miles out of the way,"
he said. "I wanted to plant the rest
of the corn before evening. We
can look at lilacs some other time."

"It'll take only a few minutes"
she said. "You know that lilacs
aren't in bloom for long—if we
don't go now, it will be too late."

"We drove past there last year,"
he said. "They're like any other lilacs
except for the different colors. The rest
of the year, they're all just bushes."

"They're lilac, purple, white, and pink,"
she said. "And today, with no breeze,
the scent will hang in the air—no flowers
smell as good as lilacs in the spring."

"I thought of planting lilacs once,"
he said, "for a windbreak in the grove.
The good smell lasts only a few days.
I suppose we can go, if we hurry."

"Now slow up," she said.
"Last year, you drove by so fast
we couldn't even get a good look.
It wouldn't hurt to take it easy."

"Well, there they are," he said,
"and looking pretty scraggly—past
full bloom already. You should
have thought of doing this sooner."

please note: photo bt Brian Brown

Monday, June 8, 2009

Monday Morning You Sure Look Fine

Mary, Mary
by Dodie Meeks

Outside the window of my room
Big creamy plates of bloom
Are spilling smoky seeds.
The bees are slurping out there
Dazed in hundred proof magnolia.
Leathery petals slide
Into a jungle rot
Alive, alive-oh.

Up and down the block
The neighbors' pyracantha
Is clipped formica neat
But my garden
That they can hardly stand
Is all elbows and knees.

Salvia slavering down the walk
Ivy shinnying up the stalks
Of three kinds of anemone
Gone berserk
As anemone can
Each stem
Erupting into ten.

That hospital gift gardenia
We brought home
To give a decent burial
Is pop-corned over with bloom
Enough for a funeral or two
Crowding a candelabra of lilies
Budded so aching tight
It hurts to look.

Those roses that you sent
Are, believe me, thorny healthy
Clawing through whatever this is
Veined with tattered blue
On international orange.

And I know I never
Put in this goofy stand of garlic.
That sad young wandering priest
We let sleep on the sofa
Was a fussy eater.
These might be the kernels
He threw out.

Taking on the mint.
Well. You know mint.
Smells like a Christmas candy cane
Has the soul of a virus.
They said to contain it
But don't tell me
What to do with my darn mint.

So here's a carpet of that.
Too thick to get a grip on
But for a leaf or two, for tea.
And here come some caladium
Unfurling burgundy veined with green
Vulgar as kisses blown from curbs.
The brass section.
Blaring through the violets. Aren't they
Supposed to come back small?

Where you are, in London,
Crocuses peek through snow.
In Holland the tulips are marching along
Row on proper row.
Like ads for laundry soap.
But they have that purple scent.
It's illegal to let poppies grow
In Greece, but they do anyway
On hairy stems
Through rock
Gasping for a breath of mist.

Boy. It's moist here all the time.
I can stand in the center of my house
And feel my garden buzz and seethe
Like mother
Yanking on a sequined blouse.
To teach in the Methodist Sunday school
Saying whee. Whoop de doo, Jim.
Whoop de doo. It's just the gypsy in me.

Dodie Meeks

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday in CinCity

Another weekend in Big Fat Teaching Hospital amongst damaged and healing brains. There's also the patients to care for...ha! insert drum roll here, please. Two more days, and two more days after that, then a summer vacation. Glorious words...summer vacation. We won't be able to take the holiday that we planned. HoneyHaired's new job involves a Grand Opening of her store dab smack on the day we were set to leave. Our new plans now involve driving down to horse country and visiting with CollegeGrrrl. She has an apartment and sights she wants to show us and I'm sure we can find plenty of ways to spend time and money there. Until then, life goes on in Neurodramaville.

So, hope you all are enjoying your weekends. It looks lovely outside. Perfect June days here. Go on, bask in the warmth of the early summer sun. And as Mr. Dylan, the poet laureate of a generation, once said, "...My real message? Keep a good head and always carry a lightbulb." hhhhhmmmmmmmm...well, alrighty then. Thanks Bob.

Friday, June 5, 2009


by Gary Short

From behind the screen door I watch the cat
in the bunchgrass stalking at dusk.
With the pure attention of religion,
he waits for the skitter of a field mouse,
a shiver in an owl's dream.

The cat delivers his limp prey
to the chipped gray paint of the porch.
I step outside, not knowing
if I will punish the cat
or accept the mouse.

At the edge of the porch I kneel and see
the map of red capillaries
in the delicate mouse ear.

I lift it by the tail to toss,
but in the blink of a smug cat's eye
I feel a tug—an escape
back into life.

In the African journals, Livingston tells
of the charging lion that knocked him down.
When he was held in the lion's mouth,
the human body's trance-like response
was to go limp in an ecstatic giving up
that saved. To assume death

to stay alive.

A Confederate soldier at Antietam
played dead when his battalion was overrun.
for a moment he thought he was safe,
but to make sure, the Union infantryman
drove a bayonet into each body on the ground.

When I pick up the mouse
and it jerks from terror-induced sleep,
I feel all that fear
in a small heartbeat.

My panicked fingers let go
and the mouse slips into the brush where it may be
safe for awhile. Though the cat
is all tension now and ready
to pounce again. I shut him in the house,
stand on the porch and watch the first stars
burn holes in the sky.
Dark enlarging around me,
the pupil in a cat's eye.

please note: photo by captpiper

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Summer is Late, My Heart

Touch Me

by Stanley Kunitz

Summer is late, my heart.
Words plucked out of the air
some forty years ago
when I was wild with love
and torn almost in two
scatter like leaves this night
of whistling wind and rain.
It is my heart that's late,
it is my song that's flown.
Outdoors all afternoon
under a gunmetal sky
staking my garden down,
I kneeled to the crickets trilling
underfoot as if about
to burst from their crusty shells;
and like a child again
marveled to hear so clear
and brave a music pour
from such a small machine.
What makes the engine go?
Desire, desire, desire.
The longing for the dance
stirs in the buried life.
One season only,
and it's done.
So let the battered old willow
thrash against the windowpanes
and the house timbers creak.
Darling, do you remember
the man you married? Touch me,
remind me who I am.

please note: photo by Henri Cartier-Bresson

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Balloons and Birdies and Dogs, Oh My...

Sweet, sweet, sweet. Just saw the new Pixar movie, Up, Monday evening and had dinner at a favorite restaurant overlooking the river. Back away from your computer right now--PJ's on? Middle of the night? Already at work? Whatever--leave it all behind and go see this movie. It's darling. Lots to enjoy for all the age groups in this family. The music is perfection. We did not see the 3-D version, but think we shall return for a "do-over" sometime this summer.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lingering in Happiness

by Mary Oliver

After rain after many days without rain,
it stays cool, private and cleansed, under the trees,
and the dampness there, married now to gravity,
falls branch to branch, leaf to leaf, down to the ground

where it will disappear--but not, of course, vanish
except to our eyes. The roots of the oaks will have their share,
and the white threads of the grasses, and the cushion of moss;
a few drops, round as pearls, will enter the mole's tunnel;

and soon so many small stones, buried for a thousand years,
will feel themselves being touched.

please note: art by Jill Sutton