Thursday, July 30, 2009

Here a Bleed, There a Bleed, Everywhere a Bleed, Bleed



It's been a rough summer in the land of Neurodramaville. I personally think the frequent weather changes and variations in barometric pressure add to the numbers of head bleeds that we get. Crack cocaine is another. Traumas have been down, but no less heartbreaking. A young man planning on proposing to his girlfriend this week. He's now dead and she's has significant head trauma after a wrong left turn by another driver. Another 16 yr old with a gun shot wound to the head after a lost game of Russian Roulette. And room after room of crying spouses and children after hearing that this head injury, fall, stroke, infection is non-survivable. Thank God for hospice.

There's lots of short staffing, as there is in every hospital.



Fortunately most shifts are full of people who pitch in and the work gets piece-mealed together. Although, unlike some other very cool teams we are not allowed to wear pink cami pants or carry assault weapons. Very non-visionary, I know.

I haven't been writing or commenting much these past weeks. Quite honestly, I've been exhausted and tapped out. Perhaps my muse has skipped town; more likely, is hanging with some ne'er-do-wells. Maybe she's just trying to keep her own head above water.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Counting Thunder


by Robert Hass


For several weeks the weather has been mild
And we have wallowed in this picnic sun,
(Our baskets stuffed with bread and wine) beguiled
By a string of buttered days, which one by one

Have lulled us into such complacency
That any thought of rain or want or cold
Would seem killjoy to a mind disposed to see
A clump of daisies nodding by the road.

But lightning flash upon the ridge portends
A sudden change of weather is at hand.
Caught unaware, we face the rising wind
And count the interval before the sound

Of thunderclap announces the return
Of darker times we had soon forgotten.
The dog cowers. The weather vane turns
Wildly, and we scramble forth to batten

Down the shutters banging out their warning.
No use pretending storm clouds won't draw near.
They're certain now. The anvil head is mounting
High above the things we've held so dear.

We light the lantern as clouds obscure the sun,
And gather frightened children in our arms.
The lightning flash and thunder merge at one,
And we hunker down beneath the raging storm.

From Blossoms

by Li-Young Lee


From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Miracle of Bubbles

by Barbara Goldberg

A woman drives to the video store
to rent a movie. It is Saturday night,
she is thinking of nothing in particular,
perhaps of how later she will pop popcorn
or hold hands with her husband and pretend
they are still in high school. On the way home
a plane drops from the sky, the wing shearing
her roof of her car, killing her instantly.
Here is a death, it could happen to any of us.
Her husband will struggle the rest of his days
to give shape to an event that does not mean
to be understood. Since memory cannot operate
without plot, he chooses the romantic — how young
she was, her lovely waist, or the ironic — if only
she had lost her keys, stopped for pizza.

At the precise moment the plane spiraled
out of control, he was lathering shampoo
into his daughter's hair, blond and fine
as cornsilk, in love with his life, his
daughter, the earth (for "cornsilk" is how
he thought of her hair), in love with the miracle
of bubbles, how they rise in a slow dance,
swell and shimmer in the steamy air, then
dissolve as though they never were.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Saturday in CinCity

Miles: Prince of Darkness

by Philip Bryant

I remember my father's stories
about him being cold, fitful,
reproachful, surly, rude, cruel,
unbearable, spiteful, arrogant, hateful.
But then he'd play
Some Day My Prince Will Come
in a swirl of bright spring colors
that come after a heavy rain
making the world anew again
and like the sometimes-tyrannical king
who is truly repentant of his transgressions
steps out onto the balcony
to greet his subjects
and they find it in their hearts
to forgive him for his sins
yet once again.


Friday, July 24, 2009

Soundings


by Joyce Sutphen


In the afternoon of summer, sounds
come through the window: a tractor
muttering to itself as it

pivots at the corner of the
hay field, stalled for a moment
as the green row feeds into the baler.

The wind slips a whisper behind
an ear; the noise of the highway
is like the dark green stem of a rose.

From the kitchen the blunt banging
of cupboard doors and wooden chairs
makes a lonely echo in the floor.

Somewhere, between the breeze
and the faraway sound of a train,
comes a line of birdsong, lightly
threading the heavy cloth of dream.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

It Was Forty Years Ago Today




"...But what about the men themselves? What about the 39-year-old pilot who returns from the moon and knows with a mortal certainty that he has already done the most noteworthy thing he'll ever do and now must keep himself busy for the next half-century? What about the existential whiplash that comes from being on the moon one week and in your living room the next — and having to find your own way to process the vast gulf between those two worlds? "I remember coming back to Houston after the moon, and my neighbors had a barbecue for me," Dave Scott, commander of Apollo 15, told me. "I thought, 'What am I doing here?' "

And what happens when the press pack moves on, when the interviews stop and the faces of the flyers once limned with light become lined with age? "Remember where you're standing when the spotlight goes off," Lovell warned me once, when our book was a best seller and the movie it spawned was in theaters. "You'll have to find your own way off the stage."
excerpt from an article by Jeffrey Krueger

Saturday, July 18, 2009

In the Shadow of the Moon

Oh, to be thirteen again and watching this for the first time. The feeling of possibilities...

Friday, July 17, 2009

An Evening When the Full Moon Rose as the Sun Set

by Robert Bly

...Turning toward Milan, we see the other one, the moon,
whole and rising.
Three wild geese make dark spots in that part of the sky.
Under the shining one the pastures leap forward,
Grass fields rolling as in October, the sow-colored fields
near the river.
This rising one lights the pair of pintails alert in the
shallow pond.
It shines on those faithful to each other, alert in the early
night.
And the life of faithfulness goes by like a river,
With no one noticing it.

please note: photo by zanmanzmama

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Pink and White

by Deborah Garrison

Peonies are the only flower I care for
and when I saw them from the window
yesterday, tumbled and heavy along
a fence, fully exploded, nodding
at the ground, hanging their heads but not
yet spoiled, I remembered
a summer (maybe seven years
ago, or was it ten?) I wasn't sure
our love would come again,
and here I am, almost

kissing the grass like that,
bursting and rich, cracked
all over like broken cake—
makes you cry but still sweet.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"My Summer Vacation"




Kathleen has noted that I "haven't been around the neighborhood much lately," which is true. VGrrrrl noted in a recent post that the blogging world seems a little quiet and wondering if it was a seasonal phenomenom. To be honest, I have been reading in the neighborhood, just not much commenting. By way of explanation, here is my essay on "What I Did on My Summer Vacation."---

After 17 years of doing NOTHING with this house, Hubby has decided that NOW is the time. So, we're looking at paint chips(adobe cream, Sherwood Forest green) for the porches and trim, and metal roof companies, and deciding on whether to repaint or strip the front doors and go with the wood(wood).

He also hates mowing the front yard and has been moving towards a natural habitat that involves a lot of violets-gone-wild over the lawn and, basically, weeds. With the assistance of several federal mediators from Washington we've reached a compromise--mow a path through the natural habitat and give me spaces to plant some wildflowers and butterfly bushes. Now I'm obsessed with remembering where native wildflowers can be found in my forays around town. And I have poison ivy.

Since we're looking into travel nursing in the next two years, I figure I can use the time to review all the critical care nursing stuff that I have forgotten the details of in the past thirty years. So, I'm studying the CCRN exam(critical care RN)book which begins with the chapter on Cardiology. And sarcolemmas. And ATP/ADP and phosphorylation. I'm still on page 12...


However, I'm on page 436 of The Autobiography of Henry VIII and have become obsessed with all things Tudor, especially Showtime's DVDs, The Tudors. Purely for a love of history. Yep. Love that history.

And as all summers require, I drive and wander around the town quite a lot. HoneyHaired is presently volunteering at a daycamp and needs to get there and back. And my 84 year old mother has required multiple doctors' appointments which mean Hubby or I, or both, drive her there and back and sit and sit and sit. (Thus page 436 of good old Henry. Thanks, buddy, for the intrigue. Really, really appreciate it).

I've considerably increased my intake of Advil with a Pilates class on the Sundays I don't work, swing/bebop/shag on Tuesday nights, and ballet on Thursdays. Can't remember the steps to save my life, but what-the-hell-ever.
Not dancing related, but saw the opera, Ainadamar, with HoneyHaired last Saturday and have tickets for all of us to see Carmen next Sunday. And I'm hoping today's rain sticks around and we can see Harry Potter tonight. In case of sun we shall be seeing the free Concert on the Green this evening. Tango, I believe.



Hope your summers are refreshing and not gas guzzling, though it's hard to be both. Most of all I hope everyone is enjoying these lazy, crazy days of summer as best they can. HoneyHaired starts back to school August 11, so ours feels a bit compressed at the moment. And, in thirty minutes it's time to pick her up again...

The Copious Dark

by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

She used to love the darkness, how it brought
Closer the presence of flesh, the white arms and breast
Of a stranger in a railway carriage a dim glow—
Or the time when the bus drew up at a woodland corner
And a young black man jumped off, and a shade
Moved among shades to embrace him under the leaves—


Every frame of a lit window, the secrets bared—
Books packed warm on a wall—each blank shining blind,
Each folded hush of shutters without a glimmer,
Even the sucked-sweet tones of neon reflected in rain
In insomniac towns, boulevards where the odd light step
Was a man walking alone: they would all be kept,

Those promises, for people not yet in sight:
Wellsprings she still kept searching for after the night
When every wall turned yellow. Questing she roamed
After the windows she loved, and again they showed
The back rooms of bakeries, the clean engine-rooms and all
The floodlit open yards where a van idled by a wall,

A wall as long as life, as long as work.
The blighted
Shuttered doors in the wall are too many to scan—
As many as the horses in the royal stable, as the lighted
Candles in the grand procession? Who can explain
Why the wasps are asleep in the dark in their numbered holes
And the lights shine all night in the hospital corridors?


please note: art by Stephen Armstrong, Hospital at Night

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bastille Day - Georgetown

by Martin Carter


Not wanting to deny, I
believed it. Not wanting
to believe it, I denied
our Bastille day. This,
is nothing to storm.
This fourteenth of July. With
my own eyes, I saw the fierce
criminal passing for citizen
with a weapon, a piece of wood
and five for one. We laugh
Bastille laughter. These are
not men of death. A pot
of rice is their foul reward.
I have at last started
to understand the origin
of our vileness, and being
unable to deny it, I suggest
its nativity.
In the shame of knowledge
of our vileness, we shall fight.

Rose Garden, Summer Solstice

by Carolyn Miller


Everyone here believes that the roses
are blooming only for them, there where the air
by the formal beds is layered with the scent
of roses. From deep in their flushed and darkening hearts
pour odors of lemons and pepper, apricots, honey,
vanilla and myrrh and musk and semen, apples and quince,
raspberries and wine and ocean, the faint
scent of blood and the fragrance of death and the breath
of the life we are living now, in this place
where the roses are blooming for each of us, alone.

Monday, July 13, 2009

You Just Never Damn Know

Highway Hypothesis

by Maxine Kumin

Nothing quite rests the roving eye
like this long view of sloping fields
that rise to a toyshop farmhouse
with matchstick barns and sheds.
A large yellow beetle spits silage
onto an upturned cricket while
several inch-high cars and trucks
flow soundlessly up the spitcurl drive.

Bucophilia, I call it—
nostalgia over a pastoral vista—
where for all I know the farmer
who owns it or rents it just told his
wife he'd kill her if she left him and
she did and he did and now here come
the auctioneer, the serious bidders
and an ant-train of gawking onlookers.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Prayer

by Carol Ann Duffy


Some days, although we cannot pray, a prayer
utters itself. So, a woman will lift
her head from the sieve of her hands and stare
at the minims sung by a tree, a sudden gift.

Some nights, although we are faithless, the truth
enters our hearts, that small familiar pain;
then a man will stand stock-still, hearing his youth
in the distant Latin chanting of a train.

Pray for us now. Grade 1 piano scales
console the lodger looking out across
a Midlands town. Then dusk, and someone calls
a child's name as though they named their loss.



Darkness outside. Inside, the radio's prayer -
Rockall. Malin. Dogger. Finisterre.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Saturday in CinCity, the Full Moon Edition



I blame it on the full moon. Or fluctuating barometric pressure, hormones, an unseen voo-doo doll somewhere, someplace. The fact is, I'm feeling quite grumpy. I'm tired of planning dinners. I'm tired of scheduling everyone else and constantly looking 5 days ahead. My job is mind-numbingly repetitive yet disjointed. It constantly threatens to rain outside and doesn't. I'm tired and can't get to sleep.

Who wouldn't want to wander London Town wreaking havoc and mayhem? The arguments for "Beast" are looking more and more attractive...



You'd think it'd be a little Warren Zevon to soothe my soul, but instead it's a road trip with Brook Benton.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Warm Summer in San Francisco

by Carolyn Miller

Although I watched and waited for it every day,
somehow I missed it, the moment when everything reached
the peak of ripeness. It wasn't at the solstice; that was only
the time of the longest light. It was sometime after that, when
the plants had absorbed all that sun, had taken it into themselves
for food and swelled to the height of fullness. It was in July,
in a dizzy blaze of heat and fog, when on some nights
it was too hot to sleep, and the restaurants set half their tables
on the sidewalks; outside the city, down the coast,
the Milky Way floated overhead, and shooting stars
fell from the sky over the ocean. One day the garden
was almost overwhelmed with fruition:
My sweet peas struggled out of the raised bed onto the mulch
of laurel leaves and bark and pods, their brilliantly colored
sunbonnets of rose and stippled pink, magenta and deep purple
pouring out a perfume that was almost oriental. Black-eyed Susans
stared from the flower borders, the orange cherry tomatoes
were sweet as candy, the fruit fattened in its swaths of silk,
hummingbirds spiraled by in pairs, the bees gave up
and decided to live in the lavender. At the market,
surrounded by black plums and rosy plums and sugar prunes
and white-fleshed peaches and nectarines, perfumey melons
and mangos, purple figs in green plastic baskets,
clusters of tiny Champagne grapes and piles of red-black cherries
and apricots freckled and streaked with rose, I felt tears
come into my eyes, absurdly, because I knew
that summer had peaked and was already passing
away. I felt very close then to understanding
the mystery; it seemed to me that I almost knew
what it meant to be alive, as if my life had swelled
to some high moment of response, as if I could
reach out and touch the season, as if I were inside
its body, surrounded by sweet pulp and juice,
shimmering veins and ripened skin.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Topography

by Sharon Olds

After we flew across the country we
got into bed, laid our bodies
delicately together, like maps laid
face to face, East to West, my
San Francisco against your New York, your
Fire Island against my Sonoma, my
New Orleans deep in your Texas, your Idaho
bright on my Great Lakes, my Kansas
burning against your Kansas your Kansas
burning against my Kansas, your Eastern
Standard Time pressing into my
Pacific Time, my Mountain Time
beating against your Central Time, your
sun rising swiftly from the right my
sun rising swiftly from the left your
moon rising slowly from the left my
moon rising slowly from the right until
all four bodies of the sky
burn above us, sealing us together,
all our cities twin cities,
all our states united, one
nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Coming of Light

by Mark Strand


Even this late it happens:
the coming of love, the coming of light.
You wake and the candles are lit as if by themselves,
stars gather, dreams pour into your pillows,
sending up warm bouquets of air.
Even this late the bones of the body shine
and tomorrow's dust flares into breath.

please note: art by Marc Chagall

Little Night Music

by Charles Simic

Of neighbors' voices and dishes
Being cleared away
On long summer evenings
With the windows open
As we sat on the back stairs,
Smoking and sipping beer.

The memory of that moment,
So sweet at first,
The two of us chatting away,
Till the stars made us quiet.
We drew close
And held fast to each other
As if in sudden danger.
That one time, I didn't recognize
Your voice, or dare turn
To look at your face
As you spoke of us being born
With so little apparent cause.
I could think of nothing to say.
The music over, the night cold.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sunday in CinCity



Well, we missed the annual and fabulously phenomenal Northside Fourth of July Parade in order to make it down to CollegeGrrrl's Grandma's house for Gma's birthday/picnic celebration. It's a fairly short drive along the interstate to arrive at a manmade "country" environs with wild turkey and deer alongside the roadway. Grandma is 76 this year, looks much younger, and revels in this patchwork family that has been created through children, divorces, and second marriages. It works for us.

I found these parade highlights on youtube. No videos found of the Lawn Chair Brigade or the Men's Drill Team...if I find them, I will post them.



We made it home in time to see some fireworks on the horizon briefly light the sky. It was a rainy, foggy evening though and difficult to get much height before fizzling out.

Walked over to the cemetery down the street where our neighbors had some action going. Lotsa noise and smoke, but come on, fireworks in a graveyard is always fun with the spookiness added in for free.


There won't be any striking at Big Fat Teaching Hospital. The nurses' contract was ratified by the union membership by 75%. I think a fair amount of folks are disappointed in the current hospital leadership and the direction they're presenting for patient care, but feel unable to vote with their feet.

I'm still looking into travel nursing and am using this time to get some ducks in a row. I'd really like to get HoneyHaired through high school. So for right now, I'm staying put, getting some more competencies under my belt, and keeping my eyes and ears open. Hubby and I are excited, though about getting out and seeing different areas of the country. Coming soon to a town near you...and all that.

Hope everyone had a happy holiday &/or weekend and that not everyone's fireworks were rained out. If so, there's always Labor Day.

And, I can't resist...

Elvis has left the building:>)

Meditation on the Word Need

by Linda Rodriguez

The problem with words of emotion
is how easily meaning drains
from their fiddle-sweet sounds
and they become empty instruments.
I can say love
and mean desire to give—
open-handed, open-hearted—
or I am drawn to the light
shining from your soul—
or my life is empty without you—
or I want to run my hands
and mouth down the length of you—
or all of these at once.

Need, now, is a plain word.
I need a nail to hang this picture.
I need money to pay my bills.
I need air and light,
water and food,
shelter from storm and sun and cold.
To be healthy,
to be sane,
to survive,
I need you.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Unanimous Declaration

of the Thirteen United States of America



...We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.



That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security...

Please note: photo by Joe Raedle/Getty

A U.S. Marine from the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, RCT 2nd Battalion 8th Marines Echo Co. deployed for Operation Khanjari on July 2, 2009 in Main Poshteh, Afghanistan, a mission to support the local Afghan population prepare for the upcoming presidential elections.

Secret Agent Man

by Joyce Sutphen



You looked so good at the top of the stairs
that I wonder if you might consider

standing at the bus stop near Franklin
and 22nd at about 6:30 AM,

wearing a dark overcoat and a red
scarf, nodding (just slightly) when

I pass, and I wouldn't mind looking
Out my office window at about

10 AM and seeing you (so small I
couldn't be sure) waving from

the far corner of the parking lot,
and then, at lunch, you could be

the mysterious man sitting in the bar,
the one who never turns around until

I am almost out the door with friends
who would have no idea who you are,

and it would be wonderful to see you
disguised as a UPS man, coming in

at 3 PM with a large package
full of various useless things

and a note, telling me exactly
where I could find you later on tonight.

PS. Burn Notice marathon. Delicious.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Freedom Glory Project

The Genius of Small-town America

by Norman Williams

Here our fathers stopped their westward push,
Not, God knows, for love of scenery or soil,
But because an ox gave out, an axle broke,
Or a child took with cholera or chills.
Now, their sons cross the fields like roofwalkers,
Chucking dirtclods at the crows, while in the shade
The women mutter of lost limbs and hopes.
Like a periodic curse, a drought this month
Has once more settled on the western plains,
Thickening the creeks, working into wayside barns,
And famishing the stock. On kitchen radios
One hears again the pulpit-pounding talk
And familiar promises of punishment,
That we have ourselves to blame for this,
Who lusted, craved and coveted—
But if sin lingers in these washed-up towns,
It could be only pride or stubbornness:
Each spring another crop of debt is sown,
And, though agencies attach the land,
Outbuildings, crops and unborn young, still
The beak-nosed men walk head-up and proud,
Convinced, against all evidence, that what
They've planted, built or reared is theirs,
And that, come the plague or Democrats,
They will die as they have lived, that is
In their good time, just when and how they choose.


please note: photo by Dorothea Lange

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sounds Great In Any Language



please note: sung with exiled Iranian singer, Andy Madadian

as always, peace be with you...