Sunday, October 31, 2010

Song of the Witches

by William Shakespeare

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the caldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and howlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and caldron bubble.
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Much to be done today.

My own little witch is having friends over for a birthday/Halloween get-together, so room needs to cleared for 5 not-so-little-anymore little girls to run around. And before that a birthday lunch with Grandma PP and Auntie DD. We are vacuuming and baking and moving piles of very important, yet unread, papers from one site to another. And the dog follows diligently behind me shedding more hair to make up for its loss in the carpet.

Hope your Hallowed Eves is spooky and that you are handing out better treats than lizard legs.

nice kiddie, kiddie, kiddies...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday in CinCity. The Much Needed Coffee and Cleaning All Day Edition.

aThe Gospel of the Gospel

by Michael Chitwood

And the prophet said: "Let not your heart
dwell in sadness, but be glad in the day."
The word used for heart has two translations:
One is as a door through which a blue sky
over white-washed stone steps can be glimpsed
and the other has to do with a kind of clearing
in a forest of hemlock and white pine.
Sadness references the turning-inward look
of a shy child in a roomful of strangers.
Glad has a connotation of the same weight
and earthiness of certain flower bulbs
that can lie dormant or be transported
great distances in their dry drowse
and then brought to blossom when replanted.
The phrase "in the day" is a guess, but a good guess,
given that time passed then as now.

Friday, October 29, 2010


All I can say is I rarely drink, and had two glasses of wine the minute I walked in the door...
Merlot and Fritos=fruits and vegetables, yes??

A Blessing

by Ken Hada

After three days of hard fishing
we lean against the truck
untying boots, removing waders.

We change in silence still feeling
the rhythm of cold water lapping
thankful for that last shoal of rainbows
to sooth the disappointment
of missing a trophy brown.

We'll take with us the communion
of rod and line and bead-head nymphs
sore shoulders and wrinkled feet.

A good tiredness claims us
from slipping over rocks, pushing rapids –
sunup to sundown – sneaking
toward a target, eyes squinting
casting into winter wind.

We case the rods, load our bags
and start to think about dinner.
None of us wants to leave.
None wants to say goodbye.

Winter shadows touch the river cane.
The cold is coming. We look up
into a cobalt sky, and there,
as if an emissary on assignment,
a Bald Eagle floats overhead
close enough to bless us
then swiftly banks sunward
and is gone.

Monday, October 25, 2010

"Don't Touch Anything..."

What a crappy weekend. The aggravating half of it was playing waitress to two floor patients without beds on the floor to transfer them to. Two patients who both need to be fed a total of six meals within eight hours. I didn't even feed my own kids that much. Mr. P. basically needed a bath after each meal cause he's a helper and wants to feed himself faster than the speed of light. Unfortunately his help ended up all over the bed, the floor, his gown, his hair... And the docs, knowing that these patients are floor borders in an ICU take full advantage of that, constantly spitting out STAT orders from some secret, undisclosed location, never talking with the nurses and each order contradicts the orders already written.

I'm not even going to mention other bodily functions and the fact that each patient is well over 200 lbs., or the fact that their visitors did not understand the concept of a garbage can, or a call light, and are unable to grasp the technology of a remote control for the television. By all means, call me in from whatever else I'm doing to change the channel for you, Mr. Visitor. In the ICU we have no other help, no aides, so it's you and your assignment; good freakin' luck with that.

The tragic half of the weekend was the 21yo brought in with a gunshot wound to the head from an AK-47. His nurse was young, wanting to fix this and wanting the family to be happy. There's no fixing to be done. I hope she goes to see her mom today and gets TLC for her bruised heart.

I plan to walk today, commune with God a bit, read about firefighter injuries and fatalities for a meeting tomorrow with one of the township fire chiefs for our class project on near-miss surveys. And the class lecture on Wednesday is occupational dermatitis. I assume they mean Cooties. So there is reading to be done. I'll keep the news off and perhaps put Mad Men on. No weapons there, just cases among cases of good old-fashioned booze.

Friday evening HoneyHaired and I went to the ballet, Sleeping Beauty, at the historic Music Hall with the ballet orchestra playing--always a treat. As a huge fan of the Disney classics and Little Golden Books of the 1960's, I loved, loved, loved, loved, loved Sleeping Beauty. In fact, one of the reasons I love my neighborhood are the three little Flora, Fauna and Merriweather houses up the street. When I had two baby girls we watched the video frequently and know the music by heart.

Here is the same piece of music, different interpretations and luscious both ways--

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Thing Is

by Ellen Bass

to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it
and everything you've held dear
crumbles like burnt paper in your hands,
your throat filled with the silt of it.
When grief sits with you, its tropical heat
thickening the air, heavy as water
more fit for gills than lungs;
when grief weights you like your own flesh
only more of it, an obesity of grief,
you think, How can a body withstand this?
Then you hold life like a face
between your palms, a plain face,
no charming smile, no violet eyes,
and you say, yes, I will take you
I will love you, again.

please note: photo by chloe_cheng

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

After School on Wednesday in CinCity

I have a few moments to collect my thoughts this afternoon before picking up Miss HoneyHaired, so thought I'd share.

School seems to be going well. I'm pretty happy as a clam, though I wouldn't mind winning the lottery and taking one or two more classes each week and working one or two days less each week.

Our class today was about occupational infectious diseases, including those spread by animals and animal contact. You know, it's a damn wonder mankind ever propagated and survived generation after generation given all the bugs and viruses afoot. Almost makes me fearful of the little squirrel family which has built a rather intricate nest on the outside sill of our kitchen window. They carry all kinds of bad bacteria and ticks and fleas. So we shall only wave to the little baby squirrel who likes to look in around dinnertime and raises his little paws. No air kisses.

Yesterday's class was Occupational Health Workshop and involves actual research, meant to get the students acquainted with designing survey questions, setting up focus groups and getting data returned. This class is centered on firefighters. Determining their understanding of cardiovascular risks, how to better get out information of cardiovescular risks, and designing a process to report "near miss" incidents and maintaining absolute confidentiality. So, for me, it's been a blast and really interesting.

Kind of waiting for a shoe to drop and finding out this was a huge expensive mistake, but so far, so good. I won't look too hard. If there's trouble around it usually makes itself known.

Still is sunny and beautiful here. Hubby and I have taken to walking in Spring Grove Cemetery a couple of times a week. There are three walking trails there: 1 mile, 2 miles and 3.5 miles. Last week we tried the 3.5 mile trail and somehow got off-course turning it into a much longer jaunt. I was so happy to see a familiar tombstone! Might get up and take a walk today, but Hubby's gone and I have plenty to do around the house, and actually, I wouldn't mind reading a little bit about the Tudors--C.J.Sansom style and taking a nap. The nap is looking better and better...

please note: art by John Agnew

After School on Ordinary Days

by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

After school on ordinary days we listened
to The Shadow and The Lone Ranger
as we gathered around the tabletop radio
that was always kept on the china cabinet
built into the wall in that tenement kitchen,
a china cabinet that held no china, except
thick and white and utilitarian,
cups and saucers, poor people's cups
from the 5 & 10 cents store.
My mother was always home
from Ferraro's Coat factory
by the time we walked in the door
after school on ordinary days,
and she'd give us milk with Bosco in it
and cookies she'd made that weekend.
The three of us would crowd around the radio,
listening to the voices that brought a wider world
into our Paterson apartment. Later

we'd have supper at the kitchen table,
the house loud with our arguments
and laughter. After supper on ordinary
days, our homework finished, we'd play
monopoly or gin rummy, the kitchen
warmed by the huge coal stove, the wind
outside rattling the loose old windows,
we inside, tucked in, warm and together,
on ordinary days that we didn't know
until we looked back across a distance
of forty years would glow and shimmer
in memory's flickering light.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Dark Figure in the Doorway

by Morton Marcus

Wearing a silken silver gown,
the little princess
is staring at us
from the foreground
of the painting.
As if on stage,
she is brightly lit,
surrounded by dwarfs,
and a recumbent hound,
and resembles a doll
placed in the middle
of her entourage.
Behind her to her right,
near a large canvas
whose back is toward us,
the painter, Velazquez,
stands half in shadow,
palette in one hand,
brush in the other,
while behind her
to her left, a nun
leans toward a courtier,
about to speak. On
the rear wall: paintings,
large canvases, hang,
almost obscured
by darkness, and a mirror
reflects the presence
of the king and queen
who must be observing
the scene from the same place
we do, as if they (or we)
are an audience
at a formal family event.
But, no, the painter
is standing in
the wrong place
to paint the scene.
Do you see it now?
It's the king and queen
who are being painted,
and the princess
and her entourage
are the audience
watching mama
and papa pose
for Señor Velazquez,
a clever ploy
which confuses
subject and viewer,
since we are standing
in the very spot
the royal couple
occupy, and see
what they do,
not what the painter
possibly can—
a post-modern
bit of fun devised
centuries before
the modern age
will have begun.

That ruse, however,
is not the reason I return
to this 10 foot painting
time and again. No,
it's the doorway cut
into the rear wall,
beside the mirror.
Flooded with light,
it illuminates
a dark figure
standing on the stairs.
He is about to leave
or enter—it's not clear
which. He is half-turned,
looking back into the room
toward us, or rather
toward the king and queen,
and it seems important,
more important
than anything
in the picture, whether
he is departing
or arriving,
as if the painting's
hinges on this point.
I can't say why.
Maybe because everyone
depicted is so still,
every object in its place,
and the only tension
is whether he leaves
or enters from the world
beyond the painting.
He is the dark figure
in the doorway,
the one who imbues
a work of art
with meaning
beyond itself
Even the painter
and his clever ruse
are less important
than this messenger,
this intermediary
who carries the scene
as witness between
two worlds, the one
created by the painter's
skill and imagination
and the other
what the viewer
takes of it
into his daily life.

The little princess
will marry
the Emperor of Austria
ten years later,
when she is fifteen,
and will die at twenty-two.
The king and queen
will leave a halfwit heir,
who will die soon after,
and with them all
the Spanish Golden Age
will sink into oblivion.
But like the figure
in the doorway,
we hesitate today,
caught between yesterday
and tomorrow, aware
as never before
that we stand with one foot
in the painting
and one foot out,
sure only of this moment
when we look into the room
where the king and queen
pose for the painter
who stands with his back
toward us,
as do the doll-like princess
and her entourage,
and at our backs
we hear the laughter
and curses on the street,
while scattered around us
like stars at night
or the sunlit dust motes
of our afternoons
are all those possibilities
of who we were
and could have been
and one day
might become.

please note: art by Diego Velazquez(click on the portrait if you wish to enlarge)

Friday, October 15, 2010


The Elusive Something

by Charles Simic

Was it in the smell of freshly baked bread
That came out to meet me in the street?
The face of a girl carrying a white dress
From the cleaners with her eyes half closed?

The sight of a building blackened by fire
Where once I went to look for work?
The toothless old man passing out leaflets
For a clothing store going out of business?

Or was it the woman pushing a baby carriage
About to turn the corner? I ran after,
As if the little one lying in it was known to me,
And found myself alone on a busy street

I didn't recognize, feeling like someone
Out for the first time after a long illness,
Who sees the world with his heart,
Then hurries home to forget how it felt.

please note: art by Amanda Cass

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

misión cumplida chile

A Light Left On

by May Sarton

In the evening we came back
Into our yellow room,
For a moment taken aback
To find the light left on,
Falling on silent flowers,
Table, book, empty chair
While we had gone elsewhere,
Had been away for hours.

When we came home together
We found the inside weather.
All of our love unended
The quiet light demanded,
And we gave, in a look
At yellow walls and open book.
The deepest world we share
And do not talk about
But have to have, was there,
And by that light found out.

Welcome home, gentlemen.


by Marcia Popp

i broke a vase at my great-grandfather's house when i was five here come sit on my lap
he said don't feel bad about that vase i didn't like it anyway you helped me get rid of it i
knew better but let him comfort me while i felt secretly bad inside did you know that my
own mother said i was her worst boy no i said that can't be true oh yes he said and she was
right i made accidents happen all the time i didn't really mean to do bad things they just
came upon me when i wasn't paying attention when i was five my brother and i chased the
goose in the barnyard until it fell over dead we propped her up in the fence so she would
appear to be interested in the grass on the other side what happened my father noticed
that the goose did not move all day we got spanked should i get spanked too for the vase
not in my house he said.

Monday, October 11, 2010


by Sabine Miller

Tell me the one
about the sick girl —
not terminally ill, just years in bed
with this mysterious fever —
who hires a man
to murder her — you know,
so the family is spared
the blight of a suicide —
and the man comes
in the night, a strong man,
and nothing is spoken
—he takes the pillow
to her face — tell me
how he is haunted the rest
of his life — did he
or didn't he
do the right thing — tell me
how he is forgiven,
and marries, and has
2 daughters, and is happy —
no, tell me she doesn't
die, but is cured and
gives her life to God,
and becomes a hand-holder for
men on death row —
tell me the one where the man
falls in love with the girl
and can't do it, or
the girl falls in love
with a dog and calls
the man to tell him
not to come, or
how each sees their pain
mirrored in the other's eyes —
tell me how everyone is already
forgiven every story
they ever told themselves
about living
or not living —
tell me, oh tell me
the one where love wins, again
and again and again.

please note: art by Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones

Sunday, October 10, 2010


by Meg Kearney

When I got my head stuck between the porch rails
I didn't know enough yet to hate my body, but I knew
a thing or two about smoking my father's cigars
with Patrick Dunn under the pines behind his house,

and puking while my brother rolled joints and stacked
45s on the record player in his room. My sister
turned me on to Carole King and JT, swore her friends
would die in Vietnam because her peace medallion

was flammable. She tried to teach me to dance, but
I was never graceful—it wasn't a surprise,
me wedged in that railing. How did they get me out?
Nixon was president; Martin Luther King

was dead. The whole country was in a fix,
my father said, though he never said a word
about the cigars. His heart was a shooting star;
I thought he could fix everything. My mother

believed she could fix his failing heart with home-
made tomato sauce and a Manhattan on the rocks.
My mother rose with the fish; she was unable to
cry; she put her hand to my father's cheek, then went

back to work. Uncle Frank called her a good German:
Arbeit Macht Frei, he said, and she nearly kicked him
in the shins. I loved Uncle Frank, but I don't want to
talk about him. Uncle Frank's dead. But let's say I do

remember how they got my head out of that railing.
It took a crowbar—took what seemed forever
because the adults had their loads on by then. That
night my best friend and I took turns wearing the wig

and high heels: we were knobby-knee glamorous, we
were nothing like our parents. Uncle Frank leaned
in the doorframe as we preened, fluttered, eyed
the dapper men, toasted each other with empty glasses.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

"It's all fun and games till someone gets their eye poked out with a stick. Then it's just fun."

Just a quickie this morning and hopefully will be back to write later. Up at the crack of dawn to drive HoneyHaired to an SAT test. She's exhausted--Homecoming game was last night(they lost, like 34-14) and Homecoming dance is tonight. I'm exhausted from the past two days of heavy hauling and lifting Of Human Poundage. But, it's a beautiful weekend and I have plenty of Advil at home and pilates scheduled for tomorrow.

Must read my assignments today--a study on decreasing violence in the ER, something about too much noise in the workplace. Say what?? And, firefighters and cardiovascular disease. One's good and one's bad, but I'm not going to spoil the ending for you.

And somehow, despite the fact that Hubby and I worked the last two days and Honeyhaired was at school, there's two sinkfuls of dishes. I'm not naming names, but I have my suspicions...

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Man in the Yard

by Howard Nelson

My father told me once
that when he was about twenty
he had a new girlfriend, and once
they stopped by the house on the way
to somewhere, just a quick stop
to pick something up,
and my grandfather, who wasn't well—
it turned out he had TB and would die
at fifty-two—was sitting in a chair
in the small back yard, my father
knew he was out there, and it crossed
his mind that he should take his girlfriend
out back to meet him, but he
didn't, whether for embarrassment
at the sick, fading man
or just because he was in a hurry
to be off on his date, he didn't
say, but he told the little,
uneventful story anyway, and said
that he had always regretted
not doing that simple, courteous
thing, the sick man sitting in
the sun in the back yard would
have enjoyed meeting her, but
instead he sat out there alone
as they came and left, young
lovers going on a date. He
always regretted it, he said.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Small Boats

by Steve Kowit

The California tuna fisherman
who bought my van in Puntarenas
had a son who'd been killed in the war.
I remember sitting in the heat & listening.
He was a bald guy with a bulbous nose,
& a talker. He made his
wife bring in Mike's photo.
Then he started in on the Chinese,
how they were going to take over the world.
"William, don't... please...
no one's interested..."
The coffee cup rattled in her fingers.
Afterwards we bussed back along the coast road,
a thick fog rolling in off the Pacific
like a Sung scroll:
small boats disappearing into the mist.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday in CinCity


by Robert Frost

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
To-morrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
To-morrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow,
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know;
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away;
Retard the sun with gentle mist;
Enchant the land with amethyst.
Slow, slow!
For the grapes' sake, if they were all,
Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,
Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—
For the grapes' sake along the wall.