Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Late Sunday Morning in CinCity

Morning at the Window

by T.S. Eliot

They are rattling breakfast plates in basement kitchens,
And along the trampled edges of the street
I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids
Sprouting despondently at area gates.

The brown waves of fog toss up to me
Twisted faces from the bottom of the street,
And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts
An aimless smile that hovers in the air
And vanishes along the level of the roofs.

This weekend I've been home with some strain of flu/virus/plague that's been romping around CinCity lately. I believe HoneyHaired brought it home from school, but it's certainly been in the hospital with co-workers taking off sick days like a row of Dominoes tumbling down the assignment sheet.

I've been using the time to update my CV and pull together the application for graduate school. The sticky hold-out seems to be my transcripts, which are ancient and probably stuck in a moldy, duct-taped box in the basement of McMillan Hall at Big Fat University. I am so crossing my fingers that I don't have to HazMat up and drag those yellowed sheets of paper to the light of day.

Not that there's been much light around here lately. I think that a day can't possibly get any greyer than this cold, damp blanket of clouds and yet the next day, yes,...yes it can. Thank Mary, Joseph, and little baby Jesus for

Been catching up on past episodes of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Showtime's The Tudors.
I guess that makes me one of those liberal neo-monarchists that Mitt Romney and others are caterwauling about. Somehow I'm more than okay with that.

For anyone out there with a fondness for the Motor City and/or R&B, Prairie Home Companion's show this weekend is out of Detroit, acknowledged as a grand old city down on her luck. The music is amazing and almost enough to make a sick person get off the couch and see light at the end of the tunnel.

please note: art by Sheila Vaughan at Stalybridge

Thursday, February 25, 2010

In The Alley

by Ted Kooser

In the alley behind the florist's shop,
a huge white garbage truck was parked and idling.
In a cloud of exhaust, two men in coveralls
and stocking caps, their noses dripping,
were picking through the florist's dumpster
and each had selected a fistful of roses.

As I walked past, they gave me a furtive,
conspiratorial nod, perhaps sensing
that I, too (though in my business suit and tie)
am a devotee of garbage – an aficionado
of the wilted, the shopworn, and the free—
and that I had for days been searching
beneath the heaps of worn-out, faded words
to find this brief bouquet for you.

please note: photo by piedmont fossil

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Travel Directions

by Joan I. Siegel

There ought to be a word
for the way you know how to get some place
but don't remember the names of streets
the number of turns and blinking yellow lights
so that if someone asked
you really couldn't say

except you know the road starts out straight
and when it's sunny the branches blink across
the windshield making you want to rub your eyes
then the road turns sharply uphill past a red barn
where a black dog jumps out to race you for a quarter mile
and finally recedes in the mirror like a disappointment
and you remember the road dips downhill
into the shadows of the morning
where you hear Bach's unaccompanied 'cello
and understand what a good fit the 'cello makes
in the hollow of the body
where grief begins and for an indeterminate time
the road winds vaguely past
houses people road signs
while time hums in your ear and you remember
the dream you left behind that morning
which had nothing
to do with where
you are going

please note: art by Traci Hegleson, Patterson Road Barn

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Alien

by Greg Delanty

I'm back again scrutinizing the Milky Way
of your ultrasound, scanning the dark
matter, the nothingness, that now the heads say
is chockablock with quarks & squarks,
gravitons & gravitini, photons & photinos. Our sprout,

who art there inside the spacecraft
of your ma, the time capsule of this printout,
hurling & whirling towards us, it's all daft
on this earth. Our alien who art in the heavens,
our Martian, our little green man, we're anxious

to make contact, to ask questions
about the heavendom you hail from, to discuss
the whole shebang of the beginning & end,
the pre–big bang untime before you forget the why
and lie of thy first place. And, our friend,

to say Welcome, that we mean no harm, we'd die
for you even, that we pray you're not here
to subdue us, that we'd put away
our ray guns, missiles, attitude and share
our world with you, little big head, if only you stay.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

For those who don't know me well, I confess I enjoy blaming as many things as I can on changes in the barometric pressure. It's not quite as romantic and thrilling-scary as voodoo, but it's what we've got a lot of in CinCity. So, grumpy moods, fatigue, the fact that someone buys up all the bottles of our favorite locally made salad dressings, no good movies at my favorite movie theater?? All related to the effects of barometric pressure.

The past two weeks have been full of weather drama and snow storm systems, Alberta Clippers, running about the country willy-nilly.

Surprisingly, we've had few trauma related head injuries admitted to Neurodramaville, but quite a few Intracerebral Hemorrhages--head bleeds. They are many times the result of high blood pressure. Often cocaine related. The patients we've been receiving, though, are older and have older, fragile, worn-out blood vessels in their head that simply give out and break open. We seem to see more of these alongside major changes in weather. In any event, a quick end to a long-lived, and in these cases, a well-loved life.

I find nothing quite so heartbreaking as watching a spouse of fifty years having to make the decision to let go in a medically futile situation. Years of making things work run up against a hard wall. We've been witnesses to the uncoupling of many pairings lately and, when I walked outside the hospital doors last night, the bleak expanse of cold white landscape and grey skies seemed the perfect backdrop to the abruptness and the finality of endings.

Friday, February 19, 2010

People Who Eat in Coffee Shops

by Edward Field

People who eat in coffee shops
are not worried about nutrition.
They order the toasted cheese sandwiches blithely,
followed by chocolate egg creams and plaster of paris
wedges of lemon meringue pie.
They don't have parental, dental, or medical figures hovering
full of warnings, or whip out dental floss immediately.
They can live in furnished rooms and whenever they want
go out and eat glazed donuts along with innumerable coffees,
dousing their cigarettes in sloppy saucers.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

In the Middle

by Barbara Crooker

of a life that's as complicated as everyone else's,
struggling for balance, juggling time.
The mantle clock that was my grandfather's
has stopped at 9:20; we haven't had time
to get it repaired. The brass pendulum is still,
the chimes don't ring. One day I look out the window,
green summer, the next, the leaves have already fallen,
and a grey sky lowers the horizon. Our children almost grown,
our parents gone, it happened so fast. Each day, we must learn
again how to love, between morning's quick coffee
and evening's slow return. Steam from a pot of soup rises,
mixing with the yeasty smell of baking bread. Our bodies
twine, and the big black dog pushes his great head between;
his tail, a metronome, 3/4 time. We'll never get there,
Time is always ahead of us, running down the beach, urging
us on faster, faster, but sometimes we take off our watches,
sometimes we lie in the hammock, caught between the mesh
of rope and the net of stars, suspended, tangled up
in love, running out of time.

Monday, February 15, 2010

a cincity mardi gras

My friends, Robin Lacy and DeZydeco, performed at CinCity's celebration of Mardi Gras this past Sunday at the historical and always festive Findlay Market.

Couldn't be there. Working with the bad brains that day. But, here is a sampling of their music and a little Dr. John thrown in for those of us surrounded by marzipan layers of snow and who may need a bit more New Orleans in our day.

Let the good times roll, baby...

Sunday, February 14, 2010


by Dawn Potter

It was darker then, in the nights when the cars
Came sliding around the traffic circle, when the headlights
Speckled with rain traveled the bedroom walls
and vanished; when the typewriter, the squeaking chair,
the slow voice of the radio stirred the night air like a fan.
Of course, the ones we loved were beautiful—
slim, dark-haired, intent on their books.
The rain came swishing against the lamp-lit windows.
The cat purred in his chair. A clock sang,
and we lay nearly asleep, almost dreaming,
almost alone, nearly gone—the days fly so;
and the nights, like sleep, disappear without memory.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

Being in Love

by Chungmi Kim

Awakened from a dream, I curl up
and turn. The roses on the dresser
smile and your words bloom.
The red roses for Valentine's Day.

Like in a film
thoughts of you unfold
moment by moment.

I vaguely hear
the sound of your spoon scooping cereal
the water stream in the shower
the buzzing noise of your electric razor
like a singing of cicada.

Your footsteps in and out of the bedroom.
Your lips touching my cheek lightly.
And the sound of the door shutting.

In your light
I fall asleep again under the warm quilt
happily like a child.

Upon waking
on the kitchen counter I find a half
grapefruit carefully cut and sectioned.
Such a loving touch is a milestone
For my newly found happiness.

please note: photo by Natalie Clayton

Friday, February 12, 2010

This Year's Valentine

by Philip Appleman

They could
pump frenzy into air ducts
and rage into reservoirs,
dynamite dams
and drown cities,
cry fire in theaters
as the victims are burning,
I will find my way through blackened streets
and kneel down at your side.

They could
jump the median, head-on,
and obliterate the future,
fit .45's to the hands of kids
and skate them off to school,
flip live butts into tinderbox forests
and hellfire half the heavens,
in the rubble of smoking cottages
I will hold you in my arms.

They could
send kidnappers to kindergartens
and pedophiles to playgrounds,
wrap themselves in Old Glory
and gut the Bill of Rights,
pound the door with holy screed
and put an end to reason,
I will cut through their curtains of cunning
and find you somewhere in the moonlight.

Whatever they do with their anthrax or chainsaws,
however they strip-search or brainwash or blackmail,
they cannot prevent me from sending you robins,
all of them singing: I'll be there.

please note: photo by Steve Borichevski and Shooting My Universe

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This Paper Boat

by Ted Kooser

Carefully placed upon the future,
it tips from the breeze and skims away,
frail thing of words, this valentine,
so far to sail. And if you find it
caught in the reeds, its message blurred,
the thought that you are holding it
a moment is enough for me.

please note: photo from

Another Snow Day from School, ...

...another low-census day off from work,and another day to walk up to the local movie theater. This time, I believe to see Invictus. I am all about making these days off educational for Miss HoneyHaired.

Too Much Snow

by Louis Jenkins

Unlike the Eskimos we only have one word for snow but we have a
lot of
modifiers for that word. There is too much snow, which, unlike rain,
does not
immediately run off. It falls and stays for months. Someone wished for
snow. Someone got a deal, five cents on the dollar, and spent the
entire family
fortune. It's the simple solution, it covers everything. We are never
with the arrangement of the snow so we spend hours moving the snow from
place to another. Too much snow. I box it up and send it to family and
I send a big box to my cousin in California. I send a small box to my
She writes "Don't send so much. I'm all alone now. I'll never be able
to use so
much." To you I send a single snowflake, beautiful, complex and
different from all the others.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Imagining It

by Kate Barnes

At eighteen, in Paris,
I just woke up out of a dream
just before dawn, and stepped through the long window
from my cold room with its red silk walls.
Shivering a little in my dressing gown,
I leaned on the balustrade

and, look, overnight a light snow had fallen;
no car had driven over it yet, it lay in the street
as white, as innocent, as snow on the open fields.
Then something approached with a calm rhythm
of hoof-beats made softer by the snow, the sound
of a quiet heart. It was a heaped-up wood cart
pulled by a gray horse who walked along slowly,
head down, while the driver
sat at the back of one shaft and hunched over
to light his cigarette.
From above, I saw clearly
the lit match in the old man's cupped hands, its glow
on his long jaw, the small well of flame
between his living palms like the flare
of the soul in his body. He went on
down the street, and the sky went on
growing lighter, and I saw how he left
his dark tracks behind him on the whiteness
of the snow, just the lines of the two wheels,
slightly wavering, and the dints of the horse's hooves
between them, a writing in an undiscovered
language, something whose meaning
we feel sure we know, and still can't quite
When I stepped inside again,
I stopped thinking about love for a minute — I thought about it
almost all the time then — and thought instead
about being alive for a while in a world
with cobblestones, new snow, and the unconscious
poem printed by hooves on the maiden street.

Of course I was not yet ready to be grateful.

please note: photo by Paul Flaggman

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Every Morning

by Susan Coolidge

Every morning is a fresh beginning,
Listen my soul to the glad refrain.
And, spite of old sorrows
And older sinning,
Troubles forecasted
And possible pain,
Take heart with the day and begin again.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

Put on the Under Armour and layered up for a walk to the neighborhood movie house to see Crazy Heart. Having been a long time fan of music, Jeff Bridges, and alcoholics, I loved the movie. Told the HoneyHaired Grrrl to view it with an anthropological/sociological eye and an example of men not to date. Perfect gem of a movie though and Bad Blake very hard to resist.

Successfully passed my ACLS yesterday, so for any ResusciAnnies out there with complaints of dizziness, palpitations and a heart rate of 212, I'm here and ready for you. On second thought, maybe not. In my test, scenerio # 7, the patient does not survive so perhaps you should switch your symptoms over to scenerio #3. If you play your cards right, they at least make it to an admission to the Cardiac ICU.

Was hoping today to work on my CV/resume and letter of intent to tie up all the loose ends for an application packet to grad school--Public Health--but there'll still be some time this evening. Right now, going to put a pork loin in the oven and listen to a little Prairie Home Companion whilst(I LOVE that word!!)I make some Beer Cheese Dip for Hubby to take to work in the ER tomorrow.

•1-8 ounce package sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
•4 ounces cream cheese, softened
•1 garlic clove, minced
•1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
•1 teaspoon horseradish, grated
•1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
•1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
•1/4 cup beer (darker as in Bass, Guinness or other stout)
•salt and pepper to taste
•Pretzels, crusty bread and/or crackers to serve

1.In a bowl, beat cheese together with an electric mixer until smooth.
2.Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, dry mustard and red pepper.
3.Beat well until thoroughly blended.
4.Gradually add beer until well blended.
5.Taste...and salt and pepper to your liking if needed.
6.Cover and chill for 1 hour before serving.
7.Serve with crusty bread, pretzels and/or crackers.

Can't speak for Hubby, and most folks around here seem to be rooting for Indianopolis, but not me. I like the Saints.

Could be the Catholic upbringing,
or my deep and abiding faith in the little guys of the world.

Wherever your cheers land, hope everyone is warm, cozy, and has electricity. It's truly a beautiful thing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Grecian Temples

by George Bilgere

Because I'm getting pretty gray at the temples,
which negatively impacts my earning potential
and does not necessarily attract vibrant young women
with their perfumed bosoms to dally with me
on the green hillside,
I go out and buy some Grecian Hair Formula.

And after the whole process, which involves
rubber gloves, a tiny chemistry set,
and perfect timing, I look great.
I look very fresh and virile, full of earning potential.
But when I take my fifteen-year-old beagle
out for his evening walk, the contrast is unfortunate.
Next to me he doesn't look all that great,
with his graying snout, his sort of faded,
worn-out-dog look. It makes me feel old,
walking around with a dog like that.

It's not something a potential employer,
much less a vibrant young woman with a perfumed bosom
would necessarily go for. So I go out
and get some more Grecian Hair Formula—
Light Brown, my beagle's original color.
And after all the rigmarole he looks terrific.
I mean, he's not going to win any friskiness contests,
not at fifteen. But there's a definite visual improvement.
The two of us walk virilely around the block.

The next day a striking young woman at the bookstore
happens to ask me about my parents,
who are, in fact, long dead, due to the effects of age.
They were very old, which causes death.
But having dead old parents does not go
with my virile, intensely fresh new look.

So I say to the woman, my parents are fine.
They love their active lifestyle in San Diego.
You know, windsurfing, jai alai, a still-vibrant sex life.
And while this does not necessarily cause her
to come dally with me on the green hillside, I can tell
it doesn't hurt my chances.

I can see her imagining dinner
with my sparkly, young-seeming mom and dad
at some beachside restaurant
where we would announce our engagement.

Your son has great earning potential,
she'd say to dad, who would take
a gander at her perfumed bosom
and give me a wink, like he used to do
back when he was alive, and vibrant.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Autopsy in the Form of an Elegy

by John Stone

In the chest
in the heart
was a vessel

was the pulse
was the art
was the love

was the clot
small and slow
and the scar
that could not know

the rest of you
was very nearly perfect.

please note: art by Wesley Corn