Thursday, April 29, 2010

Waving Goodbye

by Wesley McNair

Why, when we say goodbye
at the end of an evening, do we deny
we are saying it at all, as in We'll
be seeing you, or I'll call, or Stop in,
somebody's always at home? Meanwhile, our friends,
telling us the same things, go on disappearing
beyond the porch light into the space
which except for a moment here or there
is always between us, no matter what we do.
Waving goodbye, of course, is what happens
when the space gets too large
for words – a gesture so innocent
and lonely, it could make a person weep
for days. Think of the hundreds of unknown
voyagers in the old, fluttering newsreel
patting and stroking the growing distance
between their nameless ship and the port
they are leaving, as if to promise I'll always
remember, and just as urgently, Always
remember me. It is loneliness, too,
that makes the neighbor down the road lift
two fingers up from his steering wheel as he passes
day after day on his way to work in the hello
that turns into goodbye? What can our own raised
fingers to for him, locked in his masculine
purposes and speeding away inside the glass?
How can our waving wipe away the reflex
so deep in the woman next door to smile
and wave on her way into her house with the mail,
we'll never know if she is happy
or sad or lost? It can't. Yet in that moment
before she and all the others and we ourselves
turn back to our disparate lives, how
extraordinary it is that we make this small flag
with our hands to show the closeness we wish for
in spite of what pulls us apart again
and again: the porch light snapping off,
the car picking its way down the road through the dark.

please note: photo of Ronald Reagan in the colonnade of the White House, January 20, 1989.

Monday, April 26, 2010


by George Bilgere

Someone's taken a bite
from my laptop's glowing apple,
the damaged fruit of our disobedience,
of which we must constantly be reminded.

There's the fatal crescent,
the dark smile
of Eve, who never dreamed of a laptop,
who, in fact, didn't even have clothes,
or anything else for that matter,

which was probably the nicest thing
about the Garden, I'm thinking,
as I sit here in the café
with my expensive computer,
afraid to get up even for a minute
in order to go to the bathroom
because someone might steal it

in this fallen world she invented
with a single bite
of an apple nobody, and I mean
was going to tell her not to eat.

please note: painting by Gustav Klimt, Apple Tree

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

Rain, sun, rain, sun, rain, sun here in the beautiful city of the seven hills. Lots to be done today and plenty of space to do it with Hubby at work and HoneyHaired camping amongst allergy-inducing pollen. Have Zyrtec/Will Travel. CollegeGrrrl is still recovering after an evening involving multiple baths, Miralax, and geriatric psych patients. We won't go there.

I learned yesterday after diligently checking my emails twice or twenty times a day for the past six weeks that I'm accepted to grad school. Public Health Nursing. I'm very, very excited and not only because of the new notebooks and pens yet to be bought, although they obviously are a huge factor and I do love pens. There's also a new killer fungal spore out in Oregon which is an interesting read. School doesn't start till September so I won't be boring you with any public health gossip till much later in the year. Right now I'm relishing the quiet with the animals snoozing and the house empty and a styrofoam box full of Biagio's Italian sub leftovers in the fridge. That's a good Saturday in CinCity.

Ode to Chocolate

by Barbara Crooker

I hate milk chocolate, don't want clouds
of cream diluting the dark night sky,
don't want pralines or raisins, rubble
in this smooth plateau. I like my coffee
black, my beer from Germany, wine
from Burgundy, the darker, the better.
I like my heroes complicated and brooding,
James Dean in oiled leather, leaning
on a motorcycle. You know the color.

Oh, chocolate! From the spice bazaars
of Africa, hulled in mills, beaten,
pressed in bars. The cold slab of a cave's
interior, when all the stars
have gone to sleep.

Chocolate strolls up to the microphone
and plays jazz at midnight, the low slow
notes of a bass clarinet. Chocolate saunters
down the runway, slouches in quaint
boutiques; its style is je ne sais quoi.
Chocolate stays up late and gambles,
likes roulette. Always bets
on the noir.

please note: city photo by kyfireengine

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I'm Right There With You, Sister

After a Noisy Night

by Laure-Anne Bosselaar

The man I love enters the kitchen
with a groan, he just
woke up, his hair a Rorschach test.
A minty kiss, a hand
on my neck, coffee, two percent milk,
microwave. He collapses
on a chair, stunned with sleep,
yawns, groans again, complains
about his dry sinuses and crusted nose.
I want to tell him how
much he slept, how well,
the cacophony of his snoring
pumping in long wheezes
and throttles—the debacle
of rhythm—hours erratic
with staccato of pants and puffs,
crescendi of gulps, chokes,
pectoral sputters and spits.
But the microwave goes ding!
A short little ding! – sharp
as a guillotine—loud enough to stop
my words from killing the moment.
And during the few seconds
it takes the man I love
to open the microwave, stir,
sip and sit there staring
at his mug, I remember the vows
I made to my pillows, to fate
and God: I'll stop eating licorice,
become a blonde, a lumberjack,
a Catholic, anything,
but bring a man to me:
so I go to him: Sorry, honey,
sorry you had such a rough night,
hold his gray head against my heart
and kiss him, kiss him.

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Become a Stepmother

by Beverly Rollwagen

Remember: This is a test you cannot pass.
The thirteen year old asks, "Where are your kids?"
When you say you don't have any, she tells you,
"His last girlfriend did, and we are best friends."

Feel yourself slip through the blue of her eyes.
The sixteen-year-old watches you from all five
corners of the room. When her father is there
she is pleasant, smiles, asks about your cat.

When he leaves a happy man, she tries to kill you
seven different ways. She sets herself on fire
and says you did it. She watches your chest rise
and fall and hates your breath. If you try to touch

her, her arm falls off. She is a sensitive creature.
Be patient. Soon, you marry the father. The girls
come late to the wedding and pull wrinkled dresses
from paper bags to stand in the living room.

crying for their mother. They throw all their arms
around their father and hold him tight within their
skirts for the last time. Stand outside yourself
in your silly white suit with the gold buttons.

Feel the orchid grieve against your cheek. Finally,
the one who hates you most reaches out and pulls
you in. Feel all their arms around you. Think,
this is my wedding. This is our wedding.

please note: photo by rcipfw on Flickr

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Notes from the Other Side

by Jane Kenyon

I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.

Now there is no more catching
one's own eye in the mirror,

there are no bad books, no plastic,
no insurance premiums, and of course

no illness. Contrition
does not exist, nor gnashing

of teeth. No one howls as the first
clod of earth hits the casket.

The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,

and God, as promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light.

please note: photo of dust motes

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

His Wife

by Andrew Hudgins

My wife is not afraid of dirt.
She spends each morning gardening,
stooped over, watering, pulling weeds,
removing insects from her plants
and pinching them until they burst.
She won't grow marigolds or hollyhocks,
just onions, eggplants, peppers, peas –
things we can eat. And while she sweats
I'm working on my poetry and flute.
Then growing tired of all that art,
I've strolled out to the garden plot
and seen her pull a tomato from the vine
and bite into the unwashed fruit
like a soft, hot apple in her hand.
The juice streams down her dirty chin
and tiny seeds stick to her lips.
Her eye is clear, her body full of light,
and when, at night, I hold her close,
she smells of mint and lemon balm.

Monday, April 12, 2010

In Honor of New Dogs. That Means You, Leo.


by Lawrence Raab

I never liked the idea.
Didn’t animals belong outside?
Wasn’t it wrong to make them
feel like people, talking to them
as if they understood?

Of course they understood
some of the time, I said,
but anything small enough gets scared
when you raise your voice.
A well-trained dog, we read

when we got the dog, is a happy dog.
Your dog, I told my wife.
And yours, I told my daughter.
But all the better arguments
were on their side: loyalty.

companionship, and every time
we came home the dog welcomed us,
so of course se started
talking to her. Then sometimes
I said I’d take her out.

I said I wanted to smoke a cigarette
and I did, even though
I liked the way she waited by the door
when I called her name,
the way it was so easy to make her happy.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

the lost women

by Lucille Clifton

i need to know their names
those women i would have walked with
jauntily the way men go in groups
swinging their arms, and the ones
those sweating women whom i would have joined
after a hard game to chew the fat
what would we have called each other laughing
joking into our beer? where are my gangs,
my teams, my mislaid sisters?
all the women who could have known me,
where in the world are their names?

Yeah...I need some of this...Come on, summer!

please note: photo by Ben Errol Thomas

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

For My Wife

by Wesley McNair

How were we to know, leaving your two kids
behind in New Hampshire for our honeymoon
at twenty-one, that it was a trick of cheap
hotels in New York City to draw customers
like us inside by displaying a fancy lobby?
Arriving in our fourth-floor room, we found
a bed, a scarred bureau, and a bathroom door
with a cut on one side the exact shape
of the toilet bowl that was in its way
when I closed it. I opened and shut the door,
admiring the fit and despairing of it. You
discovered the initials of lovers carved
on the bureau's top in a zigzag, breaking heart.
How wrong the place was to us then,
unable to see the portents of our future
that seem so clear now in the naiveté
of the arrangements we made, the hotel's
disdain for those with little money,
the carving of pain and love. Yet in that room
we pulled the covers over ourselves and lay
our love down, and in this way began our unwise
and persistent and lucky life together.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Small Talk

by Eleanor Lerman

It is a mild day in the suburbs
Windy, a little gray. If there is
sunlight, it enters through the
kitchen window and spreads
itself, thin as a napkin, beside
the coffee cup, pie on a plate

What am I describing?
I am describing a dream
in which nobody has died

These are our mothers:
your mother and mine
It is an empty day; everyone
else is gone. Our mothers
are sitting in red chairs
that look like metal hearts
and they are smoking
Your mother is wearing
sandals and a skirt. My
mother is thinking about
dinner. The bread, the meat

Later, there will be
no reason to remember
this, so remember it
now: a safe day. Time
passes into dim history.

And we are their babies
sleeping in the folds of
the wind. Whatever our
chances, these are the
women. Such small talk
before life begins

please note: Advertisement quite happily found on Found in Mom's Basement

Monday, April 5, 2010

Opening Day


by John Updike

It looks easy from a distance,
easy and lazy, even,
until you stand up to the plate
and see the fastball sailing inside,
an inch from your chin,
or circle in the outfield
straining to get a bead
on a small black dot
a city block or more high,
a dark star that could fall
on your head like a leaden meteor.

The grass, the dirt, the deadly hops
between your feet and overeager glove:
football can be learned,
and basketball finessed, but
there is no hiding from baseball
the fact that some are chosen
and some are not—those whose mitts
feel too left-handed,
who are scared at third base
of the pulled line drive,
and at first base are scared
of the shortstop's wild throw
that stretches you out like a gutted deer.

There is nowhere to hide when the ball's
spotlight swivels your way,
and the chatter around you falls still,
and the mothers on the sidelines,
your own among them, hold their breaths,
and you whiff on a terrible pitch
or in the infield achieve
something with the ball so
ridiculous you blush for years.
It's easy to do. Baseball was
invented in America, where beneath
the good cheer and sly jazz the chance
of failure is everybody's right,
beginning with baseball.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday in CinCity, The Afternoon.

It seems a bit pointless to cook for Easter with half the clan gone, but I felt so kerflempt about it I broke down and stopped at the local IGA on my way home from Sunday morning pilates class. There were plenty of other folks buying goodies for the day and, although the pickings were sparce for easter basket candy, Hubby really only likes the malted milk balls and black jelly beans. Shockingly, those were still on the shelves.

So we'll be having Pork Loin Roast with Orange, Cumin, and Cilantro with rice, or at least HoneyHaired and I will. Depending on when Hubby's able to get home he'll get some sooner or later. If it's super-fab I'll pass on the recipe. And, tomorrow's Opening Day. Basically a holy and sacred day for CinCity. Food is required for Opening Day Palooza at Big, Fat Teaching Hospital. Generally, I make the same pasta salad--garlic, basil, cherry tomatoes, oil and vinegar. What it lacks in imagination I make up for in garlic.

HoneyHaired is home from Turkey and Greece and had a wonderful time. She met a boy on the trip, so we shall be watching He's Just Not That Into You later this evening for further directions on how to proceed. I had forgotten exactly how much everyone is in your business in high school and how much advice is freely discussed and dispensed. Sometimes it's best to go the old-fashion route--make up your own mind after watching imaginary stories from gorgeous-looking movie stars. Scarlett Johansson having trouble getting a date. Always helpful.

Haven't heard anything yet from grad school about my application. They did eventually find my transcripts from the Olde and Ancient Times. Perhaps the faculty are still ROFL. I noted the obligatory class, Biostatistics, in the requirements for Public Health so thought I'd start with The Complete Idiot's Guide to Statistics and have successfully made it through the introduction and Chapter One. Feeling pretty spunky about my progression from complete idiot to just plain idiot.

The roofers have begun their demolition of our home. We're getting a metal roof put on, which should keep my husband forever from climbing up three stories after every rain to patch and repair. There's now a lovely black metal dumpster filling the entire width and length of my front yard to collect the two layers of shingles. My butterfly bushes are toast. Everything that had been in the front yard is now in our walkway up to the front porch, which I forget every time I leave the house until I'm tripping over benches and birdbaths.(please note above paragraph: just plain idiot.)

Hope your week is great and remember, Peeps--Always in Season!!

happyhappyjoyjoy. Sunday in CinCity

The Saints of April

by Todd Davis

Coltsfoot gives way to dandelion,
plum to apple blossom. Cherry fills
our woods, white petals melting
like the last late snow. Dogwood's
stigmata shine with the blood
of this season. How holy
forsythia and redbud are
as they consume their own
flowers, green leaves running
down their crowns. Here is
the shapeliness of bodies
newly formed, the rich cloth
that covers frail bones and hides
roots that hold fervently
to this dark earth.

--For Jack Ridl

Blessings to all today.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Itinerant Daughter Has Returned

The Acacia Trees

Derek Walcott


You see those breakers coming around Pigeon Island
bowing like nuns in a procession? One thing I know,
when you're gone like my other friends, not to Thailand
or Russia, but wherever it is loved friends go
with their different beliefs, who were like a flock
of seagulls leaving the mirror of the sand,
or a bittern passing lonely Barrel of Beef,
or the sails that an egret hoists leaving its rock;
I go down to the same sea by another road
with manchineel shadows and stunted sea grapes
dwarfed by the wind. I carry something to read:
the wind is bright and shadows race like grief,
I open their books and see their distant shapes
approaching and always arriving, their voices heard
in the page of a cloud, like the soft surf in my head.

please note: art by Linda Amundsen