Friday, July 30, 2010

TGIF




Ahhhh...Friday. A lovely end to the week, though it means for me the end to my three days of freedom and the start of the weekend to work. Temperatures have dropped a bit and the humidity is low, which, like the Hokey-Pokey, is what it's all about anyway.

Hubby and BoxerBoy are on their way home from the lake where they have been having some fishing time. Apparently our dog fell in love with another family there, tried to get in their car after all their oohs and ahhs over his extreme handsomeness. Bit of a jolt to the heart since we have been missing him terribly and keep thinking we'll take a walk with him, or bathe him, or feed him and he's not here.

HoneyHaired and I have shared some grrrlie time--mostly avoiding the studying she has to do for the start of school--August 17th. Still working on Crime and Punishment, but has viewed two of the three films for another class. And did write the paper for Art History, so maybe not as far behind as I worry. Saw Despicable Me--3D(surprisingly,not a school assignment), went up to Clifton on the Green for a free concert, walked through Spring Grove again after a day of cleaning and grocery shopping,



and got to stay up late watching our bestest and most favorite friends on television. White Collar, Psych, and Burn Notice. Jon Stewart. And, without the snarky comments from the peanut gallery!

Now, back to the kitchen to cook up a little food for tonight and the weekend, Nanna's Summer Pasta Salad--all garlic, cherry tomatoes and basil, some curried chicken salad, and Nicoise sandwiches. Should keep us going for the next few days...and keep Prilosec in business.


The Day She Gets Her License

by Susan Jackson

The car is as long as a city block
and sleek
the fins stretch out as far as the eye
can see
or so she imagines.
It's the early days
of metallic finish
the color of the car
blue frost or silver
depending on the way
light glints
off the surface
or how high
the sun is.
With the top down
the red leather seats shine
like the inside of a flower
like a flag in the wind
and her hair trails out
behind her, flying.
When the guy on the corner,
the cat with the long side-burns,
looks across the street
and whistles
she knows it's for her
she knows
she's beautiful
she will always be
beautiful.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A New Lifestyle

by James Tate




People in this town drink too much
coffee. They're jumpy all the time. You
see them drinking out of their big plastic
mugs while they're driving. They cut in
front of you, they steal your parking places.
Teenagers in the cemeteries knocking over
tombstones are slurping café au lait.
Recycling men hanging onto their trucks are
sipping espresso. Dogcatchers running down
the street with their nets are savoring
their cups of mocha java. The holdup man
entering a convenience store first pours
himself a nice warm cup of coffee. Down
the funeral parlor driveway a boy on a
skateboard is spilling his. They're so
serious about their coffee, it's all they
can think about, nothing else matters.
Everyone's wide awake but looks incredibly
tired.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

and so it begins

Every time someone says "show me your papers," Hitler’s family gets a residual check. So heads up, Arizona; that’s fascism. I know, I know, it’s a dry fascism, but it’s still fascism.--Seth Meyers




Very disappointed in you, Arizona...


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday in CinCity. The Enough Already Edition.



It's really, really, really warm.
Brutally.
Hot.
Memories of the heat wave of 1995 kind of hot.





I can't live 24/7 in an air conditioned bedroom. I have a busy, full life with things to do, places to go and people to see. Dishes to wash.


And..., our TV is in the living room, not the bedroom, so you can see my difficulty here. I am desperately seeking distraction.

I signed up to work an extra 8 hours today simply to be out of this oven of a house for a little while. That, my friends, is desperation.

Ocean's Twelve is on the Oxygen channel with some of my favorite bad boys of summer, which, with some well placed fans and a carton of

Madison's Lemon Basil sorbet, is distracting enough for an afternoon.
















HoneyHaired and I are leaving later tonight for Spring Grove Cemetery and their annual Moonlight Tour. We're hoping for some spookiness with a touch of chills. Oh, bring it on. Big gusts of chills.

A Summer Night
by Kate Barnes

A summer night. The moon's face,
almost full now, comes and goes
through clouds. I can't see
any stars, but a late firefly
still flicks his green lamp on and off
by the fence.
In this light
that is more illusion
than light, I think of things
I can't make out: milkweed opening
its millions of flowerets, their heavy heads
smelling like dark honey in the night's
darkness; day lilies
crowding the ditch, their blossoms
closed tight; birds asleep with their small legs
locked on twigs; deer stealing
into the uncut hay; and the young bay mare
kneeling down in the pasture, composing herself
to rest, as rounded and strong
as a meant prayer.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Well Then...TGIF

Relax

by Ellen Bass



Bad things are going to happen.
Your tomatoes will grow a fungus
and your cat will get run over.
Someone will leave the bag with the ice cream
melting in the car and throw
your blue cashmere sweater in the drier.
Your husband will sleep
with a girl your daughter's age, her breasts spilling
out of her blouse. Or your wife
will remember she's a lesbian
and leave you for the woman next door. The other cat—
the one you never really liked—will contract a disease
that requires you to pry open its feverish mouth
every four hours, for a month.
Your parents will die.
No matter how many vitamins you take,
how much Pilates, you'll lose your keys,
your hair and your memory. If your daughter
doesn't plug her heart
into every live socket she passes,
you'll come home to find your son has emptied
your refrigerator, dragged it to the curb,
and called the used appliance store for a pick up—drug money.
There's a Buddhist story of a woman chased by a tiger.
When she comes to a cliff, she sees a sturdy vine
and climbs halfway down. But there's also a tiger below.
And two mice—one white, one black—scurry out
and begin to gnaw at the vine. At this point
she notices a wild strawberry growing from a crevice.
She looks up, down, at the mice.
Then she eats the strawberry.
So here's the view, the breeze, the pulse
in your throat. Your wallet will be stolen, you'll get fat,
slip on the bathroom tiles of a foreign hotel
and crack your hip. You'll be lonely.
Oh taste how sweet and tart
the red juice is, how the tiny seeds
crunch between your teeth.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

False Documents

by Nicole Walker



They ran the numbers twice for you
giving you the benefit of the doubt
but you knew the computer at the other
end of the officer’s PDA would not find
your brown number in its little black index.
You drove exactly one mile per hour below the speed
limit. You buckled your baby into his car seat according
to instructions. You signaled for exactly three seconds
before you turned left. You wanted to hide the Subway wrappers,
the empty box of Orbitz gum. Evidence of Big Macs.
You wanted to drink the Mountain Dew before it turned toxic
in the hot Phoenix sun as you asked, doesn’t this green
sludge make me American enough? But you didn’t
move because you knew the officer would have taken
that for gun-finding or drug-hiding or some other supposed
Mexican sport. You with your hands at ten and two
wondered how long the bus ride the officer would take you
on would last and whether they would provide any water.
You wondered, as the officer put hand to holster,
how dangerous it would be to down that Mountain
Dew then and there, in the wide-open American air.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Girl Scout Picnic, 1954


by June Robertson Beisch




The parade began and the Bryant Jr. High School band
marched through the streets of Minneapolis
wearing white shirts, blue trousers, playing John Philip Sousa

Lance, Jack, Sharon and myself on drums,
strapped to our knees so we could play,
arms akimbo, drumsticks held high,

drum rolls, paradiddles, rim shots, flams
while the trumpets groaned and the bystanders
cheered us on in the rain-drenched streets.

The Girl Scouts strutted ahead of us wearing
their green uniforms, berets and badges
waving the Girl Scout flag, and smiling,

We could do anything after this, we felt,
twirling our drumsticks between our fingers
Such joy seems unimaginable until I conjure it

Not even Wordsworth's memory of
a field of daffodils comes close to it
The picnic later at the Minnehaha Falls Park,

then walking home much later in the dark
still filled with the sounds of it.
To march at thirteen through the streets of Minneapolis

is to ride in triumph through Persepolis

please note: photo of the Northside Lawnchair Ladies Brigade, Fourth of July,2008

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hospital Days

by Sue Ellen Thompson



The tests, the bloodwork—they
were good days, with magazines
to absorb the time spent waiting.
The nurses' banter spread a sheen
of normalcy over everything,
and the doctors left a little space
in their advice where spirit
might lodge. The three of us
went everywhere together, and at last
I knew the pleasure that the only child
takes in the company of her makers.

Then the doctor came to us one day
and said the chemo hadn't made
the kind of progress he was looking for,
that we could take my mother home
and stay. We sat there, stunned by what
our weeks of rushing to appointments
had not left us to contemplate,
then drove home without speaking. This day,
unlike the others, would not end
with smiles and good-byes, my father's
and my arms tucked beneath my mother's
and hope's modest, steady flame
still unextinguished in us at the thought
of eating supper at the kitchen table
before we called the cats in from the dark.

please note: photo by Abizeleth on flickr

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday in CinCity. The "Is It Hot Enough For You?" Edition.




The cicadas are back. Now we can call it summer. Although we live in the midst of a city, frequently there are moments when sitting on the porch we hear only the sounds of birds or wind and, lately, the rise and the falling chorus of cicadas. That is summer.

Our home is cooled off only in certain rooms, so the majority of the house is hot, and baking, now that its brick exterior is holding in the heat. Chores get done little by little or not at all. HoneyHaired and I are both slowly gearing up for school to begin. She still has summer reading and is still plowing through Crime and Punishment. I am a bit farther behind and simply trying to plug in my school ID in order to recieve all the graduate school email and instructions waiting to be seen. I can't even get past USER NAME. This could easily take all weekend.

Hubby's at work. HoneyHaired will go in for a few hours at the hardware store. CollegeGrrrl tells us she's coming home tomorrow for her birthday. And I'm having lunch today with a high-school friend, a best friend. Somehow we drifted apart towards the end of school and after graduation for no good reason, other than the strength of the currents that steer you away from home and into your future. That time is so rapid, you can't realize how far it carries you and for how long.

We walked up to the movie theater yesterday afternoon to see Winter's Bones. Good movie. Not for the faint of heart, but a really good movie. We were still talking about it this morning.

I see it's clouded up for a bit this morning. I'd best walk this dog sitting in front of me before it gets much hotter.



The Heron

by Wendell Berry

While the summer's growth kept me
anxious in planted rows, I forgot the river
where it flowed, faithful to its way,
beneath the slope where my household
has taken its laborious stand.
I could not reach it even in dreams.
But one morning at the summer’s end
I remember it again, as though its being
lifts into mind in undeniable flood,
and I carry my boat down through the fog,
over the rocks, and set out.
I go easy and silent, and the warblers
appear among the leaves of the willows,
their flight like gold thread
quick in the live tapestry of the leaves.
And I go on until I see crouched
on a dead branch sticking out of the water
a heron—so still that I believe
he is a bit of drift hung dead above the water.
And then I see the articulation of a feather
and living eye, a brilliance I receive
beyond my power to make, as he
receives in his great patience
the river's providence. And then I see
that I am seen. Still, as I keep,
I might be a tree for all the fear he shows.
Suddenly I know I have passed across
to a shore where I do not live.

Monday, July 12, 2010

All the Whiskey in Heaven

by Charles Bernstein

Not for all the whiskey in heaven
Not for all the flies in Vermont
Not for all the tears in the basement
Not for a million trips to Mars

Not if you paid me in diamonds
Not if you paid me in pearls
Not if you gave me your pinky ring
Not if you gave me your curls

Not for all the fire in hell
Not for all the blue in the sky
Not for an empire of my own
Not even for peace of mind

No, never, I'll never stop loving you
Not till my heart beats its last
And even then in my words and my songs
I will love you all over again

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

You Are There

by Erica Jong

You are there.
You have always been
there.
Even when you thought
you were climbing
you had already arrived.
Even when you were
breathing hard,
you were at rest.
Even then it was clear
you were there.

Not in our nature
to know what
is journey and what
arrival.
Even if we knew
we would not admit.
Even if we lived
we would think
we were just
germinating.

To live is to be
uncertain.
Certainty comes
at the end.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Spy vs Spy




To whom it may concern,

I realize it's my weekend to work and that I recently returned from a two vacation, but was recently notified that I must travel out of town immediately. I will contact you soon to confirm my return to work. I might have a new name!! And maybe a new look! For the interim I will need a letter of reference from your office. Will send you details of where to send soon in a plain manila envelope labeled "PHOTOS OF MILAN." Any help you are able to give will be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Natasha Fatale



Thursday, July 8, 2010

kind of fire

by Charles Bukowski

sometimes I think the gods
deliberately keep pushing me
into the fire
just to hear me
yelp
a few good
lines.

they just aren't going to
let me retire
silk scarf about neck
giving lectures at
Yale.

the gods need me to
entertain them.

they must be terribly
bored with all
the others

and I am too.

and now my cigarette lighter
has gone dry.
I sit here
hopelessly
flicking it.

this kind of fire
they can't give
me.


please note: art by Fabian Perez

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Remedial Weeding

by Julie Hanson



You don't need to know its name
to know it is a weed; if it
has taken hold between two
paving bricks, if its thin root
or complex undermop is wedged
where the concrete riser joins the concrete step,
then assuredly it is.
It is redundant, stubborn work,
to which you squat or kneel or bend,
moving lowly in one manner
or another over the entire area
to be covered so that, naturally,
afterwards, you'll ache.

And yet, what better use
could you have put these to:
one yellow-handled tool
and two tightening circles of thought?
For those times when the heart, still
resonant and stunned,
is dominant,
this is the kind of work you want,
mindless work, where it is best to look
no more than one weed ahead,
and where the iron inability to set a course
drills the focus downwards
with single-mindedness and depth.

please note: photo by undertheturnpike


Well, it has been Home Sweet Home for a few days now. If HoneyHaired ever downloads her photos I'll post them, but it essentially looked like this--



and this--


and this--


Being home was a bit of a transition since Hubby and Honeyhaired were gone the next day and CollegeGrrrl had left the day before. Wasn't expecting to feel quite so lonesome without everyone around and the dog was very perplexed. He'd been able to walk without a leash and come in and out of the lakehouse to sleep on the porch in the sun whenever he wanted. And there were rabbits and new dogs and dead fish to sniff out. I tried to channel my inner Doris Day and thought frantically, "WWDD?"




Doris would turn her home into vacation-land home and surprise her hubby, Cary Grant. And, look fabulous the entire time. And sing...

I didn't quite get there. Yet.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday in CinCity. The Independent Edition.

The New Colossus

by Emma Lazarus





Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Evening is Tranquil, and Dawn is a Thousand Miles Away

by Charles Wright



The mares go down for their evening feed
into the meadow grass.
Two pine trees sway the invisible wind—
some sway, some don't sway.
The heart of the world lies open, leached and ticking with sunlight
For just a minute or so.
The mares have their heads on the ground,
the trees have their heads on the blue sky.
Two ravens circle and twist.
On the borders of heaven, the river flows clear a bit longer.


please note: photo by Dalla*s