Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Woe to Wednesday

"Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness

which afflicts one of Tolstoy's Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day's work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city's reservoir, he turns to the cupboards, only to find the vodka bottle empty."

— P.G. Wodehouse
please note: above photo, Hugh Laurie. 'nuf said.

Carry on, Jeeves...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday in CinCity. The Oldies Version.

Cruising with the Beach Boys

by Dana Gioia

So strange to hear that song again tonight
Travelling on business in a rented car
Miles from anywhere I've been before.
And now a tune I haven't heard for years
Probably not since it last left the charts
Back in L.A. in 1969.
I can't believe I know the words by heart
And can't think of a girl to blame them on.

Every lovesick summer has its song,
And this one I pretended to despise,
But if I was alone when it came on,
I turned it up full-blast to sing along –
A primal scream in croaky baritone,
The notes all flat, the lyrics mostly slurred.
No wonder I spent so much time alone
Making the rounds in Dad's old Thunderbird.

Some nights I drove down to the beach to park
And walk along the railings of the pier.
The water down below was cold and dark,
The waves monotonous against the shore.
The darkness and the mist, the midnight sea,
The flickering lights reflected from the city –
A perfect setting for a boy like me,
The Cecil B. DeMille of my self-pity.

I thought by now I'd left those nights behind,
Lost like the girls that I could never get,
Gone with the years, junked with the old T-Bird.
But one old song, a stretch of empty road,
Can open up a door and let them fall
Tumbling like boxes from a dusty shelf,
Tightening my throat for no reason at all
Bringing on tears shed only for myself.

I'm not sure if this song is from 1969 or not. I don't know your tastes, but there's only so much Beach Boys I can take in the morning before an entire cup of coffee. Hubby loves them. Me, not so much, even back in the 60's. I was always leaning more toward Motown and the old R&B singers. Now those surfer boys have a bittersweetness about them; singing about a time that never really existed except in our longings, which really makes it more real than anything.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

please note: photo by kyfirefighter on flickr

Thanksgiving has come and gone and my refrigerator and I are stuffed to the gills. I went off the skids this year; tried new recipes for the turkey and stuffing--Maple Glazed and Bourbon/Bacon. Both turned out surprisingly to be quite good. Even after the effects of the bourbon tasting had worn off. CollegeGrrrrl was only able to be home--actually in the house she was raised in--for about 5 minutes after visiting her grandmother in Indiana because of the horrible driving conditions and multiple weathermen threatening us with snow and icy roads. That was very disappointing for all of us and we owe her a dinner. She was here long enough for me to pack up some stuffing and rolls for her, but the turkey had just come out of the oven and was way too hot to carve. Protein is way overrated, though, and we do love our carbs here in the Distracted household.

Cleared the table, divided food into Gladware and, utilizing very precise equations of physics, squished it all into the fridge. It now has yellow CAUTION tape over the door. Got the dishes half done/half soaking just in time to watch Charlie Brown and get ready for bed. Worked the next day, but not too much drama for dayshift. Multiple strokes were being called up as we were heading out the doors.

We did not look back.

I'd like to be shopping at my local stores up on Ludlow

for Small Business Saturday, but my wallet and the firefighter paper due on Tuesday disagree. They apparently are not givers like I am. Maybe, though, if I stop blogging, and don't look at FaceBook, I could get my homework done and just go up to a take a little tiny peek at the store windows. There can be no harm in that, right?? Right??...

oooohhhh, and now I'm hungry again. And my cuppa coffee's empty. I'll be there Firefighter Paper. I'm getting started. Stop pressuring me!!! :>)

Flying at Night

by Ted Kooser

Above us, stars. Beneath us, constellations.
Five billion miles away, a galaxy dies
like a snowflake falling on water. Below us,
some farmer, feeling the chill of that distant death,
snaps on his yard light, drawing his sheds and barn
back into the little system of his care.
All night, the cities, like shimmering novas,
tug with bright streets at lonely lights like his.

please note: photo by John Curley on flickr

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A List of Praises

by Anne Porter

Give praise with psalms that tell the trees to sing,
Give praise with Gospel choirs in storefront churches,
Mad with the joy of the Sabbath,
Give praise with the babble of infants, who wake with the sun,
Give praise with children chanting their skip-rope rhymes,
A poetry not in books, a vagrant mischievous poetry
living wild on the Streets through generations of children.

Give praise with the sound of the milk-train far away
With its mutter of wheels and long-drawn-out sweet whistle
As it speeds through the fields of sleep at three in the morning,
Give praise with the immense and peaceful sigh
Of the wind in the pinewoods,
At night give praise with starry silences.

Give praise with the skirling of seagulls
And the rattle and flap of sails
And gongs of buoys rocked by the sea-swell
Out in the shipping-lanes beyond the harbor.
Give praise with the humpback whales,
Huge in the ocean they sing to one another.

Give praise with the rasp and sizzle of crickets, katydids and cicadas,
Give praise with hum of bees,
Give praise with the little peepers who live near water.
When they fill the marsh with a shimmer of bell-like cries
We know that the winter is over.

Give praise with mockingbirds, day's nightingales.
Hour by hour they sing in the crepe myrtle
And glossy tulip trees
On quiet side streets in southern towns.

Give praise with the rippling speech
Of the eider-duck and her ducklings
As they paddle their way downstream
In the red-gold morning
On Restiguche, their cold river,
Salmon river,
Wilderness river.

Give praise with the whitethroat sparrow.
Far, far from the cities,
Far even from the towns,
With piercing innocence
He sings in the spruce-tree tops,
Always four notes
And four notes only.

Give praise with water,
With storms of rain and thunder
And the small rains that sparkle as they dry,
And the faint floating ocean roar
That fills the seaside villages,
And the clear brooks that travel down the mountains

And with this poem, a leaf on the vast flood,
And with the angels in that other country.

please note: art by Jim Proctor
and because I can't resist...

...much happiness to you and yours.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

After We Saw What There Was to See

by Lawrence Raab

After we saw what there was to see
we went off to buy souvenirs, and my father
waited by the car and smoked. He didn't need
a lot of things to remind him where he'd been.
Why do you want so much stuff?
he might have asked us. "Oh, Ed," I can hear
my mother saying, as if that took care of it.

After she died I don't think he felt any reason
to go back through all those postcards, not to mention
the glossy booklets about the Singing Tower
and the Alligator Farm, the painted ashtrays
and lucite paperweights, everything we carried home
and found a place for, then put away
in boxes, then shoved far back in our closets.

He'd always let my mother keep track of the past,
and when she was gone—why should that change?
Why did I want him to need what he'd never needed?
I can see him leaning against our yellow Chrysler
in some parking lot in Florida or Maine.
It's a beautiful cloudless day. He glances at his watch,
lights another cigarette, looks up at the sky.

please note: "See 7 states from Rock City, Tennessee!" on Lookout Mountain.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sundays in CinCity

It’s Sunday Morning in Early November

by Philip Schultz

and there are a lot of leaves already.
I could rake and get a head start.
The boy's summer toys need to be put
in the basement. I could clean it out
or fix the broken storm window.
When Eli gets home from Sunday school,
I could take him fishing. I don't fish
but I could learn to. I could show him
how much fun it is. We don't do as much
as we used to do. And my wife, there's
so much I haven't told her lately,
about how quickly my soul is aging,
how it feels like a basement I keep filling
with everything I'm tired of surviving.
I could take a walk with my wife and try
to explain the ghosts I can't stop speaking to.
Or I could read all those books piling up
about the beginning of the end of understanding...
Meanwhile, it's such a beautiful morning,
the changing colors, the hypnotic light.
I could sit by the window watching the leaves,
which seem to know exactly how to fall
from one moment to the next. Or I could lose
everything and have to begin over again.

please note: photo by Richard Longden

It's a windy and warm day here in CinCity. Good day for walking the dog who has been up at the lake for a week with hubby and now has much sniffing and peeing to do around the neighborhood. Gotta catch up on all the doggie news fit to be sniffed. He is now exhausted, sleeping and snoring. I am trying to get through a third course in a required educational offering by and for the Investigative Review Board. It's what everyone must get through in order to be involved in any manner of data collecting in a research study. Each course has modules and this one has a repetitive sixteen. My eyes might be permanently glazed.

However, by happenstance, went to a lecture about two weeks ago from a childhood concentration camp survivor of the "twin studies" carried out by Dr. Mengele at Auschwitz. If she can survive that, surely I can read and test for ethical behavior in research. She lives in Terra Haute, Indiana now. I'll have to find that paperwork and pass on her website and museum information.

Honeyhaired and I went to the art museum yesterday

to see the Gainesborough Modern Woman exhibit and also the wedding gown collection on the other side of the balcony. Always a nice place to go to clear the cobwebs out...

Now trying to decide on dinner. I don't know, salmon? And couscous with some roasted asparagus? Leftover Halloween candy and an old wilted salad in the refridgerator? Both sound tasty.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

Make Each Day Count

by Michael Chitwood

On the way to the memorial service
it started to snow,
blanking our view of the moon's afternoon ghost,
cold clock so white it was blue.

The speakers' voices caught.
They had to pause to continue.
Beneath the lauds,
the talk of deep friendship
and a life well-lived,
we heard the rasp
of the maintenance crew's shovels,
having had to come in on a Saturday.

please note: art by Dan Bush

Friday, November 19, 2010


mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, you know what I'm saying...a tasty Friday night treat.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Don't Worry. Be Happy.

Just wanted to mention I'm still here buzzing around. Worked the weekend. The usual--an undocumented Hispanic worker with traumatic brain injury from head vs baseball bat and a found down X 24hrs with an intracerebral hemorrhage and heroin abuse. Had an early meeting this morning with one of the fire chiefs of a neighboring township to go over survey questions for a study on "near-misses" and I'm trying to read up tonight for a get-together tomorrow with members of a potential research project I might work with--heat stress in fire fighters.

I may be able to get funding to go full-time in the spring, but I still need to work my 36hrs/week and I carry the medical insurance, so I like to wake up at 3 or 4 o'clock in the mornings and see if I can make the puzzle pieces fall into place. So far they have not.

I don't have to go full time, though it would be very, very nice to have tuition paid for. I'm trying to rationalize 15 credit hours as working overtime. ahhhhhhhh, something will work out. Or, not. I'll tell you one thing--it's nice to have options.

HoneyHaired has been working on college applications and CollegeGrrrl is looking at military options once she's out of school and is an RN. Time does move on...
...unless you have a basement full of old magazines and/or watch Mad Men 24/7. Then, it's 1960's 4ever.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday in CinCity

by Patricia Fargnoli

Should the Fox Come Again to My Cabin in the Snow

Then, the winter will have fallen all in white
and the hill will be rising to the north,
the night also rising and leaving,
dawn light just coming in, the fire out.

Down the hill running will come that flame
among the dancing skeletons of the ash trees.
I will leave the door open for him.

please note: art by kjhayler

Friday, November 12, 2010


November, 1967

by Joyce Sutphen

Dr. Zhivago was playing at the Paramount
Theater in St. Cloud. That afternoon,
we went into Russia,

and when we came out, the snow
was falling—the same snow
that fell in Moscow.

The sky had turned black velvet.
We'd been through the Revolution
and the frozen winters.

In the Chevy, we waited for the heater
to melt ice on the windshield,
clapping our hands to keep warm.

On the highway, these two things:
a song from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
and that semi-truck careening by.

Now I travel through the dark without you
and sometimes I turn up the radio, hopeful
the way you were, no matter what.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday in CinCity

Assignment #1: Write a Poem about Baseball and God

by Philip E. Burnham, Jr

And on the ninth day, God
In His infinite playfulness
Grass green grass, sky blue sky,
Separated the infield from the outfield,
Formed a skin of clay,
Assigned bases of safety
On cardinal points of the compass
Circling the mountain of deliverance,
Fashioned a wandering moon
From a horse, a string and a gum tree,
Tempered weapons of ash,
Made gloves from the golden skin of sacrificial bulls,
Set stars alight in the Milky Way,
Divided the descendants of Cain and Abel into contenders,
Declared time out, time in, stepped back,
And thundered over all of creation:
"Play ball!"

Friday, November 5, 2010



by Jeffrey Harrison

It's a gift, this cloudless November morning
warm enough for you to walk without a jacket
along your favorite path. The rhythmic shushing
of your feet through fallen leaves should be
enough to quiet the mind, so it surprises you
when you catch yourself telling off your boss
for a decade of accumulated injustices,
all the things you've never said circling inside you.

It's the rising wind that pulls you out of it,
and you look up to see a cloud of leaves
swirling in sunlight, flickering against the blue
and rising above the treetops, as if the whole day
were sighing, Let it go, let it go,
for this moment at least, let it all go.

Monday, November 1, 2010


by Cindy Gregg

On this first day of November
it is cold as a cave,
the sky the color
of neutral third parties.
I am cutting carrots
for the chicken soup.
Knife against carrot
again and again
sends a plop of pennies
into the pan.
These cents,
when held to the gray light,
hold no noble president,
only stills
of some kaleidoscope
caught being pensive...
and beautiful,
in the eye of this beholder,
who did not expect
this moment of marvel
while making an early supper
for the hungry children.

please note: art by John Atkinson Grimshaw