Showing posts from 2011

Saturday in CinCity. The Last One in 2011, Thank Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.

with many thanks to Debra Heller Bures from whence I reallocated these bits of wisdom!!

and I'll add one more of my own...

Love. All ways.

Saturday in CinCity. The Waiting and Hoping and Wishing and Praying Edition.

One Christmas was so much like another, in those years around the sea-town corner now and out of all sound except the distant speaking of the voices I sometimes hear a moment before sleep, that I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six.

A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

TGIF. The Two Days Before Christmas Edition.

Dewey's pizza and a movie with hubby and the girls. 'Cause nothing says Christmas like watching a hot mess ruin a perfectly lovely family occasion, or as we say in my family, "Merry Damn Christmas!!" (apologies to those of you who did not grow up with alcoholics)

Because Once There Was Patsy Cline

A woman in the Playhouse audience last night asked the sound check man if the lead, Carter Calvert, had an understudy and he said no, ma'am I don't believe she does. I'd been thinking I didn't know how she could given the actress's voice and her seamless fit into the role, but as I Googled for a video or a photo I found different productions and actresses. Amazing that there are so many talented people in the world and bless them all. If I could just sing on-key for the length of a song I'd be happy. If this show ever comes to your town or close by it's worth the dressing up and stepping out. Beware though, Patsy makes today's radio pop music sound a bit tarnished and thin.

A Wife Explains Why She Likes Country

by Barbara Ras

Because those cows in the bottomland are black and white, colors

anyone can understand, even against the green

of the grass, where they glide like yes and no, nothing in between,

because in country, heartache has nowhere to hide,


"It Was Twenty Years Ago Today..."


and now...

Tuesday in CinCity. The Five Days Before Christmas Edition.

Lilac Sunday

by Diana Der-Hovanessian

Let us agree to meet

here some winter

when the park

gates are locked,

and the arches thinned

of their vaulting green

to climb the wall,

thaw the icicles

and watch the rain

like flowering

cherry and lilacs

that kissed your hair;

some winter

when the fog is heavy,—

to return to this light.

Neither I nor CinCity have fallen off the edge of the world, though I can't say with certainty what I've been doing. I'm sure that driving aimlessly around the town was involved.

Biggest news is that CollegeGrrrl had her nursing pinning and graduated this past Saturday and Sunday.

Lovely day and lots of proud parents and families
filling the auditorium. Some of the graduating nurses were pinned by their children and/or their grandparents
--always a tearjerker. Not that I needed any prompting.

I remembered the night before we left for CollegeTown that we had a dog to care for, and no plans made. He stayed with the new graduate and her roomie and he'…

TGIF. The And How We Love It...Edition

Those visits home, the way the young

by Marianne Boruch

Those visits home, the way the young

come back and still follow you around

or find you on the bed reading

or writing, to lie down at an angle or

sit cross-legged. No secret between you,

not even trouble quite though

it isn't ordinary, the way the world unravels

through them: what he said, what she

never, who traveled where, that things—

how exactly—splinter and break

and cut. It trails off then. Both of you,

which one to speak but thinking

better of it. And the book is just a prop,

what you were writing perfectly weightless

in this silence. Child, oh fully no longer,

out there tangling, untangling.

Used Book

by Julie Kane

What luck—an open bookstore up ahead

as rain lashed awnings over Royal Street,

and then to find the books were secondhand,

with one whole wall assigned to poetry;

and then, as if that wasn't luck enough,

to find, between Jarrell and Weldon Kees,

the blue-on-cream, familiar backbone of

my chapbook, out of print since '83—

its cover very slightly coffee-stained,

but aging (all in all) no worse than flesh

though all those cycles of the seasons since

its publication by a London press.

Then, out of luck, I read the name inside:

The man I thought would love me till I died.

Wednesday in CinCity. The Fairy Tales Can Come True Edition.

I don't know if anyone else out there has become obsessed with been watching the new ABC show, OnceUpon a Time, but I cannot wait for it to come on every week have found it interesting and entertaining. Full disclosure, still a fan of LOST. And, huge fan of fairy tales. Although, it does make me wonder a bit about Jungian archetypes and Joseph Campbell's work on The Myth of the Hero and how in our rather disjointed, but more globally connected world do we unearth ancient sources of meaning and guidance? Mostly though, I like a good fairy tale, especially the old-fashioned Grimm ones that didn't pull any punches or bedazzle-up their messages. I like my trolls to look like trolls.

The sun is shining here and it's not raining; big change from the last couple of days. I've got the hospital's biannual ACLS to study for so that means I'll find some more things around the house that must be dealt with today--old magazines? Must be skimmed through and tossed. Pile…

Snow Has Been Seen.

The White

by Patricia Hampl

These are the moments

before snow, whole weeks before.

The rehearsals of milky November,

cloud constructions

when a warm day

lowers a drift of light

through the leafless angles

of the trees lining the streets.

Green is gone,

gold is gone.

The blue sky is

the clairvoyance of snow.

There is night

and a moon

but these facts

force the hand of the season:

from that black sky

the real and cold white

will begin to emerge.

please note: photo by Drew Sanborn

TGIM. My Day of Rest Edition.

Counting Sheep

by Linda Pastan

Counting sheep, the scientists suggested, may simply be too boring to

do for very long, while images of a soothing shoreline ... are engrossing

enough to concentrate on.

—The New York Times

When I reach

a thousand

I start to notice

how the eyes

of one ewe are wide,

as if with worry

about her lamb

or how cold

the flock will be

after the shearing.

At a thousand fifty

I notice a ram

pushing up against

a soft and curly female,

and for a moment

I'm distracted by errant

images of sex.

It is difficult

to keep so many sheep

in line for counting—

they are not a parade

but more like a roiling

sea of whitecaps,

which makes me think

of the shore—

of all those boring

grains of sand

to keep track of

as they slip

through the fingers,

of all the dangers

of sunstroke,

riptide, jellyfish.

The scientists fall

asleep lulled

by equations,

by dreams

of experiments,

and I fall asleep

at last by

counting them:

biologists and


Gobble. Gobble.

Must have been a slow news day in CinCity today, verrrrry slow since they actually came to interview us this afternoon. If you happen to watch the video I'm in the background--the woman in red. Red scrubs before I got peed on and changed. Hey, just one of those days :>)

Working on Thanksgiving? Who's complaining?

"...That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory called Camelot."


by Jorie Graham

(St. Laurent Sur Mer, June 5, 2009)

Sometimes the day

light winces

behind you and it is

a great treasure in this case today a man on

a horse in calm full

gallop on Omaha over my

left shoulder coming on

fast but

calm not audible to me at all until I turned back my

head for no

reason as if what lies behind

one had whispered

what can I do for you today and I had just

turned to

answer and the answer to my

answer flooded from the front with the late sun he/they

were driving into—gleaming—

wet chest and upraised knees and

light-struck hooves and thrust-out even breathing of the great

beast—from just behind me,

passing me—the rider looking straight

ahead and yet

smiling without looking at me as I smiled as we

both smiled for the young

animal, my feet in the

breaking wave-edge, his hooves returning, as they begin to pass


to the edge of the furling

break, each tossed-up flake of

ocean offered into the reddish

luminosity—sparks—as they made their way,

boring through …


by Mary Mackey

One November

a week before Thanksgiving

the Ohio river froze

and my great uncles

put on their coats

and drove the turkeys

across the ice

to Rosiclare

where they sold them

for enough to buy

my grandmother

a Christmas doll

with blue china eyes

I like to think

of the sound of

two hundred turkey feet

running across to Illinois

on their way

to the platter

the scrape of their nails

and my great uncles

in their homespun leggings

calling out gee and haw and git

to them as if they

were mules

I like to think of the Ohio

at that moment

the clear cold sky

the green river sleeping

under the ice

before the land got stripped

and the farm got sold

and the water turned the color

of whiskey

and all the uncles

lay down

and never got up again

I like to think of the world

before some genius invented

turkeys with pop-up plastic


in their breasts

idiot birds

with no wildness left in them

turkeys that couldn't run the river

to save their souls

Sunday in CinCity. The Deja Vu Edition.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Amendment One of the Constitution of the United States of America

Excerpt from January 28, 2011, Remarks by President Obama on the Situation in Egypt:

"The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere."




with a thanks to Debra & From Skilled Hands for President Obama's quote

Voices on Jukebox Wax

by Walt McDonald

Pulling our Stetsons low, we whispered songs

to sweethearts who clung so close we danced

in slow motion, heartache of steel guitars,

vows we swore with our bones. Their hair was the air

for an hour. We breathed and held them close,

ignoring the war for the night, voices

on jukebox wax winding around like a rope.

One week we kissed them hard and rode off,

swearing we'd bring back silk and souvenirs.

Long after a war no one we cared for

survived without scars, Earl and I are here

with wives as old as country songs and guitars,

our children older than all of us that fall.

Don's a name on the wall in Washington.

I hear his name sometimes in questions

at class reunions. I haven't heard from Carl.

The White

by Patricia Hampl

These are the moments

before snow, whole weeks before.

The rehearsals of milky November,

cloud constructions

when a warm day

lowers a drift of light

through the leafless angles

of the trees lining the streets.

Green is gone,

gold is gone.

The blue sky is

the clairvoyance of snow.

There is night

and a moon

but these facts

force the hand of the season:

from that black sky

the real and cold white

will begin to emerge.

Chapter 1. Mrs. Whatsit

It was a dark and stormy night.

In her attic bedroom Margaret Murry, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat at the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. Behind the trees clouds scudded frantically across the sky. Every few moments the moon ripped through them, creating wraith-like shadows that raced along the ground.

The house shook.

excerpt from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

please note: photo by StrawberryFields1967

Third Charm from Masque of Queens

by Ben Jonson

The owl is abroad, the bat, and the toad,

And so is the cat-a-mountain,

The ant and the mole sit both in a hole,

And the frog peeps out o' the fountain;

The dogs they do bay, and the timbrels play,

The spindle is now a turning;

The moon it is red, and the stars are fled,

But all the sky is a-burning:

The ditch is made, and our nails the spade,

With pictures full, of wax and of wool;

Their livers I stick, with needles quick;

There lacks but the blood, to make up the flood.

Quickly, Dame, then bring your part in,

Spur, spur upon little Martin,

Merrily, merrily, make him fail,

A worm in his mouth, and a thorn in his tail,

Fire above, and fire below,

With a whip in your hand, to make him go.

please note: photo by Gigi De Carlo

Sunday in CinCity

Many, many years ago when I was a young nurse we had a patient who was admitted frequently after being picked up by the police for sleeping in the park. His name, which we will agree on as James, could begin an avalanche of moaning and itching among the ICU staff as he almost always came in with lice and was definitely always very determined to get his own way. I loved James. I don't know why. But, I did and we got along. He made me laugh. It floored me that he would come in as the poster child for A Hot Damn Mess and we would work hard to clean him and patch him up only for him to leave AMA and refuse to leave until we gave him clothes. We had "stolen"his. The man still had moxie.

I met his brother once, towards the end--a dentist from one of the suburbs where they had both grown up. James "had some kind of break" and left the circle of his family to become one of the faceless and homeless men who wander through our city. It was because of James that I met Bu…


When the War is Over

by W. S. Merwin

When the war is over

We will be proud of course the air will be

Good for breathing at last

The water will have been improved the salmon

And the silence of heaven will migrate more perfectly

The dead will think the living are worth it we will know

Who we are

And we will all enlist again

please note: photo of  a team of C-STARS( The Air Force's Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills) and a heartfelt thank you to all our veterans.

November Rain

by Linda Pastan

How separate we are

under our black umbrellas—dark

planets in our own small orbits,

hiding from this wet assault

of weather as if water

would violate the skin,

as if these raised silk canopies

could protect us

from whatever is coming next—

December with its white

enamel surfaces; the numbing

silences of winter.

From above we must look

like a family of bats—

ribbed wings spread

against the rain,

swooping towards any

makeshift shelter.

Sunday in CinCity. The Am I Just Standing Here Talking to Myself Edition.

Reusing Words

by Hal Sirowitz

Don't think you know everything,

Father said, just because you're good

with words. They aren't everything.

I try to say the smallest amount possible.

Instead of using them indiscriminately

I try to conserve them. I'm the only one

in this household who recycles them. I

say the same thing over & over again,

like "Who forgot to turn out the lights?

Who forgot to clean up after themselves

in the bathroom?" Since you don't listen

I never have to think of other things to say.

Wednesday in CinCity. The Thanks for Sharing the Cold from Hell Edition.

In Praise of the Great Bull Walrus

by Alden Nowlan

I wouldn't like to be one

of the walrus people

for the rest of my life

but I wish I could spend

one sunny afternoon

lying on the rocks with them.

I suspect it would be similar

to drinking beer in a tavern

that caters to longshoremen

and won't admit women.

We'd exchange no

cosmic secrets. I'd merely say,

"How yuh doin' you big old walrus?"

and the nearest of

the walrus people

would answer,

"Me? I'm doin' great.

How yuh doin' yourself,

you big old human being, you?"

How good it is to share

the earth with such creatures

and how unthinkable it would have been

to have missed all this

by not being born:

a happy thought, that,

for not being born is

the only tragedy

that we can imagine

but need never fear.

Not Your Children's Vampire

excerpt from Dracula by Bram Stoker

Hitherto I had noticed the backs of his hands as they lay on his knees in the firelight, and they had seemed rather white and fine. But seeing them now close to me, I could not but notice that they were rather coarse, broad, with squat fingers. Strange to say, there were hairs in the centre of the palm. The nails were long and fine, and cut to a sharp point. As the Count leaned over me and his hands touched me, I could not repress a shudder. It may have been that his breath was rank, but a horrible feeling of nausea came over me, which, do what I would, I could not conceal.

The Count, evidently noticing it, drew back. And with a grim sort of smile, which showed more than he had yet done his protruberant teeth, sat himself down again on his own side of the fireplace. We were both silent for a while, and as I looked towards the window I saw the first dim streak of the coming dawn. There seemed a strange stillness over everything. But as I listened, I…

Saturday in CinCity. The Ghost Story Edition.


"...cause sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead." Poor Giselle, if only she'd had an IPod to listen to the wisdom of Adele or read some poetry.

Sometimes, I Am Startled Out of Myself

by Barbara Crooker

like this morning, when the wild geese came squawking,

flapping their rusty hinges, and something about their trek

across the sky made me think about my life, the places

of brokenness, the places of sorrow, the places where grief

has strung me out to dry. And then the geese come calling,

the leader falling back when tired, another taking her place.

Hope is borne on wings. Look at the trees. They turn to gold

for a brief while, then lose it all each November.

Through the cold months, they stand, take the worst

weather has to offer. And still, they put out shy green leaves

come April, come May. The geese glide over the cornfields,

land on the pond with its sedges and reeds.

You do not have to be wise. Even a goose knows how to find

shelter, wh…

A Cat's Life

by David R. Slavitt

Her repertoire is limited but fulfilling,

with two preoccupations, or three, perhaps,

if you include the taking of many naps:

otherwise she is snuggling or killing.

On the Wards

by Rafael Campo

I pass you in a hurry, on my way

to where another woman who I know

is dying of a stroke that in the end

is nothing worse than what is killing you.

Same gurney, same bruised arms and mute IV—

you wait for what might be a final test.

It's something in the way you look at me

that makes me realize you have your own

mistakes you think you're paying for, your own

ungrateful kids, your own unspeakable

pain. Yet you look at me, still desperate

for just another human being to

look kindly back at you, to recognize

in you the end is not far off, is not

so unimaginable. Years ago

I watched a patient of mine say goodbye

to life. She was alone like you, alone

like me, she was in agony. She looked

at me, and I, afraid to be the last

thing here on Earth she saw, twisted my head

to look away. I almost do the same

to you, afraid you might imagine me

as later you lay dying, but I don't.

Instead, I look at you remorselessly,

the way I hope that someday I…

Almost TGIF


fare thee well, fireflies...

A Lover

by Amy Lowell

If I could catch the green lantern of the firefly

I could see to write you a letter.

Saturday in CinCity. The Full Moon and the Neuro Unit Edition.

Letter from a Mental Hospital

by Kim Lozano

From the heart of an old box of letters

I lift a small water-stained envelope.

Inside, a note card as thin and brittle as a frozen leaf

bears a message written fifty years ago

by a woman who shares my name.

She delivers no greeting, no sorry to have been away so long.

She leaves no record of visitors, rationed cigarettes,

group art, or the barren iceberg of treatment.

I imagine her listening to the ping of the radiator

on a snowy morning, seated in her nightgown and socks

by an open window. A bell rings in the hallway

but she doesn't move toward her robe or her slippers or her brush.

I see myself sitting beside her, reaching

toward her dull pencil to place my fingers over hers,

hand on hand, gliding over the words, moving

like two skaters on a lake tracing the solitary line—

Please come get me.

Wednesday in CinCity

It was a grrrl's weekend at the lake. Pizza, beer, thrift store shopping, farmers' markets and girltalk. A nice break for all of us and a new way to reconfigure ourselves with 2 girls growing up, up, and away. CollegeGrrrl shadowed at BigFatTeaching Hospital, first in the Burns unit, then with me. That was fun to have her there and explain some of the details about nursing that can't be learned till you're in the thick of it and equipment that makes much more sense in person than in a lecture.

HoneyHaired--our new collegegrrrl--made up for lost sleep. You'd think there was a magical sleeping potion in the backseat of the car.

But, they're off and running again. Hubby is off working at winterizing the place before the season passes. I'm here on a day off with the remaining animal boys who could also sleep all day and night and then some. Must pull myself away quickly. I'm convinced they release some pherome that entices all humans around them to nap the…

Living Things

by Anne Porter

Our poems

Are like the wart-hogs

In the zoo

It's hard to say

Why there should be such creatures

But once our life gets into them

As sometimes happens

Our poems

Turn into living things

And there's no arguing

With living things

They are

The way they are

Our poems

May be rough

Or delicate


Or great

But always

They have inside them

A confluence of cries

And secret languages

And always

They are improvident

And free

They keep

A kind of Sabbath

They play

On sooty fire escapes

And window ledges

They wander in and out

Of jails and gardens

They sparkle

In the deep mines

They sing

In breaking waves

And rock like wooden cradles.

Tomorrow, Today, and Yesterday

by Jane Piirto

the 3-year-old, wanting to know what day

it is asks everyday what day it is

we tell her Tuesday or Saturday etcetera

then she asks what day it will be

tomorrow and we go through the naming

of tomorrows in order

chanting the future like a litany

tomorrow is when she wakes up

in the morning and when we tell her

we'll go shopping tomorrow she

remembers yesterday and informs us

that it is tomorrow that today is

yesterday that therefore the time is

always now to do what we plan to do


please note: photo by Donncha O Caoimh

September Visitors

by David Budbill

I'm glad to see our friends come:

talk, laughter, food, wine.

I'm glad to see our friends go:

solitude, emptiness, gardens,

autumn wind.

please note: art by Claude Monet

Saturday in CinCity

Acquainted with the Night

by Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.

I have walked out in rain—and back in rain.

I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.

I have passed by the watchman on his beat

And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet

When far away an interrupted cry

Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;

And further still at an unearthly height,

One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right

I have been one acquainted with the night.

Girls Overheard While Assembling a Puzzle

by Mary Szybist

Are you sure this blue is the same as the

blue over there? This wall's like the

bottom of a pool, its

color I mean. I need a

darker two-piece this summer, the kind with

elastic at the waist so it actually

fits. I can't

find her hands. Where does this gold

go? It's like the angel's giving

her a little piece of honeycomb to eat.

I don't see why God doesn't

just come down and

kiss her himself. This is the red of that

lipstick we saw at the

mall. This piece of her

neck could fit into the light part

of the sky. I think this is a

piece of water. What kind of

queen? You mean

right here? And are we supposed to believe

she can suddenly

talk angel? Who thought this stuff

up? I wish I had a

velvet bikini. That flower's the color of the

veins in my grandmother's hands. I

wish we could

walk into that garden and pick an

X-ray to float on.

Yeah. I do too. I'd say a

zillion yeses to anyone for that.

They Accuse Me of Not Talking

by Hayden Carruth

North people known for silence. Long

dark of winter. Norrland families go

months without talking, Eskimos also,

except bursts of sporadic eerie song.

South people different. Right and wrong

all crystal there and they squabble, no

fears, though they praise north silence. "Ho,"

they say, "look at them deep thinkers, them strong

philosophical types, men of peace."

But take notice please of what happens. Winter on the brain.

You're literate, so words are what you feel.

Then you're struck dumb. To which love can you speak

the words that mean dying and going insane

and the relentless futility of the real?

Wednesday in CinCity

A lot's gone on this summer and I haven't much felt like reading poetry or posting it. It's one of the many things I just can't seem to wrap my head around. Much like my To-Do list which I normally love as I can check things off and use differentcoloredmarkers. I don't have much attention for reading. Don't want to go out and listen to music. Don't feel like pilates. I cook. I work. I could walk and walk and walk and walk and walk some more. Thinking about starting back to a dance class. Could happen. I separate piles of clothes and books to go into various baskets and out of the house.

I realize this will pass. There is a season for grief. It doesn't last forever. I would like a stop date to mark on the calendar, but I know it will come. Until then, I am grateful for small pleasures. Bridesmaids came out on DVD yesterday. Modern Family starts again tonight.

Funny helps.

“But then fall comes,...

kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September, it stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.”

― Stephen King, Salem's Lot

To a Daughter Leaving Home

by Linda Pastan

When I taught you

at eight to ride

a bicycle, loping along

beside you

as you wobbled away

on two round wheels,

my own mouth rounding

in surprise when you pulled

ahead down the curved

path of the park,

I kept waiting

for the thud

of your crash as I

sprinted to catch up,

while you grew

smaller, more breakable

with distance,

pumping, pumping

for your life, screaming

with laughter,

the hair flapping

behind you like a

handkerchief waving