Showing posts from January, 2011

Sunday in CinCity. The Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself Edition.

Sometimes the Air Surrounding Me Is Sudden with Flowers

by Ander Monson

In the busy machine of the emergency room,
I talk with a man whose face is barely face,
is mostly laceration—accident-remnant
while driving his sister's car
that he stole while drunk and drove and totaled.

He's glad he didn't kill someone, he says.

We are surrounded by: black eyes,
blood blisters, broken legs,
bruises in the shapes of circus animals,
a variety of burns.

Eight people
have something protruding from their feet—
fish hook, glass slab, syringe, syringe,
staples (22—!), bolt, real big nail, syringe.

At least there are no knives in eyes
or gunshot wounds as far as I can see.

We watch E.R. on the television above us.

They are always resuscitating someone.

The crowd cheers when this happens.

A man with a fissure in his arm
all the way down to the bone
sits next to me. This patient
is far more patient than I'd imagine,
considering the bleeding. I ask him if it hurts
and he says sure, what doesn…

Zero Holding

by Robyn Sarah

I grow to like the bare
trees and the snow, the bones and fur
of winter. Even the greyness
of the nunneries, they are so grey,
walled all around with grey stones —
and the snow piled up on ledges
of wall and sill, those grey
planes for holding snow: this is how
it will be, months now, all so still,
sunk in itself, only the cold alive,
vibrant, like a wire — and all the
busy chimneys — their ghost-breath,
a rumour of lives warmed within,
rising, rising, and blowing away.

please note: photo art by Patti Hinton

Somewhere in the World

by Linda Pastan

Somewhere in the world
something is happening
which will make its slow way here.

A cold front will come to destroy
the camellias, or perhaps it will be
a heat wave to scorch them.

A virus will move without passport
or papers to find me as I shake
a hand or kiss a cheek.

Somewhere a small quarrel
has begun, a few overheated words
ignite a conflagration,

and the smell of smoke
is on its way;
the smell of war.

Wherever I go I knock on wood—
on tabletops or tree trunks.
I rinse my hands over and over again;

I scan the newspapers
and invent alarm codes which are not
my husband's birthdate or my own.

But somewhere something is happening
against which there is no planning, only
those two aging conspirators, Hope and Luck.

Three Perfect Days

by Linda Pastan

In the middle seat of an airplane,
between an overweight woman
whose arm takes over the armrest
and a man immersed in his computer game,

I am reading the inflight magazine
about three perfect days somewhere: Kyoto
this time, but it could be anywhere—
Madagascar or one of the Virgin Islands.

There is always the perfect hotel
where at breakfast the waiter smiles
as he serves an egg as perfectly coddled
as a Spanish Infanta.

There are walks over perfect bridges—their spans
defying physics—and visits to zoos
where rain is forbidden,
and no small child is ever bored or crying.

I would settle now for just one perfect day
anywhere at all, a day without
mosquitoes, or traffic, or newspapers
with their headlines.

A day without any kind of turbulence—
certainly not this kind, as the pilot tells us
to fasten our seatbelts, and even
the flight attendants look nervous.

Saturday in CinCity

Our local grocery store is closed due to financial troubles and, though it sounds a bit melodramatic, I am heartbroken. Our entire neighborhood has been taken by surprise and the effect is more than the loss of a convenience. Many neighbors here don't drive so a local grocer is a necessity for them. We have two blind neighbors in Clifton. They could call ahead with their orders. At times the food was delivered or ready for pickup or an employee would walk with them through the store picking out items.

More than that for me, I would see my neighbors there and find out the scuttlebutt of the week, solve the political problems of the city, see old friends from the days when my grrrls were in grade school and on soccer teams, and talk to the firefighters from the station house next door. Sold our pickup truck to police officer Wilson, who moonlighted there, and admired Detective Meyers' grandbaby photos--his daughter worked in my unit at BigFatTeaching Hospital. We've been to…

Still Life

by Tony Hoagland

"I'm sorry,"
the novelist apologized—
"my story has a beginning,
middle and an end." Then she commenced
her explication of

the tapestry hanging on the wall.
Usually these large, time-faded rectangles
of textile
woven in the fourteenth century
depict some martial glory; two armies
bivouacked on a plain
beneath the fluttering pennants of their lords;
knights galloping on horseback, a sky
crisscrossed by arrows.

Or sometimes, a damsel and her maids are
picking flowers in a glen
while from the left, the fiend
disguised as an old peddler
approaches on a mule—

But in this case, a construction site
is what we get—
giant yellow bulldozers
and dirty trucks
arrayed around a squared-off hole
of scraped-out, reddish dirt—

Down in the pit, the foreman
is shouting into a shoe-box sized, old-fashioned

Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King, and thank you.

please note: photo of stairs by Stu Worrall

A Boat

by Richard Brautigan

O beautiful
was the werewolf
in his evil forest.
We took him
to the carnival
and he started
when he saw
the Ferris wheel.
green and red tears
flowed down
his furry cheeks.
He looked
like a boat
out on the dark

City Scene in Snow

by Jonathan Greene

After sledding in the park's deep snow,
the two sons refuse to walk home.
The weary father trudges along
pulling them home
in the sparsely trafficked streets
snow still falling.

At times the kids fall off, laughing,
not wanting the day to end.


Hushed streets except for the
rumble of the subway.

Out of the corner of his eye
the father spies Orpheus

with guitar case, descending
the dark steps, off to reclaim lost love.

Good Workers

by Gary Johnson

Let us praise good workers (you know who you are)
Who come gladly to the job and do what you can
For as long as it takes to repair the car
Or clean the house – the woman or man
Who dives in and works steadily straight through,
Not lagging and letting others carry the freight,
Who joke around but do what you need to do,
Like the home caregiver who comes daily at eight
A.m. to wash and dress the man in the wheelchair
And bring him meals and put him to bed at night
For minimum wage and stroke his pale brown hair.
He needs you. "Are you all right?" "I'm, all right,"
He says. He needs you to give him these good days,
You good worker. God's own angels sing your

Sunday In CinCity. The Rabbi, the Priest and the Belly Dancer Edition.

Happy Hour

by Bob Hicok

A rabbi, priest, and belly dancer walk into a bar.
Everyone turns their way, recognizing a joke
when they're in one. The belly dancer, for all the swivel
in her hips, is modest, and asks the rabbi and priest
to go to another bar, but the rabbi and priest agree
that whatever bar they enter, they'll face the expectation
of a punch line. By the time they order beers,
people have gathered as they would around a burning house.
The priest wants to explain to the crowd that he
and the rabbi take belly-dancing lessons for their health.
The rabbi only knows one joke, a knock-knock joke
about a bris that isn't funny: snip who? snip you.
The belly dancer's also a black belt. This skill
combines with her agoraphobia in a sudden burst
of wounding. Someone calls the cops. An Irish cop,
a crooked cop, and a blind cop walk into a bar.
The blind cop says to the crooked cop, ''I'm into the theory
but not the practice of roosters." Everyone laughs

Saturday in CinCity

Saturday mornings used to include a writing workshop class at 9am. Eventually I decided to stop going due to my slowness of creative outbursts. I'm more of a poetry writing gal--I like to get down to the gist of it without all the extraneous wordage. Though truthfully, that could actually be just sheer laziness on my part. I couldn't nag my muse to create a new poem every week and I may or may not have found that exquisite and one perfect word for which I was desperately searching the past seven days between classes. In my mind that makes for a slow and unusual punishment for the rest of the group. There was one woman, though, who, no matter what I wrote would tell me, "You have too many words in this poem." Always reminded me of Amadeus. Always.

Every. Single. Time.

Now that I'm back in school my right brain is in a continual spasm. Creative writing seems like an eon ago. However, I have the pleasure of introducing you to two of my friends from writing workshop--

The Home

Herbert Morris

I am wearing a pale silk lounging robe
the color of lake water glimpsed at dusk,
relic, it may be, of a life before this
of which no recollection, none whatever,
has survived, the sash once girdling the waist

confiscated the day I entered (laces,
ropes, belts: potential self-inflicted weapons),
wandering the corridors of The Home,
medallions of a previous campaign,
few but sterling, fastened to a lapel.

Outside, some trees bear the indignities
of the years of a long life—weather burn,
sun scald, leaf canker, trunk scars, root mold, rot—
with a degree of patience and composure
utterly moving, wholly to be envied.

Visitors, in winter, are few, if any.
The drive takes long, lies far; most of the maps,
whether by inadvertence or design,
have routes misplaced, or landscapes rearranged,
or roads which should lead somewhere leading nowhere,

turning back on themselves, ending in woods,
thwarted at that point a road should begin,
a chaos of unspeakable proportions,…

New Year's Eve

We, through a serendipitous stroll in our neighborhood yesterday night, found ourselves in front of a restaurant we'd not been able to try. La Poste. It was late. We'd just left a bar with a good sounding band, but loud, and we'd started walking towards home listening to the revelries on the street and watching the young girls walking in their sky high heels.

La Poste was having quite a posh five course meal tasting and we happened to stop in at the right time after all their reservations had been seated and we could pick off the night's menu. The food was amazing. Hubby had duck breast and I had mushroom ravioli, but those words don't do justice to the food.

And so, by luck and happenstance we found ourselves in the midst of friendly faces and kind souls with a glass of champagne and chocolate mousse at midnight. It was a good night.

After Our Wedding
by Yehoshua Nobember

When you forgot the address of our hotel
in your suitcase,
the driver had to pull over
in front of …