Monday, February 28, 2011


by Danielle Cadena Deulen

They loved each other, but a lemon tree
grew between them—no solace in the way
it leaned, as if to whisper from her yard

into his, across the coyote fence,
a promise of something greater. The fruit
was a luminous yellow, triumphant

in the branches—at night, he'd stare
at the tree's dim body, almost
indistinguishable from the darkness,

and imagine climbing into the V
of its trunk, swallowing the lemons whole,
his belly full of light. She'd quiver in

her bed, dream of her arms turning to wood,
snakes like ribbon over her radiant
throat, lemons ripe in her hair. They remained

hidden from one another, but gathered
the fallen fruit, rolled them on their bedroom
floors, severed them into halves—radial

as open compasses—ate the brassy
bitterness of their skins. Isn't this how
it would taste: a sour citrus sprinkled

with sugar, salt, the bitter aftertaste of rind?
Or do you place an apple in her hand,
a past sweetness in each crisp bite?

please note: art by Marc Chagall

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

For You, Friend

by Ted Kooser

this Valentine's Day, I intend to stand
for as long as I can on a kitchen stool
and hold back the hands of the clock,
so that wherever you are, you may walk
even more lightly in your loveliness;
so that the weak, mid-February sun
(whose chill I will feel from the face
of the clock) cannot in any way
lessen the lights in your hair, and the wind
(whose subtle insistence I will feel
in the minute hand) cannot tighten
the corners of your smile. People
drearily walking the winter streets
will long remember this day:
how they glanced up to see you
there in a storefront window, glorious,
strolling along on the outside of time.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday in CinCity. Thank You, Mr. Presidents and The Power to the People Edition.

"However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."
GEORGE WASHINGTON, Farewell Address, Sep. 17, 1796

Wisconsin is not the only state where a Republican governor is trying to diminish the voice of the people and create his own oligarchy. It's happening right here in "The Heart of it All." Hubby and I are leaving in a few for a rally at Big Fat University to protest Ohio State Bill 5, a blatant attack on unions in this state. I've worked with and without a union and I can tell you that nurses with a union have a better ability to speak up for patient care issues without fear of employment retaliation. Doesn't mean you don't get the stink-eye and get brought into the office day after day, but it certainly sets clear boundaries. And, to be honest, a grrrl's gotta be somewhere--sitting in an office cooling my heels works for me.

Madison, Wisconsin

Columbus, Ohio

More to follow, unless my eyes are too watery from the teargas...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Art Sanctuary

by Nikki Giovanni

I would always choose to be the person running
rather than the mob chasing
I would prefer to be the person laughed at
rather than the teenagers laughing
I always admired the men and women who sat down
for their rights
And held in disdain the men and women who spat
on them
Everyone deserves Sanctuary a place to go where you are
Art offers Sanctuary to everyone willing
to open their hearts as well as their eyes

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wednesday Night Waltz

Hump Day here in CinCity, though for me Tuesday and Wednesday have become my two days off and so more like a weekend. That is if you went to classes on the weekend. But, whatever, they're two days that I'm not wearing scrubs and peering into unsuspecting folks' eyes with a bright light looking for a little pupillary action. Up at the literal crack of dawn to drive the grrrrls on the street to their future alma mater. Since it's not freezing I don't mind the morning drive. The sky is a beautiful patchwork of indigo and the school's golden dome glows from blocks away. It's really quite handsome.

I mostly have reading to do today. No discussion boards which I think take up a lot of time, although one can do the discussing in PJ's with the radio on in the background and a hubby explaining some important opinion concerning a piece of news, so there is that. Tomorrow I meet with the heat stress study group to go over the results of last year's live fire drill with the fire chief of Sycamore Township. A co-worker friend is filling in for me at work so I can miss the first couple of hours at the hospital. She's actually married to a firefighter so perhaps something we learn will be of benefit for her family.

Work has been busy with all beds filled and patients waiting for the next available one. Chemical explosion, lots of slips and falls, and a "found down" after 5 days. He had family who thought they were communicating with him on FaceBook, only to find out a friend was using his account. There's your next Law and Order episode. He's what we call in this business a "train wreck" and the family is completely and overwhelmingly devastated.

We spent yesterday afternoon at City Hall sitting through a city council meeting where a resolution was passed to support the Clifton community in reopening our beloved grocery store. Thursday a group is going up to Columbus to meet with the governor. Stay tuned for breaking news.

Here's a little something to get you through the mid-week fatigue. I do love to waltz. And, I do love me some Bubba.


by Marjorie Pickthallby

Now in the West the slender moon lies low,
And now Orion glimmers through the trees,
Clearing the earth with even pace and slow,
And now the stately-moving Pleiades,
In that soft infinite darkness overhead
Hang jewel-wise upon a silver thread.

And all the lonelier stars that have their place,
Calm lamps within the distant southern sky,
And planet-dust upon the edge of space,
Look down upon the fretful world, and I
Look up to outer vastness unafraid
And see the stars which sang when earth was made.

please note: photo of school by Cincinnati Daily Photo

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday in CinCity

"The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve;
Lovers, to bed; 'tis almost fairy time."
--William Shakespeare, MidSummer's Night's Dream

Woke up before dawn to drink coffee and work on school stuff. This week the effects of Methylene Chloride (try to avoid) and Baker's Asthma from flour dust(who knew??) Next on the list, fighting with my computer to attach documents required by the IRB site in order to modify a firefighter study protocol. The computer technology is what gives me the biggest blues. I like my attachments to have color coded paper clips and to fit in my grubby little hands.

During the last two days of work at Big Fat Teaching Hospital I saw the usual share of hope and futility. We got a transfer from a smaller community hospital across the way; a large stroke treated successfully with TPA, the "clot buster." This gentleman has no deficits from the stroke and hopefully will not have a subsequent bleeding injury. Nice man who starts each day walking around his yard refilling the bird feeders. He has lifted the spirits of both the ER staffs who cared for him because this kind of success is why they keep coming in every day.

However...a bit of a break today. Ballet is performing A MidSummer's Night's Dream and HoneyHaired and I will actually get out of our pajama pants to sit in the theater to see it. Neither of us plan on having one studious thought in our head.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I Saw the Sun Shine--There Surely is an End to Winter!!!


Paisley Rekdal

I have been taught never to brag but now
I cannot help it: I keep
a beautiful garden, all abundance,
indiscriminate, pulling itself
from the stubborn earth. Does it offend you
to watch me working in it,
touching my hands to the greening tips or
tearing the yellow stalks back, so wild
the living and the dead both
snap off in my hands?
The neighbor with his stuttering
fingers, the neighbor with his broken
love: each comes up my drive
to receive his pitying,
accustomed consolations, watches me
work in silence a while, rises in anger,
walks back. Does it offend them to watch me
not mourning with them but working
fitfully, fruitlessly, working
the way the bees work, which is to say
by instinct alone, which looks
like pleasure? I can stand for hours among
the sweet narcissus, silent as a point of bone.
I can wait longer than sadness. I can wait longer
than your grief. It is such a small thing
to be proud of, this garden. Today
there were scrub jays, quail,
a woodpecker knocking at the white
and black shapes of trees, and someone's lost rabbit
scratching under the barberry: Is it
indiscriminate? Should it shrink back, wither,
and expurgate? Should I, too, not be loved?
It is only a little time, a little space.
Why not watch the grasses take up their colors in a rush
like a stream of kerosene being lit?
If I could not have made this garden beautiful
I wouldn't understand your suffering,
nor care for each the same, inflamed way.
I would have to stay only like the bees,
beyond consciousness, beyond self-
reproach, fingers dug down hard
into stone, growing nothing.
There is no end to ego,
with its museum of disappointments.
I want to take my neighbors into the garden
and show them: Here is consolation.
Here is your pity. Look how much seed it drops
around the sparrows as they fight.
It lives despite their misery.
It glows each evening with a violent light.

please note: art by Claude Monet

Monday, February 7, 2011

Some Days It's Hard ToTell Up from Down

It's dark when I leave for work in the morning. It's dark when I drive home, and when I get to glance out the windows it's nothing but grey.

I can't sleep all the way through the night. I wake up and think about everything I have to get done. Two studies involving firefighters, flour dust and baker's asthma, and job hazard analysis. And, I'm intimidated by our scanner.

Maybe a little a cup of Sleepytime Tea will do the trick tonight and I can sleep past three...

An Early Start in Midwinter

by Robyn Sarah

The freeze is on. At six a scattering
of sickly lights shine pale in kitchen windows.
Thermostats are adjusted. Furnaces
blast on with a whoosh. And day
rumbles up out of cellars to the tune
of bacon spitting in a greasy pan.

Scrape your nail along the window-pane,
shave off a curl of frost. Or press your thumb
against the film of white to melt an eye
onto the fire escape. All night
pipes ticked and grumbled like sore bones.
The tap runs rust over your chapped hands.

Sweep last night's toast-crumbs off the tablecloth.
Puncture your egg-yolk with a prong of fork
so gold runs over the white. And sip
your coffee scalding hot. The radio
says you are out ahead, with time to spare.
Your clothes are waiting folded on the chair.

This is your hour to dream. The radio
says that the freeze is on, and may go on
weeks without end. You barely hear the warning.
Dreaming of orange and red, the hot-tongued flowers
that winter sunrise mimics, you go out
in the dark. And zero floats you into morning.

please note: photo from Detroit in Ruins by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

High Flight

by John Gillespie Magee, Jr

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air....

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.