Showing posts from July, 2011

Saturday in CinCity

Phone Therapy

by Ellen Bass

I was relief, once, for a doctor on vacation

and got a call from a man on a window sill.

This was New York, a dozen stories up.

He was going to kill himself, he said.

I said everything I could think of.

And when nothing worked, when the guy

was still determined to slide out that window

and smash his delicate skull

on the indifferent sidewalk, "Do you think,"

I asked, "you could just postpone it

until Monday, when Dr. Lewis gets back?"

The cord that connected us—strung

under the dirty streets, the pizza parlors, taxis,

women in sneakers carrying their high heels,

drunks lying in piss—that thick coiled wire

waited for the waves of sound.

In the silence I could feel the air slip

in and out of his lungs and the moment

when the motion reversed, like a goldfish

making the turn at the glass end of its tank.

I matched my breath to his, slid

into the water and swam with him.

"Okay," he agreed.

please note: photo by Alejandro Cerutti


by Louis Jenkins

Temperature in the upper seventies, a bit of a breeze. Great
cumulus clouds pass slowly through the summer sky like
parade floats. And the slender grasses gather round you,
pressing forward, with exaggerated deference, whispering,
eager to catch a glimpse. It's your party after all. And it couldn't
be more perfect. Yet there's a nagging thought: you don't really
deserve all this attention, and that come October, there will be
a price to pay.

please note: photo by me. Lake Erie sky in July

In the Mountains on a Summer Day

by Li Po

translated by Arthur Waley

Gently I stir a white feather fan,

With open shirt sitting in a green wood.

I take off my cap and hang it on a jutting stone;

A wind from the pine-trees trickles on my bare head.

Dear Tiara

by Sean Thomas Dougherty

I dreamed I was a mannequin in the pawnshop window
of your conjectures.

I dreamed I was a chant in the mouth of a monk, saffron-robed
syllables in the religion of You.

I dreamed I was a lament to hear the deep sorrow places
of your lungs.

I dreamed I was your bad instincts.

I dreamed I was a hummingbird sipping from the tulip of your ear.

I dreamed I was your ex-boyfriend stored in the basement
with your old baggage.

I dreamed I was a jukebox where every song sang your name.

I dreamed I was in an elevator, rising in the air shaft
of your misgivings.

I dreamed I was a library fine, I've checked you out
too long so many times.

I dreamed you were a lake and I was a little fish leaping
through the thin reeds of your throaty humming.

I must've dreamed I was a nail, because I woke beside you still

I dreamed I was a tooth to fill the absences of your old age.

I dreamed I was a Christmas cactus, blooming in the desert
of my stupidity.

I dre…

Why I Love Sunday Nights

Aurelio Zen. Masterpiece Mystery.

Saturday in CinCity

Tempest, Act V, Scene I [Where the bee sucks, there suck I]

by William Shakespeare

Ariel sings

Where the bee sucks, there suck I:

In a cowslip's bell I lie;

There I couch when owls do cry.

On the bat's back I do fly

After summer merrily.

Merrily, merrily shall I live now

Under the blossom that hangs on the bough.


Left Tuesday afternoon after a mandatory 2 hour staff meeting-on my day off-for a short visit to the lake. I would tell you the details of the meeting if it weren't Top Secret and I'd been paying a wee bit more attention, but alas, we'll all figure it out at the same time. A day late and dollar short perhaps.

It's as hot in northern Ohio as it is throughout the rest of the country. There is a big lake there to take your mind away from it, however. And a breeze. And we weren't at home with a list of chores staring balefully at us and wilting in the humid air.

Home now in my sinfully hot kitchen. Hubby's outside grilling up some eggplant and red pepper and boiling a pot of pasta while I chop the tomatoes, basil and garlic we bought at a farmstand on the way home.
Home Sweat Home.

Cherry Tomatoes

by Anne Higgins

Suddenly it is August again, so hot,

breathless heat.

I sit on the ground

in the garden of Carmel,

picking ripe cherry tomatoes

and eating them.

They ar…

So Enough Already.


Happy Birthday, CollegeGrrrrl

i carry your heart with me

by e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in

my heart) i am never without it (anywhere

i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done

by only me is your doing, my darling)

i fear

no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Our Year

by Charles Douthat

Still, there is hope this fading year

that next year will be our year

for a winter hike to the island quarry.

After the holidays, I'd propose.

In January, when dormant hardwoods

clatter in the wind and only a stray spruce

or cardinal lives for color. At such times

the quarry sleeps ice-locked

beneath sifting skins of snow. If it's safe

and thick enough, I'll take you out

across the ice to that spot

we swam those summers ago.

We'll walk again on water, solid now

beneath our feet. And I'll scrape clean

a snow-window for staring down

the frozen mirror of the deep.

Maybe only sealed off fissures.

Or rising bubbles captured in blue.

At least we'll see two bundled faces

looking back. And even so close to longest

night, surely some remnant sun will flash

above the trees and find us there—

parchment-lit, in the open—and stir us

in a winter way we've never known.

Then let the sun flash on across our quarry.

Love, let it gl…

Sunday in CinCity

A Love Poem

by Garrison Keillor

A summer night, and you, and paradise,

So lovely and so full of grace,

Above your head, the universe has hung its lights,

And I reach out my hand to touch your face.

I believe in impulse, in all that is green,

Believe in the foolish vision that comes true,

Believe that all that is essential is unseen,

And for this lifetime I believe in you.

All of the lovers and the love they made:

Nothing that was between them was a mistake.

All that is done for love's sake,

Is not wasted and will never fade.

All who have loved will be forever young

and walk in grandeur on a summer night

along the avenue.

They live in every song that is sung

and every painting of pure light

and every Pas De Deux.

O love that shines from every star,

Love reflected in the silver moon;

It is not here, but it's not far.

Not yet, but it will be here soon.

Saturday in CinCity. The CollegeGrrrl Guest Writer Edition.

Suspend reality and basic common sense as I invite you to Eastern StandardTime Hospital...

Many of you have shown interest in my job as a Mental Health Associate. This is probably due to the serious life-saving work that my fellow co-workers and I accomplish. Hey, coffee doesn't drink itself! However, many of you have only heard half of the story. The truth is, there is a very serious contest conducted every month at ESH. The winner of said contest gets their very own picture taken which is placed in the monthly newsletter along with their answers to 16 hard hitting questions.

I've never been let in on the secret details of how such employees are chosen. I have often questioned the validity of this award due to the fact that I have never been nominated. Ludicrous, I know. I imagine that there must be some sort of electoral college establishment involved in the selection process. This would explain how I could have possibly lost 47 months in a row. Like Al Gore, I'm winnin…


happy weekend!
How to Clean Practically Anything

by Jennifer O'Grady

Yes, housework can be a chore

A day, a day rinsed free of night

everyone enjoys a clean and orderly home

a table wiped clear of crumbs and spills

the best way to do the maximum amount

of work, without becoming overwhelmed

floor swept, dustpan emptied into plastic

bags which are placed inside sealed metal cans

is to perform it in a systematic fashion

dishwasher emptied, opaque and stainless

blot the stain, wipe away any residue

whites now sorted, his socks, his shirts

old egg-yolk yellow under the arms

try these to ensure results

reward your efforts:

his underwear, the boxers faded and frayed

repeating their pattern of angular hearts

be sure to remove any hooks or weights

their scattered and miniature x's and o's

openings measured for admission or exit

don't overload the machine, and remember

his colors tangling in a tossed-off pile

of mostly darks, mostly black and blues

fabric becomes much heavier when wet


She and My Granddad

by David Huddle

My grandfather—who died in 1970—

the year Sexual Politics was published—

called objects—screwdrivers, blow torches, trucks

—and sometimes even abstractions—winter,

pain, time—by the singular feminine

pronoun—she or her. For instance he would say,

I reckon she's coming up on quitting time,

or (of a favorite hammer), I guess

she ain't nowhere to be found. Kate Millett,

asked about the future of the woman's movement,

said, How in the hell do I know? I don't run it,

to which Granddad—at war with Gradmama all

my life but drawn to women, always polite—

would have said, Yes ma'am, can't nobody run her.

please note: photo by John Vachon and found in Farm Security Information, Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Library Of Congress

This Makes Me Laugh Till I Cry


Monday, Monday

Hangover (Or Migraine)

By Billy Collins

If I were crowned emperor this morning,

every child who is playing Marco Polo

in the swimming pool of this motel,

shouting the name Marco Polo back and forth

Marco Polo Marco Polo

would be required to read a biography

of Marco Polo-a long one with fine print-

as well as a history of China and of Venice,

the birthplace of the venerated explorer

Marco Polo Marco Polo

after which each child would be quizzed

by me then executed by drowning

regardless how much they managed

to retain about the glorious life and times of

Marco Polo Marco Polo

Sunday in CinCity. The Keepin' It Real Edition.

                                           (click on photo to enlarge and read signage)

First off, thanks to all who sympathize and have offered their hard won wisdom. I appreciate it more than I can express and I'm taking notes, trust me.

I think the best I can strive for is to take it all as it comes--hopefully, with some grace and humor, and a recognition that some things just suck. If I have to leave school, it sucks, but also does having a stroke and losing half the functioning of your brain. And it sucks that my mother who has fought and refused to take or do anything that would be helpful in preventing a stroke now has devastating consequences that substantially impact our family. And by family, I really mean Hubby and me.

The truth is she could still have had a stroke and if it wasn't this it would most likely be something else. That's life. At least that's what they say.

The last shift I worked this past Friday evening involved admitting a 47 year old who had a…

Saturday in CinCity

Above is the courtyard of BigFatUniversity Rehab Center where my mother is currently being housed after suffering a stroke. I'm off to visit this morning. The care has been good and now discussions and plans are underway for where to go next. She's had a right sided stroke and, while it generally saves the speech center, it takes out the portions of the brain involved with judgement, memory,

 problem solving, insight, etc...kind of a "six to one, half dozen the other" situation. As I'm sure you can imagine, safety becomes a big, big problem.

Ma would desperately like return to her home and that may or may not work. We'll have to see with a little further cognitive evaluation and another look/see from the psychologist. There's a thought that she might be "sundowning," and for those unfamiliar with that picturesque phrase, it's when an elderly person is perfectly normal and cooperative all day long goes bat-shit crazy around 4 or 5pm--when th…


Even the Smallest Paradise

by CJ Evans

The women in pencil

skirts spill from towers

and let down all

their disarming hair.

They hold caramel

glasses of whiskey

with sweet vermouth

as men with undone

cuffs speak something

secretive into the felt-

lined boxes of their

ears. The thunder

of planes is ignored,

and the four o'clock

flowers are fully

open. Their laughter

is a siren, echoing

among the buildings.

And they don't look

as the white parachutes

drift down to them

like dandelion seeds.

Have a ____ Day

by Lou Lipsitz

Have a nice day. Have a memorable day.

Have (however unlikely) a life-changing day.

Have a day of soaking rain and lightning.

Have a confused day thinking about fate.

Have a day of wholes.

Have a day of poorly marked,

unrecognizable wholes you

cannot fathom.

Have a ferocious day, a bleak

unbearable day. Have a

riotously unproductive day;

a grim jaw-clenched, Clint Eastwood vengeful

law enforcement day.

Have a day of raging, hair-yanking

jealousy and meanness. Have a day

of almost grasping

how whole you are; a finely tuned,

empty day.

Have a nice day of walking and circling;

a day of stalking and hunting,

of planting strange seeds and wandering in the woods.

Have a day of endearing nonsense,

of hopelessly combing your hair,

a day of yielding, of swallowing

hard, breathing more deeply,

a day of fondness for beetles

and macabre spectacles, or irreverence

about anything you want, of just

sitting and wondering.

Have a day of wondering if it's

going to help, or if it …

Free to Be You and Me

This is what you shall do

by Walt Whitman

"This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body."

Photo from one of my most favorite states, Montana :>)
Off to the fabulous Northside P…

by Richard Jones

It's so late I could cut my lights

and drive the next fifty miles

of empty interstate

by starlight,

flying along in a dream,

countryside alive with shapes and shadows,

but exit ramps lined

with eighteen wheelers

and truckers sleeping in their cabs

make me consider pulling into a rest stop

and closing my eyes. I've done it before,

parking next to a family sleeping in a Chevy,

mom and dad up front, three kids in the back,

the windows slightly misted by the sleepers' breath.

But instead of resting, I'd smoke a cigarette,

play the radio low, and keep watch over

the wayfarers in the car next to me,

a strange paternal concern

and compassion for their well being

rising up inside me.

This was before

I had children of my own,

and had felt the sharp edge of love

and anxiety whenever I tiptoed

into darkened rooms of sleep

to study the small, peaceful faces

of my beloved darlings. Now,

the fatherly feelings are so strong

the snoring truckers are luck…