Showing posts from September, 2011

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


Police Notes

by Alice N. Persons

Female reported running up Main Street yelling "No, no,


She was described as wearing dark clothing and loud


Subject was reported standing in the roadway with a sign


"lawyers suck and police are outlaws."

Woman called to report a man lurking on her patio.

Officers investigated and found a runaway goat.

Clerk in convenience store reported male customer was

looking up someone's skirt. Subject was tracked to the


911 report — woman says her wallet was stolen from her


Before officers could investigate, she called back and said

that it was her son, 45.

Elderly woman called to report a moose, people carrying

torches, and strange music on her property. Officers

searched and found nothing.

911 dispatcher got a call saying there was a "huge party"

in the woods off County Road 3. Officers find empty

bottles and discarded clothes. Residents of Elm Street

report seeing four naked people.

Paris R…

The Word

by Tony Hoagland

Down near the bottom

of the crossed-out list

of things you have to do today,

between "green thread"

and "broccoli," you find

that you have penciled "sunlight."

Resting on the page, the word

is beautiful. It touches you

as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present

he had sent from someplace distant

as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,

among your duties, pleasure

is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.

Do you remember?

that time and light are kinds

of love, and love

is no less practical

than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?

Tomorrow you may be utterly

without a clue,

but today you get a telegram

from the heart in exile,

proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,

the king and queen alive,

still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them

who can find the time

to sit out in the sun and listen.

please note: art by Cindy Kinney

Sunday in CinCity

For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed;

the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does

not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born,

and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses

they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other,

and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other,

the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.

--James Baldwin

please note: art by Ana Juan, Reflections as New Yorker cover

Saturday in CinCity

I have been a bit lost after the death of my friend. The topography of my life has been altered. C.S.Lewis called it the Shadowlands; I view it as the MiddleLands. Robin's deep, abiding love for her family is in one direction and the action to leave her children that was undeniably made is in the other. We are traveling through the middle land where the geography is unmapped, and where I have to believe God and His Spirit walks with us. One has to just keep walking in the stillness.

But, the earth keeps moving at a thousand miles/hour and dinners require cooking, cars need repairing, and daughters are preparing to go off to college. HoneyHaired moves into the dorm on Thursday and today we are going to the opening of the ballet season. New Works, where the choreography loosens up a little and some non-classical performances can take place. Gotta keep stepping.

home from the lake

Lotsa rain, compliments of Lee. Work tomorrow. Plans for more canning this weekend. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Since All the Laboring I Intend to Do Today Involves Eating

Short-order Cook

by Jim Daniels

An average joe comes in

and orders thirty cheeseburgers and thirty fries.

I wait for him to pay before I start cooking.

He pays.

He ain't no average joe.

The grill is just big enough for ten rows of three.

I slap the burgers down

throw two buckets of fries in the deep frier

and they pop pop spit spit...


The counter girls laugh.

I concentrate.

It is the crucial point—

they are ready for the cheese:

my fingers shake as I tear off slices

toss them on the burgers/fries done/dump/

refill buckets/burgers ready/flip into buns/

beat that melting cheese/wrap burgers in plastic/

into paper bags/fries done/dump/fill thirty bags/

bring them to the counter/wipe sweat on sleeve

and smile at the counter girls.

I puff my chest out and bellow:

"Thirty cheeseburgers, thirty fries!"

They look at me funny.

I grab a handful of ice, toss it in my mouth

do a little dance and walk back to the grill.

Pressure, responsibility, success,

thirty cheeseburgers, …

Hello, September


by Wendell Berry

I go by a field where once

I cultivated a few poor crops.

It is now covered with young trees,

for the forest that belongs here

has come back and reclaimed its own.

And I think of all the effort

I have wasted and all the time,

and of how much joy I took

in that failed work and how much

it taught me. For in so failing

I learned something of my place,

something of myself, and now

I welcome back the trees.

please note: photo, Young Trees by Ryan Houston