Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sunrise in Cassis

by Jennifer Grotz

At its most dull before dawn, the sea's
a stubble field of light still covered with the moony film
pink dawn sponges away.

This is the hour when the moon is a fishhook
steadily pulled up out of the liquid sky
into some drier realm.

And the doves dart and crisscross as if bustling
to take their places on stage,
which does nothing to change that this is the hour

one laughs least. The hour of cold floors,
of pupils adjusting in the early light.
The hour waiting begins for something

one recognizes only after it's passed.
So while the blue of the sea blends with the horizon
I ask to understand the difference between silence and

indifference. I ask time to be wise as an editor,
not to elide this hour
when bakeries pile loaves

in the glass cases and cafés
reassemble their tables and chairs,
hour that converts night's regret

back into gratitude, beautiful hour
when the last few fishing boats sneak out of harbor
to retrieve the nets that wait at the bottom of the sea.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sunday in CinCity. The Spring Break Edition.

So sorry I've been quiet lately, but...aaaaaahhhhhhh...spring break. Two very special and lovely words.

I spent mine doing work my Occ. Health Workshop instructor told me on Friday at 4:50pm he wanted done by this week and sorry that he couldn't help at all, but he would be on vacation. I spent Monday attempting the impossible. Tuesday I worked at the hospital and then I spent three days out of town at a hearing conservation course.

And..., I worked at the hospital some more. Tomorrow's my day of vacation and I won't tell you what my to-do list looks like.

Right now all I want to do is not wake up to an alarm in the morning. And the weather reports of 1-3 inches of snow overnight?? Bring. It. On. More reason not to get off the couch while I listen to my new favorite radio program Lost and Found. "The best music you've never heard."

Lenten Dissent

by Cherie Lashway

There once was a logger, named Paddy O'Connell,
Who at lunch during Lent, found himself at McDonalds,

And had just settled down to his Big Mac and fries,
When along came his priest, much to both their surprise.

The priest said to Paddy, "Just what are you eating?
In this season of Lent, I sure hope you're not cheating."

Paddy said to the Father, "I'll tell you no lies.
I'm enjoying a Big Mac, along with some fries."

The priest said to Paddy, "I see no repentance.
Because of this sin, you will have to do penance.

"By Friday or sooner, I say that you should,
For our fireplace, deliver a cord of chopped wood."

Now our timberman, Paddy, an overworked man,
Did think to himself, "I don't think that I can."

But early on Friday, our priest, he heard shoveling,
And looked out the window at Paddy not groveling.

And saw with confusion, dismay and disgust,
That the wood bin was now almost filled with saw dust.

He called down below, barely hiding his ire:
"Hey Paddy, your penance was wood for the fire!"

To which Paddy said, rising up from his work,
While wiping his brow and concealing a smirk:

"I've brought you a cord, like you said that I should,
But if burger be meat, well then sawdust be wood!"

Friday, March 25, 2011


The Soul Bone

by Susan Wood

Once I said I didn't have a spiritual bone
in my body and meant by that
I didn't want to think of death,
as though any bone in us
could escape it. Maybe
I was afraid of what I couldn't know
for certain, a thud like the slamming
of a coffin lid, as final and inexplicable
as that. What was the soul anyway,
I wondered, but a homonym for loneliness?
Now, in late middle age, or more, I like to imagine it,
the spirit, the soul bone, as though it were hidden
somewhere inside my body, white as a tooth
that falls from a child's mouth, a dove,
the cloud it can fly through. Like bones,
it persists. Little knot of self, stubborn
as wildflowers in a Chilmark field in autumn,
the white ones they call boneset, for healing,
or the others, pearly everlasting.
The rabbis of the Midrash believed in the bone
and called it the luz, just like the Spanish word
for light, the size of a chickpea or an almond,
depending on which rabbi was telling the story,
found, they said, at the top of the spine or the base,
depending. No one's ever seen it, of course,
but sometimes at night I imagine I can feel it,
shining its light through my body, the bone
luminous, glowing in the dark. Sometimes,
if you listen, you might even hear that light
deep inside me, humming its brave little song.

please note: photo art by Nik Smith on flickr

Monday, March 21, 2011

First Day of Spring

by Ann Hudson

It's a wild March morning in Chicago, the wind
dragging its nets through the streets.
Trawling for its usual and plentiful treasures:

crushed styrofoam cups, torn newspapers,
lost gloves, a blizzard of fast food napkins.
I take my eight-year-old Toyota

through the car wash. Idling in neutral,
I ease past the powerful, shaggy brushes,
the nozzles spraying limp foam onto the hood,

and remember the sick excitement I felt
when my father took my sisters and me through,
all the windows of our '67 baby blue Valiant

tightly cranked, the antenna pushed into its sleeve,
our doors locked against who-knows-what,
the three of us with our identical haircuts

buckled into the back seat, our identical shoes
drumming the vinyl. I was sure
those huge blue brushes would crash

right through the windshield and pin us to our seats.
At eight, a child sure of impending danger this
was about all the thrill I could handle.

I pull out of the car wash into the tangle
of traffic, past the bars that open at nine in the morning
and stay open, past the disheveled and pacing junkies,

past the crumbling theater draped in shadow and disrepair,
and make slow headway against the wind
that gathers the stray grocery bags all over the city,

whipping them against the masts
of budding hawthorns, silver maples,
bald cypress, green ash, green ash.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Saturday in CinCity

Prayer for Our Daughters

by Mark Jarman

May they never be lonely at parties
Or wait for mail from people they haven't written
Or still in middle age ask God for favors
Or forbid their children things they were never forbidden.

May hatred be like a habit they never developed
And can't see the point of, like gambling or heavy drinking.
If they forget themselves, may it be in music
Or the kind of prayer that makes a garden of thinking.

May they enter the coming century
Like swans under a bridge into enchantment
And take with them enough of this century
To assure their grandchildren it really happened.

May they find a place to love, without nostalgia
For some place else that they can never go back to.
And may they find themselves, as we have found them,
Complete at each stage of their lives, each part they add to.

May they be themselves, long after we've stopped watching.
May they return from every kind of suffering
(Except the last, which doesn't bear repeating)
And be themselves again, both blessed and blessing.

Monday, March 14, 2011


by Irene McKinney

None of this is personal, not the way you'd think.
The moon keeps on traveling and I can see it
from my balcony each night and each night
different but it's not my own, not like we want

things to be our very own. But it sways me
nevertheless and stands in for certain losses
and gains and for even that much I'm grateful.
I stand at the back door and stare.

please note: photo by stephanie anderson ladd from owlandcrow

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sunday in CinCity

One thing I love most about Sundays is being able to watch CBS Sunday Morning and getting the thoughtful and humane perspective of the world's events spoken by a quiet man in a bowtie. And, as in life, there's usually a dollop of humor, music, and art thrown in. I haven't been glued to the news trying to follow the tsunami recovery and analysis. It's just too horrific. Interesting, if one can simply think about the science behind earthquakes and what happens to the earth's floor, and interesting to hear the thinking behind salvaging the nuclear reactor and burning oil refinery. But the photos of those cars and boats and planes washed up on real homes that resemble Monopoly game tokens? Horrific beyond my imagination.

I'm on "spring break" for two weeks, which means I'm not squeezing class work into my work and home duties--and home by the way has gotten the short end of that stick. It will take me two weeks to get through the piles of Things To Not Throw Away Until They're Looked Over. Of course, there's a short list of tasks to do for school--follow up with the IRB, write letters to congressmen and senators about NIOSH funding for our program, but I'll try to get that done today and be done with it. Oh, and I keep forgetting--the 3 day hearing conservation classes in the town 45 minutes away from us--non-rush hour traffic, which is the opposite of when we'll be driving. Whoop-ee.

But today, I'm going to pilates, will straighten up the house a bit, cook a little dinner, walk my dog, maybe get to a store to spend the Victoria's Secret gift card from Christmas,catch up on The Good Wife and Parenthood with help from and generally lollygag for a day. I wish you all a very restful day of lollygagging.

What Have I Got to Complain About

by David Budbill

We've got enough money now not to worry every minute
about where the next dollar is coming from.
We even go to the movies once in a while.
We've got a nice collection of friends.
Our house is sturdy and well built.
It keeps us warm and stands well against the storms.
The larder is full of rice.
There are plenty of potatoes down cellar.
The freezer is full of vegetables I grew myself.

In the face of all that, slights to my vanity
seem frivolous and nonsensical.

please note: art by Karla Gerard

Saturday, March 12, 2011

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

by Dylan Thomas

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead men naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
they shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall no break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Though they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Rain in Childhood

by Eric Ormsby

This was the feeling that the dark rain gave
on school days when the windows of the bus
dimmed with all our breath and we pressed close
in jostling slickers, knowing the pleasure of
being a body with other bodies, we children
a flotilla of little ducks, paddling together
on the wet ride to the schoolhouse door.
Once there, we peered outside appraisingly,
beyond the windows and the balustrades
to where the rain came down outrageously
and made the trees and signposts and the light
at the intersection swoop and toss
and fizz with gritty torrents to the curb.

That steamy, tar-damp smell of morning rain,
its secret smokiness upon our mouths,
surprised us with some sorrow of nostalgia.
Our past already had such distances!
Already in that fragrance we could sense
the end of childhood, where remembrance stands.

And when thunder pummeled the embrittled clouds —
concussive ricochets that made the teacher
hover with the chalk held in her hand —
we saw the lighting lace the school's facade
with instantaneous traceries and hairline fires,
like a road map glimpsed by flashlight in a car.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday in CinCity

"here comes another grey morning, a not so good morning after all, She says, well what am I to do today, with so much time..." The kind of morning when it's probably best to stay curled up in the covers with a big old tom cat at the foot of the bed. But, groceries don't buy themselves and errands must get done. I just hate driving around town when it's rainy and misty and cold.

Yesterday took a bit out of me, mostly because work began calling at 5am to beg anyone and everyone to come in and help--they were two nurses short. I had brain lab though and that was already scheduled. So, I helped out a bit before and about three and a half hours after till things seemed to have righted themselves a bit and Pat was coming in extra for the afternoon shift. HoneyHaired and I wanted desperately to see the Illustionist, but it's at a neighboring theater and we couldn't make it there by 3:00.

As for Brain Lab--it is not for the faint-of-heart. I was told "heads in buckets," so I had steeled myself for that, and actually they are well contained in Tupperware. Disquieting though to see faces on them. Not an image to keep with you on a gloomy, rainy day. Very helpful though to transpose what you know of anatomy from a book and make it three dimensional.

I have two presentations this week--The Near-Miss and Injury Online Survey and Health Hazards at Rumpke Materials Recycling Facility(are you kidding me?? If you can think of a health hazard, they've got it), then I believe school is finished for this quarter. If I can get my PowerPoints edited then I can do something fun. In the cold, grey rain.

On a Cold Day in Late March, Near Easter

by Elizabeth Twiddy

I took the car through turns, down long roads,
along wood fences, and saw horses, just two,
far off, in a field. One turned its head toward me—
the other stood motionless so long
I began to wonder whether it was real or a fake
put there to keep the other company,
until finally it bowed its head
earthward. Farther on, I saw a flock of small birds
pulsing together as points over the brown grass,
like tiny buoys responding to air currents,
rising and dipping, the air moving
the smallest feathers on their bellies.

please note: photo art by David Lorenz Winston

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Saturday in CinCity

Going to "Brain Lab" this morning to learn anatomy the good, old fashioned way. If you never hear from me again you'll know I'm still scrubbing the sights from my eyes...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

You and I

by Jonathan Potter

You are a warm front
that moved in from the north,
a blind spot bearing beautiful gifts,
a garden in the air, a golden filament
inscribed with the name of God's hunting dog,
a magic heirloom mistaken for a feather duster,
a fountain in a cow pasture, an anachronistic anagram
annoyed by anonymity, a dollar in the pocket
of a winter coat in summer.

And I am the discoverer of you.

please note: photo by Kunal Bhattacharya