Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday in CinCity. The Fairy Tales Can Come True Edition.

I don't know if anyone else out there has become obsessed with been watching the new ABC show, Once Upon a Time, but I cannot wait for it to come on every week have found it interesting and entertaining. Full disclosure, still a fan of LOST. And, huge fan of fairy tales. Although, it does make me wonder a bit about Jungian archetypes and Joseph Campbell's work on The Myth of the Hero and how in our rather disjointed, but more globally connected world do we unearth ancient sources of meaning and guidance? Mostly though, I like a good fairy tale, especially the old-fashioned Grimm ones that didn't pull any punches or bedazzle-up their messages. I like my trolls to look like trolls.

The sun is shining here and it's not raining; big change from the last couple of days. I've got the hospital's biannual ACLS to study for so that means I'll find some more things around the house that must be dealt with today--old magazines? Must be skimmed through and tossed. Pile of clothes on the bedroom chair? Hang 'em high. Dog sleeping soundly on the floor beside me? Must be smooched on. Hope your day is as equally diverting...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Snow Has Been Seen.

The White

by Patricia Hampl

These are the moments

before snow, whole weeks before.

The rehearsals of milky November,

cloud constructions

when a warm day

lowers a drift of light

through the leafless angles

of the trees lining the streets.

Green is gone,

gold is gone.

The blue sky is

the clairvoyance of snow.

There is night

and a moon

but these facts

force the hand of the season:

from that black sky

the real and cold white

will begin to emerge.

please note: photo by Drew Sanborn

Monday, November 28, 2011

TGIM. My Day of Rest Edition.

Counting Sheep

by Linda Pastan

Counting sheep, the scientists suggested, may simply be too boring to

do for very long, while images of a soothing shoreline ... are engrossing

enough to concentrate on.

—The New York Times

When I reach

a thousand

I start to notice

how the eyes

of one ewe are wide,

as if with worry

about her lamb

or how cold

the flock will be

after the shearing.

At a thousand fifty

I notice a ram

pushing up against

a soft and curly female,

and for a moment

I'm distracted by errant

images of sex.

It is difficult

to keep so many sheep

in line for counting—

they are not a parade

but more like a roiling

sea of whitecaps,

which makes me think

of the shore—

of all those boring

grains of sand

to keep track of

as they slip

through the fingers,

of all the dangers

of sunstroke,

riptide, jellyfish.

The scientists fall

asleep lulled

by equations,

by dreams

of experiments,

and I fall asleep

at last by

counting them:

biologists and




and all the many experts

on the subject

of sleep.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gobble. Gobble.

Must have been a slow news day in CinCity today, verrrrry slow since they actually came to interview us this afternoon. If you happen to watch the video I'm in the background--the woman in red. Red scrubs before I got peed on and changed. Hey, just one of those days :>)

Working on Thanksgiving? Who's complaining?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"...That once there was a fleeting wisp of glory called Camelot."


by Jorie Graham

(St. Laurent Sur Mer, June 5, 2009)

Sometimes the day

light winces

behind you and it is

a great treasure in this case today a man on

a horse in calm full

gallop on Omaha over my

left shoulder coming on

fast but

calm not audible to me at all until I turned back my

head for no

reason as if what lies behind

one had whispered

what can I do for you today and I had just

turned to

answer and the answer to my

answer flooded from the front with the late sun he/they

were driving into—gleaming—

wet chest and upraised knees and

light-struck hooves and thrust-out even breathing of the great

beast—from just behind me,

passing me—the rider looking straight

ahead and yet

smiling without looking at me as I smiled as we

both smiled for the young

animal, my feet in the

breaking wave-edge, his hooves returning, as they begin to pass


to the edge of the furling

break, each tossed-up flake of

ocean offered into the reddish

luminosity—sparks—as they made their way,

boring through to clear out

life, a place where no one

again is suddenly

killed—regardless of the "cause"—no one—just this

galloping forward with

force through the low waves, seagulls

scattering all round, their

screeching and mewing rising like more bits of red foam, the

horse's hooves now suddenly

louder as it goes

by and its prints on

wet sand deep and immediately filled by thousands of

sandfleas thrilled to the

declivities in succession in the newly

released beach—just

at the right

moment for some

microscopic life to rise up through these

cups in the hard upslant

retreating ocean is

revealing, sandfleas finding them just as light does,

carving them out with

shadow, and glow on each

ridge, and

water oozing up through the innermost cut of the


and when I shut my eyes now I am not like a blind person

walking towards the lowering sun,

the water loud at my right,

but like a seeing person

with her eyes shut

putting her feet down

one at a time

on the earth.

please note: photo by Mark Shaw from the Monroe Gallerie

Monday, November 21, 2011


by Mary Mackey

One November

a week before Thanksgiving

the Ohio river froze

and my great uncles

put on their coats

and drove the turkeys

across the ice

to Rosiclare

where they sold them

for enough to buy

my grandmother

a Christmas doll

with blue china eyes

I like to think

of the sound of

two hundred turkey feet

running across to Illinois

on their way

to the platter

the scrape of their nails

and my great uncles

in their homespun leggings

calling out gee and haw and git

to them as if they

were mules

I like to think of the Ohio

at that moment

the clear cold sky

the green river sleeping

under the ice

before the land got stripped

and the farm got sold

and the water turned the color

of whiskey

and all the uncles

lay down

and never got up again

I like to think of the world

before some genius invented

turkeys with pop-up plastic


in their breasts

idiot birds

with no wildness left in them

turkeys that couldn't run the river

to save their souls

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday in CinCity. The Deja Vu Edition.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Amendment One of the Constitution of the United States of America

Excerpt from January 28, 2011, Remarks by President Obama on the Situation in Egypt:

"The people of Egypt have rights that are universal. That includes the right to peaceful assembly and association, the right to free speech, and the ability to determine their own destiny. These are human rights. And the United States will stand up for them everywhere."




with a thanks to Debra & From Skilled Hands for President Obama's quote

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Voices on Jukebox Wax

by Walt McDonald

Pulling our Stetsons low, we whispered songs

to sweethearts who clung so close we danced

in slow motion, heartache of steel guitars,

vows we swore with our bones. Their hair was the air

for an hour. We breathed and held them close,

ignoring the war for the night, voices

on jukebox wax winding around like a rope.

One week we kissed them hard and rode off,

swearing we'd bring back silk and souvenirs.

Long after a war no one we cared for

survived without scars, Earl and I are here

with wives as old as country songs and guitars,

our children older than all of us that fall.

Don's a name on the wall in Washington.

I hear his name sometimes in questions

at class reunions. I haven't heard from Carl.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The White

by Patricia Hampl

These are the moments

before snow, whole weeks before.

The rehearsals of milky November,

cloud constructions

when a warm day

lowers a drift of light

through the leafless angles

of the trees lining the streets.

Green is gone,

gold is gone.

The blue sky is

the clairvoyance of snow.

There is night

and a moon

but these facts

force the hand of the season:

from that black sky

the real and cold white

will begin to emerge.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chapter 1. Mrs. Whatsit

It was a dark and stormy night.

In her attic bedroom Margaret Murry, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat at the foot of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. Behind the trees clouds scudded frantically across the sky. Every few moments the moon ripped through them, creating wraith-like shadows that raced along the ground.

The house shook.

excerpt from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

please note: photo by StrawberryFields1967

Monday, November 14, 2011

Third Charm from Masque of Queens

by Ben Jonson

The owl is abroad, the bat, and the toad,

And so is the cat-a-mountain,

The ant and the mole sit both in a hole,

And the frog peeps out o' the fountain;

The dogs they do bay, and the timbrels play,

The spindle is now a turning;

The moon it is red, and the stars are fled,

But all the sky is a-burning:

The ditch is made, and our nails the spade,

With pictures full, of wax and of wool;

Their livers I stick, with needles quick;

There lacks but the blood, to make up the flood.

Quickly, Dame, then bring your part in,

Spur, spur upon little Martin,

Merrily, merrily, make him fail,

A worm in his mouth, and a thorn in his tail,

Fire above, and fire below,

With a whip in your hand, to make him go.

please note: photo by Gigi De Carlo

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday in CinCity

Many, many years ago when I was a young nurse we had a patient who was admitted frequently after being picked up by the police for sleeping in the park. His name, which we will agree on as James, could begin an avalanche of moaning and itching among the ICU staff as he almost always came in with lice and was definitely always very determined to get his own way. I loved James. I don't know why. But, I did and we got along. He made me laugh. It floored me that he would come in as the poster child for A Hot Damn Mess and we would work hard to clean him and patch him up only for him to leave AMA and refuse to leave until we gave him clothes. We had "stolen"his. The man still had moxie.

I met his brother once, towards the end--a dentist from one of the suburbs where they had both grown up. James "had some kind of break" and left the circle of his family to become one of the faceless and homeless men who wander through our city. It was because of James that I met Buddy Gray who ran the Drop-In Center downtown and what an inspiration he was. Buddy was a man who walked his talk and lived his beliefs out loud.

Buddy was killed by a homeless man he had known for years. James had died a few years before and, as fate sometimes works, I was with him at his bedside. I have never forgotten either man and will always consider myself blessed to have been in their circles.

Simply Lit

by Malena Morling

Often toward evening,

after another day, after

another year of days,

in the half dark on the way home

I stop at the food store

and waiting in line I begin

to wonder about people—I wonder

if they also wonder about how

strange it is that we

are here on the earth.

And how in order to live

we all must sleep.

And how we have beds for this

(unless we are without)

and entire rooms where we go

at the end of the day to collapse.

And I think how even the most

lively people are desolate

when they are alone

because they too must sleep

and sooner or later die.

We are always looking to acquire

more food for more great meals.

We have to have great meals.

Isn't it enough to be a person buying

a carton of milk? A simple

package of butter and a loaf

of whole wheat bread?

Isn't it enough to stand here

while the sweet middle-aged cashier

rings up the purchases?

I look outside,

but I can't see much out there

because now it is dark except

for a single vermilion neon sign

floating above the gas station

like a miniature temple simply lit

against the night.

Friday, November 11, 2011


When the War is Over

by W. S. Merwin

When the war is over

We will be proud of course the air will be

Good for breathing at last

The water will have been improved the salmon

And the silence of heaven will migrate more perfectly

The dead will think the living are worth it we will know

Who we are

And we will all enlist again

please note: photo of  a team of C-STARS( The Air Force's Center for Sustainment of Trauma and Readiness Skills) and a heartfelt thank you to all our veterans.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November Rain

by Linda Pastan

How separate we are

under our black umbrellas—dark

planets in our own small orbits,

hiding from this wet assault

of weather as if water

would violate the skin,

as if these raised silk canopies

could protect us

from whatever is coming next—

December with its white

enamel surfaces; the numbing

silences of winter.

From above we must look

like a family of bats—

ribbed wings spread

against the rain,

swooping towards any

makeshift shelter.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday in CinCity. The Am I Just Standing Here Talking to Myself Edition.

Reusing Words

by Hal Sirowitz

Don't think you know everything,

Father said, just because you're good

with words. They aren't everything.

I try to say the smallest amount possible.

Instead of using them indiscriminately

I try to conserve them. I'm the only one

in this household who recycles them. I

say the same thing over & over again,

like "Who forgot to turn out the lights?

Who forgot to clean up after themselves

in the bathroom?" Since you don't listen

I never have to think of other things to say.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday in CinCity. The Thanks for Sharing the Cold from Hell Edition.

 In Praise of the Great Bull Walrus

by Alden Nowlan

I wouldn't like to be one

of the walrus people

for the rest of my life

but I wish I could spend

one sunny afternoon

lying on the rocks with them.

I suspect it would be similar

to drinking beer in a tavern

that caters to longshoremen

and won't admit women.

We'd exchange no

cosmic secrets. I'd merely say,

"How yuh doin' you big old walrus?"

and the nearest of

the walrus people

would answer,

"Me? I'm doin' great.

How yuh doin' yourself,

you big old human being, you?"

How good it is to share

the earth with such creatures

and how unthinkable it would have been

to have missed all this

by not being born:

a happy thought, that,

for not being born is

the only tragedy

that we can imagine

but need never fear.