Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year Resolve






by May Sarton



The time has come

To stop allowing the clutter

To clutter my mind

Like dirty snow,

Shove it off and find

Clear time, clear water.



Time for a change,

Let silence in like a cat

Who has sat at my door

Neither wild nor strange

Hoping for food from my store

And shivering on the mat.



Let silence in.

She will rarely speak or mew,

She will sleep on my bed

And all I have ever been

Either false or true

Will live again in my head.



For it is now or not

As old age silts the stream,

To shove away the clutter,

To untie every knot,

To take the time to dream,

To come back to still water.


please note: photo by by Carol J. Phipps

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday in CinCity




"One must say Yes to life, and embrace it wherever it is found - and it is found in terrible places... For nothing is fixed, 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 moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out."




James Baldwin

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Heartbroken.



Kindness


by Naomi Shihab Nye


Before you know what kindness really is

you must lose things,

feel the future dissolve in a moment

like salt in a weakened broth.

What you held in your hand,

what you counted and carefully saved,

all this must go so you know

how desolate the landscape can be

between the regions of kindness.

How you ride and ride

thinking the bus will never stop,

the passengers eating maize and chicken

will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,

you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho

lies dead by the side of the road.

You must see how this could be you,

how he too was someone

who journeyed through the night with plans

and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,

you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.

You must wake up with sorrow.

You must speak to it till your voice

catches the thread of all sorrows

and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,

only kindness that ties your shoes

and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,

only kindness that raises its head

from the crowd of the world to say

it is I you have been looking for,

and then goes with you everywhere

like a shadow or a friend.



Thursday, December 6, 2012

Consult, please.






Does anyone know anything about or anyone in Fargo? HoneyHaired has an opportunity to work there for a co-op this winter quarter and my knowledge is only cinematic...and it's 19 degrees there...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

In the South, In the North




by Peg Lauber



The grass here is strange paradise to northern feet.

Stiff, it explodes into green when we aren't expecting it

remembering it as greening up much later.

All over town they turn the fountains on again.



If there's one thing they've got enough of,

it's water. Dig down a foot and you have it,

even though brackish, and in the summer

no cold water comes out of the tap no matter

how long you run it. In every yard there's another

explosion in January, camellias, pink, deep red,

white, and we not a month past Christmas.



But up north the frigid season crawls on, takes its time;

even in April and May it's still snowing and sleeting,

then comes hail as winter turns to summer

in one day: 90 degrees. Here, however, people eat sack

lunches on the dull green trolley with red touches still

bearing Christmas garlands over the controls at each end.

The riders open the windows to put their elbows out

while they take the long ride to the end of the line

returning to Lee Circle and Canal Street,

the trolley car whistling and dinging.



Soon St. Charles Avenue, the regular route, will be filled

with high school bands and marching feet, arms waving,

voices crying, "Throw me something, mister," to those

on the floats, as the lines and trees above are decorated

with gold, purple, and green beads, the royal colors of Rex,

against the blue void we call sky.

  Full disclosure...just back from a few days in New Orleans to see my girlie girl. Details to follow once I can see the computer screen over my Creole shrimp filled belly where the good times roll right over the waist of my pants. She's doing great by the way :>)   please note: photo of Oak Alley Plantation

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday in CinCity. For All the Mamas with Baby Chicks (big and small) at Home



Homecoming

by Blas Falconer


Rain against the roof sounds like a slow tire

over gravel, as if a friend has come.

The train rumbles through the dark, and my body, tuned

to hear you cry before you cry, stirs.



The lamp floats in the window, the only window lit

at this late hour on the empty street.

Your hands unfurl as you fall asleep.



Small Clock of Needs, Law that I Abide,

the leaves gloss and shine. Like this we rock

and sink into the long night of our rocking.





Friday, November 23, 2012

TGIF

(We saw a flock of birds looking very similiar to this--wild turkeys--after dinner at Grandma PatPat's)


Turkeys

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


please note: photo by Mark Hamilton





Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanks Giving





If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice.

--Meister Eckhart

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Every Land



by Ursula Le Guin



The holy land is everywhere. —Black Elk



Watch where the branches of the willows bend

See where the waters of the rivers tend

Graves in the rock, cradles in the sand

Every land is the holy land.



Here was the battle to the bitter end

Here's where the enemy killed the friend

Blood on the rock, tears on the sand

Every land is the holy land.



Willow by the water bending in the wind

Bent till it's broken and it cannot stand

Listen to the word the messengers send

Life from the living rock, death in the sand

Every land is the holy land.


please note: my own photo of the beautiful Ohio near Coney Island



Monday, November 19, 2012

it's a monday

Genius


by George Bilgere



It was nice being a genius

worth nearly half-a-million dollars

for the two or three minutes it took me

to walk back to my house from the mailbox

with the letter from the Foundation

trembling in my hand. Frankly,



for the first minute

I was somewhat surprised at being a genius.

I'd only published a few small things at that point.

I didn't even have a book.

I was just a part-time lecturer

at a small mid-western college.



But early into the second minute

I had fully embraced the fact of my genius.



I mean, these people know what they're doing, right?

Who am I to tell the Foundation its business?

And I was already practicing the kind of modest,

Hey, it's no big deal tone of voice I'd be using

on the phone for the rest of the day

as I called all my friends, and especially

my enemies, to treat them to the good news.



But when I opened the letter

and saw it was merely a request

for me to recommend someone else to be a genius,

I lost interest and made myself a ham sandwich.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday in CinCity. The Stuffing Edition.

"There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American."

    --O Henry


I love Thanksgiving. Full disclosure, I love the fall with the change in colors, the chill, and the slowdown to the quiet of winter. I love the annual dog show on television in the morning and the Macy's Parade which jabbers in the background while I read and reread recipes and mince, chop, and slice. I get tired of the kitchen that day, but I enjoy the cooking. It is the day that White Christmas may be dusted off, but I don't want to hear any Christmas music or movies before the day after Thanksgiving. It should be autumn music. A little Yo-Yo Ma, perhaps. Autumn should get it's time and we should take a moment to be grateful before the headlong rush into Commercialmas. IMHO.





This year Hubby's working 12hrs, I'm off, HoneyHaired will come home and MissNewOrleans will be in New Orleans. HoneyHaired and I will drive over to the next state and have Thanksgiving with  Grandma PatPat and Aunt DebbieDebbie, and with luck will be able to squeeze in a showing of The Life of Pi before coming home bearing food for the working man.


  So now, the big questions of the day boils down to just one. The stuffing. I'm going to do it this year. I'm going with the oysters. Always wanted to try a recipe I found years ago, but held off till the kids got older or the guests weren't too persnickety and  now that we're having our Turkey Day on Monday with just the two of us and leftovers galore to GladWare away to an off-campus apartment in the heart of Clifton, this year seems as good as any. And, with an unexpected day off work it seems as though the universe is in alignment with this stop-the-press decision.

PS. If you haven't seen it yet, Hubby and I saw Lincoln yesterday. In a word, GO.




...'O Oysters, come and walk with us!

The Walrus did beseech.

'A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,

Along the briny beach:

We cannot do with more than four,

To give a hand to each.'



The eldest Oyster looked at him,

But never a word he said:

The eldest Oyster winked his eye,

And shook his heavy head --

Meaning to say he did not choose

To leave the oyster-bed.



Out four young Oysters hurried up.

All eager for the treat:

Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,

Their shoes were clean and neat --

And this was odd, because, you know,

They hadn't any feet...


by Lewis Carroll

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

...a pyrates' life for me...




The Old Sea-dog at the Admiral Benbow

SQUIRE TRELAWNEY, Dr. Livesey, and the rest of these gentlemen having asked me to write down the whole particulars about Treasure Island, from the beginning to the end, keeping nothing back but the bearings of the island, and that only because there is still treasure not yet lifted, I take up my pen in the year of grace 17__ and go back to the time when my father kept the Admiral Benbow inn and the brown old seaman with the sabre cut first took up his lodging under our roof.



I remember him as if it were yesterday, as he came plodding to the inn door, his sea-chest following behind him in a hand-barrow — a tall, strong, heavy, nut-brown man, his tarry pigtail falling over the shoulder of his soiled blue coat, his hands ragged and scarred, with black, broken nails, and the sabre cut across one cheek, a dirty, livid white. I remember him looking round the cover and whistling to himself as he did so, and then breaking out in that old sea-song that he sang so often afterwards:



"Fifteen men on the dead man's chest —



Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!"

Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island






Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday, Monday

please note: pictured is the first album I ever bought



Ode to the Vinyl Record


by Thomas R. Smith



The needle lowers into the groove

and I'm home. It could be any record

I've lived with and loved a long time: Springsteen

or Rodrigo, Ray Charles or Emmylou

Harris: Not only the music, but

the whirlpool shimmering on the turntable

funneling blackly down into the ocean

of the ear—even the background

pops and hisses a worn record

wraps the music in, creaturely

imperfections so hospitable to our own.

Since those first Beatles and Stones LPs

plopped down spindles on record players

we opened like tiny suitcases at sweaty

junior high parties while parents were out,

how many nights I've pulled around

my desires a vinyl record's cloak

of flaws and found it a perfect fit,

the crackling unclarity and turbulence

of the country's lo-fi basement heart

madly spinning, making its big dark sound




Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sunday in CinCity. The With Deepest Gratitude Edition.




"The soldier above all others prays for peace, for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war."

Douglas MacArthur

Friday, November 9, 2012

TGIF. The Purple Haze Edition.


Not quite as "1 Fish 2 Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" as shown over and over again.


please note: map demographic found on FaceBook by Cousin Cole


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thursday in CinCity. The "We Remain More Than a Collection of Red States and Blue States. We Are and Forever Will Be the United States of America." Edition.






“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.

If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.

If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.

The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.

For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."  

--attributed to Mother Teresa

Monday, November 5, 2012

Line in the Sand




  



by Ken McCullough




What he said was vast, given his limits.
At some mojave of the soul, we stopped

to gas up, and I was inclined to bolt—

wrong look, wrong answer, might raise his demons,

but what did I know, who was I to say?

He tuned Tom Harmon on the radio,

sneered and nodded like a slow woodpecker—

"Would that they had broke the mold," he chuckled

with sand in his pipes. The sun had stumbled.

His eyes turned on me—"What'll it be, rook?

Only one of us will walk away, son."

He coughed, spat. ''Are you in or are you out?

If you think you are fast enough, just once,

you might have a blind salamander's chance."








Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday in CinCity. The Fall Arrives! Edition






The Fall Almost Nobody Sees


by David Budbill



Everybody's gone away.

They think there's nothing left to see.

The garish colors' flashy show is over.

Now those of us who stay

hunker down in sweet silence,

blessed emptiness among



red-orange shadblow

purple-red blueberry

copper-brown beech

gold tamarack, a few

remaining pale yellow

popple leaves,

sedge and fern in shades

from beige to darkening red

to brown to almost black,

and all this in front of, below,

among blue-green spruce and fir

and white pine,



all of it under gray skies,

chill air, all of us waiting

in the somber dank and rain,

waiting here in quiet, chill

November,

waiting for the snow.


Well, I don't know what the hell I've been doing for the past month or so. I obviously wasn't here. Biggest change other than the temperature is that we've gone completely to electronic/computerized charting at BigFatTeaching Hospital and I have pretty much lost my mind. It has been a struggle and rightfully, I don't want to see or touch a computer once I'm home. And a miracle that I haven't taken a sledge hammer to it just for being distantly related.

Yes, I'm a bitter bitch.

Hubby and I have been walking a lot. Five miles at Spring Grove Cemetery on my days off. I may have mentioned once or twenty times that my cholesterol and lipid levels are out of whack. Have tried multiple medications which have not taken kindly to me. So, I'm amping up on the exercise and cutting down on the CoffeeMate. That was before EPIC charting came our way. Now it's coffee and whatever transfatty food is available in the break room. I either have massive gastritis or a dissecting aortic aneurysm. Doesn't matter as long as I don't have to chart it. People say it gets better, but they might be the walking dead; it's hard to tell the difference these days.

We're leaving in about 45 minutes to take a long walk up to the university to see the POTUS at one of his last stumps in the heart of it all. Hubby, who "voted my conscience" and voted third party, is going with me. That's the real love of old married folks.

Much love to all of you and remember...only 54 hours till the end of the political ads...! Hang tough!

Friday, September 28, 2012

TGIF





Work is done

and a most companionable moon followed me home
from my shift at the human industrial plant 
where I repair bad brains and injured lives.
We drove as partners through the curving streets of the neighborhood,
yellow-flamed windows beckoning as the dust of the day loosened
and lifted, landing on a half opened car window
before blowing back into the world.

We passed the last dog walks of the evening.
I raise a hand in greeting to all
knowing how quickly their arcs too could be felled.
The moon, my constant, I leave with the remains of the day
for illumination.

please note:photo by 5chw4r7z.blogspot.com

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday in CinCity. The Too Soon for Halloween Edition?

A Munsters' Breakfast

by Jeanne Marie Beaumont




Herman's big on corn, he likes to stuff his mouth

with Kix and practice his diction.

Grandpa and Eddie go for Trix, which pinks

the milk as though it's tinged with blood.

Only blond bland Marilyn will dare

approach the Cheerios. They float in her bowl

like small life-savers—enough she thinks

to save all the passengers on the model Titanic

Eddie is building for his school project

down in the lab, complete with dry-ice berg

and a looped tape of screams Lily has

taken great pains to record for him.



Lily sips only some root-bark tea. Her man

prefers her wraithlike. Tonight's a full moon.

She worries about Eddie's growth spurt;

Herman crisply articulates what's on her mind:

"You come home right after school, Eddie."

The boy drains the last stained drop

from his crock and wipes his moustache.

"We'll work on the levers for tilting the decks,"

Grandpa entices. Eddie's eyes flare like torches.

Then everyone vanishes into their day

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Saturday in CinCity. The Pour Yourself a Drink, Put on Some Lipstick, and Pull Yourself Together Edition.



Well, I celebrated another birthday this week. In a little over a year I've lost some things: memory, a kidney stone I was apparently quite fond of, multiple phone chargers. One daughter has moved to the Big Easy and another to her first student apartment, neighbors have moved for various job transfers, and a best friend is gone, though the pain of her death has lessened a little.

I've gained. My cholesterol numbers should be my bowling score. Or, my IQ. Lots more aches in the mornings, but I'm going to blame the Lipitor and not my new Zumba class. More shoes. Two rooms on the attic floor to remodel. More time with my hubby. We walk a lot more. We argue a lot less.

A birthday around this time of year makes it easy to want to start a "new year" since autumn still feels like a time of beginnings with fresh pens and notebooks. My husband likes to announce that "this is the last roof we're ever going to replace" or "this is the last winter coat I'm going to buy so it has to last" as though the Grim Reaper is only blocks away from our front door. He means well and I love him for it. He wants to remind me to appreciate every day since the days ahead may be different. Emptier.

Lonelier.

I'm reminded most days of the fragility of life and then again of the tenacity of the life source. The hardiness of the human spirit. The miracle and the tragedy that "life goes on." But, you know what they say. That's life.


Secret


by Dorothea Tanning



On one of those birthdays of which I've had so many

I was walking home through the park from a party,



pleased that I'd resisted mentioning the birthday—

why hear congratulations for doing nothing but live?



The birthday was my secret with myself and gave me,

walking under all those trees, such a strong feeling of



satisfaction that everything else fell away: party sounds,

the hostess who stared and as suddenly disappeared



on seeing her husband walk in with a young(er ) friend;

another guest examining garment labels in the room



where I went to leave my jacket; one of two waiters

balancing a trayful of foot-high champagne glasses;



a bee-like buzz of voices I ought to have enjoyed

but heard as foreign babble, so remote it was from



a birthday, so empty of import nothing would remain.

I got my jacket, waved from the hall, pressed Down.



In summer the park, for an hour or so before night,

is at its greenest, a whole implicit proposition



of green leaves, a triumph of leaves enfolding me

that day in a green intimacy so trustworthy I told



them my secret: "It's my birthday," I said out loud

before turning away to cross the avenue.





please note: title is courtesy of Elizabeth Taylor


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sunlight



by Jim Harrison



After days of darkness I didn't understand

a second of yellow sunlight

here and gone through a hole in clouds

as quickly as a flashbulb, an immense

memory of a moment of grace withdrawn.

It is said that we are here but seconds in cosmic

time, twelve and a half billion years,

but who is saying this and why?

In the Salt Lake City airport eight out of ten

were fiddling relentlessly with cell phones.

The world is too grand to reshape with babble.

Outside the hot sun beat down on clumsy metal

birds and an actual ten-million-year-old

crow flew by squawking in bemusement.

We're doubtless as old as our mothers, thousands

of generations waiting for the sunlight.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fireflies



by Marilyn Kallet



In the dry summer field at nightfall,

fireflies rise like sparks.

Imagine the presence of ghosts

flickering, the ghosts of young friends,

your father nearest in the distance.

This time they carry no sorrow,

no remorse, their presence is so light.

Childhood comes to you,

memories of your street in lamplight,

holding those last moments before bed,

capturing lightning-bugs,

with a blossom of the hand

letting them go. Lightness returns,

an airy motion over the ground

you remember from Ring Around the Rosie.

If you stay, the fireflies become fireflies

again, not part of your stories,

as unaware of you as sleep, being

beautiful and quiet all around you.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Running on the Shore



by May Swenson



The sun is hot, the ocean cool. The waves

throw down their snowy heads. I run

under their hiss and boom, mine their wild

breath. Running the ledge where pipers

prod their awls into sand-crab holes,

my barefoot tracks their little prints cross

on wet slate. Circles of romping water swipe

and drag away our evidence. Running and

gone, running and gone, the casts of our feet.



My twin, my sprinting shadow on yellow shag,

wand of summer over my head, it seems

that we could run forever while the strong

waves crash. But sun takes its belly under.

Flashing above magnetic peaks of the ocean's

purple heave, the gannet climbs,

and turning, turns

to a black sword that drops,

hilt-down, to the deep.


please note: photo from Chariots of Fire with a wink and a nod to Mr. Bean

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday in CinCity. After the Rains Edition.

Let The Day Go


by Grace Paley



who needs it

I had another day in mind

something like this one

sunny green the earth

just right having suffered

the assault of what is called

torrential rain the pepper

the basil sitting upright

in their little boxes waiting

I suppose for me also the

cosmos the zinnias nearly

blooming a year too late

forget it let the day go

the sweet green day let it

take care of itself



Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Porcupine at Dusk



by Ingrid Wendt



Out of the bunch grass

out of the cheat grass

a bunch of grass waddles

my way.



Quill-tips bleached by winter four

inches down: crown of glory dark

at the roots: a halo

catching the sun's

final song:



No way could such steady

oblivion possibly live

up to legend, whatever

fear I might have had

is gone, but still I stop



Short on my after-dinner walk, no

collision course if I

can help it, thinking

at first it's the wind,

nudging a path out of the field



Or one of a covey of tumbleweed

lost like those today on the freeway,

racing ahead of my car that whole long drive

here to the banks of the Snake, to friends

so close they know

when to leave me alone.



As though I were nowhere around, the porcupine

shuffles the edge of the road,

in five minutes crosses

a distance I could have covered

in less than one



And disappears at last into cattails

and rushes, sunset, a vespers

of waterbirds, leaving me

still unwilling to move.



I am a sucker for scenes like this.

The slowest beauty can rush me.

And here I am,

all of my defenses down.


please note: photo by Sheila Skogen

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tornado Warning



by Joyce Sutphen



That is not the country for poetry.

It has no mountains, its flowers

are plain and never poisonous,

its gardens are packed into blue mason jars.

There are no hedges bordering the roads, the sky

flies up from the ditches, loose in every

direction.

Yet I knew it to be passionate,

even in its low rolling hills, where a red

tractor pushed through the oat field, cutting

down gold straw and beating a stream

of grain into the wagon trailing behind

in the stubble,

I knew it to be melodious

in its birch woods, leaves shadowing

a stone-strewn river, the path along the bank

softened with pine needles, sunlight

woven in and out of branches, the many

colors of green, solid as a pipe organ's

opening chord,

I knew it would haunt

the memory with its single elm,

where a herd of cows found shade

in the July heat, their bony tails

swinging the tufted bristle left and right

over the high ledge of a hip bone,

while at the horizon, a black fist

of storm came on, something not

to be averted, something singular

in its fury,

as any blind heart knows.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Bean House



by John Koethe



. . . humming in the summer haze.



Diane christened it the Bean House,

Since everything in it came straight from an

L.L. Bean Home catalog. It looks out upon two

Meadows separated by a stand of trees, and at night,

When the heat begins to dissipate and the stars

Become visible in the uncontaminated sky,

I like to sit here on the deck, listening to the music

Wafting from the inside through the sliding patio doors,

Listening to the music in my head. It's what I do:

The days go by, the days remain the same, dwindling

Down to a precious few as I try to write my name

In the book of passing days, the book of water. Some

Days I go fishing, usually unsuccessfully, casting

Gently across a small stream that flows along beneath

Some overhanging trees or through a field of cows.

Call it late bucolic: this morning I awoke to rain

And a late spring chill, with water dripping from the

Eaves, the apple trees, the pergola down the hill.

No fishing today, as I await the summation

Of my interrupted eclogue, waiting on the rain

And rhythms of the world for the music to resume,

As indeed it does: all things end eventually,

No matter how permanent they seem, no matter how

Desperately you want them to remain. And now the sun

Comes out once more, and life becomes sweet again,

Sweet and familiar, on the verge of summer.



Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday in CinCity. The Hubby is Finally Home Edition.

Tree Marriage


by William Meredith



In Chota Nagpur and Bengal

the betrothed are tied with threads to

mango trees, they marry the trees

as well as one another, and

the two trees marry each other.

Could we do that some time with oaks

or beeches? This gossamer we

hold each other with, this web

of love and habit is not enough.

In mistrust of heavier ties,

I would like tree-siblings for us,

standing together somewhere, two

trees married with us, lightly, their

fingers barely touching in sleep,

our threads invisible but holding.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wednesday in CinCity. Dog Days Edition.




Just to give a brief summary, I did go to New Orleans to see my baby girl and had a great time. It's truly a beautiful city, the food is so unbelievable and there's music on just about every street corner.Trying to coordinate all our days off around September/October and find cheap flights so Hubby can go with next time.


The WWII Museum is there. Bestowed upon the lovely city due to the importance of the Higgin boats--the landing crafts at Normandy--designed and built by Andrew Higgins of New Orleans and originally conceived to traverse the waterways and bayous for the oil companies. Truth be told, MissNewOrleans and I were searching in the corners for crumbs of food got a little hungry around the D-Day invasion and saw the rest of the war fairly quickly. Could certainly go through the museum a time or two more.


Came home for a day and left for the lake. Better planning than I realized since my luggage had lingered in North Carolina. Hot and humid even on the Great Lakes. The yards and trees dry and dusty like everywhere else in the Midwest. We meandered around, read and slept. Found all the new shops and bakeries to be found and listened to bluegrass and jazz at the airport of all places. There's a brand spankin' new multi-million dollar Homeland Security office across from Bergman's fruit and vegetable market that's created some buzz. Three hundred new jobs, none local, but they gotta eat and live somewhere... 





Since we've been home and back to work we've spent most of our days off in our own downtown seeing Porgy and Bess at the opera and attending some of the World Choir Games.



Downtown CinCity was in her glory with hometown people reveling in the music and dozens of cultures and world citizens hanging out with us. Our pigs even got a makeover and some new additions.



Washington Park, across the street from Music Hall, had devolved into a campground for the homeless and a significant breeding ground for criminal activity. It's now been reborn into a jewel of landscaping and planned events for the city. A bluegrass concert tonight.

I've got one more day off work and HoneyHaired and I wanted to check out a consignment shop in Northside or we'll skip out of the heat and see Woody Allen's newest. Though, if we're not home who will let the dog in and out every 5 minutes of the one air-conditioned room we have?



The Poet Visits the Museum of Fine Arts


by Mary Oliver



For a long time

I was not even

in this world, yet

every summer



every rose

opened in perfect sweetness

and lived

in gracious repose,



in its own exotic fragrance,

in its huge willingness to give

something, from its small self,

to the entirety of the world.



I think of them, thousands upon thousands,

in many lands,

whenever summer came to them,

rising



out of the patience of patience,

to leaf and bud and look up

into the blue sky

or, with thanks,



into the rain

that would feed

their thirsty roots

latched into the earth—



sandy or hard, Vermont or Arabia,

what did it matter,

the answer was simply to rise

in joyfulness, all their days.



Have I found any better teaching?

Not ever, not yet.

Last week I saw my first Botticelli

and almost fainted,



and if I could I would paint like that

but am shelved somewhere below, with a few songs

about roses: teachers, also, of the ways

toward thanks, and praise.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday in CinCity. After the Storm Edition.






We saw wreckage all along I-75 South on our way back home and stopped at a rest area particularly devastated. Should probably have thoughts of something profound about the power of nature and its randomness, but all I could think of was how much work it would take to clear this bit of land and how hot it would be. Since many out there still don't have electricity this might seem like a small matter; what to do with all the food in the refridgerator and freezer and how to find a hint of coolness becomes much more mind consuming. We're thankful that for once we're the ones with power though in this heat we're still going up to the neighborhood movie theater for 2 hrs of cooling relief. Moonlight Kingdom Saturday afternoon, The Intouchables on Sunday. Monday back to work.

Heard this gentleman on WWOZ while we were driving through miles of farmland by Lake Erie. WWOZ is a New Orleans radio station and has an app so you can listen on your phone miles away. MissNewOrleans does not listen to it, but still gives me a bit of connection to her. Seems the perfect background for a heatwave kind of day.






 
After the Heat Wave

by Maxine Kumin


Rain falls down on the newly shorn sheep.

Deerflies lie doggo, black flies are absent.

Not one emerges from the great storehouse.

The barn cats are sleeping, birds are force-feeding

three clutches of phoebes, two of robins

and I am shelling the first of the season's

peas as a merciful summer rain

falls down all morning around me in strings.



Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sunday in CinCity. Vacation's End Edition.

The Bedroom


by Paula Bohince



Sheets boiled with lavender, the hard bed.

Handmade eye pillow filled with Great Northerns.

Cactus to the ceiling, orange corsages.

No embarrassment, a calm

that is the opposite of ambition, I think.

Mind like a diary unlocked on the dresser, pages lifting in breeze.

Like those vivid flowers.

Amethyst on a chain: external heart.

Heirlooms in a shallow basket I can look at

without regret, or regard and weep, kneeling, beside.

A water glass, my eyeglasses, arms open

in a waiting embrace. Sleeping on my husband's chest,

his undershirt dryer-warm, arresting as a cloud

in a black-and-white photograph.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday in CinCity. The Roadtrip Edition.



from one shore to another...




Back in ten days, but until then please try to put your fat feet on the ground...:)

(a cappella group singing "Mustang Sally" on Toulouse Street in New Orleans. A great time was had and MissNewOrleans is doing great.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday in CinCity. The Food is Life Edition.






This book finally! arrived in the mail and is now in my kitchen, the source of my new project for the summer  (let's be serious) the year. Chapter One: Soup, the Staff of Life and the first recipe--Potage Picard au Pois (split pea soup). The peas are soaking even as we speak. Not a fan of peas other than the frozen ones in the bag I put on an aching back now and again, but journeys begin with a single step and Hubby seems to like just about anything I cook, so split peas it is.

We're on Season 2 of Treme, though a bit scatter-rhompussed. Season 2 comes from the library in four different DVD's containing the eleven episodes and what has come in so far from the far reaches of the CinCity library requesting system are episodes 4, 5, & 6 as well as 10 & 11. What I know so far is that crime has returned to the Crescent City harder than before and people I've never seen before are somehow involved in this and the food and music are still fabulous, but struggling. Sounds about right. About 72 more hours before I see for myself in person.

I won't be here for June 16th and "Bloomsday," but happyhappy to all the James Joyce fan out there. I hope to return with stories of daring and adventure in my own walkabout a city.




Listening to the Garden

by Brendan Galvin




Look at it this way: under the brass fanfare

of their blossoms, all those zucchinis

are really incipient oompahs.

And the pea-vine tremolos? Middle C

rubbed out of a rhubarb stalk?



Now you're beginning to hear it: that line

of radishes ostinato, bean paradiddles,

a beefsteak tomato redballing its cadenza.



Aren't the parts of these vegetables—the phloem,

the calyx and carina—names of woodwinds

you'd love to hear, in counterpoint

with the garden's valves and bells?



Remember that morning you drove

into the main street of a town—Colorado Springs,

was it? - on no holiday you could name?



Nevertheless, the high-school band was passing,

majorettes in their short, flippant skirts

frilled like the inner linings of lettuce,

and shakos, corn-tassel plumed, remember,



and the frogging on jackets—cucumber vines

scrolled on themselves. The whole garden's

flash and patootle was moving off

toward a snowed-upon peak

down at the end of that street.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday in CinCity. The How'd Ya Like Them Apples Edition.

Our first summer movie this year. Quite delish.


"Lips red as blood. Hair black as night. Bring me your heart, my dear, dear Snow White."



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday in CinCity. The Remembrance of Things Past Edition.

Happiness


by Joyce Sutphen



This was when my daughters were just children

playing on the rocky shore of the lake,



their hair in braids, their bright-colored jackets

tied around their waists. It was afternoon,



the shadows falling away, their faces

glowing with light. Whatever we said then



(and it must have been happy; it must have

been hopeful) is lost as I am now lost



from that life I lived. This was when nothing

that I wanted mattered, though all I wanted



was happiness, pure happiness, simple

as strawberries and cream in a saucer,



as curtains floating from a window sill,

as small pairs of shoes arranged in a row.



Friday, June 8, 2012

Polk. Salad. Uh-Huh.

Bought my tickets for New Orleans...





watch out, the gator's got your granny...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

P.S. Girls, A Few Things I Need To Mention

 Excerpts from "How to be Perfect"


by Ron Padgett





Get some sleep.



Eat an orange every morning.



Be friendly. It will help make you happy.



Hope for everything. Expect nothing.



Take care of things close to home first. Straighten up your room

before you save the world. Then save the world.

Be nice to people before they have a chance to behave badly.



Don't stay angry about anything for more than a week, but don't

forget what made you angry. Hold your anger out at arm's length

and look at it, as if it were a glass ball. Then add it to your glass

ball collection.



Wear comfortable shoes.



Do not spend too much time with large groups of people.



Plan your day so you never have to rush.



Show your appreciation to people who do things for you, even if

you have paid them, even if they do favors you don't want.



After dinner, wash the dishes.



Calm down.



Don't expect your children to love you, so they can, if they want

to.



Don't be too self-critical or too self-congratulatory.



Don't think that progress exists. It doesn't.



Imagine what you would like to see happen, and then don't do

anything to make it impossible.



Forgive your country every once in a while. If that is not

possible, go to another one.



If you feel tired, rest.



Don't be depressed about growing older. It will make you feel

even older. Which is depressing.



Do one thing at a time.



If you burn your finger, put ice on it immediately. If you bang

your finger with a hammer, hold your hand in the air for 20

minutes. you will be surprised by the curative powers of ice and

gravity.



Do not inhale smoke.



Take a deep breath.



Do not smart off to a policeman.



Be good.



Be honest with yourself, diplomatic with others.



Do not go crazy a lot. It's a waste of time.



Drink plenty of water. When asked what you would like to

drink, say, "Water, please."



Take out the trash.



Love life.



Use exact change.



When there's shooting in the street, don't go near the window.



please note: Instagram photo by Arthur Minassian

Monday, May 28, 2012

Monday in CinCity. The Memorial Day Edition.

A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim


by Walt Whitman




A sight in camp in the daybreak gray and dim,

As from my tent I emerge so early sleepless,

As slow I walk in the cool fresh air the path near by the hospital tent,

Three forms I see on stretchers lying, brought out there untended lying,

Over each the blanket spread, ample brownish woolen blanket,

Gray and heavy blanket, folding, covering all.

Curious I halt and silent stand,

Then with light fingers I from the face of the nearest the first

just lift the blanket;

Who are you elderly man so gaunt and grim, with well-gray'd hair,

and flesh all sunken about the eyes?

Who are you my dear comrade?

Then to the second I step--and who are you my child and darling?

Who are you sweet boy with cheeks yet blooming?

Then to the third--a face nor child nor old, very calm, as of

beautiful yellow-white ivory;

Young man I think I know you--I think this face is the face of the

Christ himself,

Dead and divine and brother of all, and here again he lies



please note: many thanks to Nance for telling me about this lovely poem and many, many thanks to our servicemen and women throughout the years



Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday in CinCity

All Dharmas Are Marked with Emptiness


by Frank X. Gaspar






I'm talking now about the destitute and the wild-eyed, I'm

talking about the lady who made the head of the Virgin Mary

out of cut up pieces of magazines and broken glass and a

can of carpenter's glue—and then there's the girl I know

who works in the supermarket, who printed an entire anthology

of poems on a single eight-and-a-half-by-eleven sheet of

Xerox paper and folded a hundred copies down to wallet size

and passed them out to anyone who dared look her in the eye.

You know what I mean: there are all those lonely, desperate,

weird minds—yours among them for all I know—and the

Dharma is everywhere, books and words and people thinking,

beat-up notebooks from the dollar store, scribbling the world

into them—a man has a mystery, a woman has an adventure,

the kids are banging rhymes together like tin cans full of

old nails. Where's it all going, this clatter, this wonder,

this rant against anguish? I tell myself to stay calm. I tell

myself to step back and take a breath. I twist and shift in my

tall black chair. I can hear the city coming in through the kitchen's

window-screens. Night birds, crickets in the unseasonable heat,

some might say dead souls keening in their rivers of fire or

choirs of angels out in the eucalyptus trees, but beyond it all you

hear nothing but the deep nothing—or maybe that's the far-off roar

of a motorcycle: If the night is just right, if the moment is perfect,

you know as well as I do that you don't need to tell the difference.


please note: photo by Gary Gardiner @http://www.iphrog.com/







Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday in CinCity. The Road Trip! Edition.





Our desire to live as a one car family has come to an end and so early Saturday morning Hubby and I set out to eastern Virginia to pick up the 2003 Toyota he bought online with the lure of a 6hr road trip (one way). I finally looked at a map Thursday night after work...that ain't no 6 hour drive. Ten hours per Google and more like 12 hours (one way) with a dog and a sick-of-being-in-this-car wife. He now has heard my promise and declaration to never, never drive through West Virginia again, which he has interpreted as "unsedated." Still and all, an adventure was had.

After picking up our newest addition to the family fleet we became addled when looking for the no-tell motel and ended up driving back and forth past Quantico Marine Base maybe four or seventeen times. I'm hoping for expecting a knock on the door from NCIS' Jethro and Ducky for questioning any day now.

Lessons learned: Waffle Houses are fantabulous country-wide, thanks to all the angels and saints for audio books, what goes down always goes up and steeper, rest areas are a dog's best friend, radio on the weekend in eastern Virginia is an interesting combination of Nascar and gospel, and in Virginia the past is not over by a long shot.


Driving over Route 20 out of Fredricksburg, Virginia in Spotsylvania County we traveled through the sites of the Chancellorsville and Wilderness Battlegrounds. In the early morning light and lifting fog it's hard not to imagine the silhouettes of a young Johnny Reb or a Yank leaning up next to a tree, taking a smoke and watching us go by.




As Toilsome I Wander'd Virginia's Woods


by Walt Whitman



As toilsome I wander'd Virginia's woods,

To the music of rustling leaves kick'd by my feet, (for 'twas

autumn,)

I mark'd at the foot of a tree the grave of a soldier;

Mortally wounded he and buried on the retreat, (easily all

could I understand,)

The halt of a mid-day hour, when up! no time to lose—yet

this sign left,

On a tablet scrawl'd and nail'd on the tree by the grave,

Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.



Long, long I muse, then on my way go wandering,

Many a changeful season to follow, and many a scene of life,

Yet at times through changeful season and scene, abrupt,

alone, or in the crowded street,

Comes before me the unknown soldier's grave, comes the

inscription rude in Virginia's woods,

Bold, cautious, true, and my loving comrade.