Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sunday in CinCity. Those Krazy Kats Edition.

Well, there were some long nights here in CinCity as many of us early morning working folk here in town have attended schools recently playing in the Sweet Sixteen. The Bearcats were thrilled to have been asked to the dance, but a little too young to stay for the entire event. The Wildcats though...the health and prosperity of life on Earth as we know it depends all on them. Stay strong, men!


Old Men Playing Basketball

by B. H. Fairchild

The heavy bodies lunge, the broken language

of fake and drive, glamorous jump shot

slowed to a stutter. Their gestures, in love

again with the pure geometry of curves,

rise toward the ball, falter, and fall away.

On the boards their hands and fingertips

tremble in tense little prayers of reach

and balance. Then, the grind of bone

and socket, the caught breath, the sigh,

the grunt of the body laboring to give

birth to itself. In their toiling and grand

sweeps, I wonder, do they still make love

to their wives, kissing the undersides

of their wrists, dancing the old soft-shoe

of desire? And on the long walk home

from the VFW, do they still sing

to the drunken moon? Stands full, clock

moving, the one in army fatigues

and houseshoes says to himself, pick and roll,

and the phrase sounds musical as ever,

radio crooning songs of love after the game,

the girl leaning back in the Chevy's front seat

as her raven hair flames in the shuddering

light of the outdoor movie, and now he drives,

gliding toward the net. A glass wand

of autumn light breaks over the backboard.

Boys rise up in old men, wings begin to sprout

at their backs. The ball turns in the darkening air.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

In the heat of late afternoon...

by Gary Young

In the heat of late afternoon, lightning streaks from a nearly

cloudless sky to the top of the far mesa. At dusk, the whole south

end of the valley blazes as the clouds turn incandescent with

some distant strike. There is a constant congress here between

the earth and the sky. This afternoon a thunderstorm crossed the

valley. One moment the ground was dry, and the next there were

torrents running down the hillsides and arroyos.

A quarter-mile off I could see a downpour bouncing off the sage and the fine clay

soil. I could see the rain approach, and then it hit, drenching me,

and moved on. Ten minutes later I was dry. The rain comes from

heaven, and we are cleansed by it. Suddenly the meaning of baptism

is clear to me: you can begin again, and we are saved every day.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Saturday in CinCity. The He Sees You When You're Sleeping Edition.

May those that love us, love us.

And those that don’t love us,

May God turn their hearts.

And if he doesn’t turn their hearts,

May he turn their ankles,

So we’ll know them by their limping.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Looking at the Sky

by Anne Porter

I never will have time

I never will have time enough

To say

How beautiful it is

The way the moon

Floats in the air

As easily

And lightly as a bird

Although she is a world

Made all of stone.

I never will have time enough

To praise

The way the stars

Hang glittering in the dark

Of steepest heaven

Their dewy sparks

Their brimming drops of light

So fresh so clear

That when you look at them

It quenches thirst.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Saturday in CinCity

Looking for The Gulf Motel

by Richard Blanco

Marco Island, Florida

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

The Gulf Motel with mermaid lampposts

and ship's wheel in the lobby should still be

rising out of the sand like a cake decoration.

My brother and I should still be pretending

we don't know our parents, embarrassing us

as they roll the luggage cart past the front desk

loaded with our scruffy suitcases, two-dozen

loaves of Cuban bread, brown bags bulging

with enough mangos to last the entire week,

our espresso pot, the pressure cooker—and

a pork roast reeking garlic through the lobby.

All because we can't afford to eat out, not even

on vacation, only two hours from our home

in Miami, but far enough away to be thrilled

by whiter sands on the west coast of Florida,

where I should still be for the first time watching

the sun set instead of rise over the ocean.

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

My mother should still be in the kitchenette

of The Gulf Motel, her daisy sandals from Kmart

squeaking across the linoleum, still gorgeous

in her teal swimsuit and amber earrings

stirring a pot of arroz-con-pollo, adding sprinkles

of onion powder and dollops of tomato sauce.

My father should still be in a terrycloth jacket

smoking, clinking a glass of amber whiskey

in the sunset at the Gulf Motel, watching us

dive into the pool, two boys he'll never see

grow into men who will be proud of him.

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

My brother and I should still be playing Parcheesi,

my father should still be alive, slow dancing

with my mother on the sliding-glass balcony

of The Gulf Motel. No music, only the waves

keeping time, a song only their minds hear

ten-thousand nights back to their life in Cuba.

My mother's face should still be resting against

his bare chest like the moon resting on the sea,

the stars should still be turning around them.

There should be nothing here I don't remember . . .

My brother should still be thirteen, sneaking

rum in the bathroom, sculpting naked women

from sand. I should still be eight years old

dazzled by seashells and how many seconds

I hold my breath underwater—but I'm not.

I am thirty-eight, driving up Collier Boulevard,

looking for The Gulf Motel, for everything

that should still be, but isn't. I want to blame

the condos, their shadows for ruining the beach

and my past, I want to chase the snowbirds away

with their tacky mansions and yachts, I want

to turn the golf courses back into mangroves,

I want to find The Gulf Motel exactly as it was

and pretend for a moment, nothing lost is lost.

Friday, March 9, 2012

TGIF. The Before March-Madness Edition.

Cheap Seats, the Cincinnati Gardens, Professional Basketball, 1959

by William Matthews

The less we paid, the more we climbed. Tendrils

of smoke lazed just as high and hung there, blue,

particulate, the opposite of dew.

We saw the whole court from up there. Few girls

had come, few wives, numerous boys in molt

like me. Our heroes leapt and surged and looped

and two nights out of three, like us, they'd lose.

But "like us" is wrong: we had no result

three nights out of three: so we had heroes.

And "we" is wrong, for I knew none by name

among that hazy company unless

I brought her with me. This was loneliness

with noise, unlike the kind I had at home

with no clock running down, and mirrors.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


by Luci Shaw

March. I am beginning

to anticipate a thaw. Early mornings

the earth, old unbeliever, is still crusted with frost

where the moles have nosed up their

cold castings, and the ground cover

in shadow under the cedars hasn't softened

for months, fogs layering their slow, complicated ice

around foliage and stem

night by night,

but as the light lengthens, preacher

of good news, evangelizing leaves and branches,

his large gestures beckon green

out of gray. Pinpricks of coral bursting

from the cotoneasters. A single bee

finding the white heather. Eager lemon-yellow

aconites glowing, low to the ground like

little uplifted faces. A crocus shooting up

a purple hand here, there, as I stand

on my doorstep, my own face drinking in heat

and light like a bud welcoming resurrection,

and my hand up, too, ready to sign on

for conversion.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Saturday in CinCity. The Ain't Nobody Here but Us Chickens Edition.

 We were in the tornado zone yesterday. All is well with our little family, other than our tomcat has somehow injured his foot in the storm, though I hear both our hospitals are seeing more and more casualties. HoneyHaired lives in a dorm built to survive WWIII. NurseGrrrrl, a little ways south of us, had to evacuate her unit of her hospital yesterday and herd them back. But, LTown seems to have gotten off lightly. Others not so lucky.

Certainly makes you think. I woke up thinking of a book I'd read, Here If You Need Me, A True Story, by Kate Braestrup. It's actually a book I'd bought for NurseGrrrrl, and it never quite changed hands, but I digress...

 an excerpt:

"Jim comes back to the firehouse with a heavy heart. He has scratches on his cheek, twigs in his hair, pine needles down his pants, and his mother is still nowhere to be found. Yet he takes in the scene before him, mops the rain from his face, and smiles.

"Look at this," he says. "Look at this! This is incredible." 

The firehouse is filled with people. The old coots in flannel shirts, the middle-aged dog handlers, and the college students with piercings are sharing American chop suey with the state senator and his teenage daughter. The U.S. Marines are comparing blisters with the soccer players, the sheriff's deputies are breaking bread with the convicts, game wardens share Jell-O with equestrians, the stained-glass artist offers the retired state trooper an oatmeal cookie.

In a little while, they will go back out and search some more. They will try to find a body, living or dead. For now, they are here together, joined in community, bent on the common purpose of love.

"Everyone in the world is here." the lost woman's son exclaims. "It's a miracle!"