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


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


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 @

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


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.

Friday, May 11, 2012

TGIF. The Get Up, Stand Up Edition.

Hubby and I saw the documentary, Marley, a few days ago and I was really surprised. Didn't know much about the man at all and, I admit, thought the whole movement was about smoking dope. I know, a little judgey. However, a good movie, great music, and I suspect inside Bob Marley was a little Jewish grandmother telling us all how to be better Happy Mothers' Day weekend and get out there and  spread the love.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Love in the Country

by William Stafford

We live like this: no one but

some of the owls awake, and of them

only near ones really awake.

In the rain yesterday, puddles

on the walk to the barn sounded their

quick little drinks.

The edge of the haymow, all

soaked in moonlight,

dreams out there like silver music.

Are there farms like this where

no one likes to live?

And the sky going everywhere?

While the earth breaks the soft horizon

eastward, we study how to deserve

what has already been given us.

please note: photo by Henk de Boer

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

"The night Max wore his wolf suit

and made mischief of one kind... and another

his mother called him "WILD THING!"

and Max said "I'll EAT YOU UP!"

so he was sent to bed without eating anything.

That very night in Max's room a forest grew.. and grew-

and grew until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world around

and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max

and he sailed off through night and day

and in and out of weeks and almost a year to where the wild things are.

And when he came to the place where the wild things are they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth

and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws

til Max said "BE STILL!" and tamed them with the magic trick

of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once

and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all

and made him king of all wild things

"And now", cried Max, "let the wild rumpus start!"...

Monday, May 7, 2012

You and Your Ilk

by Thomas Lux

I have thought much upon

who might be my ilk,

and that I am ilk myself if I have ilk.

Is one of my ilk, or me, the barber

who cuts the hair of the blind?

And the man crushed by cruelties

for which we can't imagine sorrow,

who would be his ilk?

And whose ilk was it

standing around, hands in pockets, May 1933,

when 2,242 tons of books were burned?

Not mine. So: what makes my ilkness my

ilkness? No answers, none forthcoming.

To be one of the ilks, that's all

I hoped for; to say hello to the mailman,

nod to my neighbors, to watch

my children climb the stairs of a big yellow bus

which takes them to a place

where they learn to read

and write and eat their lunches

from puzzle trays—all around them, amid

the clatter and din,

amid bananas, bread, and milk.

all around them: them and their ilk.

(thanks, rudee)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Happy Nurses Day :>)

and could you please move your big head from in front of the monitor screen, Mr. Likes-To-Get-In-My-Way-While-I-Am-Trying-To-Work...??

The Cure

by Ginger Andrews

Lying around all day

with some strange new deep blue

weekend funk, I'm not really asleep

when my sister calls

to say she's just hung up

from talking with Aunt Bertha

who is 89 and ill but managing

to take care of Uncle Frank

who is completely bed ridden.

Aunt Bert says

it's snowing there in Arkansas,

on Catfish Lane, and she hasn't been

able to walk out to their mailbox.

She's been suffering

from a bad case of the mulleygrubs.

The cure for the mulleygrubs,

she tells my sister,

is to get up and bake a cake.

If that doesn't do it, put on a red dress.