Monday, April 20, 2015

In Praise of My Bed



By Meredith Holmes

At last I can be with you!
The grinding hours
since I left your side!
The labor of being fully human,
working my opposable thumb,
talking, and walking upright.
Now I have unclasped
unzipped, stepped out of.
Husked, soft, a be-er only,
I do nothing, but point
my bare feet into your
clean smoothness
feel your quiet strength
the whole length of my body.
I close my eyes, hear myself
moan, so grateful to be held this way.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Sunday in CinCity






Holy
The sound
The song 
The rise 
Cacophony of robin, finch 
and dove song. 
The rusty hinge of spring 
Blackbird with redwing.
Long spiteful winter
has lost her bony grip 
The red maples stiff upper lip 
is a burgeoning Cherokee red.
Mother Nature rolls out of her bed 
Like me she is sleepy and tired 
but so ready to lift her spirits high 
above the wires where the doves 
will soon align 
The best view of the sunset 
in this part of Highland county. 
And so goes the song of spring. 
Call and response
And also with you and 
also with you.

~Karin Bergquist
April 5, 2015
Easter Morning 
Porch Swing Poems


Have a visit with some of my favorite musicians and poets...

please note: photo from Melpo on her sand-grain.blog site

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Saturday in CinCity

It's been a sad couple of weeks in CinCity. We've lost two of the city's finest--a firefighter trying to get residents out of a burning apartment building and a police officer T-boned on his motorcycle while leading a funeral procession. "Retired police officer" technically, but George spent a lot of years not being retired at serving and protecting the public and it was a job he loved. Daryl loved his job. His family said he chased after fire trucks as a kid; couldn't wait to be on one.

I know Daryl from our Mobile Care at BigFatTeaching Hospital. That's the transport team that brings critically ill patients from one hospital to another. George had been married to a friend and fellow nurse from "back in the day" until her death not even two years ago. Both of them great guys, funny, give you the shirt off their back-, never met a stranger- kind of men.

They left behind children, wives, friends, a lot of friends, broken hearts, and a city emptier without their two big hearts.




A Prayer among Friends

By John Daniels

Among other wonders of our lives, we are alive
with one another, we walk here
in the light of this unlikely world
that isn't ours for long.
May we spend generously
the time we are given.
May we enact our responsibilities
as thoroughly as we enjoy
our pleasures. May we see with clarity,
may we seek a vision
that serves all beings, may we honor
the mystery surpassing our sight,
and may we hold in our hands
the gift of good work
and bear it forth whole, as we
were borne forth by a power we praise
to this one Earth, this homeland of all we love.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ode on the Whole Duty of Parents




By Frances Cornford
The spirits of children are remote and wise,
They must go free
Like fishes in the sea
Or starlings in the skies,
Whilst you remain
The shore where casually they come again.
But when there falls the stalking shade of fear,
You must be suddenly near,
You, the unstable, must become a tree
In whose unending heights of flowering green
Hangs every fruit that grows, with silver bells;
Where heart-distracting magic birds are seen
And all the things a fairy-story tells;
Though still you should possess
Roots that go deep in ordinary earth,
And strong consoling bark
To love and to caress.
Last, when at dark
Safe on the pillow lies an up-gazing head
And drinking holy eyes
Are fixed on you,
When, from behind them, questions come to birth
Insistently,
On all the things that you have ever said
Of suns and snakes and parallelograms and flies,
And whether these are true,
Then for a while you'll need to be no more
That sheltering shore
Or legendary tree in safety spread,
No, then you must put on
The robes of Solomon,
Or simply be
Sir Isaac Newton sitting on the bed.


please note: art by Sue Wilson, "Tree Roots And Grasses"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Diner

By Louis Jenkins





The time has come to say goodbye, our plates empty except
for our greasy napkins. Comrades, you on my left, balding,
middle-aged guy with a ponytail, and you, Lefty, there on my
right, though we barely spoke I feel our kinship. You were
steadfast in passing the ketchup, the salt and pepper, no man
could ask for better companions. Lunch is over, the cheese-
burger and fries, the Denver sandwich, the counter nearly
empty. Now we must go our separate ways. Not a fond embrace,
but perhaps a hearty handshake. No? Well then, farewell. It is
unlikely I'll pass this way again. Unlikely we will all meet again
on this earth, to sit together beneath the neon and fluorescent
calmly sipping our coffee, like the sages sipping their tea
underneath the willow, sitting quietly, saying nothing. 

My daughter texted yesterday to tell me she and her fiance have lost a dear friend; a member of the small family of loved ones they have collected in New Orleans. And, like many deaths of those in their twenties, unnecessary. As one gets older and sees the winnowing of our tribes, you grow to learn that all the deaths seem unnecessary whether it's age twenty-five, fifty-five, or eighty-five. Why now? Why not one more day? One more conversation.

 One more chance.

please note: photograph by Nadia Lukic

Monday, March 23, 2015

"It was one of those March days...






...when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
― Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


please note: photo from the Common Gettys Collection

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday in CinCity







the hookers, the madmen and the doomed

By Charles Bukowski
today at the track
2 or 3 days after
the death of the
jock
came this voice
over the speaker
asking us all to stand
and observe
a few moments
of silence. well,
that's a tired
formula and
I don't like it
but I do like
silence. so we
all stood: the
hookers and the
madmen and the
doomed. I was
set to be dis-
pleased but then
I looked up at the
TV screen
and there
standing silently
in the paddock
waiting to mount
up
stood the other jocks
along with
the officials and
the trainers:
quiet and thinking
of death and the
one gone,
they stood
in a semi-circle
the brave little
men in boots and
silks,
the legions of death
appeared and
vanished, the sun
blinked once
I thought of love
with its head ripped
off
still trying to
sing and
then the announcer
said, thank you
and we all went on about
our business.



The Cincinnati Ballet had their spring performance this weekend, Mozart's Requiem. It's a gorgeous and moving experience, especially with the full chorale from Xavier University, and very Spring-like in its transition from darkness to light. Beautifully done.


If you care to see a minute or two...


please note: photo of the Cincinnati Ballet by the Cincy Ballet


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Three Mornings

By Jane Hirshfield




In Istanbul, my ears
three mornings heard the early call to prayer.
At fuller light, heard birds then,
water birds and tree birds, birds of migration.
Like three knowledges,
I heard them: incomprehension,
sweetened distance, longing.
When the body dies, where will they go,
those migrant birds and prayer calls,
as heat from sheets when taken from a dryer?
With voices of the ones I loved,
great loves and small loves, train wheels,
crickets, clock-ticks, thunder-where will they,
when in fragrant, tumbled heat they also leave?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Father and Daughter



By Amanda Strand





The wedding ring I took off myself,
his wife wasn’t up to it.
I brought the nurse into the room
in case he jumped or anything.
“Can we turn his head?
He looks so uncomfortable.”
She looked straight at me,
patiently waiting for it to sink in.

The snow fell.
His truck in the barn,
his boots by the door,
flagpoles empty.
It took a long time for the taxi to come.
“Where to?” he said.
“My father just died,” I said.
As if it were a destination.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday in CinCity

Every year when we watch the Oscar ceremonies we see the nominations for the short films and documentaries and say out loud, "WTH??  Who gets to see these films?" And then, the next day or even by the end of the program we've forgotten the whole matter.




This year after a particularly cabin-fever inducing snow fall we booted our way up to the village to check out civilization and noticed a flyer on Sitwell's Coffee Shop window with a date and a theater location to watch the Oscar Shorts. Serendipity!! The Cincinnati World Cinema has been doing it for the last 14 years and we're nothing but clueless morons to have missed it all these years. I think you can also buy it on Amazon for instant viewing on your device. But again, techno idjits are we with the attention span of a moth.

So short films work well with our distracted brains. The longest film was 39 minutes I believe. The shortest, 3 minutes, give or take a minute or so. Seven films the first day, or the first half of one day depending on how you arranged your tickets for the two day viewing. We split the days up so we could mull over the films of one day before taking in the next batch...no chance to slide through the cracks of memory before we can make it home.

The films are a mixture with live action and animation, funny and somber. All are fascinating.


Our first afternoon started with The Dam Keeper and it's been hard to keep it from being my favorite with the story and the artwork. 



But, there's The Single Life and The Phone Call and Powder Keg...All of them jewels. To keep it all things CinCity, the winner of this year's Oscar was Feast directed by a hometown artsy genius, Patrick Osborne.


And, like all two days with 14 movies should end...they all lived happily ever after.

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Memory Revived by Citizen of the Month







From Our House to Your House

By Jack Ridl





It is 1959. It is the cusp of the coming revolution.
We still like Ike. We are still afraid of Sputnik.
We read Life magazine and Sports Illustrated
where the athletes grow up shooting hoops
in the driveway, playing catch in the backyard.
We sit on our sectional sofa. My mother loves
Danish modern. Our pants have cuffs. Our hair
is short. We are smiling and we mean it. I am
a guard. My father is my coach. I am sitting
next to him on the bench. I am ready to go in.
My sister will cheer. My mother will make
the pre-game meal from The Joy of Cooking.
Buster is a good dog. We are all at an angle.
We are a family at an angle. Our clothes are
pressed. We look into the eye of the camera.
“Look ‘em in the eye,” my father teaches us.
All we see ahead are wins, good grades,
Christmas. We believe in being happy. We
believe in mowing the lawn, a two-car garage,
a freezer, and what the teacher says. There is
nothing on the wall. We are facing away
from the wall. The jungle is far from home.
Hoses are for cleaning the car, watering
the gardens. My sister walks to school. My
father and I lean into the camera. My mother
and sister sit up straight. Ike has kept us
safe. In the spring, we will have a new car,
a Plymouth Fury with whitewalls and a vinyl top.


The blog to refer to...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

All Things Being Austen


Sense and Sensibility
By Jane Austen


"The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance. The late owner of this estate was a single man, who lived to a very advanced age, and who for many years of his life, had a constant companion and housekeeper in his sister. But her death, which happened ten years before his own, produced a great alteration in his home; for to supply her loss, he invited and received into his house the family of his nephew Mr. Henry Dashwood, the legal inheritor of the Norland estate, and the person to whom he intended to bequeath it. In the society of his nephew and niece, and their children, the old Gentleman's days were comfortably spent. His attachment to them all increased. The constant attention of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Dashwood to his wishes, which proceeded not merely from interest, but from goodness of heart, gave him every degree of solid comfort which his age could receive; and the cheerfulness of the children added a relish to his existence."




I have for many months now required escapist reading for immersion into a world not bordered by hospitals filled to capacity, or terror groups acting like scary crazy clowns in a bad B movie, or hysterical Storm Tracker Warnings with the inevitable shortage of milk and bread. Hey, I'm only here for the Maple Bacon Kettle Chips, kids. Priorities.

Some hours spent on Google otherworldly alignment of the stars brought this series of books by Stephanie Barrons to my attention. Jane Austen solving murders written in the style of Jane Austen with Jane Austen's family. It's total Austen awesome sauceness which makes me happy as a clam--one of the many, many foods I would avoid eating in JA's time.





Tuesday, March 10, 2015

"Bow Man,







may your arrows fly straight and your aim be true."







please note: my photo at Spring Grove Cemetery, March 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

Happiness


There’s just no accounting for happiness,
or the way it turns up like a prodigal
who comes back to the dust at your feet
having squandered a fortune far away.
And how can you not forgive?
You make a feast in honor of what
was lost, and take from its place the finest
garment, which you saved for an occasion
you could not imagine, and you weep night and day
to know that you were not abandoned,
that happiness saved its most extreme form
for you alone.
No, happiness is the uncle you never
knew about, who flies a single-engine plane
onto the grassy landing strip, hitchhikes
into town, and inquires at every door
until he finds you asleep midafternoon.
as you so often are during the unmerciful
hours of your despair.
It comes to the monk in his cell.
It comes to the woman sweeping the street
with a birch broom, to the child
whose mother has passed out from drink.
It comes to the lover, to the dog chewing
a sock, to the pusher, to the basket maker,
and to the clerk stacking cans of carrots
in the night.
It even comes to the boulder
in the perpetual shade of pine barrens,
to rain falling on the open sea,
to the wineglass, weary of holding wine.

please note: photo of Uncle Fred