Friday, April 30, 2010


a commenter claimed:
"No books have been banned in the USA for about a half a century. See "National Hogwash Week." It's sad to see American Library Association propaganda so willingly rebroadcast."
Note the helpful link to a website heavy on rhetoric, but light on verifiable fact.

I do so wish she was correct; but unfortunately, happenings like this have been occurring regularly for the entire time frame she notes (follow link for full story):

Censorship is Censorship

(Other Banned book posts here, here, here, here, here, and here.)



Let us begin with a simple line,
Drawn as a child would draw it,
To indicate the horizon,

More real than the real horizon,
Which is less than line,
Which is visible abstraction, a ratio.

The line ravishes the page with implications
Of white earth, white sky!

The horizon moves as we move,
Making us feel central.
But the horizon is an empty shell—

Strange radius whose center is peripheral.
As the horizon draws us on, withdrawing,
The line draws us in,

Requiring further lines,
Engendering curves, verticals, diagonals,
Urging shades, shapes, figures…

What should we place, in all good faith,
On the horizon? A stone?
An empty chair? A submarine?

Take your time. Take it easy.
The horizon will not stop abstracting us.

from: Resurrection Updated: Collected Poems 1975-1997 by James Galvin. Copyright © 1997 by James Galvin.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I ran across a blog called Silkie Sues: A Spotty Cats Adventure, full of wonderful creativity and tattered old things. Sam, who is extremely talented, is having a giveaway.

This little guy, Ted, is looking to find a new home. Pop by her blog and leave her a message to be in the running.



“Women and girls are one of the world’s greatest untapped resources. Remember the proverb, ‘Give a man a fish, and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime?’ Well, if you teach a woman to fish, she’ll feed the whole village.”
– Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Visits to St. Elizabeths

by Elizabeth Bishop


This is the house of Bedlam.

This is the man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the time
of the tragic man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a wristwatch
telling the time
of the talkative man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a sailor
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the honored man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the roadstead all of board
reached by the sailor
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the old, brave man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

These are the years and the walls of the ward,
the winds and clouds of the sea of board
sailed by the sailor
wearing the watch
that tells the time
of the cranky man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances weeping down the ward
over the creaking sea of board
beyond the sailor
winding his watch
that tells the time
of the cruel man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a world of books gone flat.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances weeping down the ward
over the creaking sea of board
of the batty sailor
that winds his watch
that tells the time
of the busy man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is a boy that pats the floor
to see if the world is there, is flat,
for the widowed Jew in the newspaper hat
that dances weeping down the ward
waltzing the length of a weaving board
by the silent sailor
that hears his watch
that ticks the time
of the tedious man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

These are the years and the walls and the door
that shut on a boy that pats the floor
to feel if the world is there and flat.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances joyfully down the ward
into the parting seas of board
past the staring sailor
that shakes his watch
that tells the time
of the poet, the man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

This is the soldier home from the war.
These are the years and the walls and the door
that shut on a boy that pats the floor
to see if the world is round or flat.
This is a Jew in a newspaper hat
that dances carefully down the ward,
walking the plank of a coffin board
with the crazy sailor
that shows his watch
that tells the time
of the wretched man
that lies in the house of Bedlam.

from: The Complete Poems 1927-1979 by Elizabeth Bishop, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc. Copyright © 1979, 1983 by Alice Helen Methfessel.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hay for the Horses

by Gary Snyder

He had driven half the night
From far down San Joaquin
Through Mariposa, up the
Dangerous Mountain roads,
And pulled in at eight a.m.
With his big truckload of hay
        behind the barn.
With winch and ropes and hooks
We stacked the bales up clean
To splintery redwood rafters
High in the dark, flecks of alfalfa
Whirling through shingle-cracks of light,
Itch of haydust in the
        sweaty shirt and shoes.
At lunchtime under Black oak
Out in the hot corral,
---The old mare nosing lunchpails,
Grasshoppers crackling in the weeds---
"I'm sixty-eight" he said,
"I first bucked hay when I was seventeen.
I thought, that day I started,
I sure would hate to do this all my life.
And dammit, that's just what
I've gone and done."

from: Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems by Gary Snyder, published by North Point Press. Copyright © 1958, 1959, 1965 Gary Snyder.

Monday, April 26, 2010


The courage of the poets 
is to keep ajar the door that leads 
into madness.

-Christopher Morley


 by Elizabeth Alexander

I am lazy, the laziest
girl in the world. I sleep during
the day when I want to, 'til
my face is creased and swollen,
'til my lips are dry and hot. I
eat as I please: cookies and milk
after lunch, butter and sour cream
on my baked potato, foods that
slothful people eat, that turn
yellow and opaque beneath the skin.
Sometimes come dinnertime Sunday
I am still in my nightgown, the one
with the lace trim listing because
I have not mended it. Many days
I do not exercise, only
consider it, then rub my curdy
belly and lie down. Even
my poems are lazy. I use
syllabics instead of iambs,
prefer slant to the gong of full rhyme,
write briefly while others go
for pages. And yesterday,
for example, I did not work at all!
I got in my car and I drove
to factory outlet stores, purchased
stockings and panties and socks
with my father's money.

To think, in childhood I missed only
one day of school per year. I went
to ballet class four days a week
at four-forty-five and on
Saturdays, beginning always
with plie, ending with curtsy.
To think, I knew only industry,
the industry of my race
and of immigrants, the radio
tuned always to the station
that said, Line up your summer
job months in advance. Work hard
and do not shame your family,
who worked hard to give you what you have.
There is no sin but sloth. Burn
to a wick and keep moving.

I avoided sleep for years,
up at night replaying
evening news stories about
nearby jailbreaks, fat people
who ate fried chicken and woke up
dead. In sleep I am looking
for poems in the shape of open
V's of birds flying in formation,
or open arms saying, I forgive you, all.

from: Body of Life by Elizabeth Alexander, published by Tia Chucha Press. Copyright © 1996 by Elizabeth Alexander.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I HAVE KNOWN THE FEELING. But Thankfully, Not For A While Now. YEAH!

The Secretary Chant
Marge Piercy

My hips are a desk.
From my ears hang
chains of paper clips.
Rubber bands form my hair.
My breasts are wells of mimeograph ink.
My feet bear casters.
Buzz. Click.
My head is a badly organized file.
My head is a switchboard
where crossed lines crackle.
Press my fingers
And my eyes appear
credit and debit.
Zing. Tinkle.
My navel is a reject button. From my mouth issue canceled reams.
Swollen, heavy, rectangular
I am about to be delivered
of a baby
Xerox machine.
File me under W
Because I once
a woman.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

PERSONALS by C. D. Wright


Some nights I sleep with my dress on. My teeth
are small and even. I don't get headaches.
Since 1971 or before, I have hunted a bench
where I could eat my pimento cheese in peace.
If this were Tennessee and across that river, Arkansas,
I'd meet you in West Memphis tonight. We could
have a big time. Danger, shoulder soft.
Do not lie or lean on me. I'm still trying to find a job
for which a simple machine isn't better suited.
I've seen people die of money. Look at Admiral Benbow. I wish
like certain fishes, we came equipped with light organs.
Which reminds me of a little known fact:
if we were going the speed of light, this dome
would be shrinking while we were gaining weight.
Isn't the road crooked and steep.
In this humidity, I make repairs by night. I'm not one
among millions who saw Monroe's face
in the moon. I go blank looking at that face.
If I could afford it I'd live in hotels. I won awards
in spelling and the Australian crawl. Long long ago.
Grandmother married a man named Ivan. The men called him
Eve. Stranger, to tell the truth, in dog years I am up there.

from: Steal Away: Selected and New Poems by C. D. Wright. Copyright © 2002 by C. D. Wright.

Friday, April 23, 2010


"I've always been the bookish type, and I've never really hidden that about myself. Books have always been really important to me; they're my saving grace. Whenever people ask me how I manage to get through this whole crazy time of being incredibly famous and sort of an icon and supposedly a role model and all of this insanity, I always cite my family and then books. I don't know what I would have done without books." — Molly Ringwald. [Mother Jones]

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Well, we got about half the garden tilled and planted this weekend. We'll probably survive, but we're not enjoying it. Things hurt that I thought I'd lost, and believe me, the cumulative result is that I feel ready for Medicare.

My poor husband, bless him, had to go back to work on Tuesday. He worked so unbelievably hard this weekend. Not only did he pick up the slack because of my limited abilities, but he told me that it would all be worth it, even if the garden wasn't successful, as long as I enjoyed it. Is it any wonder I've held on to him for ... almost 21 years?!


(not ours, sigh)

The Cabbage        
by Ruth Stone

You have rented an apartment.
You come to this enclosure with physical relief,
your heavy body climbing the stairs in the dark,
the hall bulb burned out, the landlord
of Greek extraction and possibly a fatalist.
In the apartment leaning against one wall,
your daughter's painting of a large frilled cabbage
against a dark sky with pinpoints of stars.
The eager vegetable, opening itself
as if to eat the air, or speak in cabbage
language of the meanings within meanings;
while the points of stars hide their massive
violence in the dark upper half of the painting.
You can live with this.

from: In the Next Galaxy by Ruth Stone. Copyright 2004 Ruth Stone.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


by Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton

The perfect voter has a smile but no eyes,
maybe not even a nose or hair on his or her toes,
maybe not even a single sperm cell, ovum, little paramecium.
Politics is a slug copulating in a Poughkeepsie garden.
Politics is a grain of rice stuck in the mouth
of a king. I voted for a clump of cells,
anything to believe in, true as rain, sure as red wheat.
I carried my ballots around like smokes, pondered big questions,
resources and need, stars and planets, prehistoric
languages. I sat on Alice's mushroom in Central Park,
smoked longingly in the direction of the mayor's mansion.
Someday I won't politic anymore, my big heart will stop
loving America and I'll leave her as easy as a marriage,
splitting our assets, hoping to get the advantage
before the other side yells: Wow! America,
Vespucci's first name and home of free and brave, Te amo.

from: Exquisite Politics. Copyright © 1997 Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010



Today, April 20, is how far into 2010 a woman must have worked, on average, to earn as much as a man earned in 2009. I don't know about you, but I'm tired!

from: National Women's Law Center

"April 20th is Equal Pay Daythe point in 2010 when the average woman's wages finally catch up to her male counterpart’s salary in 2009. With a $10,622 gap between the median yearly earnings of men and women, it is time to encourage our Senators to support efforts to close this wage gap and pass the Paycheck Fairness Act. In these tough economic times, the gap in wages only compounds the hardship faced by women and their families.

The Paycheck Fairness Act, passed in the House of Representatives in January 2009 and now pending in the Senate, aims to strengthen current laws against wage discrimination and provides tools to enable the federal government to be more proactive in the fight. Among other things, the Paycheck Fairness Act would also close a significant loophole in the Equal Pay Act to allow for full compensation for sex-based wage discrimination. Learn more about the Paycheck Fairness Act" - (H.R. 12, S. 182 (111th Congress))



On the Disadvantages of Central Heating       
by Amy Clampitt

cold nights on the farm, a sock-shod
stove-warmed flatiron slid under
the covers, mornings a damascene-
sealed bizarrerie of fernwork
        decades ago now

waking in northwest London, tea
brought up steaming, a Peak Frean
biscuit alongside to be nibbled
as blue gas leaps up singing
        decades ago now

damp sheets in Dorset, fog-hung
habitat of bronchitis, of long
hot soaks in the bathtub, of nothing
quite drying out till next summer:
        delicious to think of

hassocks pulled in close, toasting-
forks held to coal-glow, strong-minded
small boys and big eager sheepdogs
muscling in on bookish profundities
        now quite forgotten

the farmhouse long sold, old friends
dead or lost track of, what's salvaged
is this vivid diminuendo, unfogged
by mere affect, the perishing residue
        of pure sensation

from: The Collected Poems of Amy Clampitt, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1997.

Monday, April 19, 2010


corn field yellow after harvest

I didn't know I was grateful
            for such late-autumn
                        bent-up cornfields

yellow in the after-harvest
             sun before the
                        cold plow turns it all over

into never.
            I didn't know
                        I would enter this music

that translates the world
             back into dirt fields
                         that have always called to me

as if I were a thing
              come from the dirt,
                          like a tuber,

or like a needful boy. End
             Lonely days, I believe. End the exiled
                           and unraveling strangeness.

From: The Unraveling Strangenessr by Bruce Weigl, published by Grove/Atlantic. Copyright © 2003 by Bruce Weigl.


Lego sculpture of hands tearing through a wall with a face peering out, in shades of gray with the sculptor standing behind it


Brick by Brick: the LEGO Brick sculpture of Nathan Sawaya

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Stephen Colbert had an inspirational guest in his 'Colbert Report' the other day, Aimee Mullins. You can click on her name to go to her site.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Aimee Mullins
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

"Born without fibulae in both legs, Aimee's medical prognosis was bleak; she would never walk and indeed would spend the rest of her life using a wheelchair. In an attempt for an outside chance at independent mobility, doctors amputated both her legs below the knee on her first birthday. The decision paid off. By age two, she had learned to walk on prosthetic legs, and spent her childhood doing the usual athletic activities of her peers: swimming, biking, softball, soccer, and skiing, always alongside "able-bodied" kids."
This is a sampling of the themes Aimee addresses in her talks:
Innovative Thinking - changing your perspective to one of consistent discovery
Inclusive Design - human factors; the complete picture
Personal Leadership - learning to embrace change and challenge
Body Image - issues and resolutions
Leveraging Your Network - the power of collaborative change
Equity in Sports - opportunity and access for all


bee enjoying brown eyed susans
Te Deum       
by Charles Reznikoff

Not because of victories
I sing,
having none,
but for the common sunshine,
the breeze,
the largess of the spring.

Not for victory
but for the day's work done
as well as I was able;
not for a seat upon the dais
but at the common table.

From The Complete Poems of Charles Reznikoff. Copyright © 1976 by Charles Reznikoff.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


garden glimpsed through archway

Garden Homage        
by Medbh McGuckian

Three windows are at work here, sophisticated
spaces against the day, against the light.
The sky looks as if it has been added later
to a glimpsed world as nobody saw it.

Small gaps of awkwardness between overlapping leaves
bring their time to us, as we our time
to them. The hand alone is amazing,
the skull and the owner’s hand holding it,

together on a page for fifty years,
with the earliest smile. A rope vase
of flowers returns the angels
to the ground, that still beautiful brown.

from: The Book of the Angel. Copyright © 2005 Medbh McGuckian.

Friday, April 16, 2010


bald, African-American man with eyes and mouth closed tightly and his hands over his ears
Exquisite Candidate       
by Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton

I can promise you this: food in the White House
will change! No more granola, only fried eggs
flipped the way we like them. And ham ham ham!
Americans need ham! Nothing airy like debate for me!
Pigs will become the new symbol of glee,
displacing smiley faces and "Have A Nice Day."
Car bumpers are my billboards, billboards my movie screens.
Nothing I can say can be used against me.
My life flashes in front of my face daily.
Here's a snapshot of me as a baby. Then
marrying. My kids drink all their milk which helps the dairy industry.
A vote for me is not only a pat on the back for America!
A vote for me, my fellow Americans, is a vote for everyone like me!
If I were the type who made promises
I'd probably begin by saying: America,
relax! Buy big cars and tease your hair
as high as the Empire State Building.
Inch by inch, we're buying the world's sorrow.
Yeah, the world's sorrow, that's it!
The other side will have a lot to say about pork
but don't believe it! Their graphs are sloppy coloring books.
We're just fine—look at the way
everyone wants to speak English and live here!
Whatever you think of borders,
I am the only candidate to canoe over Niagara Falls
and live to photograph the Canadian side.
I'm the only Julliard graduate—
I will exhale beauty all across this great land
of pork rinds and gas stations and scientists working for cures,
of satellite dishes over Sparky's Bar & Grill, the ease
of breakfast in the mornings, quiet peace of sleep at night.

from: Exquisite Politics. Copyright © 1997 Denise Duhamel and Maureen Seaton.

(I believe he served two terms.)

Thursday, April 15, 2010


by Mac McGovern

Someone, please tell me,
if you know, where does,
all the money go?
Taxes, taxes, on everything,
Uncle Sam's coffers,
ka-ching, ka-ching.
I'm in debt over my head,
no relief in sight,
until I'm dead.

Whether at work, at play,
shopping, attending, a ball game,
it seems they want more every day

I pay in good faith,
year in, year out,
the return on this investment,
zero, or there about.

Then, come April 15th,
I live in fear,
I'm going to have to pay,
more again this year

I work very hard,
live day to day,
I look forward to when I can say,
Uncle, you get no more of my pay

Of course, when that happens,
it won't mean a thing,
he'll be at my funeral,
to tax,
my wedding ring

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


garden with herbs mixed with flowers
Herb Garden        
by Timothy Steele

"And these, small, unobserved . . . " — Janet Lewis

The lizard, an exemplar of the small,
Spreads fine, adhesive digits to perform
Vertical push-ups on a sunny wall;
Bees grapple spikes of lavender, or swarm
The dill’s gold umbels and low clumps of thyme.
Bored with its trellis, a resourceful rose
Has found a nearby cedar tree to climb
And to festoon with floral furbelows.

Though the great, heat-stunned sunflower looks half-dead
The way it, shepherd’s crook-like, hangs its head,
The herbs maintain their modest self-command:
Their fragrances and colors warmly mix
While, quarrying between the pathway’s bricks,
Ants build minute volcanoes out of sand.

from: Toward the Winter Solstice (Swallow Press/Ohio University Press, 2006,

If You Tire Of The Heavy Seriousness Of American Politics,

old gray stone bridge seen through trees and brush
why not have a gander at how our friends across the pond are doing it.

Wonderfully wry, and witty, author Judith O'Reilly makes politics a pleasure.

WIFE IN THE NORTH - presents her observations. Check her out.

Regardless of your political leanings, you won't regret it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Well, The Political Ads Have Started In Earnest. And I'm Sooooo Tired Of The Nasty, Mud Slinging, Sniping, Avoidance Of Any Semblance Of Reality Or Responsibility

Election Year       
by Donald Revell

A jet of mere phantom
Is a brook, as the land around
Turns rocky and hollow.
Those airplane sounds
Are the drowning of bicyclists.
Leaping, a bridesmaid leaps.
You asked for my autobiography.
Imagine the greeny clicking sound
Of hummingbirds in a dry wood,
And there you’d have it. Other birds
Pour over the walls now.
I'd never suspected: every day,
Although the nation is done for,
I find new flowers.

from: A Thief of Strings, Copyright © 2007 by Donald Revell.

Monday, April 12, 2010


grey tabby cat bathing itself on bright serape rug

by Rae Armantrout

We love our cat
for her self
regard is assiduous
and bland,

for she sits in the small
patch of sun on our rug
and licks her claws
from all angles

and it is far
to "balanced reporting"

though, of course,
it is also
the very same thing.

"Thing," from Next Life, © 2007 by Rae Armantrout, published by Wesleyan University Press.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Please Forgive Me, But I Just Don't Feel Uplifting Tonight.



No Survivors Found After West Virginia Mine Disaster

MONTCOAL, W.Va. — An agonizing four-day wait came to a tragic end early Saturday morning when rescue workers failed to find any survivors in an underground mine after a huge explosion earlier this week.
The death toll caused by Monday’s explosion was the highest in an American mine since a 1970 explosion killed 38 at Finley Coal Company, in Hyden, Ky. The blast at Upper Big Branch comes four years after a pair of other West Virginia mine disasters — an explosion that killed 12 miners at the Sago mine and a fire that killed two at the Aracoma Alma coal mine. 

Although written before the remaining miners were found,
the following article lays out the situation at this mine
and is worth reading in its entirety.
(Clicking on the city name at the beginning of each excerpt
will take you to the complete article.) 
Throughout the ordeal we had been hearing bits and pieces,
but here they are strung together to reveal a pattern of
greed and disdain for human life,
endemic in a company that treats its workers as disposable.
Pay special attention to the first sentence. Emphasis mine. 
Here are just a few highlights:

Deaths at West Virginia Mine Raise Issues About Safety

MONTCOAL, W.Va. — The mine owner’s dismal safety record, along with several recent evacuations of the mine, left federal officials and miners suggesting that Monday’s explosion might have been preventable.

In the past two months, miners had been evacuated three times from the Upper Big Branch because of dangerously high methane levels, according to two miners who asked for anonymity for fear of losing their jobs. Representative Nick J. Rahall II, a Democrat whose district includes the mine, said he had received similar reports from miners about recent evacuations at the mine, which as recently as last month was fined at least three times for ventilation problems, according to federal records.

The Massey Energy Company, the biggest coal mining business in central Appalachia and the owner of the Upper Big Branch mine, has drawn sharp scrutiny and fines from regulators over its safety and environmental record.
Kevin Stricklin, an administrator with the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, said the magnitude of the explosion — the worst mining accident in 25 years, which also left four people missing, [...] — showed that “something went very wrong here.”

“All explosions are preventable,” Mr. Stricklin said. “It’s just making sure you have things in place to keep one from occurring.”

Mr. Rahall said that even veteran rescue workers, some with decades of experience, had told him they were shocked by what they saw inside the mine. They said they had never witnessed destruction on that scale, Mr. Rahall said, or dealt with the aftermath of an explosion of that magnitude.
“Violations are unfortunately a normal part of the mining process,” Mr. [Don L.] Blankenship, [Massey’s pugnacious chief executive] said.

“There are violations at every coal mine in America, and U.B.B. was a mine that had violations,” he added, referring to Upper Big Branch.

“I think the fact that M.S.H.A., the state and our fire bosses and the best engineers that you can find were all in and around this mine, and all believed it to be safe in the circumstances it was in, speaks for itself as far as any suspicion that the mine was improperly operated,” Mr. Blankenship said.
But miners and other workers in the mine took issue with Mr. Blankenship’s reassurances.

“No one will say this who works at that mine, but everyone knows that it has been dangerous for years,” said Andrew Tyler, 22, an electrician who worked on the wiring for the coal conveyer belt as a subcontractor at the mine two years ago.

Mr. Tyler said workers had regularly been told to work 12-hour shifts when eight hours is the industry standard. He also said that live wires had been left exposed and that an accumulation of coal dust and methane was routinely ignored.

“I’m willing to go on record because I am a subcontractor who doesn’t depend on Massey for my life,” Mr. Tyler said.

In March alone, the Mine Safety and Health Administration cited the Upper Big Branch mine for 53 safety violations.

Last year, the number of citations issued against the mine more than doubled, to over 500, from 2008, and the penalties proposed against the mine more than tripled, to $897,325.

I grew up in a beautiful area
just north of coal country in Pennsylvania.
Several of my girl friends from high school
married miners and live daily with knowledge that
they too might one day face this hell.
I have never been able to hear the news of
mine explosions or collapses without my insides seizing up,
and as more facts about the company's willful
contempt for safety regulations come to light,
the feeling I have is closer to contempt.
There is a legislative trail to be followed
that shows exactly how they can do it without fear of
any meaningful repercussions;
and over the next week or so I will attempt to lay it out for you.
But tonight anger keeps my thoughts in turmoil.
Please keep these families in your hearts.


seven year old girl throwing a temper tantrum

Friday, April 9, 2010

My Mother Was Supposed To Be Here To See My Garden This Year. I Guess She'll Put In A Good Word For Me, Instead.

Angel of Duluth [excerpt]        
by Madelon Sprengnether

garden allowed to grow wild with plants and flowers taking over the space
I lied a little. There are things I don’t want to tell you. How lonely I am today and sick at heart. How the rain falls steadily and cold on a garden grown greener, more lush and even less tame. I haven’t done much, I confess, to contain it. The grapevine, as usual, threatens everything in its path, while the raspberry canes, aggressive and abundant, are clearly out of control. I’m afraid the wildflowers have taken over, being after all the most hardy and tolerant of shade and neglect. This year the violets and lilies of the valley are rampant, while the phlox are about to emit their shocking pink perfume. Oh, my dear, had you been here this spring, you would have seen how the bleeding hearts are thriving.

Copyright © 2006 by Madelon Sprengnether. From Angel of Duluth.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


One for One

"TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we're all about. The TOMS One for One business model transforms our customers into benefactors, which allows us to grow a truly sustainable business rather than depending on fund-raising for support."

"Why shoes?

Many children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or going to school, these children are at risk:

•A leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted diseases, which can penetrate the skin through bare feet. Wearing shoes can help prevent these diseases, and the long-term physical and cognitive harm they cause.

•Wearing shoes also prevents feet from getting cuts and sores. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected.

•Many times children can't attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don't have shoes, they don't go to school. If they don't receive an education, they don't have the opportunity to realize their potential."
Read More  . . . Go to TOMS.COM to check out their great products and become part of a truly wonderful movement.

Song of Napalm

After the storm, after the rain stopped pounding,
we stood in the doorway watching horses
walk off lazily across the pasture's hill.
We stared through the black screen,
our vision altered by distance
so I thought I saw a mist
kicked up around their hooves when they faded
like cut-out horses
away from us.
The grass was never more blue in that light, more
scarlet; beyond the pasture
trees scraped their voices into the wind, branches
crosscrossed the sky like barbed wire
but you said they were only branches.

Okay. The storm stopped pounding.
I am trying to say this straight: for once
I was sane enough to pause and breathe
outside my wild plans and after the hard rain
I turned my back on the old curses. I believed
they swung finally away from me . . .

But still the branches are wire
and thunder is the pounding mortar,
still I close my eyes and see the girl
running from her village, napalm
stuck to her dress like jelly,
her hands reaching for the no one
who waits in waves of heat before her.

So I can keep on living,
so I can stay here beside you,
I try to imagine she runs down the road and wings
beat inside her until she rises
above the stinking jungle and her pain
eases, and your pain, and mine.

But the lie swings back again.
The lie works only as long as it takes to speak
and the girl runs only as far
as the napalm allows
until her burning tendons and crackling
muscles draw her up
into that final position
burning bodies so perfectly assume. Nothing
can change that, she is burned behind my eyes
and not your good love and not the rain-swept air
and not the jungle-green
pasture unfolding before us can deny it.

Copyright 1988 by Bruce Weigl

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

BREAKING: "Nocturnal Knitters Tag Up New Jersey Town"

THIS echos an earlier post.

tree branches with multicolored knitted sleeves on them

two women wearing multicolored scarves to hide their faces, like robbers

While some may consider them vandals,

(Have you seen these women?)
door handle with purple and pink tweed knitted sleeve on itlamp post with multicolored knitted sleeve on it about two feet high 

(Other targets)

I agree with this commenter:
"I think they are doing a public service! What if I'm walking around and all of a sudden get the sudden urge to cuddle something? They've just made many things in that town extremely cuddly."

Monday, April 5, 2010


Coalminers Plight

When I was young, I knew this man
Quiet as he was, in most of his ways
He dreamed!

Though trapped in a land of coal fields
And hard times
He refused to give into the pain
Of his reality

He just dreamed anyway, often seeing
Himself far away from deep mines
And stripped hills
In places more beautiful; under circumstances

Sometimes, it seemed to me
Wishing on a star aged the man early in life
Beyond years granted, as did working
In the lowest seams of coal unmasked!

Though the lines upon his face and hands
And the sparkle within his eyes, and smile
His story could be told if study was taken
One of misfortune mingled with hope of future

For if he could not overcome his plight in life
Then his dream, was someday in time
His children would!
  And in that time, his loss in life would be his gain
In Heaven!

©Floyd Jett
Published: The Breathitt Advocate 08-27-09
Trials and Tribulations Column

[UPDATE 3/2/2012] - Visit MOUNTAIN POETS DISPLAY for more of Mr Jett's powerful poetry.

'One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter.'

close up of brown mushroom in green grass


Only the mediocre are always at their best.

-- Jean Giraudoux 

Saturday, April 3, 2010


close up of a moth covered in dew, looking like jewels

See more HERE.

I Watch The News, And I Wonder How Far Away These Times Really Are.

from: Testimony: The United States (1885-1915), Recitative
by Charles Reznikoff

Several white men went at night to the Negro's
shot into it,
and set fire to his cotton on the gallery
his wife and children ran under the bed
and as the firing from guns and pistols went on
and the cotton blazed up, ran through a side door
into the woods.
The Negro himself, badly wounded, fled to the
house of a neighbor—
a white man--
and got inside.
He was followed,
and one of those who ran after him
put a shotgun against the white man's door
and shot a hole through it.
Justice, however, was not to be thwarted,
for five of the men who did this to the Negro
were tried:
for "unlawfully and maliciously
injuring and disfiguring"-
the white man's property.

Charles Reznikoff wrote at length in verse of the black experience in America in, Testimony: The United States (1885-1915), Recitative. A refrain entitled "Negroes," is comprised of court testimony from cases involving blacks, rendered into verse patterns by the poet. Testimony dispassionately allows the reality of that life to speak for itself. - Aldon Lynn Nielsen 
Reznikoff allows the irony of America's racial injustices to foreground itself in these pieces, as in this one, which makes no comment on the fact that there were no charges for destroying a black man's property or for assaulting him and his family. - from "Reading Race" White American Poets and the Racial Discourse in the Twentieth Century. Copyright © 1986 by The University of Georgia Press.

Friday, April 2, 2010


flying white dove

from: The Preface to Leaves Of Grass
 - Walt Whitman
"This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem."
The original 10, and some thoughts, by Christopher Hitchens, including:
"Do not condemn people on the basis of their ethnicity or color. Do not ever use people as private property. Despise those who use violence or the threat of it in sexual relations. Hide your face and weep if you dare to harm a child. Do not condemn people for their inborn nature—why would God create so many homosexuals only in order to torture and destroy them? Be aware that you too are an animal and dependent on the web of nature, and think and act accordingly. Do not imagine that you can escape judgment if you rob people with a false prospectus rather than with a knife. Turn off that fucking cell phone—you have no idea how unimportant your call is to us. Denounce all jihadists and crusaders for what they are: psychopathic criminals with ugly delusions. Be willing to renounce any god or any religion if any holy commandments should contradict any of the above. In short: Do not swallow your moral code in tablet form."
Thomas Jefferson, himself, did some thinking and the result of this thought is today known as "The Jefferson Bible." This bible consists of the words, deeds, and morals of Jesus by which we, supposedly, were meant to live. Jefferson removed the genocide, xenophobia, and other things that he felt in conflict with the words of Christ. Here are several links if you are interested: here, here, and here.