Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Crosstown Breeze

by Henry Taylor

sun shining through the trees in the forest with pink azaleas ans fernsA drift of wind
when August wheeled
brought back to mind
an alfalfa field
where green windrows
bleached down to hay
while storm clouds rose
and rolled our way.
With lighthearted strain
in our pastoral agon
we raced the rain
with baler and wagon,
driving each other
to hold the turn
out of the weather
and into the barn.
A nostalgic pause
claims we saved it all,
but I’ve known the loss
of the lifelong haul;
now gray concrete
and electric light
wear on my feet
and dull my sight.
So I keep asking,
as I stand here,
my cheek still basking
in that trick of air,
would I live that life
if I had the chance,
or is it enough
to have been there once?

from: Crooked Run.


Narrow Road to the Interior: And Other Writings - Matsuo Basho, Sam Hamill     

I've read Matsou Basho's poetry for years in anthologies, but this is the first time I've read it in context. It gave each tiny poem so much more depth. Loved it.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Very Worthwhile Cause . . .

I just found this site today. 
Please help if you are able. There are many ways, and it is so needed.

An estimated 100,000 U.S. children are commercially exploited sexually each year. The average age for children (female and male) entering into prostitution and pornography is 12-14, plenty are younger. Sex trafficking is no respecter of home-life, geographic location, socio-economic status, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity.

Door To Grace is a Portland, Oregon-based movement whose mission is to “restore life to rescued children.” Please visit their site —— for further literature on what compels them and how they are responding to the needs of child survivors, like providing a holistic approach to their care.

If you do not have the funds to give, please find other means to contribute to create positive change, both in the lives of these children and your community. If you do have a dinner out or a movie ticket to spare, or however much more, please consider donating to Door To Grace, and please consider giving generously. 100% of the money donated will go to Door To Grace.

a woman had placed

one yellow long stemed rose
after jorge luis borges

a yellow rose
in a hotel glass
the man had kissed her
on the neck
had kissed her
on the mouth

but these kisses belonged to yesterday
there would be no moment
of revernalization

yellow roses came from china
open in may before our hybrids
unfold pink rugosities and baroque scent
expose dusty fissured yellow pearls

from: Hairpin Loop. Copyright 2007. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

POETRY: Read More. Blog More #6

To Challenge Myself . . . Living a Haiku Year

 I recently revisited a little book called The Haiku Year, which I had originally discovered while looking for something else. Serendipity, indeed!

I had really enjoyed my original reading of this little book and the reread was no disappointment. The poetry is interesting, as is the story of the book's inception.

But what really struck me was the reactions of those who took the time daily for a year to write the haiku contained in the book.

Tom Gilroy, one of the contributors who also wrote the Forward, called the resulting poems "precious moments." And Steve Earle, who wrote the Introduction, calls his Haiku year "The best year of my life."

Reading these responses got me to thinking.

We all live busy lives, whatever our circumstances, and it is so easy to get caught up in the business of living and forget to really notice, let alone connect with, the world in which we live.

So, here's the challenge:

After rereading this short book and noting the thoughts of the participants, I have decided to challenge myself to "living a Haiku year." That is, I challenge myself to take a few moments each day to write three lines, 17 syllables, one haiku. I even have a beautiful little red book in which to record my "precious moments."

Is anyone interested in joining me?

The purpose is to take a few moments and really notice the world around you, feel it, and capture the experience. Good, bad, mediocre. It doesn't matter. It's not nearly as difficult as it may sound, and like any exercise it actually gets easier with practice.

If you need a little information on the form and its requirements there have been many books written on the subject, as well as many online resources. Some are concerned with form only while others incorporate the writing of haiku into a spiritual journey.

These are a few BOOKS I've read myself:

And a few WEBSITES: 

Here is a book that I have not read, but the title intrigues me: [UPDATE: It just arrived in the mail and is only waiting for me to begin!]

And just for fun, 
here is a website with writing tips - WRITTEN IN HAIKU

POETRY: Read More, Blog More #5

Last month Lu posted some interesting 'just in case you need one' prompts for this challenge but I had already written my post for the month.

One of them was actually a subject close to my heart, and I really wanted to give it a try, so I'm going to tackle it this month:

First, A little disclosure. I refer to myself, euphemistically, as an "underemployed teacher" (English Language Arts, Special Education). My background also includes many years of working as a Literacy Volunteer. I currently tutor at risk kids in local school districts as an off shoot of No Child Left Behind. 

It is a challenge that often leaves me feeling elated and defeated simultaneously. As you might imagine, kids who are struggling generally don't want to read at all - forget poetry! But I have found that what matters is 1). The poems you choose and 2). your attitude toward their attempts.

Oh. And don't think they won't know if YOU don't like poetry.

Regardless of age, I like to start with Shel Silverstein. Who can't relate to his poetry? And relating is the name of the game.

My copy of Where the Sidewalk Ends is worn and a bit tattered around the edges. I've lost count of the number of young hands that have held that book; the number of intense and struggling students who have found laughter - despite themselves. If a book could have emotions, this one would be happy and proud to have helped so many striving minds.

Here is one of my favorites (though that changes often):

If the World Was Crazy  
If the world was crazy, you know what I'd eat?
A big slice of soup and a whole quart of meat,
A lemonade sandwich, and then I might try
Some roasted ice cream or a bicycle pie,
A nice notebook salad, an underwear roast,
An omelet of hats and some crisp cardboard toast,
A thick malted milk made from pencils and daisies,
And that's what I'd eat if the world was crazy. 

If the world was crazy, you know what I'd wear?
A chocolate suit and a tie of eclair,
Some marshmallow earmuffs, some licorice shoes,
And I'd read a paper of peppermint news.
I'd call the boys "Suzy" and I'd call the girls "Harry,"
I'd talk through my ears, and I always would carry
A paper umbrella for when it grew hazy
To keep in the rain, if the world was crazy. 

If the world was crazy, you know what I'd do?
I'd walk on the ocean and swim in my shoe,
I'd fly through the ground and I'd skip through the air,
I'd run down the bathtub and bathe on the stair.
When I met somebody I'd say "G'bye, Joe,"
And when I was leaving--then I'd say "Hello."
And the greatest of men would be silly and lazy
So I would be king...if the world was crazy. 

from: Where the Sidewalk Ends. Copyright 1974. 


Reading the books is easy. 
Writing about them regularly, even just a little blurb, is not. 
Here are the "reviews" of a few of my latest reads.
If you are interested in other books I've read, check out the Books That I Have Known page above.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women - Laurie R. King     

I enjoyed this second book in the Mary Russell series as much as the first. Ms King has a comfortable grasp on the Victorian society which spawned Sherlock Holmes, and the evolution of that society.

The book ends with a development that is not entirely unexpected but upon which I am undecided. Oh, I know it was all but inevitable, given the overarching trajectory of the series and the demands of the society in which it is set. It just leaves me, I don't know, unsettled.

Yes, I know. I'll get over it.

What do you think. I'd appreciate hearing alternative ideas which would solve all pertinent issues as gracefully as Ms King's chosen one. Just a thought exercise.

A Letter of Mary - Laurie R. King    

An interesting story, but a bit sad. Family stuff and all.

Still I enjoyed it.

The Moor - Laurie R. King  

In this Mary Russell book we find ourselves drawn back to probably Sherlock Holmes' most famous case, The *cough* Hound of the *cough* Baskervilles *cough*.

We also learn a bit more about Holmes' mysterious background.

Book four and I'm still enjoying the series.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Remember Those Who Served . . . Those Who Still Serve . . . and Those They Leave Behind . . .

Todd Heisler The Rocky Mountain News
The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her . . .

Ways you can help:

Forever War

   by Nate Pritts

In studying the anomaly
it was determined that holiday decorations
look sad out of season,
that there's no excuse for the mistakes
of my people. Red paper hearts
on the front door into April,
a cauldron that doubles as a planter
in summer. Always the starscape
to help keep me honest, to remind me
that distance is easy to cross.
The analytic belt I'm equipped with 
reminds me of an indescribable autumn 
from one hundred generations ago
though even last year
I was someone else.
I was faced with a choice.
Proceed with the same core
or blow it up to restart
& maybe go further. Most of my programming
has survived into this new battle.
I can smell faint ocean 
salt on the breeze & I have different 
reactions for its presence or absence.
Now is the time to overcome problems.
I debate the finer points of being desperate,
of wanting things to remain
as they are, though they can't.
I'd rather not go into details
since specifics make me queasy,
like in pictures when people put their heads
too close together. How can they stand
such forced intimacy?
I take off in search of my home planet.
My resolve is stronger than ever.

Copyright © 2010

Sunday, May 27, 2012

For the Twentieth Century

   by Frank Bidart

Bound, hungry to pluck again from the thousand 
technologies of ecstasy

boundlessness, the world that at a drop of water 
rises without boundaries,

I push the PLAY button:--

. . .Callas, Laurel & Hardy, Szigeti

you are alive again,--

the slow movement of K.218
once again no longer

bland, merely pretty, nearly
banal, as it is

in all but Szigeti's hands

abstract graphite drawing

Therefore you and I and Mozart
must thank the Twentieth Century, for

it made you pattern, form
whose infinite

repeatability within matter
defies matter-- 

Malibran. Henry Irving. The young
Joachim. They are lost, a mountain of

newspaper clippings, become words
not their own words. The art of the performer.

from: Music Like Dirt. Copyright 2002.
Drawing: Jonathan Zawanda.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Quote of the Day

So be wise, because the world needs more wisdom, and if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.

And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.

- Neil Gaiman, Keynote Address,
University of the Arts, May 17, 2012.

Does the SPCA Know That's How They Work?

computer mouse with real mouse Photoshopped inside running it

Someone should tell them!

Thursday, May 24, 2012


   by Claribel Alegría
translated by Margaret S. Peden

heavy rain falling
As the falling rain
trickles among the stones
memories come bubbling out.
It's as if the rain
had pierced my temples.
streaming chaotically
come memories:
the reedy voice
of the servant
telling me tales
of ghosts.
They sat beside me
the ghosts
and the bed creaked
that purple-dark afternoon
when I learned you were leaving forever,
a gleaming pebble
from constant rubbing
becomes a comet.
Rain is falling
and memories keep flooding by
they show me a senseless
a voracious
but I keep loving it
because I do
because of my five senses
because of my amazement
because every morning, 
because forever, I have loved it
without knowing why.

from: Casting Off. Copyright 2003. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hulk say . . .


Happy Birthday!

A Boy and His Dad

  by Edgar Guest

kid fishing with dad
A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
There is a glorious fellowship!
Father and son and the open sky
And the white clouds lazily drifting by,
And the laughing stream as it runs along
With the clicking reel like a martial song,
And the father teaching the youngster gay
How to land a fish in the sportsman's way.

I fancy I hear them talking there
In an open boat, and the speech is fair.
And the boy is learning the ways of men
From the finest man in his youthful ken.
Kings, to the youngster, cannot compare
With the gentle father who's with him there.
And the greatest mind of the human race
Not for one minute could take his place.

Which is happier, man or boy?
The soul of the father is steeped in joy,
For he's finding out, to his heart's delight,
That his son is fit for the future fight.
He is learning the glorious depths of him,
And the thoughts he thinks and his every whim;
And he shall discover, when night comes on,
How close he has grown to his little son.

A boy and his dad on a fishing-trip—
Builders of life's companionship!
Oh, I envy them, as I see them there
Under the sky in the open air,
For out of the old, old long-ago
Come the summer days that I used to know,
When I learned life's truths from my father's lips
As I shared the joy of his fishing-trips.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

In a Country

   by Larry Levis
red orange sun set across a large meadow

My love and I are inventing a country, which we 
can already see taking shape, as if wheels were 
passing through yellow mud. But there is a prob-
lem: if we put a river in the country, it will thaw 
and begin flooding. If we put the river on the bor-
der, there will be trouble. If we forget about the 
river, there will be no way out. There is already a 
sky over that country, waiting for clouds or smoke. 
Birds have flown into it, too. Each evening more 
trees fill with their eyes, and what they see we can 
never erase.

One day it was snowing heavily, and again we were 
lying in bed, watching our country: we could 
make out the wide river for the first time, blue and 
moving. We seemed to be getting closer; we saw 
our wheel tracks leading into it and curving out 
of sight behind us. It looked like the land we had 
left, some smoke in the distance, but I wasn't sure. 
There were birds calling. The creaking of our 
wheels. And as we entered that country, it felt as if 
someone was touching our bare shoulders, lightly, 
for the last time.

from: The Afterlife. Copyright 1977. 

Quote of the Day

Whoever has succumbed to torture can no longer feel at home in the world.

- Jean Améry, Torture.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Identity Crisis

   by F. D. Reeve

He was urged to prepare for success: "You never can tell,
    he was told over and over; "others have made it;
    one dare not presume to predict. You never can tell. 

Who’s Who in America lists the order of cats
    in hunting, fishing, bird-watching, farming,
    domestic service--the dictionary order of cats

who have made it. Those not in the book are beyond the pale.
    Not to succeed in you chosen profession is unthinkable.
    Either you make it or--you’re beyond the pale.

Do you understand?"
                   "No," he shakes his head.
    "Are you ready to forage for freedom?"
                                          "No," he adds,
    "I mean, why is a cat always shaking his head?

Because he’s thinking: who am I? I am not
    only one-ninth of myself. I always am
    all of the selves I have been and will be but am    not."

"The normal cat," I tell him, "soon adjusts
    to others and to changing circumstances;
    he makes his way the way he soon adjusts."

"I can’t," he says, "perhaps because I’m blue, sitting russian blue cat
    big-footed, lop-eared, socially awkward, impotent,
    and I drink too much, whether because I’m blue

or because I like it, who knows. I want to escape
    at five o’clock    into an untouchable world
where the top is the bottom and everyone wants to escape

from the middle, everyone, every day. I mean,
    I have visions of two green eyes rising
    out of the ocean, blinking, knowing what I mean."

"Never mind the picture, repeat after me
    the self’s creed. What he tells you you
    tells me and I repeats. Now, after me:

I love myself, I wish I would live well.
    Your gift of love breaks through my self-defeat.
    All prizes are blue. No cat admits defeat.
The next time that he lives he will live well."

from: The Return of the Blue Cat. Copyright 2005. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Trees Need Not Walk the Earth

   by David Rosenthal
Trees need not walk the earth  
For beauty or for bread;  
Beauty will come to them  
Where they stand.  
Here among the children of the sap
Is no pride of ancestry:  
A birch may wear no less the morning  
Than an oak.  
Here are no heirlooms  
Save those of loveliness, 
In which each tree  
Is kingly in its heritage of grace.  
Here is but beauty’s wisdom  
In which all trees are wise.  
Trees need not walk the earth 
For beauty or for bread;  
Beauty will come to them  
In the rainbow—  
The sunlight—  
And the lilac-haunted rain;
And bread will come to them  
As beauty came:  
In the rainbow—  
In the sunlight—  
In the rain.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday, Friday, Friday, Friday . . .

Friday's Child 
- W.H. Auden

(In memory of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred at Flossenbürg, April 9, 1945)

He told us we were free to choose
But, children as we were, we thought---
"Paternal Love will only use
Force in the last resort

On those too bumptious to repent."
Accustomed to religious dread,
It never crossed our minds He meant
Exactly what He said.

Perhaps He frowns, perhaps He grieves,
But it seems idle to discuss
If anger or compassion leaves
The bigger bangs to us.

What reverence is rightly paid
To a Divinity so odd
He lets the Adam whom He made
Perform the Acts of God?

It might be jolly if we felt
Awe at this Universal Man
(When kings were local, people knelt);
Some try to, but who can?

The self-observed observing Mind
We meet when we observe at all
Is not alarming or unkind
But utterly banal.

Though instruments at Its command
Make wish and counterwish come true,
It clearly cannot understand
What It can clearly do.

Since the analogies are rot
Our senses based belief upon,
We have no means of learning what
Is really going on,

And must put up with having learned
All proofs or disproofs that we tender
Of His existence are returned
Unopened to the sender.

Now, did He really break the seal
And rise again? We dare not say;
But conscious unbelievers feel
Quite sure of Judgement Day.

Meanwhile, a silence on the cross,
As dead as we shall ever be,
Speaks of some total gain or loss,
And you and I are free

To guess from the insulted face
Just what Appearances He saves
By suffering in a public place
A death reserved for slaves.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quote of the Day

To be sane in a mad time is bad for the brain, 
worse for the heart.

- Wendell Berry.

A Birthday

My heart is like a singing bird   
  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;   
My heart is like an apple-tree   
  Whose boughs are bent with thick-set fruit;   
My heart is like a rainbow shell 
  That paddles in a halcyon sea;   
My heart is gladder than all these,   
  Because my love is come to me.   
Raise me a daïs of silk and down;   
  Hang it with vair and purple dyes;
Carve it in doves and pomegranates,   
  And peacocks with a hundred eyes;   
Work it in gold and silver grapes,   
  In leaves and silver fleurs-de-lys;   
Because the birthday of my life
  Is come, my love is come to me. 
A very Happy Birthday to you!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

from: The Mask of Anarchy

- Percy Bysshe Shelley
As I lay asleep in Italy
There came a voice from over the Sea,
And with great power it forth led me
To walk in the visions of Poesy.

I met Murder on the way -
He had a mask like Castlereagh -
Very smooth he looked, yet grim;
Seven blood-hounds followed him:

All were fat; and well they might
Be in admirable plight,
For one by one, and two by two,
He tossed the human hearts to chew
Which from his wide cloak he drew.

Next came Fraud, and he had on,
Like Eldon, an ermined gown;
His big tears, for he wept well,
Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

And the little children, who
Round his feet played to and fro,
Thinking every tear a gem,
Had their brains knocked out by them.

Clothed with the Bible, as with light,
And the shadows of the night,
Like Sidmouth, next, Hypocrisy
On a crocodile rode by. 

And many more Destructions played
In this ghastly masquerade,
All disguised, even to the eyes,
Like Bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.

Last came Anarchy: he rode
On a white horse, splashed with blood;
He was pale even to the lips,
Like Death in the Apocalypse.

And he wore a kingly crown;
And in his grasp a sceptre shone;
On his brow this mark I saw -


'And if then the tyrants dare
Let them ride among you there,
Slash, and stab, and maim, and hew, -
What they like, that let them do.

'With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear, and less surprise,
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away.

'Then they will return with shame
To the place from which they came,
And the blood thus shed will speak
In hot blushes on their cheek.

'Every woman in the land
Will point at them as they stand -
They will hardly dare to greet
Their acquaintance in the street.

'And the bold, true warriors
Who have hugged Danger in wars
Will turn to those who would be free,
Ashamed of such base company.

'And that slaughter to the Nation
Shall steam up like inspiration,
Eloquent, oracular;
A volcano heard afar.

'And these words shall then become
Like Oppression's thundered doom
Ringing through each heart and brain,
Heard again - again - again -

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'
 Illustration Source.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Daniel Boone

coonskin cap

When Daniel Boone goes by, at night, 
The phantom deer arise 
And all lost, wild America 
Is burning in their eyes. 

Copyright 1933.

Quote of the Day

Some things are not forgivable. Deliberate cruelty is not forgivable. It is the most unforgivable thing in my opinion, and the one thing of which I have never, ever been guilty.

 - Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire.

Monday, May 14, 2012

On His Seventy-fifth Birthday

fireplace with raging fire   by Walter Savage Landor

I strove with none; for none was worth my strife,
    Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art;
I warmed both hands before the fire of life,
    It sinks, and I am ready to depart.


rifht hand painted as a brown and beige tabby cat

Sunday, May 13, 2012

If I Had Just One Wish to Make for Mother's Day . . .

I would make this wish for my daughter and granddaughters, (and sons and grandsons) and yours as well.

May you be safe in your homes and on our streets, secure and in sole control of your own bodies, and able to trust those who have been granted authority over you. 

May your concerns and difficulties be dealt with respectfully, promptly, and satisfactorily by those who have the power to do so. 

May your lives be full and happy and free from those who would trade them for their own ends.

May you stand tall, with your heads held high.

And most importantly . . .

May you always know that You are loved.

Alright. So maybe it is more than one wish. Cut me some slack - it's Mother's Day!

Visiting Pai-an Pavilion

brown house finch with red head
   by Hsieh Ling-yun
translated by Sam Hamill

Beside this dike, I shake off the world's dust, 
enjoying walks alone near my brushwood house. 

A small stream gurgles down a rocky gorge. 
Mountains rise beyond the trees, 

kingfisher blue, almost beyond description, 
but reminding me of the fisherman's simple life. 

From a grassy bank, I listen 
as springtime fills my heart. 

Finches call and answer in the oaks. 
Deer cry out, then return to munching weeds. 

I remember men who knew a hundred sorrows, 
and the gratitude they felt for gifts. 

Joy and sorrow pass, each by each, 
failure at one moment, happy success the next. 

But not for me. I have chosen freedom 
from the world's cares. I chose simplicity.

from: Crossing the Yellow River: Three Hundred Poems from the Chinese. Translation copyright 2000. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012


You know you liked it.

Chris Evans (Captain America), Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man), and Mark Ruffalo (The Hulk).


The Beekeeper’s Apprentice - Laurie King    

For some reason, as I read this, Sherlock Holmes was Johnny Depp in my mind.

Laurie King captures the flavor of Conan Doyle's England without being held hostage on the paths he blazed. Holmes is the supporting actor in this series (yes this is the first of a series) and he has mellowed ever so slightly with age. She pokes fun at and challenges some of the original material as only a true fan could. 

All this might rankle some Holmes purists, but I enjoyed it and am now on to the next in the series, A Monstrous Regiment of Women.

Friday, May 11, 2012

You Begin

baby hand held in an adult hand against a black background
You begin this way:
this is your hand,
this is your eye,
that is a fish, blue and flat
on the paper, almost
the shape of an eye.
This is your mouth, this is an O
or a moon, whichever
you like. This is yellow.

Outside the window
is the rain, green
because it is summer, and beyond that
the trees and then the world,
which is round and has only 
the colors of these nine crayons.

This is the world, which is fuller
and more difficult to learn than I have said.
You are right to smudge it that way
with the red and then
the orange: the world burns.

Once you have learned these words
you will learn that there are more
words than you can ever learn.
The word hand floats above your hand
like a small cloud over a lake.
The word hand anchors
your hand to this table,
your hand is a warm stone
I hold between two words.

This is your hand, these are my hands, this is the world,
which is round but not flat and has more colors
than we can see.

It begins, it has an end,
this is what you will
come back to, this is your hand.

from: Selected Poems II: 1976-1986.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


by Gerður Kristný
Translation: Victoria Cribb

victorian woman writing
By day there’s not a peep
from Anne who lives
in widowhood overhead
– except when she dozes off
over her diary
drops it on the floor

Otherwise not a peep

It’s another matter at night
then there’s all hell of a hubbub
Anne’s friends pound up the stairs
hollering their hellos
and crack open a feast
Some with a bottle of buttermilk
others nursing eggs

Towards dawn the neighbours are fed up
of fiddles and folksongs
The guests depart in haste
melting into the walls

When the police force the door
Anne sits at the kitchen table

from: Höggstaður. Copyright 2007.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Meet Chelsea Fairclough . . . Please is the web site dedicated to Chelsea Fairclough and her very first art exhibition and fundraising event, entitled Paintability.

All of the paintings are produced by Chelsea using the wheels of her electric wheelchair, and the funds raised at the exhibition will support the Make a Wish Foundation in Singapore, and Chelsea’s immediate medical expenses and considerable on going care costs.

14 year old Chelsea is scheduled to have spinal fusion surgery to control the pronounced curvature of her spine and make it easier for her to sit in her wheelchair and have pain free days. The surgery is scheduled to take place during the summer 2012.

abstract painting done in oranges with a vertical streak of red in the middle

Where: ReDot Fine Art Gallery at Tanjong Pagar, Singapore (more)
When:  Thursday 10 May 2012 from 6pm
Ticket Cost:   S$25 per person or S$50 per family of four

If you are unable to attend, you can still make a donation.
(Information and link are on the site)

Long Distance II

   by Tony Harrison

Though my mother was already two years dead
Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas,
put hot water bottles her side of the bed
and still went to renew her transport pass.

You couldn't just drop in.  You had to phone.
He'd put you off an hour to give him time
to clear away her things and look alone
as though his still raw love were such a crime.

He couldn't risk my blight of disbelief
though sure that very soon he'd hear her key
scrape in the rusted lock and end his grief.
He knew she'd just popped out to get the tea.

I believe life ends with death, and that is all.small black book
You haven't both gone shopping; just the same,
in my new black leather phone book there's your name
and the disconnected number I still call.

from: Selected Poems. Copyright 1984.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Little Help for the Heat

pile of six ice cubes

Hey You

Back when my head like an egg in a nest  
was vowel-keen and dawdling, I shed my slick beautiful 
and put it in a basket and laid it barefaced at the river 
among the taxing rocks. My beautiful was all hush 
and glitter. It was too moist to grasp. My beautiful 
had no tongue with which to lick—no discernable 
wallowing gnaw. It was really a breed of destruction 
like a nick in a knife. It was a notch in the works 
or a wound like a bell in a fat iron mess. My beautiful 
was a drink too sopping to haul up and swig!
Therefore with the trees watching and the beavers abiding 
I tossed my beautiful down at the waterway against 
the screwball rocks. Even then there was no hum.  
My beautiful was never ill-bred enough, no matter what 
you say. If you want my blue yes everlasting, try my 
she, instead. Try the why not of my low down, 
Sugar, my windswept and wrecked.

from: Live from the Homesick Jamboree. Copyright 2010. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday. Yech.

cartoon mouse wearing pants and shoes lying in mouse trap

Slow Waltz Through Inflatable Landscape

At the time of his seeing a hole opened—a pocket opened—
and left a space. A string of numbers plummeted 
through it. They were cold numbers. 
They were pearls.

And though they were cold the light they cast was warm,
and though they were pearls he thought they were eyes.
They blinked. He blinked back.
Anything that blinks

must be friendly, he thought, until he saw the code
—a string of numbers—carved into their sides
and grew afraid. He tried to close
the space

but it was no longer his own. He tried to close his eyes
but they were no longer his. He tried to close 
his mouth, his hands, his ears
but they were no longer

his, were never his to begin with: this was the time of his seeing.
The world opened. A line began. A tree grew above him
and he thanked it. A sun dawned over the line
and he thanked it.

A building unfolded abruptly and blocked the sun
and he put his hand on its side and thanked it
for the shade, he put his hand
on the sidewalk

and gave thanks to the cement—it was cool and wet and 
took the shape of his hand into it—he put his eyes
at the feet of a woman
and she lifted them,

to her own, and he thanked her, from the inside, and she understood.
Wires swirled above him, straightened out along an avenue
and the lights came on. One moon rose.
A second moon

rose on the windshield of a car and he thanked them both.
This was the time of his seeing. This was the time.
An electric green beetle shuttled out
of the darkness

and landed on his forearm, pulsing, he didn't remove it.
It seemed relieved. Some things work very hard
to leave the ground. Somewhere an infant
called out, sharply,

was comforted into silence. The deep note of an owl opened a tunnel 
in the air. He was growing tired. He didn’t want to stop. 
The world opened. 
A line began.

It traveled out ahead of him and returned, tracing a wave,
white foam gathering, gathering the moonlight,
black water rising into a wall
and he held up his hand:

the wall froze, trembling, the head of a seal
poked through, looked around, withdrew,
he liked the way its whiskers
bent forward

as it withdrew and he liked the way his hand had stopped a wave
so he thanked his hand and moved on,
into the outskirts, the taste
of salt on his tongue,

the taste of brine, it made him thirsty although he had no thirst.
This was the time of his seeing. This was the time.
And the skeletal shadow of a radio tower
loomed to the right of him,

creaking, a red gleam, then nothing, he thought he heard music
passing through him and he was right: 
he was humming something
from a song, 

but he couldn't remember the words, which was fine, 
they were sentimental anyway so he 
thanked the radio tower
and kept moving,

the road turning to gravel, the gravel turning to dust,
the ditches sang with frogs, the ditches were silent,
a pair of yellow eyes waited for him
to pass and so he passed,

calmly, since the beetle was with him, trying to refold its wings,
and the tree was with him, unfolding its leaves,
and a man was with him, walking at his side
—he didn't need to ask

who he was, so he didn't, but in the corner of his eye
he caught a glimpse: he seemed familiar,
he looked like him
and he was,

although a string of numbers was carved into his side.
He asked if he could touch them and he said Yes,
touch them. They were cold numbers.
They were pearls.

He asked if he could kiss him and he said Yes, kiss me, and so he did.
It was a strange kiss. It was a beautiful kiss.
It seemed to last a long time.
It seemed to last a lifetime.

- Copyright 2005.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Facing It

   by Yusef Komunyakaa

painting of man standing at the Vietnam memorial wall with reflections of the fallen looking back at him
My black face fades,
hiding inside the black granite.
I said I wouldn't,
dammit: No tears. 
I'm stone. I'm flesh.
My clouded reflection eyes me
like a bird of prey, the profile of night
slanted against morning. I turn
this way--the stone lets me go.
I turn that way--I'm inside
the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
again, depending on the light
to make a difference.
I go down the 58,022 names,
half-expecting to find
my own in letters like smoke.
I touch the name Andrew Johnson;
I see the booby trap's white flash.
Names shimmer on a woman's blouse
but when she walks away
the names stay on the wall.
Brushstrokes flash, a red bird's 
wings cutting across my stare.
The sky. A plane in the sky.
A white vet's image floats
closer to me, then his pale eyes
look through mine. I'm a window.
He's lost his right arm
inside the stone. In the black mirror
a woman's trying to erase names:
No, she's brushing a boy's hair.

from: Dien Cai Dau. Copyright 1988. 
Photo source.