22 Apr 2011

Damp Souls.

Written by sally @ 1:28 pm — Section: Uncategorized

Morning at the Window

They are rattling breakfast plates in basement kitchens
And along the trampled edges of the street
I am aware of the damp souls of housemaids
Hanging despondently at area gates.

The brown waves of fog toss up to me
Twisted faces from the bottom of the street
And tear from a passer-by with muddy skirts
An aimless smile that hovers in the air
And vanishes along the level of the roofs.

–T.S. Eliot

21 Apr 2011

Sometimes I Feel Sorry for Dorothy Parker.

Written by sally @ 7:32 am — Section: sally

Inscription for the Ceiling of a Bedroom

Daily dawns another day;
I must up, to make my way.
Though I dress and drink and eat,
Move my fingers and my feet,
Learn a little, here and there,
Weep and laugh and sweat and swear,
Hear a song, or watch a stage,
Leave some words upon a page,
Claim a foe, or hail a friend-
Bed awaits me at the end.

Though I go in pride and strength,
I’ll come back to bed at length.
Though I walk in blinded woe,
Back to bed I’m bound to go.
High my heart, or bowed my head,
All my days but lead to bed.
Up, and out, and on; and then
Ever back to bed again,
Summer, Winter, Spring, and Fall-
I’m a fool to rise at all!

–Dorothy Parker

20 Apr 2011

There Were Flowers in Your Hand.

Written by sally @ 7:34 am — Section: sally


You came in out of the night
And there were flowers in your hand,
Now you will come out of a confusion of people,
Out of a turmoil of speech about you.

I who have seen you amid the primal things
Was angry when they spoke your name
IN ordinary places.
I would that the cool waves might flow over my mind,
And that the world should dry as a dead leaf,
Or as a dandelion see-pod and be swept away,
So that I might find you again,

–Ezra Pound

19 Apr 2011

Shrill with Light.

Written by sally @ 7:38 am — Section: sally


Yellow telephones
in a row in the garden
are ringing,
shrill with light.

Old-fashioned spring
brings earliest models out
each April the same,
naïve and classical.

Look into the yolk-
colored mouthpieces
alert with echoes.
Say hello to time.

–May Swenson

from Nature: Poems Old and New. © Houghton Mifflin, 2000. Reprinted without permission, as I swiped it from the Writer’s Almanac page.

Cake (Acrylic on Birch).

Written by sally @ 7:04 am — Section: sally

A few months ago, I got an email from a nice Canadian lady named Leslie Watts who, through a Google image search, came across a photo of Larry’s birthday cake from several years ago, featured here. Instead of writing to make fun of how my ganache wasn’t shiny AT ALL, she was writing to see if I’d mind if she painted it.

I thought perhaps she was a cake painting spam robot, but it turns out she is a fantastic painter! Click here to see her beautiful, gorgeous, amazing work — including the cake painting.

18 Apr 2011

Bad Things.

Written by sally @ 11:55 am — Section: sally

I could write a proper narrative of what happened Sunday, but it would take too long, and you’d all get bored and die off, one by one, leaving no one reading the impossibly long narrative, which would kind of be silly, although there would be that whole if everyone dies while reading a boring blog post in a forest, does it still exist? thing about it, but anyway, I will just make a list.

1. I don’t like taking Spike to the grocery store because he cuts up.
2. But I had to take him because Larry was working on the yard.
3. We went to Kroger, which had no power.
4. Only the registers and some emergency lights were on.
5. They were open, but the security guard said, “We’re not sure how much longer the registers will be on, but go ahead,” which caused my sweat moustache to sprout.
6. Spike and I raced through the produce department, putting our faces close to the grapes and pears to see them.
7. We chose a new sugary teeth-rotting cereal, a store brand with an octopus on the box.
8. We sped through the hotdog and bacon area, which was darker than the rest of the store. Everyone stood impossibly close to the weiners, squinting, reading packages.
9. I gave up on selecting some cupcake liners because I couldn’t tell what color they were and WHAT IF THE REGISTERS LOST POWER WHILE I WAS STANDING THERE?
10. We made it to the registers!
11. While unloading the buggy, I ran over my toe with it. For a moment the buggy was just sitting on my toe before I could figure out what to do.
12. It hurt a lot. Like, a lot lot.
13. Spike wanted some M&Ms, which I let him have because he was on super-good behavior the whole time. Apparently the key is fretting over something else while in the store AND running over my toe.
14. We got home.
15. Spike ate most of the M&Ms, then ran around the yard screaming.
16. After lunch, which consisted mostly of potato chips, Spike said, “My tummy hurts.”
17. Then bad things happened to his behind. Said bad things went down his legs and pooled on the floor.
18. After I gave Spike a bath, I returned to the scene of the bad things to clean up. Someone had walked through it.
19. It was Lulu.
20. I cleaned up the trail of footprints until they disappeared, then scrubbed the rug and mopped the house.
21. Later, I saw Lulu. I went to pat her, then stopped.
23. Lulu got a bath.


Think About It.

Written by sally @ 10:05 am — Section: Uncategorized

Bright Copper Kettles

Dead friends coming back to life, dead family,
speaking languages living and dead, their minds retentive,
their five senses intact, their footprints like a butterfly’s,
mercy shining from their comprehensive faces —
this is one of my favorite things.
I like it so much I sleep all the time.
Moon by day and sun by night find me dispersed
deep in the dreams where they appear.
In fields of goldenrod, in the city of five pyramids,
before the empress with the melting face, under
the towering plane tree, they just show up.
“It’s all right,” they seem to say. “It always was.”
They are diffident and polite.
(Who knew the dead were so polite?)
They don’t want to scare me; their heads don’t spin like weather vanes.
They don’t want to steal my body
and possess the earth and wreak vengeance.
They’re dead, you understand, they don’t exist. And, besides,
why would they care? They’re subatomic, horizontal. Think about it.
One of them shyly offers me a pencil.
The eyes under the eyelids dart faster and faster.
Through the intercom of the house where for so long ther was no music,
the right Reverend Al Green is singing,
“I could never see tomorrow.
I was never told about the sorrow.”

–Vijay Seshadri

Poetry, December 2010, p. 236

17 Apr 2011

Ancient Battle Trumpets.

Written by sally @ 10:05 am — Section: Uncategorized

Your Hair of Snakes and Flowers

When I saw one of those men touch your hair,
I heard for the first time in many a year
the ancient battle trumpets and I saw
the banners of an army winding off to war
and felt that blind power urging me to knock
him out with one punch, send him tumbling to the floor.
If nobody had held me back, stopped me,
I would — God help me — have killed him on the spot,
stomped out his blood, and spit in it. I’m sorry,
but you must be aware your winding hair
is different now, a hornets’ nest, a snakes’ lair!
Yes, like a ball of snakes in a flower basket, dear.

–Hakan Sandell, translated from the Swedish by Bill Coyle

Poetry,April 2008, p 4

16 Apr 2011


Written by sally @ 10:03 am — Section: Uncategorized

I read a whole book of Robert Lowell poems this morning and decided I only liked these two lines. So here they are.

Flight to New York
I. Plane-Ticket

The London damp comes in, its smell so fertile
trees grow in my room.

15 Apr 2011


Written by sally @ 11:08 am — Section: sally

The other morning I realized I had forgotten to put a new 12-pack of Cokes in the fridge the night before and that I’d have to forage for change in order to buy a new cold one at work. I remembered that I had two shiny quarters on my desk, but then got distracted by something and didn’t go snag them.

A few minutes later, I heard Spike say, “Look Daddy! MONEYS” and though I feebly said, “Those are Mommy’s moneys,” I didn’t have the heart to rip a couple of quarters out of his fat little hand. I just went and got his piggy bank and let him put them in. I did this with a heavy and Cokeless heart.

Then Spike and Larry left for school, and I thought, You know what? No one’s here. I’ma go get those quarters back out of that piggy bank! and even though I also thought What kind of mother are you? Stealing from your baby? I countered that thought with Oh yeah, well, he stole them from me first. So I opened the bank (no, of course I didn’t have to smash it! they don’t even make shitty banks like that anymore, do they? this one had the little rubber thing at the bottom) and found two quarters to supplement the third quarter I knew I had in my wallet.

So, you know, I’m jingle-janglin’ to the Coke machine, nothing to see here, just stole some money out of my little boy’s piggy bank NO BIGGIE and one of the quarters didn’t work. This isn’t unusual, as our Coke machine sucks and often you have to put actual force behind your coin-dropping to make it take. So I shove the quarter in a few more times and then I looked at it. And it was totally one of these.

The Tenderest Bits.

Written by sally @ 9:25 am — Section: Uncategorized

A Literary Dinner

Come here, said my hostess, her face making room
for once of those pink introductory smiles
that link, like a valley of fruit trees in bloom,
the slopes of two names.
I want you, she murmured, to eat Dr. James.

I was hungry. The Doctor looked good. He had read
the great book of the week and had liked it, he said,
because it was powerful. So I was brought
a generous helping. His mauve-bosomed wife
kept showing me, very politely, I thought,
the tenderest bits with the point of her knife.
I ate — and in Egypt the sunsets were swell;
The Russians were doing remarkably well;
Had I met a Prince Poprinsky, whom he had known
in Caparabella, or was in Mentone?
They had travelled extensively, he and his wife;
her hobby was People, his hobby was Life.
All was good and well cooked, but the tastiest part
was his nut-flavored, crisp cerebellum. The heart
resembled a shiny brown date,
and I stowed all the studs on the edge of my plate.

–Vladimir Nabokov

(from Nabokov’s Congeries, Viking, 1968, p. 517)

14 Apr 2011

It Doesn’t Even Need My Eyes to Watch It.

Written by sally @ 7:40 am — Section: Uncategorized


Storms of perfume lift from honeysuckle,
lilac, clover—and drift across the threshold,
outside reclaiming inside as its home.
Warm days whirl in a bright unnumberable blur,
a cup—a grail brimmed with delirium
and humbling boredom both. I was a boy,
I thought I’d always be a boy, pell-mell,
mean, and gaily murderous one moment
as I decapitated daises with a stick,
then overcome with summer’s opium,
numb—slumberous. I thought I’d always be a boy,
each day its own millennium, each
one thousand years of daylight ending in
the night watch, summer’s pervigilium,
which I could never keep because by sunset
I was an old man. I was Methuselah,
the oldest man in the holy book. I drowsed.
I nodded, slept—and without my watching, the world,
whose permanence I doubted, returned again,
bluebell and blue jay, speedwell and cardinal
still there when the light swept back,
and so was I, which I had also doubted.
I understood with horror then with joy,
dubious and luminous joy: it simply spins.
It doesn’t need my feet to make it turn.
It doesn’t even need my eyes to watch it,
and I, though a latecomer to its surface, I’d
be leaving early. It was my duty to stay awake
and sing if I could keep my mind on singing,
not extinction, as blurred green summer, lifted
to its apex, succumbed to gravity and fell
to autumn, Ilium, and ashes. In joy
we are our own uncomprehending mourners,
and more than joy I longed for understanding
and more than understanding I longed for joy.

–Andrew Hudgins

(swiped from Poets.org.)

13 Apr 2011

Forced Hawaii to Its Knees.

Written by sally @ 7:31 am — Section: Uncategorized

Mother at Eighty

You come in dream, Mother, or not at all,
distressed by drugs, scattering quips, complaining
still about the way they torture you. Married late,
you wouldn’t leave the party, forced Hawaii
to its knees. I’ve seen the cascades of your hair,
heard the devilish laugh each suitor ducked, ricocheting
through the rooms; a wastrel girl, uncontrollable.
And press through time to take you in my arms,
to find you now, coldcocked by suffering,
baggage in a train that’s plowed its way
into the dark and snowy woods, and stopped.
I see you there, my dreamer, nodding at your window,
unacknowledged, except perhaps by the spotted dog
limping in the snow, that sees you lift your head,
and trembles in your smoky, avid glance.

–Charlie Smith

(from The Palms, Norton, 1993, p. 65.)

12 Apr 2011

I Didn’t Meet Anyone or See Anything of Interest.

Written by sally @ 7:24 am — Section: Uncategorized


Call it iron discipline. But for months
I never took my first drink
before eleven P.M. Not so bad,
considering. This was in the beginning
phase of things. I knew a man
whose drink of choice was Listerine.
He was coming down off Scotch.
He bought Listerine by the case,
and drank it by the case. The back seat
of his car was piled high with dead soldiers.
Those empty bottles of Listerine
gleaming in his scalding back seat!
The sight of it sent me home soul-searching.
I did that once or twice. Everybody does.
Go way down inside and look around.
I spent hours there, but
didn’t meet anyone, or see anything
of interest. I came back to the here and now,
and put on my slippers. Fixed
myself a nice glass of NyQuil.
Dragged a chair over to the window.
Where I watched a pale moon struggle to rise
over Cupertino, California.
I waited through hours of darkness with NyQuil.
And then, sweet Jesus! the first sliver
of light.

–Raymond Carver

(from Ultramarine. Vintage, 1986. p. 56.)

11 Apr 2011

The Place Looked Clean.

Written by sally @ 7:16 am — Section: sally

The Place Where the Boy Pointed
It was ten days after the event
when the son of the man who had lain in the hay
took me back to the loft where we’d once played,
but this time it wasn’t to play, though for what

I didn’t know, he just said, “Come on,”
and when I came, and there we stood
in the spider-web gloom and wasp-glint light,
he stood, his face white in shadow, and pointed.

I stared at the place, but the hay was clean,
which was strange, for I’d been hearing them tell
how a 12-gauge will make an awful mess
if you put the muzzle in your mouth.

I kept thinking about how the place looked clean.
I kept wondering who had cleaned up the mess.

–Robert Penn Warren

(from Selected Poems, 1923-1975. Random House, 1976. p. 171.)

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