Diane Vogel Ferri is a teacher, poet and writer. Her essays have been published in Scene Magazine, Cleveland Christmas Memories, Raven’s Perch, and by Cleveland State University among others. Her poems can be found in numerous journals. Her chapbook, Liquid Rubies, was published by Pudding House. The Volume of Our Incongruity was published by Finishing Line Press. Diane’s essay, “I Will Sing for You” was featured at the Cleveland Humanities Fest in 2018. Her novel, The Desire Path can be found on Amazon. She is a graduate of Kent State University and holds an M.Ed from Cleveland State University.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
on the record player
at someone's house
when I was kissed
for the first time.
Nicky went to another school.
His lips were wet and soft
in the dark closet
after the bottle pointed to me.
When Bob Dylan first heard
"I Wanna Hold Your Hand"
he thought the Beatles were singing
I get high
instead of I can't hide.
He brought marijuana
to the Beatles for the first time
and they were
for all of Beatlemania.
Monday, October 29, 2007
from the things that stay
transfixed in visions;
they pierced my virgin heart.
the cloistered dreams,
a token of an ancient memory,
those omnipotent one-time words.
from my seedy cognizant mind
that which now hurts me
and others. Surround me,
something new, replaceable,
rebirth of my singular realm.
inpetus to my slackened thoughts.
Gift me, love me,
in lieu of my unrestrained years
and that which I can never repay
I will rest in my imperfect peace.
me in grace,
and I will stand anew
in all that I am created
and exist to be.
Friday, October 26, 2007
The trip from one industrial city to another
took two hours, but as a child, it seemed like forever.
We knew we were getting close to our cousins
when the shallow Ohio hills evolved
into Pennsylvania mountains and out of the
car window there were clusters of railroad tracks,
twisting, converging in a massive puzzle.
We followed the Ohio River, wide and
forbidding in the tiny town that sat
across from the inhospitable steel mills.
In the summer, the dirt falling from
the sky collected in gutters and grew weeds
and grass there and in the winter it blackened
the snow before it touched the earth.
The surrounding sky was perpetually sallow;
neutral from the belching towers
of fire and foul smelling smog.
The filth from the smoke stacks brought
a paycheck to its workers, but caused children
to come in from playing with black hands and
feet and begrimed faces and clothes.
At night I would leave whatever bed I was
sharing with one or two cousins to see
the sky that was lit up orange with the angry
fire that discharged from the mills all night long,
and listen to the howl of the trains
and wonder how anyone could sleep
with this beauty and brilliance outside,
the view at one forbidding and
inviting to innocent eyes.
The flagrant polluting of the earth
was eventually halted and the mills torn down.
The fiery combustive sky dissolved, the jobs lost,
the houses sandblasted of their scorching,
the heavens clarified and colorful,
and the children were clean.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
Now we are totally dependent on technology to make it through every day. This sometimes frightens me (I write on my blog before sending it into cyberspace).
When Lucy and Ethel got in double-trouble they didn't have the frustration of roaming cell phones or crashing computers. If Laura Petrie burned the dinner there was no McDonald's or Pizza Hut down the street to rectify the situation - and Dick was still hot for her no matter what. Opie learned a valuable life lesson from a slingshot and a baby bird - he did not learn it on the Internet, nor did he miss the lesson while he was busy inside being killed by a video game.
I am now completely aware that those shows allow me to experience a world of simplicity that will never exist again. They also bring back a memory of watching them at home on the black & white TV on Christmas vacation and then doing the same with my own children (probably huddled together under a crocheted afghan in our drafty house).
I'm OK with progress and I love the fact that I can reach my kids any time on their cells - but I think it's OK to miss the old days and to still laugh at Lucy and Barney and Dick. But I never did like the Beaver - did you?
Friday, October 19, 2007
The llamas look hungry
as I drive by at 7:45.
They linger at the fence
waiting for their plop of hay,
a clutter of absurd necks and brown pop-eyes,
an incongruous sight as the highway looms ahead.
Daily I teach children
who have never seen a llama,
who don't know they live by a Great Lake,
or a great zoo where llamas display
their silky coats, their piebald wools,
their pancake eyes and paintbrush eyelashes.
These children have never seen a blue heron
like the one standing in our lake all day,
would not recognize the houses
where two parents help with homework,
street corners where they stand at the bus stop
to wave goodbye each morning.
As I drive by at 4:05 the llamas huddle
under sheltering boughs in the drowsy spring rain.
They must not like the smell
of their wet wool sweaters.
I wonder if, they too, want to spit at me.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
The going down inflated her to the hopeful bursting
with the unison of their animated transaction
the throats belched out shooting stars like
winning lottery tickets raining from the ceiling
there was a secret bouncing from between sticky surfaces
wallowing in silent places, reassembling them
as milkweed for the caterpillar or oxygen after a severed cord
there was nothing left to do but breathe
Monday, October 15, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Oh! they're playing Cleveland Rocks on the TV - but I'm rambling - a good dinner, a little too much wine and great people will do that to ya. More tomorrow when I come back to the real world.
Kate fell down and got four boo-boos.
It's all good (except the boo-boos - but it was funny.)
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Setting: Doors always locked. A camera at the front door to buzz in visitors who are instructed to sign in at the office (up a flight of stairs and on the other side of the building) and wear a visitor's badge. Staff carries key fobs and are not to open doors to visitors. Emergency procedures in place and practiced.
Picture this scenario: 8:45 am - Bell rings, teachers bring classes in (300 kids) from outside where many parents are milling about. In the office phones are ringing, announcements being made, students are going to get their free breakfast, the copy machine repairman has arrived, volunteers tutors are signing in, college students come for service projects, late students need a late slip to get in class, the milk delivery is here. Teachers are herding 20-25 children through the hallways. The principal is dealing with two boys who were fighting on the bus. A parent comes to register a new student.
Could someone walk in unnoticed as students were entering? Yes. Could someone walk in behind the milk delivery person? Yes. Could a child leave the door open at recess after going into the bathroom? Yes. Could someone who buzzed in never show up at the office? Yes. Could a teacher busy looking after 25 first graders tell a stranger to check in at the office - and could that stranger (or even familiar parent) just have lost custody of his or her child and want revenge? Yes. Could that person have a gun? Sure. Could a ten year-old find a gun at home and try something he saw on TV? Yeah.
A school is not a maximum security prison. It is a busy, bustling place where people come and go all day.
Should we pay close attention to troubled children and teens? Yes, yes, yes.
Should we wonder where they get guns. Absolutely.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
I imagine time got away from him and now he doesn't know what to do. He can't live without it. Like a bad habit that's so engrained you're not even aware of it. Or how some people don't see the Christmas wreath on their door in February or the red bow on their mailbox in March.
I'm not really judging - everyone has the right to their hair.
Has anyone else ever seen this dude?
Monday, October 8, 2007
What the $#%&*?? I'm paying you $150 an hour for that!
Surrender sounds like a weakness, but in reality it takes an enormous amount of strength to actually achieve true surrender to something that you believe unfair, unjust, wrong - whatever it is that you're cemented to heart and soul.
Surrender is the hardest lesson I've learned.
I pray a lot. And when God tells me to surrender through His silent screaming voice in my head - or He sends a human messenger - what do I do? I fight and scream and kick and have tantrums, for months, maybe years. I have to go to time-out repeatedly and still I do not get my way.
When I am rinsed of my duality
a small piece of purity appears
in my soul, on my skin.
1. Sometimes in life you just have to surrender
he says, and then I revolt in a bloody sound-off to God.
2. I Surrender All - the singer sings from the box
in my living room and in a providential moment
I listen, slack-jawed.
3. Sunday morning arrives. Yes, Mary surrendered.
And I halt my inner tantrum. I get it.
Abandon, acquiesce each living second
until it hurts a lot less.
It was never up to me anyway.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
But I digress.
October has always been my favorite month. Today I felt a sadness and atugging on my soul. I needed something. All my life I have been in a hurry and I don't know why. The faster I can get something done, the better. Even as a very young person I sensed the brevity of life and felt a sense of urgency to achieve and experience everything without wasting precious time.
Today - Saturday - chores - a dirty house and piles of laundry. I admit I got most of that out of the way, but then - then I looked out at the back yard. My eyes took in the same beauty of nature they see everyday. But today I walked out and laid myself down on the hammock that's been hanging forlorn and empty all summer. Mercifully the neighborhood lacked the cacophony of noises usually emanating from humans and lawn equipment (Oh the peace before the leaf blowers). I stilled myself and suspended my sad thinking. Now in a meditative state - a warm breeze nudged yellow leaves off their lifelines to sail past me like so much confetti. I was renewed in the mindless moments of staring up at the sun-speckled leaves. Instead of thinking, planning, praying - I just shut up and listened.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
The generosity of her hands on the canvas or the piano,
the counterpoint of her brushstrokes and her voice,
the walls become a pastiche or hold a rhapsody.
Moving through eras of little expectancy, rising up
out of her service, when her world turned to face
the sun she did not rebel but floated forward
and now beauty exists where there had been voids.
We are juxtaposed in the choir lofts for decades
and still there are songs we haven't sung.
When her fingers were on the piano keys for me
my small voice strained to equal the passion,
the music eternally suspended in me.
What my mother can do always has a future
without a murmur of leaving it behind.
So I understand what I can become, what I must become
for the infinity of mothers and daughters
for her mother, for my daughter.
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
Mr. Templeton, you work for Wilbur. Is this true?
It sure is Charlotte. Wilbur is SOME PIG.
Mrs. Goose, you also work at the restaurant. What do you observe?
Mr. Templeton has repeatedly stolen my egg dishes to tempt Wilbur off his diet. He's a RAT!
Wilbur, I suggest my all-insect diet. I'll give you a free copy of my book. Will you try it?
I will, Charlotte!
We will invite Wilbur back to see how much weight he can lose on the Charlotte A. Cavatica all-insect diet.
Well we're back - let's bring out Wilbur Zuckerman. Wilbur has lost 100 pounds on my all-insect diet!
I have a surprise for Wilbur today. I stayed up all night spin. . . I mean makting the sign above your head Wilbur. It says TERRIFIC! Because that's what you are!
Thank you, Charlotte. I miss eating my slops, but with your insect diet I will be a winner at the Weight Loss Fair next week!
Guests, I'd like to announce that I'm starting a family. You may have noticed the huge egg sac that I have. Five hundred and fourteen babies! Wilbur, you have been a HUMBLE guest.
Charlotte I will miss you when you're gone, but remember everyone - you can buy the diet book and see pictures of the babies on Charlotte's Website!