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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

What Do Women Want? by Kim Addonizio

I want a red dress.
I want it flimsy and cheap,
I want it too tight, I want to wear it
until someone tears it off me.
I want it sleeveless and backless,
this dress, so no one has to guess
what's underneath. I want to walk down
the street past Thrifty's and the hardware store
with all those keys glittering in the window,
past Mr. and Mrs. Wong selling all those day-old
donuts in their cafe, past the Guerra brothers
slinging pigs from their truck and onto the dolly,
hoisting the slick snouts over their shoulders.
I want to walk like I'm the only
woman on earth and I can have my pick.
I want that red dress bad.
I want it to confirm
your worst fears about me,
to show you how little I care about you
or anything except what
I want. When I find it I'll pull that garment
from its hanger like I'm choosing a body
to carry me into this world, through
the birth-cries and the love-cries too,
and I'll wear it like bones, like skin,
it'll be the goddamned
dress they'll bury me in.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


This is a poem in response to my mom's painting.

Her hips move
like a liquid pendulum,
one heel lifts, one knee bends,
one sudden look over her shoulder
glowers at the man seeping
through milky red light.

Arms float, hands flatten like stop signs,
then paddle through the scarlet fog
away from him.

The hem of her dress sways,
strains against the rhythm in her blood.
Shadowed eyelids are heavy, the body light.

When the music ends she will vanish
alone into the scorching white light
of the streets, rushing the dark alley.

In an empty apartment she'll slip
out of red silk and into nothing
until he comes.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dr. Seuss

I did, in fact, paint whimsical pictures of Dr. Seuss characters on my newly painted bathroom walls. They were cute, but then I painted over them. We just replaced everything in the little bathroom - hardwood floors, new sink and fixtures - and then I turned it into a nursery. I didn't like it. But just to prove it - here are some of the painted over masterpieces:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One Thing that Never Changes

Just to torture myself on my spring break I've spent the last two days shopping. I am 5'2", as are many other women I know. On professional charts I am still an average weight for my height - barely. Yet, every single t-shirt, blouse, sweater and top lands half-way between my crotch and my knees. Anyone who's ever watched "What Not To Wear" knows that long tops on short people just make your legs look even stubbier! Duh! I also require some type of sleeves to keep my upper arms from waving in the wind. I scan entire aisles just by the sleeve lengths. But it must be a little known law that women are only allowed to go sleeveless all summer - and sometimes winter too. This year another style we are apparently being forced into is wearing ballet flat shoes. What if I don't want to wear completely flat shoes? No choice at this point. Of course, that also adds to the stubbiness of one's legs. My point? Fashion designers out there dictate what we can wear, how much time we will waste looking for items that don't exist anymore, and how much pain and suffering we must go through to display some sort of individual fashion sense. When I finally find some sort of summer top that has sleeves and ends at my butt it costs $98 - for a frickin' cotton t-shirt! After two days of this I feel used and abused and resigned to hate my body - just because the stores have convinced me that my body type must be freakishly deformed. So that's my one thing that will never change and that's my rant for today. The end.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


As I think back on Easter I realize that I continue to grow in accepting change in my life. We all desire what's familiar and comforting to us. If you had a nice, stable, traditional childhood, maybe that makes it a little more difficult. You had an indelible image in your mind, a permanent dream in your heart of what life was going to be. I went blindly along for 35 years living in the same area, same people, same church and then Whammo! Everything changed. God made me totally dependent on Him. I had no choice - but boy did I fight it.
We have most holidays at our house and I am always grateful that everyone comes from both sides of our families and they are all wonderful people - but completely different people in a different house than I ever imagined at one point in my life. After over 40 years in one beloved church I now celebrate Easter in a new church. It's not the same. Different people and place there too. We don't sing the Hallelujah Chorus, there are no trumpets, my children are not there, my husband is not there. None of those things seem right to me. I still ache for things to be the way I think they should be. But it was still Easter in my heart.
If you are a parent you will be pushed and shoved into change. You take a little step every day as your children grow before your eyes. You know big changes will come, but you can't imagine how it will be. It will be heart-wrenching and wonderful all at the same time. Maybe God shows us through our children that nothing can stay. Nothing we have is immuned to being taken or changed - except what we believe, except love. Traditions change, children grow, loved ones die, life turns out different than we expected. That is why I can't imagine life without the one unchanging God. That is why I celebrate the eternal message of Easter.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lazarus Heart

A poem from my life long ago - but worth remembering - maybe for someone out there.

My Lazarus heart is alive and well
and I am human for the first time.
The shriveled and unraveled rope
is woven into a virgin tapestry
of a stronger and iridescent beauty.

It is the solstice of a prolific season.
The days are revelations and
the long instruction time was needed
for the lessons to be meaningful.

The hurting time that seemed eternal
has a healing and healthy end in sight
that can never be forgotten or tempered,
my heart now dedicated to reality and truth.

I leave that previously unknown abyss,
that place without God that is now known to me.
I am on the road less traveled
and my Lazarus heart is alive and well.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring

Even though we had two inches of snow
last night -as the Lion said - I do believe,
I do believe, I do believe. . . .

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Peter Pan Syndrome

The other night we had a discussion about how men in TV sitcoms are usually portrayed as adolescent, insensitive, lacking common sense and just plain stupid. Even though I am a woman, I sometimes object to the fact that men are almost always the village idiots of the television world. (I don't think it's good for young boys to watch these shows thinking they never really have to grow up.)
The next night I took my husband to a fancy upscale restaurant for his birthday. We both enjoy leisurely romantic dinners. I was pleased when we were seated in a quiet corner booth in a secluded area of the restaurant. Two men were in the opposite booth. While devouring our appetizer of mussels one of the men began talking and laughing loudly on a cell phone. Apparently the person he was speaking to was named Asshole. Then there was a commotion and somehow the cell phone ended up behind their booth in an unreachable corner. Pandemonium ensued. Only two words were basically uttered throughout - the aformentioned Asshole and f***. It must have been the most humorous thing that ever happened to them judging by the overly raucous and sustained laughter. The zany escapade went on for quite awhile, bringing servers with flashlights to the area. So much for our romantic dinner.
I really don't know how the phone ended up behind the booth in the first place, but I think it would make quite a realistic television sitcom episode after all.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I wonder if this is what Matthew meant???

Every household divided against itself will not stand.

Matthew 12:25

Monday, March 17, 2008

Going Solo

It is not easy to sing a solo, even if you know how to sing.
First, for some of us, there are the dreams:
Standing alone, facing a crowd, I am wearing
a transparent flesh-colored nightgown,
my hair ridculous because I couldn't find the shower,
or a brush, my alarm clock failing me.
I run down mysterious, dark hallways
frantically seeking a door - or my music.
I am lost on roads I have never seen.
Strangers won't help, friends are inexplicably mute.
Hopelessly late, unavoidable detained,
now the church is missing.
I open my mouth and nothing comes out.

Back in reality:
I sing along with the CD 257 times.
I kill at rehearsal. I pray relentlessly.
I lie awake that night rechecking my alarm
every fifteen minutes. The morning comes -
awash in lemon tea, cough drops and a gallon of water
I drive the familiar streets making sounds
that resemble an injured blue jay.
Then, like the sun breaking through the clouds
my dormant soprano voice makes a timely appearance.
At the church I respond to 39 queries and good wishes.
Then standing alone, at the crucial moment,
a tiny speck of mucus, like a Who from Whoville
perches atop my left vocal cord and effs it all up.
My eyes water, the world looks and feels surreal.
I look past people and focus on the stained glass windows.
I do the best I can.

For these and many other reasons I am not a professional singer!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Writing Thoughts

Henry Miller called writing divine dictation. There have been days that have felt like that - like it's Christmas morning and you've just been given an extra unexpected gift - the gift of words and ideas flowing through your fingertips. Of course, it's not always that way. The novel I am writing started that way. I don't think I was even sure I was going to write another one. I was sitting on my deck on a summer afternoon and characters began to write themselves through my pen! ( in first person too) A blessing, yes, but so far, two years of work have come along with them for the ride. Poems come to me out of some mystical place and at the most unexpected times. I sort of just wait for them to arrive most of the time. I don't know exactly why some of us are driven in this manner, but Erica Jong calls writing the first anti-depressant. Hmmmm, maybe so . . .

Here are some other writer's thoughts on the subject:

We write to taste life twice; in the moment and in introspection - Anais Nin

Writing is not a hostile act, but an act of understanding. Even when it's satirical, even when it's bitter - you only write about the things you care about. Indifference doesn't need to be put into words. Henry Miller

If you're a singer, you lose your voice. A baseball player loses his arm. But a writer gets more knowledge, and if he's good, the older he gets, the better he writes. (or she!) Mickey Spillane

Inspiration usually comes during the work, rather than before it - Madeleine L'Engle

(And my favorite) If God gives you something you can do, why, in God's name wouldn't you do it? Stephen King

Friday, March 14, 2008

On A Lighter Note . . . .

Yes, I will be decorating my bathroom with a Dr. Seuss theme. I find some of his text to be quite philosophical. These wise words may adorn the walls:

You have brains in your head
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own
and you know what you know.
And you are the one
who'll decide where to go.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step
step with care and great tact,
and remember that Life's
a great balancing act.
Just never forget to be dextrous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

From Oh, the Places You'll Go

And speaking of Dr. Seuss. I was the guest reader in the kindergarten this week. I read Fox in Socks and it is the hardest book I've ever read!!! If you don't believe me, go on over to Border's and sit down and try to read it out loud without making any mistakes. I dare you.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I Will Sing

I walked the relentless winter streets, past smothered sidewalks with hands so tired of being cold, pulled up into sweater sleeves where they don't belong. I brought my pressure cooker brain with me. It shouted how much I'll miss angel-winged Jacquie, how much I miss my precious daughter-friend. It whispered of all I've never known.
I yearned to keep walking
away from
the afternoon of difficult children
the expectations of the night
the questions about us
the disappointment of me.
Brain said keep walking and don't look back
until Palm Sunday.
I will sing Domine Deus, Rex Coelestis
O thou our Lord God, King of Heaven
Yes, I will sing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Full Life

Today my heart is sad after seeing my friend's lifeless body in a casket - because she was so full of life here on earth. She couldn't get enough of life. She insisted on seeing everything and doing everything, no matter how difficult or inconvenient it was from her scooter. At the funeral home it wasn't just the weirdness of seeing a body - it was, that of everyone there, Jacquie would have been most likely to be in the middle of the crowd, enjoying, mingling, talking. It reminded me of this very old poem of mine:

This is a solitary journey
to spiritual heights unknown.
The creation of a new life form,
the harbinger of heaven.

In the essence of being
pain intermingles with joy.
Without tears, without doubts
the pursuit is meaningless.

There is iniquity without an alibi,
there is breath without thought.
There is awe beyond comprehension,
gratitude beyond words.

In the creation of me
is a continuous changing vision
of my consecrated life
and aching for what was never known.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Too Late

I just had to erase my friend Jacquie's name from the list of things I was going to do on Spring Break. Jacquie, age 55, died Friday of muscular dystrophy. She had been in and out of the hospital since October. I visited a few times, but not enough. Now it's too late. My advice - don't ever have to erase a friend from a list of things to do. Just do it. Her husband's email was entitled - Jacquie's got her wings - yes she does - and no one deserves them more.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Good News Bad News

The bad news is that it refuses to stop snowing around northeast Ohio and this would have most definitely been another SNOW DAY! Alas, it's Saturday. Not sure I'll even get to church tomorrow it's so bad. The good news is that I have someone special to snuggle up with tonight. He's making corned beef and cabbage for dinner too. Cooked cabbage is comfort food in my book - even though it stinks.

The other bad news is that something is wrong with my little dog, Stella. For about five days she has been acting strangely. She intermitently starts shaking and panting and acting frantic. She tries to get as close to me as possible or she looks like she's trying to find a place to hide. She's taken flying leaps into my lap (at 35 pounds - not a lap dog.) She comes into the bathroom with me. She wants to go out, then turns around and comes back. She hides in places I've never seen her go before. Tuesday I took her to the vet. Unfortunately she always acts like that at the vet - terrified and uncooperative. He said maybe something scared her and gave me two sedatives. Well, five days later I'm still watching her suffer.

The good news is today I called a vet from my church and he was kind enough to actually take the time to try to figure it out -not like my former vet. He said dogs act like that when they're in pain or uncomfortable. The panicky behavior is that they are trying to get away from it. He said it's common for a dog to have a pulled muscle in her back or a pinched nerve in the neck. I gave her a piece of a sedative today and he said I could give her half an aspirin. Then she might need doggie anti-inflammatories. Poor sweetie.

The good news is that, being snowed in today, I got our half-bathroom painted. The bad news is that I chose a peach color, and in the tiny room with no natural light it looks like neon orange. We may have to hang sunglasses outside the door for visitors. I like this bathroom to be whimsical. Once I drew Shel Silverstein pictures all over the walls. Then I painted a window looking out at the ocean and had birds on the adjacent walls. ( see picture) I'm thinking about Dr. Seuss drawings this time. Either way it'll be unusual - hey, it's a bathroom!

Friday, March 7, 2008


There is a wonderful book called Joshua by Joseph F. Girzone, a former priest. There are other Joshua books that followed but I liked the first one the best. Joshua is a present-day Jesus figure. Today I'm just going to share some passages from this book that make a lot of sense to me.
We all have to be content with slow progress, Joshua reminded him. Human beings are like plants. They grow in stages and those stages can't be accelerated. In due time plants bear fruit, and with human beings it is much the same. In the proper time and at the proper pace we grow into what God intends us to become. Events take place and strangers cross our path that force us to think. All these things God uses to teach us and suggest a different way of understanding things. So we grow, gradually, imperceptibly, under the subtle guidance of God's own spirit. Being conscious of our success is not important. The left hand should not know what the right hand is doing. That can lead to vanity.
People are so frighteningly rigid and limited in their understanding of things. Do you realize that God can be present in many different ways? In whatever form he uses we should be careful not to prejudice ourselves and say ' He can't come in that form or in this form' because if we do we reduce God to our own limited image, and in doing that run the risk of rejecting him if he comes to us in a way we don't expect. God may be one and he may be simple, but he can also manifest himself in many facets of his greatness.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tori Day

Today is a Tori day - just need to hear her all day. I've had many Tori days. . . . But tonight I have to go to choir and sing Vivaldi's Gloria - gotta love the musical paradox.
Kinda like my life right now - beauty and two varieties of pain.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Coexist VI -The Sexes

I believe in the equality of all human beings and in coexisting, but I have never felt the need to label myself a feminist. I think that's because it's so obvious that God made men and women with different abilities, strengths and desires. Feminism sort of said to me that I was supposed to be more like a man. We all raise our children to be "anything you want to be." But maybe we should say - find your strengths and do something you can do well. I know so many twenty-somethings having so much trouble being anything that they can't choose something!
With the possiblity of a woman president, the question of strengths arises for me. Would a woman be a good president? Maybe. But how differently will she handle the job then men have? At last Tuesdays debate Hilary spent valuable time complaining about having to answer the first question. Really, Hilary? Did that, in any way, further your quest to be President of the United States? It seems like you'll get a whole ton of questions once you're the Prez. Why would you even consider saying something that could be construed as whining when you're the first possible WOMAN president?
Washington Post published a piece on March 2 entitled Women vs. Women (We scream, We Swoon, How Dumb Can We Get?). In it Charlotte Allen sites women screaming "I love you Obama" while he's in mid-sentence, and other women actually fainting at Obama rallies. Allen asks if we are the weaker sex, "or even the stupider sex. Our brains permanently occluded by random emotions, psychosomatic flailings and distraction by the superficial."
Allen sites the popularity of Grey's Anatomy among women. (No offense if you're a fan. I used to find it entertaining too) She writes, "Want to be a surgeon? Here's what your life will be like at the hospital according to Grey's : sex in the linen-supply room, catfights with your sister in front of patients, sex in the on-call room, a 'prom' in the recovery room so you can wear your strapless evening gown to work, and sex with the married attending physician in an office. Oh, and some surgery."
My Grey's moment of truth was an episode when Christina was to marry ? (can't remember his name) I flipped on the TV to see her hyperventilating, pushing the wedding dress to the floor, saying, "get it off me, get it off me" I found that scene so pathetic, so offensive and repulsive that I turned it off and never watched again. Is that the way professional women think it's okay to be portrayed on TV? I know it's just a show, but, let's be honest - it makes intelligent women look as mature as their dress size.
It's scientific fact that men's and women's brains are different. In general men excel in visuospatial skills (math, abstract thinking, driving). Women usually have superior verbal skills (reading, writing, talking) My point? Maybe we should all try to be good at what we're good at - and not try to all be alike.
If women want to be taken seriously then maybe we should act grown-up (at least in public). I've had my fair share of pity parties, long cries and irrational emotions, but I've noticed I'm doing it less and less as I get older. (All it ever got me was a husband that looked like a deer in the headlights anyway.) Personally, I avoid the teacher's lounge at all costs. I can't stand all the bitching.
If a woman wants to be president she shouldn't complain about what comes with the territory. If you're an intelligent woman don't swoon over Obama. If you're raising a daughter, don't buy her Barbie dolls and tell her she's a princess, because she's not. And don't tell her she can do anything a man can do because maybe she'll spend her life trying to prove that when she'd be much better at and happier doing something else. Don't get me wrong - we're all completely capable - we're just not all the same. Feel free to disagree. It's just a thought.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Heart Consciousness

The Lakota mother teaches
her child she is related
to every living thing.

The squirrel is your brother,
the flowers are your sisters.

Experience draws us into
a kinship and bond
with our fellow humans,
our cousins and friends.

The connection is in the surviving.
The unity in the pain.
What I know now by heart
of being dead and then alive

brings me fully into the human race
and allows me more life than before.

Brought to each new awaking
is the fellowship in mere living,
the survival in being loved.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Blogging Clusterf**k

According to my "Daily Blog Tip" I should have a whole lot more people reading my blog by now or I'm doing something wrong. Apparently there are myriad ways to promote your blog out there in cyberspace. And to think I have been proud as a peacock to just get the frickin' thing up and running. I thought I was a genius when I figured out how to get photos on it.
So I spend bewildering hours reading websites devoted to blogs and there's just one problem - I have no idea what they're talking about! It's like reading Martian. Here's an example:
1. Use an FTP client to download all the site files (the Wordpress folder)
2. Log on phpMyAdmin and select Wordpress database.
3. Click on Export and make sure that all the Wordpress tables are there.
4. On the "structure" section tick "Add Drop Tables". Add AUTO_INCREMENT" and "enclose table and field names with backquotes"
5. On the "Data" section leave all the boxes unticked.
6.Tick "Save as file" and download database (you can use compression if your database is big.)
There is not one thing on that list that I understand. Do you?
Tags, RSS/atom feeds, tick, ping, blogcarnivals, Alexa rating, social bookmarking, configure counter, wrench icon, javascript, clasic template, it goes on and on. . . . . . . .
I guess it's a miracle that I've been found by anyone without knowing all that.
If anyone out there has any advice I'm willing to learn.