Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day 2010



American Deaths:
Iraq - 4,404
Afghanistan - 996
Persian Gulf - 382
Vietnam - 58,209
Korean - 36,574
WWII - 405,399
WWI - 116,516

622,480 too many.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wise Words


Wine makes daily living easier and less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.
Benjamin Franklin

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Hug

There's the hug-snuggle for your little children
and the running-into-your-arms hug,
the I know you and I love you hug,
the comfort hug of funeral homes,

the clutch-hug of lovers in bed.
But we hug strangers now.
I don't recall this 20,30 years ago.
On our first encounter

the almost indecipherable movement
towards each other indicates
we will now hug -
although we've just met.

I liked the old-fashioned handshake
but even that was questionable
as a girl, it sometimes felt
manly and businesslike.

If we shake hands now
we may transport swine flu
to an unsuspecting potential friend.
What? You didn't get the shot?

You sneezed this morning and now
you are shaking my hand? Since we
are strangers it would be better to hug,
while puffing kisses at each others' cheeks.

My first hugging friend embraced me
after she heard all my stories
and still wanted to be my friend.
She hugged me on arriving

and hugged me on departing
for no reason at all except
she liked me, and even after knowing me
still believed that I deserved her hug.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Look What We've Done




Did you ever stop to notice all the blood we've shed before? Have you ever stopped to notice this crying Earth, its weeping shores?
What have we done to the world? Look what we've done.

Michael Jackson - from Earth Song

Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers, not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve.
I Peter 5:2

The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.
Proverbs 12:10

How many are your works, O Lord. In wisdom you made them all: the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number, living things both large and small.
Psalm 104:24-25.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Boneyard

Lonely tables and chairs suction
clusters of youth around them
as night comes, pulling them in
with brown bottles, tall glasses,
giant screens display frantic
human activity, blinking,
flashing numbers, talking
mouths with no words,
bodies multiply like mutant cells,
disco music forces itself into
your ears and causes the bodies to bob
like blond-haired engine pistons.
Stalker-looking men tell you
your daughter is beautiful
and you want to take her home
but you can't because she's all
grown up. As the night goes on
you feel older and older,
but the drummer looks at you
for awhile, he points and smiles at you
because you still love to dance,
and you know you're not dead yet.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Land of Oz


There were no poor people in the land of Oz, because there was no such thing as money, and all property of every sort belonged to the Ruler. Each person was given freely by his neighbors whatever he required for his use. which is as much as anyone may reasonably desire. Every one worked half the time and played half the time, and the people enjoyed the work as much as they did the play, because it is good to be occupied and to have something to do.
L. Frank Baum

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Coexist Quotes


The ultimate sense of security will be when we come to recognize that we are all part of one human race. Our primary allegiance is to the human race and not to one particular color or border.
Mohamed El Baradei (General of International Atomic Energy Agency)

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.
Acts 2:44-45

The only way human beings can win a war is to prevent it.George Marshall (US army chief, Secretary of Defense, Nobel Laureate 1880-1959)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Firstborn

I was not too young to be a mother, but
too young to know how to do anything but love.

It was the day earth connected to heaven
by a female thread, and when it detached, she was mine.

Hours old, the kindly nurse said, it's ok, open the blanket,
unwrap your baby, look at your daughter.

I saw the blush of birth on her skin, pearls
in her fingernails, and sapphires in her eyes.

The trees outside were greening while we were away
in that secluded time spent out of time.

Twenty-nine years later I see birth stories on tv
and feel the bulge of my belly, the tenderness of translucent skin,

the tiny burst of blood vessels. I hear a baby cry
and my breasts tingle and pull and expand.

I buried my old life and she grew into my surviving,
and in my oblation I loved her the best I could.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sunny


My little canary, Sunny, died yesterday. I knew he was leaving me but he fought for two weeks. His legs gave out and I was putting his food and drink on the floor of the cage next to his mouth. I love canaries because they sing so gloriously. I have heard that canaries are not supposed to live past 6 or 7, but my last one lived for 11 years and Sunny for 10. He sang for many years and then stopped. I am pretty sure he was silent for two to three years. I just thought it was his age. And then, two months ago he started singing again! At any time of the day or night he'd break out into song. I don't remember a bird singing at night before. So he gave me his "swan song" before he left. It seemed like a little miracle.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Kent State University - May 4, 1970




(Click to enlarge)

I graduated from Kent State University, as did my sister and my daughter. It has a lovely, idyllic campus in an almost rural area of Ohio. The middle of nowhere. I took these photos on a recent stop there. The events of that spring day in 1970 still seem unbelievable. I've been writing a short story about Allison Krause, a fictional account of the last few days of her life before she was killed by the National Guard. In my research I discovered an extraordinary young woman. A young woman who was kind, compassionate, a leader, and undoubtably would have made a positive difference in the world if not for that day. The story is history now, but still heartbreaking. Students speaking their minds - in America - the land of the free - gunned down with nothing more than a raised middle finger, an obscene word, maybe a handful of pebbles. Four dead in Ohio.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Pink Hearts Not Pink Slips


By the end of this school year it is estimated that as many as 300,000 educators will receive pink slips across the country. This means drastic increases in class sizes and less indivualized instruction, the erosion of classroom discipline and school safety. the elimination of art, music, AP classes and summer school.

"Our educators put their heart and soul into their work, and every day they make a real difference in the lives of children. Starting MAy 4, National Teacher Day, wear a pink heart to acknowledge their important contributions. Students need their educators in the classroom, not in unemployment lines.
Our government didn't walk away from Wall Street. We should demand no less from them when it comes to saving our children's future. Voice your support for federal legislation that will provide $23 billion to help school districts avoid layoffs and cut vital services for children. We need to preserve the education lifeline our students deserve."
The American Federation of Teachers.

To me, this is unthinkable in a country like America. We pride ourselves on progress and equality and yet it sometimes seems that our public education system is at the bottom of the priority list. At the same time schools are required to raise the bar on achievement. As a teacher, I never stop hearing about the need for America to become more competitive in education and in the world - but where is the funding? Why are schools constantly struggling for their basic needs? How will we move forward with less and less? How will your child receive the encouragment and individual attention he/she deserves from one teacher who is responsible for forty children in a classroom. The Cleveland Municipal School District is laying off over 600 teachers this spring. Who will take their place? If you think these teachers are unnecessary or not doing their job I challenge you to step into any classroom, on any schoolday and see for yourself.