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.

Thursday, August 30, 2018


About a year ago I wrote about losing my beloved dog Stella.  I was only 45 days without a dog and there was Sunny.  She's an affectionate, energetic rescue.  I think rescues seem to spend their lives showing their gratitude for giving them a home. We've had our challenges but the great thing about Sunny is that she belongs to both of us. Before, my husband and I had "your dog" and " my dog."  But Sunny is ours. She likes to sit in the sunshine too.


She steals the ice cubes from the orchids, 
denudes the houseplants of their greenery,
digs holes to China, and eats the birdseed.

She falls off the couch in a cacophony of barking
to warn us of every imagined or real danger and threat
whether human, beast or machine.

She’s a kleptomaniac with a stash under the beds,
a thief of mail and socks and toys,  
a supreme counter-surfer, a beggar to the core.

Her silky soft peanut-butter hair 
and dogged persistence melts our hearts 
through weary ears and our wilting resolve.

She moves stealthily upon the love seat
in her quest to envelope us in her affection,
to come between us and divide us in her favor

with a gentle paw on the arm,
an unblinking stare-down of adoration,
a nudge of devotion too much to resist.

Sunny, of unknown origin, history and breed,
the attention-hyperactivity-deficit of dogs, 
the unity in our diversity. 

We rescued her from obscurity,
from those who would ignore her canine quirks,
her cinnamon beauty, her animal love.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

When You Have Power Over Other People's Time

It started so innocently, so spontaneously. I am being trolled and harassed for a comment on Facebook. Oh, yes, this has happened many times with so-called “friends”, so I put a stop to all that. But this time, for the first time, I commented on a national post. I never do because I think who will read it and who will care?  Apparently many people care about the opinion of total strangers and have the time to harass mercilessly, all day, maybe for two or three days.

Was what I wrote offensive, political, critical—nope.  I was praising my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Horrible, right? How dare I! There was a clip from The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I LOVE Stephen Colbert and watch him every night. I had no problem with the clip or the joke, but it was about Cleveland.  I’ve noticed that Colbert often uses Cleveland in his jokes as somewhere you’d never want to go. I get it, but the river burned about 50 years ago so it’s an old joke.  

I was naive enough to think, “Oh, what the heck, I’ll write something positive about Cleveland.” So I wrote that even though I love Colbert, here are some facts about Cleveland: The world class orchestra and museums, beautiful parks and amazing restaurants and the theater district that is second only to New York City.  

Here are some of the things I was accused of: I have no sense of humor, can’t take a joke, I need to get over it, I”m ridiculous and, here’s the best one: Another Clevelander says he’s lived in Cleveland longer than me so what do I know?  So I asked how he knew how old I was, and he’d gone on my page and looked at photos of me! Creepy!  Then I got unsolicited advice about changing my settings, (which I have done). Another stranger even said I look good for my age, so at least something pleasant came out of this huge waste of time. 

Then I was challenged and made fun of for saying we had the largest theater district after NYC. I have to say I got a lot of support on this one. A whole crowd of people validated my claim.  This is going on and on, people!  Whenever I went on Facebook I was praying there were no more related comments to read, but they continued and my original comment has 259 reactions so far.

As the days went on more and more people defended how wonderful our city is. Several people had visited and mentioned how impressed they were. I mean, this was a major issue! With one comment I somehow have gained access to the time and concerns of complete strangers. It’s amazing!  The person who said I was ridiculous required a response from me: “I’m getting trolled for saying something nice about my city. Now THAT’s ridiculous!”

Friday, August 10, 2018

Breaking Babies

You are breaking them, those children in cages
with their aluminum foil blankets in their obscene days.

You have damaged innocent psyches 
in your static apathy and campaign promises.

Your evangelical leaders now preach the Bad News
as if Jesus would not let the children come to Him.

They are under the same stars as you,
lights of the future, those crying orphans.

You can turn away and amuse yourselves
with the scandal of the day but they will

always be with you, somewhere in your brain,
God is watching, waiting for your pro-life response.

Their brown eyes see all, know all, in the
cruel world you’ve left to them, irreversible

memories, irretrievable childhoods, mothers
with no children, fathers with no family,

but your accomplishment is great, your campaign
complete, your voters atwitter with relief

that those brown children will not sully our
great country with their love, abilities, joy, talents

and all that you have taken from them.