Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear Maple Trees

Dear maple trees,
Why the rush to shed your respectable verdant hues of summer, into the flaming, flamboyant attire of autumn? Far too soon we'll be hiding our eyes from your stripped skeletons of winter.

Yours in seasonal modesty,


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Across the saffron sky

Maybe a peacock exploded in the sky tonight, scattering his jewel-tipped feathers
Across the saffron horizon, where the sun bounced slowly into night

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dead Garden Walk 2010--You Are Invited!

Welcome, master gardeners and amateurs alike. Gardening on Hearthstone Drive this year had been a challenge!
When it wasn't 95 and sunny, it was 90 and storming. Despite our best efforts to cultivate only hardy plant life, some specimens proved to be too delicate for the "every plant for themselves" philosophy of this Garden Walk.
Step lively with me as we begin this year's Dead Garden Walk:
First, the gerbena daisy hanging death basket. When healthy, this plant from the dandelion family can survive almost anything. In my capable hands, it quit blooming cheery yellow and orange blossoms a month ago, and has been dying a slow, leaf-by-leaf death ever since. Next stop for this puppy: trash bin.

In a decorative watering can hand-painted by my sister, a wan, fading spike plant oversees the death of a pink petunia. Friends, it takes a special amount of neglect to kill a petunia, and I have accomplished it with several specimens this summer. I may be breeding mosquitoes in the bottom of that watering can, though.

These relatively vibrant pink petunias reside under the crab-apple tree, an infamous part of our yard. The crab-apple has a stunning, show-stopping moment of pink-hued beauty when it blooms in May. It then begins a summer's-long fade, so that by August, it look like Tree of the Apocalypse. I think the reason these petunias have done so well under it is the healthy amount of sunshine they receive through the sparse crab-apple branches.
What can I saw? These petunias lived--oh, they tried to live, so valiantly!--on the front porch. A combination of roof (keeping the rain off them) and sun (dead-on every afternoon) and benign neglect (what excuse can I give?) brought about their banishment from the porch to the side garden, where they can continue to die in peace.
But enough of death! (For a moment.) Here's my accidentally organic tomatoes! Organic, because they were grown sans chemicals or even fertilizer. Accidentally, because I just forgot to take care of them! Wah-la! But, they live!
Meet The Stupidest Oak Trees Every. They are spindly, pathetic-looking, and ... they live in a POT. A give-away from work, NO ONE -- us, nor neighbors, nor family -- seems to want to plant a pathetic oak tree in their yard. But perhaps I am looking at these specimens incorrectly. Perhaps I should call them ... The Most Unique Oak Trees Ever. Because who else do you know who GROWS OAK TREES IN A POT!? And, again ... they are alive!

If only you could have seen these potted petunias, which live (optimistically speaking) on the patio table in the backyard, a month ago. Their cheerful white-and-pink countenance would have cheered you. Alas, they, too, have taken a downward spiral.
Despite my forgetting to water this palm time and and time again, I have failed to kill it, which is GREAT, because Angela gave it to me, and I would have major maternal guilt if it perished. YEA ME. THANK YOU for not dying, Potted Palm!
These particularly pathetic and neglected pots were not chosen to grace the landscape (?) this year, but chose to participate anyway, from top to bottom, we have: Weeds; More Weeds; and Wild Clover with a Volunteer Petunia. Who says I don't have a green thumb!
Great news, gardeners: We'll be wrapping up this tour high note. First, on the north side of the home, the Hosta Garden, or Those Things Which Cannot Be Killed Even By Cathy. I think it helps that 1) sun is sparse on this side of the house 2) the sump pump empties on this side, so they get watered and 3) the bird feeder is right above them so they get crapped on all day by the birds, aka, ORGANIC FERTILIZER. AGAIN with the organics! Is this a 'green' garden or what!?
And last, and certainly, not least (the Least Award going to that dead petunia in the sideyard):

The ever-blooming ground roses. All I do is cut 'em back after blooming and they keep going and going. These are the roses I watch at night. There's a moment when the evening is almost done and twilight is over when the color of the blooms changes from red to black. It's time to go in, then. This bush, healthy and growing despite owner apathy, get the PERSEVERANCE AWARD.
The NOT YET DEAD/NEWCOMER AWARD goes to this astor, which took the place of Dead Petunia on the front porch. Please contact your bookie for the odds on how long it will take me to kill it.
Winner of the OPTIMISM AWARD goes to this pot, given to me by my friend Dave (who moved). It's yawing maw of possibility is just waiting for something beautiful -- some fall mums, perhaps? -- for me, or for Mother Nature to kill.
That wraps up our 2010 Dead Garden Walk, gardeners! Thanks for joining us. If any of you need tips on how to coax your garden to the vibrant death that mine enjoys, don't hesitate to contact me! And follow me on Twitter: @2010DeadGardenWalk.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I'm no vampire: I love the sunny days.

But the twilights, this summer, have been something:
The sudden stillness of the air, the breeze disappearing as if someone switched off a fan;
The deep quiet underneath the locusts' screaming;
The puddle of amber and orange behind the neighbors' houses;
The first brave star that's really Venus, shining in an deepening aquamarine sky.
And often: only me, sometimes us, to watch it happen, then fade.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Throughout the new-night sky

Perhaps I saw Monet fly high across the summerland tonight
Smudging the sliver moon with purple
Leaving a dim smear of light behind. 
He blurred the clouds to a mosaic of sunset colors
And threw the stars, carelessly
Throughout the new-night sky.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

'Round Salomon Farm

Walking the trail 'round Salomon Farm / The low-slung sun still heavy with day's heat / Down a shallow swale, the curve leads me past a windrow / And evening surprises me from the shadows.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Cathy's 5-Minute Facebook

I kept hearing people comment that they don't want to do Facebook because "it takes up too much time."

My observation is, IF you can stay away from the games, keeping up with Facebook can be done if five, yes FIVE, minutes a day.

A friend requested I tell her how, exactly, and this is what I sent her:

1) Go to Facebook, then to "Home" in upper right. 
2) On the left navigation, click "Friends"
3) Click "Status Updates"

Now you will JUST and ONLY what your friends are doing, via status updates! Scroll down as long as you want--it just takes me a minute or so. If I want to comment or "like" it's fast and easy.

Next, at the top next to the "Facebook" logo, just hover and click your cursor on the notification icons; they may have red numbers that tell you how many new friend requests, messages, and updates you've had. You'll see lists of 1) any friends requests you have (and you can confirm then right here); 2) any direct message you have, just click on one to read; and 3) Notifications to glance over.

IF you have more times, you can click on the "news feed" items and you'll see stuff like pictures posted, etc. Which are kind of fun if you have time.

When I use this method I can take 5 minutes and see most of the important stuff. If I have more time, I'll look at the news feed and at pictures.

 I used to play a couple games but they sucked time and I quit. But there were fun :)

And if you are new to Facebook, be sure to edit your privacy settings (upper right corner, under "Account").

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July's Revenge

Only air conditioners roar this hot evening / Grass too stressed to grow / Surely a night to curl up with a good book / And a cold margarita / A in January in July.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Whole Horizon

Tonight, I watched the pink ring, all around
The way the ring deepened to navy below
Night sneaking up on us
The way the pink faded to turquoise above
Daytime slow to give up
The scant clouds relent, darkening 
The tired sun flares and sinks, stealing the color
The ring rolls away.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Uneasy sky

This morning, uneasy gray sky,
Last night's rain in puddles,
Littered with debris;
Suddenly the sun winks,
A slim blue rent 
In the clouds
Can the storm finally end?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Didn't get the memo

I don't think the point
Is that there is less stress
In the AARP crowd.
But rather the stress
Bothers us less
Because we know
That stress, indeed, passes;
And that any life messes
Eventually get cleaned up.
Why worry? 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The homely here of Indiana

The homely here of Indiana,
Beaten, drowned, buffeted,
Labeled by some as country
Best seen from above--
You know, as the crow flies.
And on days like these
Even from above, you'd see
Only clouds, and more clouds.
And yet--
Some blustery front will blow
Those clouds away, soon,
Then look out the windows, frequent fliers:
Ah, the lovely green checkerboards
Fringed by full wind-rows
Laid on the grid of county road
And interstate.
And down below, the beauty's
In the details, so look close:
The pear, the dogwood, the lilac
The tulip, iris, peony,
Green on loan from 
Some Irish aerie, maybe:
The Midwest flatness a sudden canvas,
Cubism and Impressionism thrown together,
Unexpected art in a plain Hoosier gallery.

Monday, May 10, 2010

She's just not good enough for you

Who would make people happy?
Not even this announcement:
"Today, President Obama nominated
"Christ for the Supreme Court,
"Stating that the Savior's hands-on experience
"In judgmental situations
"Makes Him particularly well-suited
"To the nation's highest court."
Give it half an hour,
Let the talking heads loose:
"Christ for the court?
What kind of judge
Will He make?
He forgave everyone!
An elitist radical socialist!
A left activist!
An anti-military loon!"
O friends! Judge not,
That ye might be judged
By the right of heart.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Imma B Immigrated

If she raises her hand in greeting
To the poor, the tired, the multi-hued
In New York harbor--
In Arizona she whacks them
On the head.
"We won't judge you by your skin--
We'll just stop you, and card you,"
And perhaps, deport you.
Give up the mothers, the fathers,
Your yard man, your pool guy,
Your hotel maid, your nanny.
By bus, train, boat, or boot,
Just show them the door
Don't let it hit them on the way out.
And don't miss them when they're gone.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Throwing numbers at the wall

Take these numbers;
Hold them in your hands
Shake them up like Yahtzee dice,
Throw them at the wall;
See if they stick. Or bounce.
(Like a bad check.)
Digits fly by everywhere--
Miles on the odometer,
Minutes on the clock,
Line score at Wrigley Field.
Don't blink; you might miss
The roller coaster ride on
Wall Street. If some say
It's veering around Greece,
Others blame it on the rain.
Oh wait; I mean, bad typing.
Hey, Austin Powers? Was that million
...Or billion? Neither applies
To my 401(K)--not anymore.
They're all only numbers,
Thrown onto screen or spreadsheet,
Overhyped on CNBC and Bloomberg.
Honestly, more like a merry-go-round,
Without the merry.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Black River Runs Through It. Again

Maybe you've seen the headwaters of this black river,
It's there in Prince Williams Sound,
Where dark puddles linger, decades later--
Here's where it began, with
Death and death and mess.
Floating booms can't restrain stupidity
and bad planning--
Nor can fire burn away carelessness.
If the bitch, Katrina, wreaked anarchy,
Howling for attention,
 Then here is a quiet, black anointing, insidious,
Slinking into the Gulf waters,
Threading through the delicate lace
Of estuary and delta,
Like a Dementor ready to 
Suck the life from us. Again.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Laughing at Letterman

David, you old Hoosier:
Every night you
Open your chest
And let us laugh at your heart.
What goes on in the green room
Doesn't stay there.
Behind even open hearts
Are closed doors. If winsome disclosure
Brings forgiveness,
Memory brings caution.
Our laughter, fed by empathy
(Indeed, we all screw up)
May turn quickly--
As quickly clicked
As a button on a remote.

May 4: I was going to write, but Neil Young did it better

Four dead in Ohio>>

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio. (Neil Young)

Kent May 4 Center>>
Fire in the Heartland>>

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Dooming history, one tweet at a time

Obama wrestles with growing stack of crises
While Michelle kickboxes with dandelions;
George Bush proclaimed while New Orleans drowned,
And Iraq collapsed upon itself.

Tweets today may be yesterday’s tomes,
Yet, books or pixels, it’s only time’s perspective
That gives fair judgment. I’ll wait,
And see how tomorrow’s news arrives.

Nashville -- no stranger to the rain

After all the songs about rain,
The rainy night, the rain on the roof,
The rain in your blue eyes--
Hey Nashville, remember
What Waylon said -- Storms never last;
Yet from Ft. Wayne experience,
The mud lingers for weeks.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Note to BP: Your oily avoidance roils my sense of responsibility

If, by chance, oil should spew from Earth's dark mantle

Without the intervention of God, or Jed Clampett--

Then, indeed, British Petroleum, sans Transocean, or not;

With your oily avoidance, or not;

This ecologic nightmare IS "your accident."

Yours in responsible drilling, C.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

That I should take a day off and go to Vera Bradley sale

So, I am. And the fun started tonight:
It was busy busy busy at the Jefferson Pointe Vera Bradley store. What makes women like VB so much? No clue.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Just a short thing I wrote in my head

On the way to work the other day:

These frigid days / strung like icicles / across the calendar / perhaps the reluctant sun / will drip them away.

Friday, January 8, 2010