Made goetta today.
First time, not sure why.
I guess I was inspired or a little off track
or something.

Oatmeal and sausage, that’s it.
Boiled, simmered,cooled,sliced,fried.
Why do you cook it twice?
Do you put onion in yours?

I was thinking back to fifth grade.
I was thinking about that girl.
Do you remember?
She might have been beautiful
if she just knew how to dress.


Edna St. Vincent Millay & Twitter

Twitter is a fascinating medium for poetry, short poetry that is.  As you probably know, a Tweet is limited to 140 characters including punctuation and spaces. The distillation of a complete thought, emotion or expression in a compelling form in a mere 140 keystrokes is a wonderful intellectual and artistic challenge.

My novice attempts at Twitter poetry have put me on the look out for examples of great short poetry by writers who know what they’re doing. Today, I stumbled across the poem, Ebb by Edna St. Vincent Millay.  Checking in at a whopping 171 (or so) characters, this doesn’t quite fit the Twitter form but it proves the point of how powerful a few words can be.


I know what my heart is like
    Since your love died:
It is like a hollow ledge
Holding a little pool
    Left there by the tide,
        A little tepid pool,
Drying inward from the edge.

Edna St. Vincent Millay published in Sensual Love Poems, collected by Kathleen Bease, published by Ballantine Books, 2002

Abide In My Love

I am preparing for Sunday’s bible study session; the lesson for this week contains the phrase, “abide in my love.”

“Abide” is one of those words we think we know. One of those comfortable, pretty, old-fashioned, church words that we’re sure we understand when we hear it. We never question it. We let it slide in our own self-confidence. We’ve heard it before. We’re sure we understand it because we understand the context in which it’s used. No need to look it up.

Well, I looked it up. Here’s what Webster’s has to say:

Abide v.  1. To wait patiently for.  2. To persevere under.  3. To accept or submit to.  4. To put up with.

I’ll save the theology for Sunday. Right now I wonder if I have what it takes to use the word “abide” in describing the earthly relationships in which I might venture to use the “love.”  Before I say “I love you” again, I will ask myself whether I am really willing to say, “I will abide in your love.” By saying these six words, perhaps the essence of what it takes for a lasting relationship, I would be saying:

  • I will wait patiently for your love.
  • I will persevere under your love.
  • I will accept or submit to your love.
  • I will put up with your love.

Then I wonder, will I ever find someone willing to abide in my love?

What do you get?

My daughter reminded me of a joke I used to tell.

What do you get when you play country music backwards?
You get your girlfriend back, you get your truck back, you get your dog back.

Never Give All the Heart for Love

Never give all the heart for love,
so goes Yeats’ song.
And so I think of you my love,
and pray that Yeats is wrong.

Never Give All the Heart

Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that’s lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight,
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.

William Butler Yeats
A Poet to His Beloved: The Early Love Poems of  W. B. Yeats
St. Martins Press, New York, 1985

Bird Surfers

Bird Surfers

Circling, swimming
by the Interstate shore.
Waiting for the perfect ride.

There! Dive!
Just behind the headlight!
Lift your head, whoosh!
Flick the antenna! Yes!
Tumbling in the wash
laughing at the tail lights
and the glimpse of startled face.

Later, on the wire,
stories fly, tales spread.
Lies of legends grow.
The Carrera! The Vette! The Z!
Listen as the youngers tell
of their first slippery hybrid
or green sedan. Smile, remember.

“Hey, where’s Martin?” No one knows.
“He said he would ride the Mack today.”
The wire becomes a silent pew,
broken purple feather floats to the berm.

Lamentation for Detroit

The March issue of Atlantic Magazine on-line includes a very thoughtful and comprehensive article titled, “How the Crash Will Reshape America,” by urban theorist, Richard Florida. It is an vital analysis for anyone who cares about American cities and essential reading for those of us in planning, real estate, urban policy and economic development who will be dealing with the enormous changes this economy will bring over the next several years.  Wrenching change will not be limited to the Rust Belt but not surprisingly, one section of the article is subtitled “The Last Crises of the Factory Towns” which begins with this:

Sadly and unjustly, the places likely to suffer most from the crash – especially in the long run- are the ones least associated with high finance. While the crises may have begun in New York, it will likely find its fullest bloom in the interior of the country – in older, manufacturing regions whose heydays are long past . . .

Not surprising to even the casual student of American cities and our industrial economy.  Narrowing in to where the damage is greatest and most apparent, a later paragraph reads:

Perhaps no major city in the U.S. today looks more beleaguered than Detroit, where in October the average home price was $18,513, and some 45,000 properties were in some form of foreclosure. A recent listing of tax foreclosures in Wayne County, which encompasses Detroit, ran to 137 pages in the Detoit Free Press . . . and in December the city’s jobless rate was 21 percent.


Today, I happened to be looking at a new copy of The Bible that I brought home from church yesterday. I happened to open it randomly to the Book of Lamentations, an Old Testament book that I am not very familiar with. With Florida’s article (and likely my own unemployment) on my mind, I turned to the beginning of Lamentations and read the three verses below. I was shaken by how relevant the text is to today. With no intention to imply cause or blame, I have changed only one word in the text to create a sad modern prayer for the people and institutions of this once great American city:

A Lamentation for Detroit.

1 [a]How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the nations!
She who was queen among the provinces
has now become a slave.

2 Bitterly she weeps at night,
tears are on her cheeks.
Among all her lovers
there is none to comfort her.
All her friends have betrayed her;
they have become her enemies.

3 After affliction and harsh labor,
Detroit has gone into exile.
She dwells among the nations;
she finds no resting place.
All who pursue her have overtaken her
in the midst of her distress.