Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’


It made me sad.

Finding an old name and then the face to go with it.

The couple, married before me, before any of us, straight after college.

You think a couple is a good couple because of so many things, their combined physicality for instance. Their interests. They way they make each other laugh.

They were both tall and thin. I mean, really tall and really thin. Both hipsters, not artists themselves, on the periphery, but always the right choice in music and film and clothing.

Without looking for either of them, I found them both on Facebook.

So many people are still there, in Cleveland, the art scene still alive. If I had stayed in Kent, would I have begun to venture back to the east side? Would my poetry have cropped up again? Would my daughter have wanted to go to art school and really have accepted the acceptance at CIA?

I would not have found Sacred Harp singing, that’s for sure.


They were at my wedding with a new baby. How little I knew of babies then, but thought I did. Thought I knew so much.

(for the first time, I’ve figured out how to put a video directly from my Photo Booth to my blog without making it public on youtube. how could this have flummoxed me so in the past? does this date mean it’s from October or November? dang dates)

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Yeah, I got famous friends. Yeah, some of them are published authors.

Here is a link to Erin O’Brien‘s book page on amazon.com. You can pre-order it.

Okay, crap. My links aren’t working. And no, that’s not what you think, like “my lovely lady¬†lumps links.”

YOU can do this yourself. Go to amazon.com and look up Erin O’Brien’s book, The Irish Hungarian Guide to the Domestic Arts, and pre-order it. I’m not sure why the link to her blog isn’t working, but if you like, go to the column over there on the right of my blog, yes, this blog, and look under BLOGROLL and click on The Erin O’Brien’s Owner’s Manual for Human Beings. Whew. (Why, Santy wordpress, why?)

You can already get it and read it in an e-version if you have a Kindle and are a fancy type of person.

Anyway, her book is called The Irish Hungarian Guide to the Domestic Arts and I don’t have a Kindle so I am waiting. If I lived in Ohio, I would go to the book launch. And to the reading. And if you live there, you can and should go. And get your copy signed.

Congratulations, Erin! Can’t wait! Or is that can’t hardly wait?

P.S. You know how classy Erin is? She didn’t even ask me to correct the spelling on my link to her blog over there to the right on my blogroll when I had forgotten the apostrophe after the O of O’Brien. Classy triple exclamation point

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Neither John Lennon nor Paul McCartney could read music. I know you know that. But think about it—it’s awesome.

In one of the stalls in the women’s bathroom at Bruegger’s, there is a potted plastic orchid on top of the toilet tank. Its fake leaves are horribly droopy and its pink plastic flowers are not vaginal or labial or vulvar, but I couldn’t help but think of female genitals anyway. Please help.

Last year, I vowed to credit the photos that I reprint on my blog, but I simply don’t care.

I have never driven in New York City, the state of New Jersey, or any European country.

I was recently nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award, but I haven’t done anything I’m supposed to. It’s possible I still will. Just giving you a heads up.

In Improv, you learn to engage in “yes and” interactions with your fellow Improvers. You shall not “neg” their suggestions, but my behavior in response to being nominated is negging. Negging sucks. It feels really bad. What’s a blogger to do?

Those values.com billboards give me the creeps and I finally looked it up. FUCK THAT!

Why, when I looked up Hurlbut Paper Co. in google images, did a photo of Javier Bardem come up? I can barely look without falling over. Oh My God.

Hurlbut is a funny name, but the factory, in the Berkshires, is lovely. It is owned by Mead Paper. I want all factories to look like it looks. Old-fashioned American-made goods. Bricks and trestle bridges. The illusion that paper-production is clean. Please?

I remember being near Chillocothe, Ohio and smelling the air as we drove by a paper mill. Have you ever experienced this?

When I was in high school on the Speech Team (I know you are shocked at this admission of geekdom), I stayed overnight in a house in Chillocothe. It was one of the most amazing houses I have ever been in. It had transom windows above the bedroom doors. I love transom windows.

When I searched google images for Chillocothe, Ohio, I found this. If you click through, you will not be sorry, especially the menfolk (half the time when I tried to link to it, the image showed up directly; half the time not. I don’t understand wordpress, you know that).


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I never knew who Leonard Cohen was until well after college and beyond, into the time after I became a massage therapist (the late ’80s). I have a strange memory of the song “Bird on a Wire” from my younger years. I definitely knew the song “Suzanne,” because I went to camp as a kid and the wanna-be hippie counselors were probably singing it on their hippie guitars around campfires. Or maybe I heard Judy Collins singing it on the radio, or both.

I had a massage client in Kent (Brady Lake, no less), and he used to give me cassette tapes, back in the day, of all sorts of music I hadn’t previously known. He turned me on to Leonard Cohen and I introduced him to Robyn Hitchcock and Tom Waits. He gave me Marianne Faithful and Ken Nordine and really every Leonard Cohen song that you couldn’t find any more on vinyl and that would never be released on CD (or so I thought in the early ’90s).

I think the song I’ve most listened to is “Famous Blue Raincoat.” I like how it’s in a minor key–it’s so fucking depressing–and then he switches to a major chord for the Jane came by with a lock of your hair line. For a tiny moment, he gives a respite. But not for long, plunging us into the depths again.

and you treated my woman to a flake of your life

Sweet Jesus, can you believe that line?

This is the one that I listened to over and over when he was new to me:

This whole post was inspired by my recent listening to “Hallelujah” for about the last 4 months.

When my kids were younger, we forbade them from using the word “awesome” because of its disgraceful misuse by the youth of today (well, by now, the youth of yesterday), but we finally caved because we are NOT word Nazis, dammit!

This is an awesome song, as bad as that adjective sounds when applied to anything of substance. It’s beautiful and rich and complex and deep and meaningful and I am in awe of it. I love it and I think I can sing it, too, but I have to read along because my capacity for actually remembering new lyrics has greatly diminished of late. Perhaps, too, I could use a good guitarist. Maybe someone cute, even beautiful and sexy, younger than me, but not too young. I would like the challenge of singing with a man playing a guitar, but I’d probably prefer a woman because, ultimately, things would be less subject to any confusion, you dig?

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This is a date I never forget.

I went to Kent State University, several years after May 4. Kent was my home for 19 years, from 1981 to 2000. If there was a person who belonged to Kent, I did, not as much as the fac brats and natives, but close.

I belonged to Kent and Kent belonged to me.

Kent’s charms were well-known to me. I had a favorite bar (or two), a massive number of connections to people high and low. I did my time there, all of it. Drugs and boys, smoking, walking barefoot on the sidewalks in the rain, music and bars, art openings, poetry readings, Brady’s, film-making, Filmworks, parties where the porches nearly collapsed from the weight of people on them, professors, Kent Fest, May 4 Rally Day, Halloween.

Swimming naked at the quarry all summer long and getting a “quarry buzz” (we still don’t know what was in the water that gave us this). I got my first dog at a house in Brady Lake, with a “free puppy” sign; really trashy, the bitch mom was tied up and god knows how many litters they kept letting her have. Four puppies ran toward me and I chose the one who “got there first.” She was the best dog in the world, too, Kent born and bred. Towner’s Woods was ours. Mountain biking behind the railroad tracks where there is now a huge McMansion development.

I moved on to home-ownership, a house I used to walk by and dream about living in “if it ever goes up for sale, I hope it will be mine.” Dreams were manifest.

I got sober in Mogadore, right near Akron, OH, home of Dr. Bob. Let me tell you, those were some hardcore Big Book Thumpers. Had my home group two blocks from my house.

I ran a successful local business, got married. People I loved died when I lived in Kent.

My babies were born in that house, 1920s Craftsman-style, built-in oak bookshelves and flooring, high ceilings on the first floor, fireplace, solarium, glass door knobs, pulleys on the windows, plaster-and-lath construction, butterfly hinges. Not like this 1965-ranch I live in with hollow doors, low ceilings and not a lick of heart, imagination, or love.

I wrote this poem a couple of years ago when I visited Kent after several years of being away. It’s really more of a summer poem, but today is May 4 and all, so why not?


for Maj, Sheila, and Megan

Along I-86 in New York, I see more deer carcasses beside the road
than on the interstate in Massachusetts.

Roadkill in varying states of decay
all the way to Ohio.

I am a pilgrim and a stranger and I have forgotten the names of the streets that bore me

If I could dig my fingers deep into the flesh of a soft fruit,
I would find what I came for

I came to your door but you weren’t home

I was so shaken that I couldn’t leave a note, my hand uncooperative in the sharp July heat

I tried for a word or something more fundamental
like a rock or feather

But I left without a trace

Still, there are trails and cross-hatchings that mark my way

And in that place, before the life I know now,
you are the family that held me

My life is full enough, but I am grateful for how you shaped me

I carry it always, only maybe sometimes I forget the names of the streets

July 31, 2009

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