In the News, in the news

If I seem distracted lately, it’s all for an excellent cause.
I’ve been stringing for the Hersam Acorn publication, The Stratford Star.  You can click through here to the site to read all of my stories if you are interested. They are a decidedly local news bent, which is something I am passionate about.

My favorite piece was about two Korean War veterans who lived in Stratford and had never met till recently. They had fought together the same day, on the same beach.

Local news is meaningful news. It impacts what we do everyday.  It’s where the heart is. It is full of actionable items. If you want to get involved, it’s a good idea to tweet out #bringbackourgirls, but you may find it more meaningful to ride your bike down to the senior center and volunteer with your neighbors.

So even though the pay is pretty low, I am happy to be writing about important business, features and news developments around towns. Not just “content” and filler, but the real deal.

On a side note and more word to power of local: Did you know that Stratford has approximately 50,000 and a FB group called “Stratford Ladies” that is populated by almost 1,000?

On that FB group, these women do what ladies used to do in social clubs, and in the newspaper — share great and useful information about local businesses, recipes and town meetings and more.

It’s an powerful resource.

  … Read on…In the News, in the news

My Father-in-Law’s Dishes

I am in a kitchen in Ontario
And the house is packed in
With family and around with
Snow, and even more so by
Farmland and emptiness. It’s
March, my mother-in-law’s birthday
A day we’ve made as a holiday
Because it makes sense to
Celebrate in the middle of
Winter in the middle of the
School year so that all can
Come without interruptions to
Holier days.

And we eat turkey around the
Pool table, with all the
Chairs assembling from the
Scattered bedrooms in this
Rambling affair of a house and
My brothers-in-law Duane and
Greg have puzzled together the
Plywood cover for the table that
Duane built for us to eat on and which
He’ll leave there for
The Duration because,
I’ve noticed, it bothers him how my
Son bangs the balls around.

And we demolish the meal that took Henry
Days to prepare, we demolish it in
20 minutes, which is less time than it took
To make the gravy.
And the kids want to leave the table,
But I don’t let them. They fidget.
I recognize the twitchiness in my
Own memory, eating around the
Brown card table in Granny’s
Icy basement.

Karen and I clear the dishes,
And there’s the scraping into
Compost, and rinsing into
Sink strainer. I prefer my
Garbage disposal at home, but I
Can work with this system.
My father-in-law nibbles on bits
As he packs up the food. There is
Turkey carcass everywhere.

I move the dirties from one, and then
Another area of counter and wipe them clean.
Now a dry towel down here, for the wet dishes, and
Another on my shoulder. And one more, for
Colin to join me.
That counter is dry and no, please,
No more dirty dishes there. I wipe it down again.

The hot water
Fills the sink
And the soap.
I begin with the
Least dirty plates,
Front and back.

By the time I get to the pots and the pan I am really very
Tired and the water is sludge and I thought perhaps I could
Make it on one sink this time but I didn’t so I
Let it all out, the filth,
And rinse the porcelain sides with my hands. Bang the
Basket into the trash.
More hot water.
The leftovers are stored in plastic.
The twins are sitting on Duane.
A dog rushes down the hall after a ball.

The sink fills again and
I keep going on,
Washing my
Father-in-law’s dishes. … Read on…My Father-in-Law’s Dishes

Area Attractions

Google can you spare me a
A chance encounter with
Life? I keep wandering around
Your innards, picking at
Scabs and chewing on old
Gum stuck under old
Search results somehow unable to
Recall what I came here for in the
First place. And, also, no thank you

Once I used a thing called a
Guide, which was a book, written by
A person who’d put foot into
Cow shit at a summer fair and
Ate stale sandwiches from a
Museum cafe. And converted then condensed those
Memories into hard-cold paragraphs of nothing and
Symbols you’d flip a key to read.
So what’s the diff, google user? Shouldn’t I just
Succumb to your 4 stars?

Decide, my distant youth calls to me,
The pack getting heavy on her back.
But I have wandered off into
Webbed inertia. What area attractions appeal
To me I cannot say. I can only hear the
Noise of newsless news, the screech of
Baseless fears, and
A death rattle inside
Perfect tasting love minutes
Wasting away. … Read on…Area Attractions

To the Repair Station

A mother repairs toys for her children

Those afternoon hours seem as if they should be endless.
Miles and miles to fill before dinner and dad.
We drop our bags on the bench, and
We set our feet free, and I don’t have to say
Go play
Anymore to them, like I once did (they were
Uncertain of ‘what’s next?’ for years). Then
We all stare into the cupboard for awhile–
That takes time. The deciding and the eating,
And the crumb campaign too. Then they
Disappear into next-room neverland.

Meanwhile, I am
Afternooning, which is to say my mind has taken
Off on walkabout between defrosting dinner and
Facebook and unpiling the stack of papers over
There. And if I stop moving, I’ll be
Dragged by a frantic little lady and her
Plastic dog to the
Repair station for emergency
Battery-dectomy and tulle stitches.
Tomorrow someone will ask me how
Our summer went, and tonight I’ll
Try to fall to sleep and startle to
A parade of should-have-dones and
I’ll have to patch together
The reminder of one
Beautiful day.

Read on…To the Repair Station

To Get Things Done

It’s all an illusion: to carry a
Coffee full and fret a
Little if it will drop on the white
Rug or if it will scorch your
Tongue. Eventually every cup
Goes cold and empty, just dregs
And those impatient jitters
To get things done, hop on the
To do list and move.

That’s best: don’t
Sit too still in the
Early morning breeze inside the
Screened-in lie of
Beforehands. Better to drown out
The siren sweeties calling out
Their what-ifs with the
Hammering bills of the
Pecker finding breakfast inside
The dead. … Read on…To Get Things Done

Life Sentence


Here are my hands, pulling apart the arms of the
Berry bush, to find this little blue planet.
If I don’t take you now, sweetheart,
You are dead. I see your little sister
Squashed flat in the hay under my
Baby’s Keen sandal. So I’ve come out here in the
Wednesday morning to give you
Your ending. I might drop you in the
Box or just as well eat you right now
But what difference does it make?
The answer to your question isn’t in the
Planting or the weeding or whether or
Not that tired farmer sprayed you
Undoubtedly with Roundup. By the time
The Berry Ferry comes full circle to
Fetch us and the rest of the harried
Mothers, here you will be, come
Full stop at the end of your
Life sentence.
  … Read on…Life Sentence