Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary
My Loves

Vincent Murphy

Central New York

Central New York


Come On!


I miss my Missy

Better Days

Better Days
they'll come again

Alicia Vida Billman

Alicia Vida Billman
is 29 today

This says it all!

This says it all!
Friday noon, you're coming home with me Vinny.

Vincent Murphy?

Vincent Murphy?

Tuesday nights

Tuesday nights
are gonna change in May

Mr. Murphy

Mr. Murphy
waiting for his haircut

When I get bored

When I get bored
I take pictures of myself in bathrooms

Graphic Boulevard

Graphic Boulevard
blown transformers and a tree

Cars in Bergenfield

Cars in Bergenfield
didn't do well

House on Queen St

House on Queen St
with a for sale sign in front of it


Storm 2010

Vincent Murphy

Vincent Murphy
and his look alike Bob Murphy

Off my back porch

Off my back porch
Don't worry I didn't take this pic while falling

Down Kellogg Street

Down Kellogg Street

Up Kellogg Street

Up Kellogg Street

My house, our cars

My house, our cars

Winter 2010

Winter 2010


I want summer back!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Good Lord NPR, what were you thinking?

So this is what I wrote today, and put up on NPR's community of posters, in response to Frank Deford's commentary this morning:

There are so many insensitive, disturbing and downright stupid elements of Frank Deford's commentary that it's hard to know where to begin. I'll say that he has clearly missed the point in his apparent acceptance of Roethlistberger'...s behavior. Sexual aggression and assault is violent no matter who the perpatrator. To give someone dispensation because he's dumb is ignorant to say the least. Sexual assault is an under punished crime in contemporary American society, and using the airwaves to assert that it is something that should be excused because of stupidity is disgusting. The rhetorical strategy of comparing a real person to a romanticized fictional character is a poor one at best. I turned off my radio and NPR has earned an indeterminate boycott; I'm just too angry to listen right now.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On the threshold of indecision

I spend a lot of time talking to animals. And today I decided that I must say the phrase "do you want to go in(out)side?" about 50 times a day, at least on a day off. Today I stood in the threshold of the kitchen and said both three times. One pet, Vincent the cat, was on the back (enclosed0 porch, and the other, Missy the dog, was camped out in front of the fridge because she'd decided she deserved another dog cookie. I should add that Missy thinks I'm going senile (or she is) and that she can get more than one dog cookie per morning.

So there I was, trying to get them to decide, and they weren't budging. I thought they'd both have fun on the porch, but Missy wasn't having it. I told Vincent that his girlfriend was out (he sits in the living room window and she sits under it making eyes at him), but he wasn't moving. Meanwhile, I had some David Sedaris to read and a peer review sheet to write.

One thing about my pets though is that they're compliant little people pleasers, for the most part. So after two or three minutes the cat gave in. But it did get me thinking about how often I say that phrase, so next weekend I'll count. I think I'm like a mom with little kids, but I don't say things like "do you want your binkie?" or "do you need to go potty?". I actually never gave them a binkie and never said potty. That's why my kids still suck their thumbs and wet their pants at 27 and 28. Kidding! Well, maybe not.

What phrases do you find yourself saying over and over?

Have a great LOST Tuesday,

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Goodbye little purple flowers . . .

hello suburban looking lawn. Today I mowed the lawn for the first time this spring. In central New York our lawns are covered with little blue and purple flowers in spring. They come back even before the lawn does. Every first mowing is sad because I wait as long as I can, but eventually I have to turn the field of purple into a lawn of green. I shoulda took some before and after pics. Maybe Jess will email me the ones she took last week.

Sometimes the purple splendor comes back, sometimes it doesn't. It must be related to how high or low the blade is set. I hope this time the flowers come back. I do what I gotta do to live in civilization.

Last night I ate my first Charlie Boys Crown Burger of the season, delicious. Oh and National Poetry Month is winding down, so here's a new poem. Warning: it has a bad, bad word in it.


Imagine this: a man suddenly falls silent

And we want only to hear his words

So we give him paper instead

He writes: mein Hut ist blau.

No, no, English we say.

He writes: I want to fuck that girl in the red dress,

And we are interested and want more, to read

About his pornographic thoughts. Attentive,

We watch as he writes: the world is coming

To an end soon.

And we take away his pencil.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

An "Other" Patricia Murphy

I googled "poetry Patricia Murphy" and found this poem on The Microwave Project. I found a lot of poets named Patricia Murphy, and one of them was me, but this isn't:

Things’ Hurrah

I’m always all over

between things of

some awestruckness

although sometimes

tracks and things stick out

vibrations’ hurrah

I want a star not a man

a unicorn in unison

cords so discordant

or melodic whale

stomach flops

hearts skip throb

like a porcupine

wobbling a


forgot to hop

possibilities of

possible explanations

things get stepped on

squeezed out

collide with other things

companions make colorful

outer patterned layers

bloated red flowers

push off in space

Today I'm reading at SUNYIT at 4:30, where I will be joined by Tyra Twomey and Drew Sabol. If you're near the Gannett Gallery around that time, come on over.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Trips to the Vet

Yes, I just booked two vet appointments for this Friday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The two pets in question are not going at the same time because I would not survive it. Missy must have a Lymes Disease test and a heartworm test. She also has to have her "lump" checked. Vincent has to have his ears checked and his poop, to be blunt. He has the runs half the time, and his gooey ears might be the result of ear mites.

I've had a cold and was up all night coughing, so I feel like crap. However, I cannot afford to go to the doctor because my animals will use up this month's medical budget. Okay, I'm exaggerating. I am gonna say that I better get continuous unconditional love out of these two chumps.

How's your week going so far?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Colds get in the way . . .

of blogging and life in general. But National Poetry Month continues.

Noah’s Wife

is doing her usual for comic relief.
She doesn’t
see why she should get on the boat, etc.,

etc., while life as we know it hangs by a thread.
Even God
has had one or two great deadpan lines:

Who told you (this was back at the start—
the teeth
of the tautology had just snapped shut) Who

told you you were naked? The world
was so new
that death hadn’t been till this minute

required. What makes you think (the
withers under their feet) we were told?
The woman’s disobedience is good for
as also for restoring plot to human

scale: three hundred cubits by fifty
by what?
What’s that in inches exactly? Whereas

all obstinate wife is common coin.
the beginning was nothing and then a flaw

in the nothing, a sort of mistake that amplified, the
mistranscribed (it takes such discipline

to keep the prospect clean) and now the lion
the beetle rolls its ball of dung, and Noah

with no more than a primitive double-
entry audit
is supposed to make it right.

We find the Creator in an awkward bind.
Washed back
to oblivion? Think again. The housewife

at her laundry tub has got a better grip.
Which may
be why we’ve tried to find her laughable,

she’s such an unhappy reminder of what
costs. Ask the boy who cannot, though

God know’s he’s tried, he swears
each bar
of melting soap will be his last, who cannot

turn the water off when once he’s turned it on.
His hands
are raw. His body seems like filth to him.

Who told you (the pharmacopoeia has
the malady’s still the same) Who told you

you were food for worms?
makes you think (the furrow, the fruit)

I had to be told?

Good stuff, yes?
Happy Weekend,

by Linda Gregerson

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Matthew Zapruder

is worth reading:

Kingdom Come

She asked me how long it will be
until the giant black rose
she has seen in her dreams
bursts out of the ocean just beyond
the walls of the circular city
and drips molten fire on the heads
of likenesses of the smiling gods
who sent a message from outside
our solar system crying
and swearing to protect us
if we built them. Quite
a long time. Probably many
hundreds of years. First we must
build the circular walls,
then the towers and the steps.
Then we must build the satellite array
and send it into the atmosphere.
And we don’t have that
technology yet. The scientists
who can dream of building it
have not yet even been born. So
for now I say to her let us live
here in this apartment and make
sounds of love on this futon
while outside the window the orange
extension cable strangles
the white and green flowering branch
and monks cry anciently on the radio.

I hope you're enjoying National Poetry Month.

Monday, April 12, 2010

National Poetry Month

seems to have been forgotten by yours truly as I rhapsodize instead about cats and dogs and open houses; shame on me. But happily I haven't forgotten completely, so here's a poem for your enjoyment:



LOST COCKATIEL, cried the sign, hand-lettered,

taped to the side of a building: last seen on 16th

between Fifth and Sixth, gray body, orange cheek patches,

yellow head. Name: Omar. Somebody's dear, I guess,

though how do you lose a cockatiel on 16th Street?

Flown from a ledge, into the sky he's eyed

for months or years, into the high limbs of the ginkgos,

suddenly free? I'm looking everywhere in the rustling

globes and spires shot through with yellow,

streaking at the edges, for any tropic flash of him. Why

should I think I'd see him, in the vast flap this city is?

Why wander Chelsea when that boy could be up and gone,

winging his way to Babylon or Oyster Bay,

drawn to some magnet of green. Sense to go south?

Not likely; Omar's known the apartment and the cage,

picked his seeds from a cup, his fruits and nuts from the hand

that anchored him -- and now he's launched, unfindable,

no one's baby anymore but one bit…

Think of the great banks of wires and switches

in the telephone exchange, every voice and signal

a little flicker lighting up -- that's Omar now,

impulse in the propulsive flow. Who'll ever know?

Then this morning we're all in the private commuter blur

when a guy walks into the subway car whistling,

doing birdcalls: he's decked in orange and lime,

a flag pluming his baseball cap; he's holding out a paper cup

while he shifts from trills to caws. Not much of a talent,

I think, though I like his shameless attempt at charm,

and everybody's smiling covertly, not particularly tempted

to give him money. Though one man reaches into his pocket

and starts to drop some change into the cup,

and our Papageno says, "That's my coffee, man,

but thanks, God bless you anyway,"

and lurches whistling out the door.

Of course that's Mark Doty, who can turn any moment into art. I guess I'd better pledge to put up more poetry and maybe write some new stuff this month. How will you celebrate National Poetry Month?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

How will I feel

when it's my turn to open my house to a bunch of strangers who'll go tromping through it criticizing my somewhat clownish taste in furnishings and accessories? Well, I love going through open houses and criticizing other people's stuff, so I guess it's only fair. Open houses, several of which D and I will be doing later, are like being in an HGTV show, only it's real. Granite counter tops, open floor plan, ain't nobody gonna see that when they look at my house. So I try to think about how people will "interpret" my abode. Maybe . . .
she's clearly got a sense of humor, rather than a sense of taste
she's taken shabby chic to new levels
she really ought to have called her sister (my sister has great and conventional taste) before she started furnishing her house
I wonder if she dresses like she furnishes and accessorizes (answer yes)

It'll be a great time down the road when it's my turn to leave long enough to let people snoop around my house. I only wish they'd say things like "gee I hope pets come with the property."
Happy Sunday, I'm going to breakfast. You gotta build up strength for open houses. What are you doing on this chilly but beautiful spring morning?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Wild Weekend

weather-wise, that is. Who lives in a place where it can go from seventy degrees to snowing in two days? I do! Well, it matters little since the snow didn't stick. The wind is blowing like mad, but the sun is starting to come out.

It appears that despite my best attempts at fending off real thinking I have a "scholarly" interest. I've started research on an article about using blogs in freshman comp classes, in part because I do and in part because what I read when I started kicking the idea around two and a half years ago wasn't helpful. Scholarship on blogging is sort of either too esoteric or void of actual content for the most part, just sayin'. Mine will be both (ha ha).

Who knows what I'll find as I look into the reasons why I want my students to blog and start collecting their responses to the blog itself. Fun stuff, no doubt.

I'm toying with going to the Indie Garage Sale in Utica today, but it's so windy. Too windy to be Indie?

Whatever you're up to I hope it's fun. Clark, have you disappeared? I guess if you have you won't see this.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Holy Crap

There's a lotta that around my house, but at least it's all in the litter box. Vincent has also given me cause to purchase over the counter Claritin. For a few days I pretended it wasn't him, but after this morning I confess. That cat makes me sneeze.

But he's so cute.

And he's learning how to play.

And Missy's learning how to chase him.

Missy and I had a talk this morning, and I said something like "look you gotta calm down and get over yourself girlfriend. The cat is staying." I was firm yet loving, and I reminded her that Vincent was here to reinvigorate her. Since she hates other dogs, the get a younger canine companion trick wasn't an option.

I think it's gonna be great. The settle down is just taking a bit longer than I thought it would.

Thanks to Jess and Nicky for helping last night. You made Missy feel loved even as you kept her from devouring Vincent. That's why she loves you guys so much.

Well, time to get to work and prepare to fill young minds with knowledge. I have to get over to my composition blog and put up a prompt about Lars and the Real Girl, one of the best movies I've ever seen. What are you doing today?


Monday, April 5, 2010

The Two Pet House

is an interesting place. I don't think there will too much blogging for awhile. Two pets means twice the time spent making Missy feel like she's still loved and not put out. It means supervised face to face "visits" between the cat and the dog. It means spending alone time with Vincent so he doesn't ask to be taken back to the humane society, and it means cleaning a litter box. Wow, that's an eye opener!

But I think we're doing well overall. Last night after I got in bed B came home and she arranged a visit that seemed to go quite well from what I heard. I also learned that Vincent will express dissatisfaction for all his good naturedness. I found his empty water dish on the floor in my office this morning, where he'd knocked it down off the top of the closet he gets fed on. I forgot to give him more water before I went to bed. He was letting me know that better not happen again.

We had (D and me) a lovely time at the Colgate Inn for brunch on Easter with Wal, Joanna, Patti D, Z and Martin. It was something I hope we'll make a tradition. The food was fantastic. I had three desserts, and that's always the mark of a good time. I'll post some photos soon. Gotta go pet the cat.


Friday, April 2, 2010

The Final Countdown

is more than just a horrible old song by the (former, I hope) band Europe, it's the mode I'm in this morning as I approach the 12:00 hour and Vincent's introduction to Missy and my home.

This morning I noticed Sophie having a good scratch at her cat scratchy-thinger and realized that I needed to add one of those to the ever-expanding list of cat paraphernalia I need to finish purchasing. So far it's something like this:
Adoption fee, seventy dollars
Litter box, thirty dollars
Cat door, seventeen dollars
Cat litter, ten dollars
Cat litter scoop, three dollars
Cat brush, five dollars
Watching Vincent love his new home and Missy, priceless

Well, that's the dream. When I visited Vincent Wednesday after work, I learned that the cat I was originally interested in, Sancho Panza, had been returned to the humane society less than two weeks after his adoption. Sancho was a beautiful short haired Hemingway polydactal or whatever they're called; anyway he has six toes. I looked at Vincent sitting in his cage looking adorable, and for a moment there I was almost fickle. Sancho Panza had a lot going for him, after all: shorter hair, redder fur, six toes. And just as Vincent looked up at me with his round face and big (yellowish) eyes, the dude said that Pancho had been returned because he couldn't get along with the family's dog. Silly Pancho, he blew it. I hope Vincent learned a lot from hearing that conversation.

Okay, gotta go. Gotta start planning my day, which includes showing two teenagers how to clean up my yard. So middle class, I am.

Happy Easter to all of you (if there are any of you) who read this blog.