Friday, June 24, 2016

R.E.M. - Losing My Religion (Video)


Sean Thomas Dougherty

Portrait of Lebron as Ohio

When is a poem one word? Even at 17 he was Baraka
           on the court, Coltrane gold toned, a kind of running riff,
more than boy-child, man-child, he was one word like Prince.
           How back in those drunken days when I still
ran in bars & played schoolyard ball
           & wagered fives & tens, me & my colleague
the psych-prof drove across Eastern Ohio
           just to see this kid from powerhouse St. Vincent,
grown out of rust-belt-bent-rims, tripped
           with the hype & hope & hip hop
blaring from his headphones, all rubber soled
           & grit as the city which birthed him.
We watched him rise that night scoring over 35,
           drove back across the quiet cut cornfields
& small towns of Ohio, back to the places
           where we slept knowing that Jesus had been reborn, black
& beautiful with a sweatband crown rimming his brow.
           He was so much more than flipping burgers & fries,
more than 12 hour shifts at the steel plant in Cleveland.
           More than the shut down mill in Youngstown.
More than that kid selling meth in Ashtabula.
           He was every kid, every street, every silo, he was white
& black & brown & migrant kids working farms.
           He was the prince of stutterstep & pause. He was the new 
King. We knew he was coming back the day after he left
           his house in Bath Township. He never sold it.
Someone fed his fish for years. Perhaps our hope? Fuck Miami. 
Leave Wade to wade through the Hurricane rain. Lebron is 
remembering that woman washing the linoleum floor, that man
           punching his punch card. He drives a Camaro, the cool kid 
Ohio car driving through any Main Street. He is the toll taker, &
           he is the ticket out. To weave these ropes of hair my 
woman said years later in Cleveland Heights watching him gone.|
           He finally got that ring & she turned to me & said, now he 
comes home. He keeps index cards documenting
           his opponent’s moves. One leans forward before he drives.
One always swipes with his left hand. The details like a preacher
           studying the gospel. He studies the game like a 
mathematician conjugating equations, but when he moves he is a
a conductor passing the ball like a baton. He is a burst of cinders
           at the mill. He is a chorus of children calling his name.
           The blistered hands of a man stacking boxes
in Sandusky, the long wait for work in Lorain.
A sapling bends
           & reaches in all directions
before it becomes a tree. A ball is a key to a lock.
           A ball is the opposite of Glock.
America who sings your praises,
           while tying the rope, everyone waiting for Caesar to fall,
back-stabbing media hype city betrayed
           by white people with racist signs.
           I watch the kids play ball
in the Heights, witness this they say. We will rise. I watched
           Lebron arrive & leave, I walked, I gave up drinking
as he went off & won a ring. The children’s chorus calls out sing
           brother, sing. Everything is black. Storm clouds gather out
on Lake Erie. But the old flower-hatted women
           at the Baptist church are handing out praise cards,
registering teenagers to vote. To turn a few words into a sentence.
He is a glossary of jam. & yes he is corporate
           chugging down green bubbly Sprite, running in Sony head-
phones, he is Dunkin his donut, he is Nike, witness, ripped.
           On a spring day in Akron a
           chorus of children is chanting his name on the court by the 
chain-link fence. He is forged steel, turning his skinny body into
           muscle, years of nights lifting, chiseling, cutting, studying. 
Watching the tape. To make a new kind of sentence. He is passing
           out T-shirts, this long hot bloody summer he was returned 
to the rusted rim along the big lake. He is stutter-step. He is
           spinning wheel. He has a cool new hat. He is speaking of 
dead black children. He is giving his time. To make the crowd
           sway like wind through a field of corn.
           Does Lebron think of dying?
           Does the grape think of dying as it withers on the vine by 
the lake? Or does it dream of the wine it will become?
He is wearing a shirt that says I Can’t Breathe.
They said he was arrogant. I said he was just Ohio.
           He married his high school sweetheart. Bravado laid out 
on the court. No back down, he is Biggie with a basketball inside
           of a mic, no ballistics, just ballet. He is Miles Davis cool, 
quietly cerebral, turning his back, tossing up
           chalk like blue smoke, blue notes, blues. He is Akron, 
Columbus, he is heart & Heat turned to lake effect blizzards,
           freighters frozen in ice, looking for work & no money to 
eat. He is Ashtabula & Toledo. He is carrying so many across the
           river, up through Marietta.
           The grapevines are ripe in Geneva.
           He returns, Man-child, Man-strong, Man-smart, Man-
mountain, Mansfield to East Akron, minus into Man, or should we
           say Mamma raised? Single mother fed, shy child, quiet 
child, who grew, who suffered & taught his body to sing, his
           mother worked how many shifts, doing this, doing that, 
sixteen never gave up for her son. He is third shift at the rubber
           plant in winter, he is farm hands & auto parts piece work
& long nights the men at the bar, eyes on the television.
           The lake tonight is black as newly laid asphalt.
There are no ellipses. He is turning paragraphs
           into chapters. Long ago the hoop gods made this deal
at the crossroads, Old Scratch is flipping the pages
           of his program & waiting high in the stands—to belong to a 
place most people would call
           nowhere, to show the world how tough we truly are, twelve
hour shifts at the rubber plant in Akron. How he is, how
           he is a part of this asphalt court we call Ohio, & how we 
suffer, & how we shine.

Sean Thomas Dougherty is the author or editor of thirteen books including All You Ask for Is Longing: Poems 1994- 2014 (2014 BOA Editions). Recent poems in North American Review and Best American Poetry 2014. His website is He works in a pool hall in Erie, Pennsylvania.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Go Cavs!!!

Well that was exciting, not to mention an incredible antidote to anyone who might be in need of a happiness injection.
This is my sister's photo of the JR Smith, she went downtown yesterday around 7:30 to get a good place to view the parade.... guess that worked!
Clearly as evidenced below a lot of people came out to celebrate, and it was so much fun to watch....
What a great day for my long suffering city!!!! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Heartbreak heart break

I made 10 and broke 6.  It's the way it goes with ceramics and in life, nothing ever goes the way you might have imagined it.... and a beautiful poem on letting go.

is unpreventable; the natural outcome of caring for people and things over which we have no control, of holding in our affections those who inevitably move beyond our line of sight.

Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings followthrough even the most average life. Heartbreak is an indication of our sincerity: in a love relationship, in a life’s work, in trying to learn a musical instrument, in the attempt to shape a better more generous self. Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much an essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete’s quick but abstract ability to let go. Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.

Heartbreak is how we mature; yet we use the word heartbreak as if it only occurs when things have gone wrong: an unrequited love, a shattered dream, a child lost before their time. Heartbreak, we hope, is something we hope we can avoid; something to guard against, a chasm to be carefully looked for and then walked around; the hope is to find a way to place our feet where the elemental forces of life will keep us in the manner to which we want to be accustomed and which will keep us from the losses that all other human beings have experienced without exception since the beginning of conscious time. But heartbreak may be the very essence of being human, of being on the journey from here to there, and of coming to care deeply for what we find along the way.

…If heartbreak is inevitable and inescapable, it might be asking us to look for it and make friends with it, to see it as our constant and instructive companion, and even perhaps, in the depth of its impact as well as in its hindsight, to see it as its own reward. Heartbreak asks us not to look for an alternative path, because there is no alternative path. It is a deeper introduction to what we love and have loved, an inescapable and often beautiful question, something or someone who has been with us all along, asking us to be ready for the last letting go.

CONSOLATIONS: The Solace, Nourishment
and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words.
© 2015 David Whyte:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lots going on this summer.  My posts may be more sporadic..... but I'll do my best to keep up!