Thursday, June 30, 2011

best of the blotter: let me stand next to your fire and 31,000 pounds of shrimp

After police responded to a call of a loud explosion and flames at Lakewood Park at 8 p.m. June 15, officers learned there was a man in the park who was a professional fire-breather putting on a show for area children.

DOMESTIC DISPUTE, RIVER OAKS DRIVE: Two brothers, one from Ashland and one from Rocky River, were verbally arguing on June 26. Police were called to the apartment complex where he found both men intoxicated. The fight began due to the visiting brother feeding a pet dog beer.

WELFARE CHECK, DERBY COURT: Out of concern for her children, a woman notified police that her ex-husband’s new lady friend was “whacked out.”

Police went to the ex-husband’s home June 25 to investigate and found that everything appeared to be normal.

On May 25, a 53-year-old Solon woman driving along Aurora Road near Portz Parkway nearly hit a police officer working a traffic stop. Solon police pulled her over and noticed that her eyes were red and glassy and she smelled like alcohol.

But that wasn't all.

According to police, the woman's face was covered in powder and what appeared to be chocolate frosting.


A Pearl Road woman reported someone tried to get into her apartment when she found the sliding patio door had been pushed off its tracks June 25.

Police determined the culprit was looking to get out, not in. Officers said it appeared one of the woman's cats had jumped on the door, knocking it out of its grid.

The woman said her cats do jump at the screen. Police checked all the other patio doors in the building and found no others that had been disturbed.

Teens on the Loose

An Antler Lane resident called police twice early June 25 because she could hear teenagers, often using profanity, outside her window and in a neighbor's yard.

Police found only a skunk in the yard, but said there were several parties in the area and believed the boys had been cutting through the yards.


THEFT, EXCHANGE STREET: The theft of frozen shrimp led police here to coordinate their investigation with Los Angeles police.

The shrimp was in a trailer believed to have been partly unloaded at some unknown place as part of an organized-crime operation.

Two hundred pounds of shrimp were stolen, but as much as 31,000 pounds was initially thought to have been stolen.

The case involved a freight broker in Valley View, a trucking company in Sandusky and a New Jersey company that ordered the shrimp from California to be delivered to Gouldsboro, Pa.

The Sandusky company notified police here, suspecting that $130,000 worth of shrimp might have been stolen because it failed to arrive in Pennsylvania on June 4.

A person with the Sandusky company said he dealt with a person with an accent.

Police here spoke with members of a Russian-Armenian task force at the LAPD and with police in Vernon, Calif.

Four days later, a trailer of shrimp arrived at a cold-storage warehouse operated on Exchange Street in Valley View. The truck arrived there after a man with a Russian accent inquired about the availability of cold storage. When the truck arrived, its driver identified himself with the last name Kevorkian but seemed not to understand the warehouse operator’s passing comment made about June 3 death of Jack Kevorkian, also known as “Dr. Death.”

Police said the scheme seems to involve unsuspecting shippers using the Internet to hire truckers who have legitimate documents they obtain fraudulently so their undelivered shipments are difficult to trace.

In this case, documents were stolen from a car owned by a person employed with a trucking company in California, reports said.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

it don't rain under the water, it don't rain inside my heart...

Too beautiful to make art tonight, taking care of unfinished business at the library, having gone down by the water once and feeling its call again. A lack of power cord means no shots from today, but this place of rocks and vegetation and water has been traversed before on days with calmer waves and the encroaching golden glow of sunset from the year past.

If I wasn't so pragmatic, so thriving on interaction with other likeminded souls, if I wasn't so provincial and so rooted, I would have left long ago for a coast next to ocean long ago.

It's been a year since everything felt like it unraveled, and I'm glad I came through a little wiser and less dependent, and I don't wish things stayed the way they were, but the way that lives get woven together and then ripped out like none of it ever happened is unnerving. I guess it's part of the process, and others have been through worse. I just wish I could wash the lingerings away.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

these are a few of my favorite things

The cure for the summer blues is the blue of the water, be it communing with the Divine in solitude beneath a willow tree or out adventuring down the stairs to the hidden beach. The proximity of waves and wind, the undulations on the sand and the sunsets, the way the most familiar is always new. I could watch the water for hours and if I was into the whole personal ad thing I could say in all honesty that I dig long walks on the beach, which is not a romantic thing at all, really, just something I enjoy.

When we had no money, we'd come down there, to run barefoot, to roll up our jeans and let the crushed zebra mussels chip away toenail polish, drinking sangria in the pavilion and orange crush on the beach, laying on the rocks under the setting sun, writing messages in the sand to be washed away. So close, and yet such an escape to be in the elements rather than shut in by walls of concrete. I come down here and feel alive again.

There are prettier beaches, and cleaner ones, and we have a lake, no ocean here. The
only ocean I've ever swam in was New Jersey ocean for what it's worth. Maybe I'm not spoiled because I've never seen water so blue and clear that you can see all the way down and I don't know what I'm missing. My connection here is emotional if anything.

I feel most at home when I'm near rust and water, old things that are familiar. I thought the desert was beautiful but I had a strange anxiety looking at the newness and artificiality imposed on a hostile land that blisters in the heat. "It's because rust runs through your veins, it's a part of you" says a friend of mine who knows me well.

The summer is when we come back to life, resurrected by long days and the sun that keeps us alive and eventually kills us. I made dinner the past few nights with the harvest of my garden, the front porch smells of lavender and citronella, the tangle of the seeds scattered has manifested itself.

The creativity has returned to the scarred walls, fresh paint and creative souls, vines growing through the concrete.

Despite all restlessness and grieving the messed-up-ness of the world, there is still joy here and beauty in the strangest places. I can never be bored even if I tried.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

circadian arrhythmia

Thrown off from lack of sleep and then too much, trying to shake the ennui, thirsty and overthinking. I always get like this when the weather heats up, lethargic and lacking. It will pass like it always does.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

a blindness that touches perfection

When did I get so old, unable to stay awake, long gone those nights of laying on a living room floor listening to music and talking until the sun came up, having revelations and inspirations at 3am over diner food and infinite cups of coffee, frenzied painting at late hours.

And now, I'm fighting to keep my eyes open, wondering why the caffeine doesn't work like it once did, maybe it's the connection with people and if not that the creative process that keeps me feeling awake and alive and lacking either of those, I'm dead to the world or wishing I was.

Writing this late is my equivalent of being drunk, becoming either absurdly slap-happy or existential and emotional as the inner life bleeds out. I don't get drunk for that reason alone, because I do and say enough stupid that I don't need any other reason to do so. The euphoria and melancholia are already too saturated and intense and every fear and hope is amplified to deafening and debilitating decibel.

I don't expect anyone to fill that void of loneliness, because it's the human condition, the state of the soul even at its most loved but that doesn't stop the longing held in by veneers of cynicism and sarcasm so easy to see through. The constancy of dreams deferred is a hard thing.

live transmission

Ambitious plans for coffeeshop writing deferred for naps on the couch that turn into sleep, hanging out in the wilds of Parmastan, stopping on the way to set up for the radio station anniversary party at the Fun Wall, where I watched Cleveland's finest writers work magic with aerosol, helped set up for the big event, and found out I'd be covering the soundboard up at the station, which was nerve-wracking at first, waiting for the call to start streaming to come in, grabbing every New Order record in the music library, playing anything else I can remember that kind of fits the 24-hour-party-people/madchester era... interspersing with the Comsat Angels and Primal Scream.

So far so good...lots of caffeine, a book to read, and thankful for being part of a station that shaped my tastes for so many years.

Friday, June 24, 2011

best of the blotter : patchouli and pets

ASSIST, MAYFIELD ROAD: An extremely upset resident called police at 2:10 a.m. June 17 because her cat was stuck behind a couch. Responding officers safely rescued the cat.

IDLE CHATTER, NOTTINGHAM COURT: A Nottingham Court woman told police that she heard a suspicious vehicle idling outside her home around 9:20 p.m. June 16. Officers responded and observed that the idling sound was actually the woman’s refrigerator.


Kids smoking something strange in the restroom

Police were notified of four people smoking in the restroom at Lakewood Park at 7 p.m. June 16. The caller said the group — one female and three males — left behind a bag containing an unknown substance. Officers determined that the bag contained incense.

Criminal damaging

Police received a call about a group of children throwing eggs and writing on the side of a building in the 1400 block of Winchester Avenue on June 16. The children — all between the ages of seven and 10 — were advised by police. The caller said he would clean up the mess, which was determined to be impermanent.

Just so you know, dear Strongvillandia readers, gangstas don't tend to use eggs when targeting the cars of their victims.

More fun from the land down under:

Concerned passersby asked police to check on an older man walking on Main Street wearing only a T-shirt and underwear about 10 a.m. June 17.

Officers caught up with the man, who was not, in fact, exercising in his underwear, but wearing short shorts. He told police he appreciated the concern.

A Meadow Lane man called police about 11:45 p.m. June 14 to say he was living in fear and wanted to know when he could use lethal force on his neighbors. The man was very intoxicated, the report said, and was advised to stay in his house and go to sleep.

He apparently did not listen, because a resident called police to report hearing yelling and profanity a half hour later. The intoxicated man also called 911 again to say his neighbors came over and told him to "back off, dude" when he was in his own yard. He was arrested.


Graffiti Artist Hits Bassett Building with Chief Wahoo

A Bassett Road building owner found a Chief Wahoo, along with other graffiti, on his dumpster enclosure at about 5:30 a.m. April 10. The victim suspects skateboarders who hang out in the area. He requested that officers cite any skateboarders on the property.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

cathedral heat

Seeking change of scene and refuge from the rain. I remember being bored at mass, staring up at the stained glass windows, playing with the filigree cross on my grandma's rosary as she told me to sit still.

I can't remember not being enamored by the sun streaming through the colored glass, and it was one of the things I missed when we stopped being Catholic, as the protestants and evangelicals don't tend to be as into the aesthetic, and I guess from a pragmatic standpoint, to have a beautiful building at the expense of helping people would be a bad way to use one's resources, but I love the architecture in ways I can't explain. I know that the church is not the building, that it's the people of God, but to be able to come down here and sit and wander around... it does something for me.

The luminescent hues, the attention to detail, so many things that jumped out at me when I looked at my shots afterwards, shots that don't do this place justice.

I don't know if these are old or new, hodgepodged pieces surrounding very medieval looking figures. I like the ancient green that reminds me of beach glass. I still throw my glass bottles in the lake in hopes that the surf will pound it into pebbles for the next generation to find.

best of the blotter: noise and fake blood

911 MISCELLANEOUS ABUSE, NORTH MAIN STREET: Police debated charging a resident who called 911 just after 12:30 a.m. on June 20 to report that his cell phone wasn’t working while he was at a local gallery.

DISTURBANCE (NOISE), SOLON ROAD: Police received a call at 12:12 a.m. on June 20 from a resident complaining that a neighbor was playing a violin. Police arrived to find the scene quiet.

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION, BUNKER HILL DRIVE: A complainant told police at 9:57 p.m. June 12 that his door bell rang, but when he answered it no one was there. However, he stated he could see what looked to be blood on the walkway. An officer investigated, and determined the substance was likely pizza or spaghetti sauce. There was no damage to the complainant’s property.

DISTURBANCE, SOUTHPARK CENTER: At 8:59 p.m. June 18, an employee of Buckle reported that a Garfield Heights man was upset because he lost gold-colored “grillz” in the store. The man apparently became irate with employees after discovering he had lost the jewelry for his teeth, and was asked to leave the store.

oh, Parmastan!

THEFT, CRAIGLEIGH DRIVE: Two accordions were stolen between May 15 and June 15 from a house.
Police do not know how the accordions were stolen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

cleveland gothic

Escape from the brutalist architecture and not having the time or motivation to hang out in graveyards sent the mordant souls into the dead zone of post-lunch-hour downtown where much mirth and amusement was found in the humid bleakness.

"I'm kind of not liking Cleveland," a friend of mine says, having gotten out of town to other places and I get it, walking past empty storefronts, seeing undergrads harassed by homeless dudes, and the only place with a now-hiring sign is the check cashing joint. Prospect Avenue used to be lined with hookers back in the day and now there's office buildings and pawnshops, I wonder if the scuzz will return when Mr. Comic Sans builds his magic casino.

what's up Walter Benjamin?

The Education of Little Tree

Stay classy, little plastic evergreen.

If you lived here you'd be home by now.

Lurking in the doorways

My inner goth kid is still alive and well.

Barely creative.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


As the temperature dropped, we came to conclusions brought on by asking questions and sometimes it just clicks, we could feel the breeze come through the front door and we went outside to see the wind and the heat lightning above the houses across the street. Windchimes and car alarms set off by vibrations and noise, airplanes circling looking to land, the thunder rumbling but never shattering, the rain misty as we split a bottle of porter three ways and ate chips and salsa, watching the rain intensify and the lightning bounce from one end to another.

My dad and I used to pull up lawn chairs in the garage, drink Coca-Cola out of a two-liter bottle and listen to classic rock as the storms rolled in. I called him to wish him a happy birthday and that I thought of him and he says he remembers those times and he thought of me too.

When the rain steadies and the lightning ceases to be interesting, we don't need to say anything and can watch, the planes descend and I'm ready to sleep, hoping for more nights like these.

the longest day

With the joyous light that sustains us and burns us out in time, I've been outside every chance I get, with the camera and the occasional companion on sundry small adventuring. I'm not entering the Downtown Cleveland Alliance photo contest unless I send in something absurd. Glamourous and boosterific is not my strong suit, hence my self-definition as Peonage.

Supersonic Weeds of Sweetness.

And it's beautiful this time of year, I'm in love with chlorophyll and the translucent green of leaves filtering the close star's light, the shade of trees hanging over sidewalks, humid nights infused with the scent of honeysuckle, moonflower, and climbing roses that grow over every chain link fence in the almost-hood, where freakishly perfect suburban-style lawns are refreshingly rare.

Even the sterility of UnhappyHipsters-esque architecture is enlivened by the carpet of wildflowers juxtaposed against the blue lake and the towers of downtown.

It feels too hot to cook, so I drink lemonade and sit beneath the ceiling fan, needing time to be introverted before resurfacing into the outside world. It's the longest day of the year, but the time in which it falls seems incredibly brief.

bottom feeders

"You know you've lived in Cleveland a long time when..."

So we're sitting on the front porch eating dinner as the sun sets as Bright Young Things move in down the street and discard their stash of Ikea furniture on the curb. We're trying to figure out if it really is on the curb for the taking or if they don't know that you should put your stuff inside the fence or on the porch, but it looks like there's some nice bookshelves there and we can always use bookshelves.

We try to look nonchalant, premature old women on the porch peering down the street over glasses of lemonade and plates of pasta, trying to figure out what sets off the next-door neighbor's uber-sensitive car alarm and waiting for the new neighbors to go to sleep. We take the dog out to appear more nonchalant even though we've been sitting there looking across the street for the last twenty minutes and we decide to scope it out to see if there's anything worthy to scavenge, with her boyfriend on call in case we need some extra arms.

Someone's beaten us there already. A family driving a Jetta, the son on his phone talking in Spanish standing over what turns out not to be a bookshelf but a giant desk that we couldn't've used anyway. By the time we walk to the next corner and back, a pickup truck containing more family members and the most of the contents of the curb is rolling down the street and we laugh, wondering how we got to be this way.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

blue and blue...

Insomnia revisits, sleeping in a different house, reminders of things I'd rather not think about and wish I could forget, hoping that the dog's skittishness doesn't mean any more than that, tuning out the conversations in the driveway of the house next door, coming off of caffeination, alternating stressful socialness and aching solitude.

I know that these pangs of lonesome are nothing compared to those of others, thinking of a relative of mine I picked up tonight who things never did work out for, unhappily married and now widower, with a daughter institutionalized, alone in a house losing hearing and mobility, surrounded by accumulated tchotchkes reminiscing about days long past and friends long dead, with nothing to look forward to, thinking more of what he's lost in this world than what could ever exist in the next. I stand there and don't know what to say and just break inside for him.

Finishing out tonight on a front porch looking out on blue world drenched in golden light and firefly flecks was good for me, to be in a place where I don't have to try too hard, pondering things we'll never totally understand as power chords and solos snaked through the night breeze as the world begins to rest.

The blueness is lighter than the mood indigo, a melancholia of accumulation, a tangle of emotion needing to be unraveled, in so little time and so much exhaustion of the emotional, veering wildly between passionate and pragmatic too hard to explain without baring too much.

Friday, June 17, 2011

a place that we call home

Hope and misery juxtaposed. Knowing that both exist for good reason.

This place is home for me, not because it's the greatest locale of all time ever but because it's where most of the people I love are and where I find community through credo, common interests, and creativity, work that is pretty awesome most of the time, and I've learned how not to get bored, to keep sane in a place that sometimes seems hellbent on breaking us.

Even in the shadow of industrial ruin and brownfield, the land is still verdant. The wild grapevines and sweet-smelling honeysuckle reclaiming the land, mulberry trees and wild raspberries provide sweetness, sand and water to wade through and watch sunsets over.

To find beauty in the thorns and overgrownness, a pleasing aesthetic in rusted geometry, laughter in the absurdity of existing in the land of rust and old things, transcendence in the iconography of houses of worship and of the dead.

When the sun is like this, it seems a waste to stay inside any longer than one has to, when there's all this to be seen.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

best of the blotter: east side vs west side

Far to the western hinterland of Avon sans Stratford....

RACCOON, CHESTER ROAD: A resident of the Village of Avon called on June 11 to report that there was a raccoon on the roof, and the residents were afraid to leave for fear it might jump on them. Animal Control was dispatched to corral the raccoon.

SUSPICIOUS CONDITION, LONG ROAD: An employee from Willoway Nursery spoke with an officer to report a patch of marijuana that was discovered growing on the property on June 10.

ASSAULT, BENTLEY DRIVE: A resident who witnessed a truck run a stop sign in the neighborhood said he tracked down the driver and when he approached him and told him to slow down, the driver punched him in the face on June 8.

THEFT, JUST IMAGINE DRIVE: A workers reported on June 11 that the chains securing the site had been cut and that two commercial-grade batteries, valued at $150 each, and loose steel were stolen. Extra patrols were requested.

PROPERTY DAMAGE, NAGEL ROAD: A woman called police on June 6 to advise that the window had been shot out of her SUV while she was driving near the Rock Pile and that two suspects were seen entering the woods nearby.

More from the west side:

PETTY THEFT, BROOKPARK ROAD: Two Cleveland women, ages 31 and 23, were caught stealing suckers from Sam’s Club June 11.

They were approached in the parking lot by a loss prevention officer who questioned them about a bag of suckers they had not purchased. They went back to the check-out area and paid for the bag of suckers.

Reports said the women gave the officer “a hard time” about the incident, and a third woman got involved in the argument.

WELFARE CHECK, PEARL ROAD: At 11:55 a.m. June 5, police received a call regarding a possibly disoriented woman in a church parking lot. According to complainants, the woman took 25 minutes to park her vehicle and appeared to be wearing a nightgown as she wandered around the parking lot during a Mass. Police spoke with a friend of the woman’s, who stated that is simply how she dresses. She reported she was wandering around the parking lot because she hadn’t been to the church for a few years, and didn’t know where the entrance was. Police noted, “Other than appearing ornery, she appears to be OK.”

SUSPICIOUS SITUATION, FAIR ROAD: According to a police report dated 3:23 p.m. June 9, children were riding their bicycles in a church parking lot when a pickup truck pulling a boat approached. The 40- to 50-year-old man driving asked the children “where the bad part of the neighborhood was” and “where the black people live in Strongsville.” The man, who reportedly had a stuffed bird in the vehicle, drove away when another child approached. He was reportedly acting very peculiar, but did not attempt to entice the children into the vehicle.

From the east side:

ANIMAL COMPLAINT, WEST ORANGE HILL: The animal warden was dispatched June 7 after a resident reported that a turtle was burrowing in a front-yard flower bed.

COMPLAINTS (SOLICITORS), CAMBRIDGE COURT: Residents reported June 9 about 1 p.m. that two white males wearing aprons came to their door asking them if they “wanted salad.” They were tracked in a red car and advised that they needed to register with the village.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

stripped to the bone / I did no wrong

It's the world of our elders, we just live in it and try to get by. I try to keep my nose clean and not get embroiled in the politics of those with small minds and bitterness for reasons unknown.

I don't bother trying to kowtow, I don't want to play games of politics and power. If I wanted it that badly, I'd be in the corporate world getting paid more than I make now, and I don't want to speak ill of those I do like or have no opinion on and try harder to not to the same for those I don't care for as much.

I say too many stupid things as it is, and the discipline of negotiating words and utilizing as much taciturnity as possible instead of taking the easy way out and talking trash. I am trying to be better than this.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

same as it ever was

Maybe one of the reasons we feel so powerless to change things is that we've never seen any change.

confederacy of dunces

Seriously GOP? Invite Trump to your debate and not this guy? Someone I'd actually consider voting for considering that he has experience running a state and actually kind of makes sense? End the drug war, get the hell out of Afghanistan and everywhere else, and not hassle people about their lifestyle choices? Yes please.

I mean, it's not surprising, but dammit, I feel like I waste my vote every four years, I don't want to pick between the lesser of two evils, and I'd at least like to see it get interesting.

Monday, June 13, 2011


A return to sun, a quickly flowing day for a change. I keep on going, doing my best, praying for grace, trying to channel my inner Kafka, to make catharsis and artistry in the face of absurdity, banality of small evils. There are two kinds of evil people: the kind that go out and kill and maim for kicks, and the more common other, who seem like decent and sometimes God-fearing folk who aren't so much outwardly mean, but have mastered the art of destroying others in a socially acceptable way. In wartime, the former butcher in the killing fields, and the latter would faint at the sight of blood but have no qualms on informing on their neighbors for the good of maintaining the social order.

So what did you do this weekend? and it takes me a second to remember... my brain sometimes feels so shot

live music

pinball wizardry of Medieval Madness

I've never played pinball before, but Justin, fellow lover of God, literal fire-breather and drummer extraordinaire, initiated me and we ended up talking to a Chicago hipster who played the Twilight Zone machine next to ours. He told us that when he goes to bars, he doesn't know how to talk to girls and just plays pinball.

I pulled muscles in my quads before the game and felt prematurely decrepit, limping and holding an icepack, only able to bat and catch, thankful for pinch-runners and tiger balm. I missed Bela Fleck to pass out on the couch for two hours, waking up to walk down the street where the arts fest was going on and the Bright Young Things were out in full force. It bothers me to not be able to move, and the soreness ebbed away.

Sunday morning is always a miracle, how my voice holds up, and I don't screw up too badly, and somehow God moves our souls like so many feathers caught by wind. I ended up getting lunch with two couples and their kids, before going to be introverted at the Museum of Divine Statues, which will probably merit a stop on the Great Cleveland Tour that I give my out-of-towners when they come through.

Can't wait to go and make art and de-stress. It's been a long day and this is only the beginning.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

a quickening and movement...

I actually made an effort to be social and went down the street to see a band comprised of a former classmate, her husband, and a former church bandmate from my Kent days. While it's not the kind of thing I normally listen to they were really good and to see them in this element, watching the chattering at the bar cease when they started to harmonize and the sound began to build...

How does one catch up on five years with acquaintances? They're mostly married and ask if I'm seeing anyone and why that hasn't worked out. I say no it never did work out (and don't add that I doubt it will) and talk about everything else, refugees and getting arrested, making ceramics and college radio. Everything just changed so completely since those days.

My sister is with me and knows none of these people. She asks if I can take her home and I understand, because she's got her own kind of pain she's struggling through, not wanting anything to do with God and having no good friends to fall back on, standing there as the rest of us talk about geeky musicianship, mosh pits, youth crews, and punk bands whose heyday was before her time. It's been at least five years since my last mosh pit, where I flew backwards into a puddle of PBR and rode home on the Rapid smelling like a distillery.

I'd never heard of David Dondero, the headliner, but everyone else seemed to. (I never did get around to delving into folk-punk, ironic given my musical DNA containing both), but his songs hit me in a strange way, this acoustic guitar and sparse evoking lyrics painting pictures of places I've never been, minor chords, the voice speaking of years I haven't experienced, as I laugh at kiss-off songs about employers and the ache taps into what I've been feeling, makes me want to write what I feel, so now I'm sitting at the 24 hour coffeeshop, deserted due to curfew and everyone my age drinking alcohol instead of tea, starting another novel beginning wondering if I'll ever get to an ending. I always end at three pages, sputtering out into fragments and nothingness.

I just need my brain to slow down sometimes because it never seems to stop. I can't bring myself to drink it away, my prayers are a jumble that I'm glad that God can decipher, and everything will happen the way it does, longing in the meantime for wisdom to go with the knowledge, and love that isn't just being nice to the people who are nice to me or the ones I enjoy, but love for the ones I can't stand.

I try not to be anxious, I try to de-tense, because it's nights like these that become dark nights of the soul by default, walking alone back to my car in the darkness glancing behind me, nearly running red lights because it's red light district hour and I get jumpy when I see so many people in the street on that corner, wishing that I could make everything ok when I see so much hurt around me deeper than my own, trying not to think about back-stabbing wannabe overlords, continual dreams deferred, or my lack of inspiration, knowing that sleep is needed and elusive. I always get like this when I don't sleep.

Friday, June 10, 2011


The parking lot behind me and the abandoned house on the side of me are overgrown with honeysuckle and spearmint that comes up through the ground and squeezes through the slats in the fence. The resulting fragrance of so much scent in a small place is incredible. I picked my first sugar snap peas off the vine last night.

I met up with one of my near and dears in Chinatown after work and we walked around Chinatown catching up on the crazy last couple weeks. We couldn't bear to be in air conditioning after a day of work and the sun was finally benevolent. I want to walk around down there again with a camera and shoot photos of gardens full of bok choy, peonies, and green beans tendrilling around fence wires, industrial buildings, and churches that have seen better days like I did last year when me and the partner in crime were trying to keep it legal.

I've been trying to walk more, realizing that last year I drove when I could have walked or ridden my bike and when I got home I walked up to church to pick music and over to a friend's house around the corner because I'm letting out their puppy while she's gone. They brought the puppy back from Africa with them and it's part basenji and something else (maybe jackal?) and looks like portayals of Anubis in Egyptian tombs. On looking up wild dogs, we came across the New Guinea Singing Dog, which sounds freaky as anything and the cats gave us strange conspiratory looks from the windowsill.

And so tonight I'll be picking up my little sis, who's now carless and boyfriendless, and attempt to be a better older sibling than I've been in the past. I've never really been in her position either way (having not had or lost either at her age) but hopefully I can be there for her somehow...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I wanna be your Thurston Moore

This is pretty awesome.

My dad always used to call them "Sonic Old" because they were closer to his age than mine.

I was never a fan of Kim Gordon's songs nearly as much as Thurston's but I had a cassette tape with mostly cuts from my roommate's copies "Goo," "Sister," and "Dirty," that I rocked out to when shelving books as an undergrad.

Honestly, I prefer the band's more radio friendly moments, which kills any pretensions of true fandom on the part of yours truly, but I have seen them live, having cut class to do so, feeling like one of those people who want to hear the hits. Enough with the arty noise where's Dirty Boots?

In Papa We Trust

Considering that we're still at war in Afghanistan and Libya, still occupying Iraq, waging "covert" battles in Yemen and predator-droning Mexico and Pakistan, I think that a certain recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize should get stripped of it just like Milli Vanilli last their Grammy. Just sayin'.

Anyways, on the subject of awards, I've now instituted the unofficial "Ernie" named after a certain suicidal manly man of manliness hunter/author, for dudes with way too much testosterone and so little gray matter that they end of being more or less suicidal.

I can't think of anyone better for this than a certain al-Sayed al-Essawy of Egypt, who claims to have jumped from ten-story buildings, is training kids to be super-warriors who can pull cars with their teeth, and has a fighting style known as the "Life or Death," which he will be using to fight a lion.

El-Sayed El-Essawy 1

Not only that, he's choosing to do so with the epic backdrop of the pyramids, and has more shows planned in the works:

"I have a whole series of shows planned in my head. I will pull an airplane with my teeth, and I will pull an airplane with my hair. I will also be run over by an airplane. In between each of these acts, there will be lion battles."

Someone get this guy a slot on Pay-Per-View.

Needless to say, the Egyptian government, having a lot of other things going on right now with a big revolution and all, isn't really taking him seriously.

Considering that this guy considers kicking dogs a vital part of his training, I pity his significant other, if he has one.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

best of the blotter: guns, baby raccoons, and broken things

Some people never learn. While making a traffic stop at 9:02 p.m. June 1 at the North Royalton Speedway station, a cop observed a man walk past his patrol car carrying a six-pack. The man got into the driver’s side of a white Mercury displaying yellow OVI tags. The driver, who is under suspension with limited privileges, stated he was on his way home from an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and stopped to get gas, and apparently some beer. The man was issued a citation for driving under an OVI suspension and will appear in court.

USING WEAPONS WHILE INTOXICATED-AGGRAVATED MENACING, KENNETH AVENUE: A Gerald Avenue man, 29, was arrested June 4 after he allegedly used a shotgun to threaten party-goers on Kenneth.

It happened at about 10:45 p.m. The man had crashed the party. He reportedly was belligerent.

A friend of the party’s host asked the man to leave but he refused. Three others then escorted the man toward West 60th Street.

The man started throwing beer cans at the victims. He then entered his house and grabbed a shotgun.

The man returned to the party with the weapon. He repeatedly tried to cock the shotgun but failed each time. Someone called police.

Police found the intoxicated man walking in the street. They found his weapon leaning against a tree in front of a Kenneth house. Shells had been placed backwards in the shotgun.

GENERAL ASSISTANCE, WILSON MILLS ROAD: On June 2, a resident made a complaint of a tow motor making too much noise at Home Depot.

Management was advised of the complaint.

ANIMALS, WILSON MILLS ROAD: On June 1, a rescue squad was called for a report that a baby raccoon scratched a couple of children.

Police said the children went into the woods, brought out the baby raccoon and began to play with it.

The squad was canceled and no scratches were found on the children. The juveniles were released to their parents.

FIGHT, HEALTHWAY DRIVE: A man arrived at the Avon Emergency Room on June 2 claiming he was involved in a shooting in Cleveland. The patient said he was involved in a physical altercation, where he was shot at but not hit. The injury to his arm, he reported, was from being hit by a log during the fight.

MISCHIEF, CHILLICOTHE ROAD: Someone removed letters from a sign at Riverview Church and rearranged other letters June 3 to spell “In yo face Lord.”
Church employees requested extra patrols.

Employees at China Express told police on May 30 that a man tried to enter the restaurant through the back before getting away with a box of chopsticks.

A Hilliard Boulevard resident reported seeing an asteroid at about 6 a.m. Wednesday. The resident told police that there was a flash, followed by a loud explosion. Responding fficers didn’t find any asteroids, crashed UFOs or alien life forms in the area.

THEFT, MAIN STREET: A store employee at the All Matters Gallery reported June 2 that a man wearing a scarf, gray sweatpants, and a shirt described as a “wife beater” took three crystals valued at $77 and placed them in his pocket, then attempted to leave the store.

When the employee confronted him outside, he gave the crystals back and said he was unsure where he was supposed to pay for them. Police took the description of the suspect and assembled a photo lineup of suspects, resulting in a warrant being issued for a man, 44, who is believed to still be living in the area.

Oh, Avon Lake!

Dangerous maneuvers

Police received multiple reports of a white male, believed to be a teen, walking in the middle of the roadway on Walker Road near the American Legion Hall March 21. Police made a report for juvenile court.

Some teens in a Pontiac LeMans were seen throwing something at a road sign on Long Road as they were heading towards Stoney Ridge around 3:45 p.m. on June 1.

Police found the remnants of what looked to be a ceramic art project near the sign.

heat coming down

It was this kind of weather when I came downtown four years ago for a job interview, sweltering on a Prospect Avenue street corner waiting for the 35 in stockings and my sister's suit jacket hoping that this would be worth it. It was, because I'm still gainfully employed and finding that despite the occasional absurdity, that I like what I do, and I keep learning to do more. I feared that my brain would atrophy upon entering the world of work, that I'd be surrounded by vapid discourse waiting desperately to go home, but I'm so thankful I was wrong.

It isn't so bad, really, even the hot sun is so welcoming after such a blast of winter and weeks of rain. Drinking a mango smoothie under the arches in the shadow of a cathedral, feeling just for a moment far away from brutalist architecture and sun bearing down on concrete. There is still beauty to be found here, it's just that one has to look.

Monday, June 6, 2011

you are not what you own...

"So are you into the postmodern thing at all?"
"Ummm... how?"
"Well you seem to wear a lot of black..."
"It does go with everything..."

I can't help but be amused at the commentary on the wardrobe of yours truly, stumbling ten years late into some semblance of personal style where the basic black seems to work well as a common denominator and is less prone to being permanently ruined by spilled drinks or other unforeseen incidents. I'm a bit too dogmatic on certain matters to be postmodern about anything, but the color suits my melancholic tendencies well.

It's been so hot that I've been wearing the same skirts over and over and figured it was time to do the annual I-need-something-for-work shopping thing. I've never been into shopping for clothing, as books and music and now plants are infinitely more interesting, though I'm less fashionally challenged than I once was, but usually end up grabbing a shirt or two at Target or a thrift store or something, not really having to avoid the mall since I don't live near one.

So it feels surreal to walk through the air-conditioned corridors not surrounded by fellow chicas, aware of marketing and vapid pulsing music, finding that I'm in a strange in-between stage, being too old for the tastes of the Bright Young Things and not wanting to head into MiddleAgedSuburbanCareerWoman territory either, as neither mid-thigh nor floor-length in ruffles or loud flower prints are me, neither are bright colors, superfluous ruffles and accents.

And so I end up not getting anything and gawking at gorgeous photos and art tomes at Half Price books and the vinyl bins the Record Exchange instead, amused by the hipsters are smoking cigars in the parking lot next to a brand new Toyota Corolla.

Back at the casa, I reheat leftover pasta, pull weeds, and fall asleep on the couch with the windows open to catch the lake breezes which meld with the medieval chants on the stereo beautifully.

stairway to Cleveland

So I spent last night being a dirty hippie in my front yard, hanging out at my favorite record store, and eating popsicles in a Lakewood living room instead of taking in the dulcet sounds of either Great White or Jefferson Starship with an orchestra of teenagers, which I'm assuming is the only reason why it would sell any tickets at all, unless there's some subset of people that I don't know who really like "We Built This City."

Also, I had no idea this song existed. I find the whole anti-establishment stance amusing given that it exemplifies boomerism at its finest, starting out with some good tuneage and fading into complacency and cocaine selling out while espousing Woodstock Platitudes with ever-worsening coiffurage.

Also I had no idea this song existed. One has to ask, does the stairway go up or down?

looking out my front door

Sunday, June 5, 2011


Thanks to bottled water and sunscreen, the game was fun, overgrown field and blistering heat notwithstanding, and those vestiges of non-competitive athletic competence showed themselves in the form of four singles, after which I ate citrus for dinner and bought still more plants for the front yard, walking the dog in the cool of the day, amused by the freedom rocker with the red bandanna drinking beer and listening to Foreigner on the front porch with the volume turned up so high that instead of basslines one only hears a blown subwoofer.

But the yard looks lovely, with the watercolor painting look of the coleus and purple and silver-green spiderworts, succulents like tiny outer space creatures, everything spilling out of pots by the doors and on the side of the house, a little bit of jungle in the rust belt. When the clematis, zinnia, poppies, and nasturtiums bloom (one can only hope), and the morning glories scale the fence, it will be hard for me to stay inside.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

cruel suns

Drinking iced tea, chagrined at the thought of my favorite space to write and drink caffeine being up for lease, seeking refuge from the humidity, listening to people try to fall in love, not feeling like playing even slacker renditions of sports on days like this when the thought of lemonade on the front porch not yet covered with the shade of climbing vines, or a shady tree by lake rocks seems like an infinitely better option.

Ambition to create defeated by exhaustion, coming home from family gatherings to pass out on the couch, waking up to humid wind and sound of diesel engines, wanting to lay there indefinitely because I know I will not be able to lift this heaviness from my eyes as I wish it would rain.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

to the lonely sea and the sky

The chemistry of color turned out beautiful and went awry, the millefiori textures of mint green, teal, and orange-red flaked off the clay into shards of intricate beauty. I saved them because I want to use that color scheme again for something.

We took a walk afterwards down by the water. I love the way it feels like a beach town, with the tattered carnival decor, the condos on the shore, the old doubles with pinwheels and petunias and chipped plaster saints in the flower beds. She used to work down there at an Irish pub with a stone patio, bocce ball courts, and
lovely metalwork all around.

She knows most of the neighbors and we stopped often, having conversations about hookers in the alleys, graffiti writers and art we've been loving, and hostas in our gardens, as the neighbor's radio played "Kashmir," the clematis coiled around trellises and along stone walls next to lush ferns and plants that look so otherworldly green and tropical one wonders how they grow in this land of rust and snow.

(these photos are stolen from a housing thread and look like they were taken in the fall and do not do this justice)

The red sun dropped further in the sky toward the waiting lake. If I could ever live down here in an old shotgun house with a scrap metal frame to grow grapes on I would, to be able to sit out on a porch and see the water, drink tea and scrawl in notebooks would be a dream come true.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

if I get to choose I'll take something real...

Processing my frustration through conversation and creation, sculpting clay, scrawling verse and prayer, ripping out crabgrass in the garden, supplanting it with tropical-looking hostas and things that smell lemony, and maybe my standoffishness towards certain individuals has no small part to do with what they do.

I'm out of here in an hour to cook dinner for some friends and their kids, create, be in the sun, drive home listening to some good tunes and just to be gone for a little bit. I don't take many vacations, sometimes an early exit is good enough.

hard to be soft, tough to be tender...

I cannot help that I don't buy into these systems, I can't help that I'm alive while everyone else is too busy jostling each other and faking their faces, because I love beauty and God and people and the smile is mostly true and the laughter genuine.

If I spent all my time trying to please people I'd go crazy because I'm either too negative or too happy or too Madonna/whore or whatever, everyone wants you to be something else, assumes one thing or another. I can be more circumspect maybe, but I won't change who I am, if past life is any indication, couldn't if I tried.

I try to live out this whole quiet life, try to live out what I believe and it's hard as anything to treat others the way one wants to be treated when they don't do that, to love enemies, to pray for those who make your life frustrating. Trusting in something that still seems so abstract is hard for me, my faith existing and yet so fragile and small.

It's not that I have any reason to doubt, especially after everything else that's happened. I sometimes wonder if the reason that people get all crazy and fundamentalist is that it's easier to hide behind structures and rules than actually deal with the interior of one's soul in relation to God and others.

I tremble
They're going to eat me alive
If I stumble
They're going to eat me alive

Can you hear my heart beating like a hammer?
Beating like a hammer?
Help, I'm alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Hard to be soft
Tough to be tender

Come take my pulse, the pace is on a runaway train
Help, I'm alive, my heart keeps beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer

If you're still alive
My regrets are few
If my life is mine
What shouldn't I do?
I get wherever I'm going
I get whatever I need
While my blood's still flowing
And my heart still beats . . .
Beating like a hammer
Beating like a hammer