Hells Bells

Hells Bells
Heart of the Heart of the Country
February 01
Book editor, parent, MFA in poetry from a land far, far, away--and a long, long time ago . . . I'm not a psychologist, but I play one on TV.


NOVEMBER 27, 2014 1:25PM

This Year, Thankful for My Ass (repost)

Yesterday I was standing on a kitchen counter, scraping 30 years of accumulated grease off the top of a kitchen cabinet in a rental condo I'm remodeling, and I fell. I'd forgotten that the ancient trash compacter supporting one side of the countertop had been removed and nothing was undern

Read full post »


   That part of the country is, within itself,

         as unpoetical as any spot of the earth;

            but seeing it .  . . aroused feelings in mRead full post »

MAY 9, 2014 11:54AM

A Mother's Legacy

Last Sunday, my son and daughter took me to brunch for Mother’s Day. This early date was at my daughter’s suggestion . . . she’s a server at a restaurant and would be working on official Mother’s Day, she hoped. Great day for tips, too good to pass… Read full post »

OCTOBER 9, 2013 2:14PM

John Boehner: The Musical


Last night, I was boring some people with an idea I’ve been kicking around for a while, and someone suggested I need to get it on the record before someone ELSE  nabs it. I doubt sincerely that laying it out here will in any way ensure that I get/… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 6, 2013 1:17PM

Squirrel Suicide Season Redux


  he's cute, but he's a rat


It's that time of year again. The time squirrels become so excited and confused by their nut gathering and burying and digging up and re-burying that they run out into the street, double back to the sidewalk, and then change their tiny minds a… Read full post »

If you would like to read the blog that precedes this one, you can find it here.


THE JOURNALS MY MOTHER LEFT, all four banker's boxes of them, spanned the years 1968 to 2006, the year she died. I'd been afraid to read them, so I didn't.


Read full post »

JULY 29, 2013 12:36PM

Finding Betty Dead



Vera Lehndorff (German, b.1939)

Open Front Door, 1977


WHEN SOMEONE DIES, you can really tell they’re dead. Whatever it was that makes the person human is just gone. Instead of a person, they’re like a leaf or stick instead. I was the one… Read full post »

MAY 27, 2013 1:26PM

The Poet on Spring



This year, like all the last,

the usual tulips appear--

blown crocuses repeat the colors,

drably past their prime.

                           Read full post »

FEBRUARY 22, 2013 10:32AM

Blogging Again on OS? Open Call

Not so long ago, I read Ben Sen's eloquent post on blogging again on Open Salon. He gave us a capsule overview of his time here, and I wound up thinking about my own.

I've been lurking here lately, commenting and rating occasionally--just as I'd done before I first pushed the publish button… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 20, 2011 11:53AM

Mom Always Liked You Best


 MY BROTHER AND I, ages 8 and 11, were shocked when our parents sat us down in the living room to let us know we had an older half-sister. And what's more, that she would be coming to visit us in our suburban tri-level home, smack dab in the middle… Read full post »

AUGUST 8, 2011 2:01PM

First Blog, Fernsy OC


How I Became a Poet 

Originally posted February 26, 2009

Thanks in advance for reading. Extra points if you can tell who the Great Poet is.

The auditorium on the cold campus was full, but the Great Poet made us wait. When he finally made his entrance, he was wearing a black… Read full post »

APRIL 21, 2011 2:17PM

Dreaming of Tornadoes?


Outside my bedroom window, someone whispers, laughs.

The moon, slant-shadowed, skims across the floor.

Waking, I reach the telephone, before it is a dream. 


Next morning, a man traces tracks on his open palm

to show the places that were leveled.

Here, across the hRead full post »

MARCH 7, 2011 4:16PM

Not Dead Yet

Really, I'm not. It just seems that way. Read full post »
JANUARY 25, 2011 2:20PM

Paint, or Fatal Flaws



Summer, early morning, grass still wet
and webbed by spiders, I painted a house,
helping my brother lift the wooden ladder

off the truck, spill cool streams into cans.
White paint went on approximate and pure,
and as heat lines struggled off the truck,

the trees, galvanized aluminum g

Read full post »
JANUARY 1, 2011 11:03AM

The Wish: A Poem for New Year's Day


God's Well, the sign along the highway says,

and in these times I'm glad to hear it.


But what if the sign is a lie, put up

by someone only hopeful, merely whistling

in the dark? Or worse, if it directs us,

sign by larger sign--10 Miles to God'sRead full post »

DECEMBER 29, 2010 4:36PM

I Got a Dog, Dog, Dog


Here's a real empty nest syndrome move: I got a dog. Kids are pretty much out of the house, and I just really, really needed to have something to take care of and be responsible for.

Okay, I already have two cats, but they're CATS.

Rose is a 3-year-old rescue… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 11, 2010 2:03PM

About My Bipolar Daughter (Part 2)


Read Part 1 of this post.  

Jane's expenses are next to nothing--she lives in a one-room apartment on the college campus--but even so, I know she’ll run out of money by the middle of next month, and I wonder what will happen then.  Her father and I divorced many years/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
OCTOBER 11, 2010 2:02PM

About My Bipolar Daughter (Part 1)


"crow," by my daughter 

I feel I should apologize to the receptionist, get up from my chair in the waiting room and say, “I’m sorry for the way she spoke to you.  She’s bipolar. " Unmedicated bipolar, I think to myself.

She’s gone off on the receptionist… Read full post »

OCTOBER 8, 2010 12:26PM

Lines Written in Salina, Kansas (Poem)


Traveling west to east or east to west,
it doesn't matter, I might have guessed 

this recollection of opposite travel,
row upon row of trees that unravel 

in the same dull direction as road.
What to think of--nothing. I suppose 

the going matters, not the way to go.
The whisRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 30, 2010 8:27PM

Drive in the Country (Poem)


After rain, the windows silver--

sunset draws couples out to sit in chairs

on porches, to watch the road curving

before their houses

like a long knife.


A man waves to me from the flower beds

that edge his lawn--zinnias, marigolds.

What was it that he recognized,

orRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 28, 2010 12:50PM

Otis, the Flying Boxer Dog


Sometimes you take a picture that just says it all . . . that's rare in my case, so I have to share this one.  

This is Otis, my friend Randy's dog--a boxer, and therefore a goofball by nature. Boxers have their problems. They they don't live very long, basically… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 24, 2010 5:18PM

Squirrel Suicide Season


  he's cute, but he's a rat


It's that time of year again. The time squirrels become so excited and confused by their nut gathering and burying and digging up and re-burying that they run out into the street, double back to the sidewalk, and then change their tiny minds a… Read full post »

AUGUST 13, 2010 10:19AM

Short Fiction


Sitting across from him in the pickup,

she realized she was tired of him.

She decided he was stupid, really,

his grip on the gearshift, cruel. 



Day after day they fought,

and afterwards he drove the back roads

with his shotgun, watching the clouds roll in in

theRead full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 5, 2010 10:09AM

I Made . . . the Amazing Plaid Bomber Jacket


I sew. Or rather, I sewed. It's past tense these days because it's been taking all my energy to get my pants on the right way around in the morning and arrive at work on time.


When I was a teenager, all the girls sewed . . . it's… Read full post »


It's true.

After you've washed and conditioned your hair with Blago ("It's bleepin' golden"), you can download your very own Blagojevich ringtones.

On the "Off the Clock" blog at the Springfield Journal-Register, Brian Mackey has posted MP3 versions of the best of Rod Bl/… Read full post »