Another poem

So, I just realized that apparently Marge Piercy speaks to me….Another of her poems is one of my Facebook profile quotes.  I’ll put it here in it’s entirety.  Again, I have a work colleague to thank for this one, and it continues to speak to me.


To Be Of Use


The people I love the best

jump into work head first

without dallying in the shallows

and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.

They seem to become natives of that element,

the black sleek heads of seals

bouncing like half-submerged balls.


I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,

who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,

who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,

who do what has to be done, again and again.


I want to be with people who submerge

in the task, who go into the fields to harvest

and work in a row and pass the bags along,

who are not parlor generals and field deserters

but move in a common rhythm

when the food must come in or the fire be put out.


The work of the world is common as mud.

Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.

But the thing worth doing well done

has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.

Greek amphoras for wine or oil,

Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums

but you know they were made to be used.

The pitcher cries for water to carry

and a person for work that is real.


–Marge Piercy



A poem

Despite knowing several poets personally, and even writing some (terrible) poetry myself, I’ve never been a big poetry reader.  Sometimes it speaks to me, though, and this poem is one of those that did.  And still does.   I first heard part of it from a colleague on Twitter.  I asked for the whole poem, and she obliged.  I could talk about what it means to me, and why I keep rereading it, but I won’t.  I’ll let it stand on its own.

Here it is:


The Low Road


What can they do

to you? Whatever they want.

They can set you up, they can

bust you, they can break

your fingers, they can

burn your brain with electricity,

blur you with drugs till you

can’t walk, can’t remember, they can

take your child, wall up

your lover.  They can do anything

you can’t stop them

from doing.  How can you stop

them? Alone, you can fight,

you can refuse, you can

take what revenge you can

but they roll over you.


But two people fighting

back to back can cut through

a mob, a snake-dancing file

can break a cordon, an army

can meet an army.


Two people can keep each other

sane, can give support, conviction,

love, massage, hope, sex.

Three people are a delegation,

a committee, a wedge.  With four

you can play bridge and start

an organization. With six

you can rent a whole house,

eat pie for dinner with no

seconds, and hold a fund raising party.

A dozen make a demonstration.

A hundred fill a hall.

A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;

ten thousand, power and your own paper;

a hundred thousand, your own media;

ten million, your own country.


It goes on one at a time,

it starts when you care

to act; it starts when you do

it again after they said no,

it starts when you say We

and know who you mean, and each

day you mean one more.


–Marge Piercy

Copyright 2006, Middlemarsh, Inc

Flood Clean-up

For those of you who haven’t heard, Nashville received nearly 14″ of rain over this past weekend.  This has caused *massive* flooding in Western and Middle Tennessee.  For details, see or follow Nashvillest on Twitter.  (eta: My house is fine.  Several friends have lost everything.  We’re still waiting on waters to recede to find out full damages)

If you have any suggestions for this list, please leave them in the comments, or let me know.  I’ll be editing this to add to it as I find more resources.

For those of us who are trying to clean up…here are some resources I found recently:

If you want to help with the clean up, you can register at Hands On Nashville ( to be notified of opportunities to help from the Mayor’s office.  You can also donate money to Hands On Nashville directly here

If you want to help financially, you can donate to the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee or to the Red Cross.  You can donate to the Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999 (a $10 charge will be added to your phone bill) or to the Nashville Red Cross specifically by calling 615-250-4300.

Vote For Barney

I don’t normally do this sort of thing in this space, but there are a few causes that are near and dear to my heart.  This happens to be one of them.


In August of 2008, my friend Colleen found out that her dog Otto needed emergency surgery to correct entropion (inversion of the eyelids) that had caused ulcerations in his eyes. She couldn’t afford the surgery, and turned to her friends on the internet to help. We all pitched in to help, and Otto got the surgery he needed!



My other friends Jared & Bethany have a wonderful dog named Cappy who has needed surgery on more than one occasion. Despite the expense, they have always had the surgeries done because he’s Cappy and they love him.

Recently, I learned about the Brown Dog Foundation, a wonderful organization whose mission is to “offer pet owners in temporary financial crisis an alternative to euthanasia when their pet faces a treatable but life-threatening condition or illness in order to restore quality of life for pet and owner.” Basically, this mission means that the Brown Dog Foundation helps pet owners around the country with vet bills (for prescriptions, surgeries, etc) that allow them to not have to surrender or euthanise their pets.

Barney practices his Top Dog pose.

Every year, Brown Dog Foundation runs a Top Dog and Cat competition,a 10-week fundraising campaign where candidates are vying for the title of Top Dog and Top Cat. The candidates, at the end of 10-weeks with the most “votes” win. Each “vote” is $1, and my dog Barney has been nominated as a Top Dog candidate. If you can find it in your heart (and, of course, your pocketbook), Barney and I would really appreciate your vote for him as Top Dog.  Simply visit our donation page at to make your secure donation.  We’re trying to raise $1,000 by June 12!

The Brown Dog Foundation is doing some really wonderful things, and I think they deserve our full support.