Friday, October 4, 2013

Saga of the Apartment Dweller

         RENT.Too much. Quiet. Too little. Freedom from serious investment, no name other than home. #htspoetweet
The recent tweet, above, inspired the following poem.


Smell of others’ ethnic cooking.
Sound of snoring through thin walls
and music not at all my choosing.
Late and early—banging doors.

Windows like a guillotine.
Stairs, too many. Oh, my thighs!
Rent, too much, but less than mortgage.
Quiet, too little.  Still,  it’s home.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Well, it's October and although the topic for the month is "trees" I can't fault our socially conscious Heights-ers for focusing on political themes instead.  This tweet came in and deserves a response.

#htspoetweet So many people are not working but have jobs. US suffers #CongressionalShutdown while elites play games.  

Lament of the Government Worker

Some of us are called to service
working for our nation’s purpose.
Our individual self-worth is
satisfied through social justice. 

Our government was founded
on the rights of opportunity.
Democracy is grounded
on the principle of liberty. 

I ask you now; how free am I
if, as I serve the public realm,
my government declines my pay
while Congress refuses to man the helm?

Tweet me your thoughts #htspoetweet on this or trees or any aspect of life in the Heights. 
Your friendly neighborhood Poet Laureate, Kathleen Cerveny

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sweet Suite Expansion

First, many thanks to the lovely audience that attended my reading last Monday at the Coventry Library.  I shared the Poetweet Project with the assembled throng and have gotten several tweets as a result.  The topic for September is For Renters Only and this
provocative tweet:

Renter friend stole room from vacant apt. adjoining his, broke through wall into bedroom, sealed up door: Scot free. #htspoetweet

inspired the following - not exactly a poem, more like flash fiction.  And if it gives you a chuckle, that's cool.

Out of the Nutshell: A Minor Drama in Three Scenes

“I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams”. Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii

He peered in at the dismal one room apartment, shrugged and said, “OK. I’ll take it.” The building was almost empty; only two other tenants in the ten-suite building which slumped like a fallen soufflĂ© on the corner of Here and Nowhere. Although they came with the high ceilings and crown moldings of a bygone age of grace, none of the apartments were large; mostly one bedroom, with decades of paint slapped over wallpaper, encasing bobby pins, nails and the odd insect. Still, they were more than he could afford. This one sad room would have to do. Unfortunately, it faced east. Even a blanket over the window didn’t block the sun as he tried to fall sleep after coming home from his night job sweeping ashes at the animal crematorium.

 Weeks, months, a year passed with no new tenants, no sign of the landlord or even a maintenance crew. The building was as quiet as the crematorium after the burners shut down.  Night after night in his restless sun-soaked sleep, a voice whispered and wheedled with growing insistence: “There’s no one in the apartment next door, and just a thin wall between you and a real bedroom – one that faces west.”

 Weeks, months, a year passed. He slept quite soundly, now.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Coming Home

This poem was inspired by a tweet from a Cleveland Heights neighbor about her experience driving home after a vacation.  Here's her tweet:

Vacation to MI where I was born & raised. My comfort is road signs driving home "East Cleveland" to home, home is Cleveland!!

and here's my poem:

The Sign Says, “EAST to CLEVELAND:” I Read “HOME” 

You flee the routine; seeking
change, adventure.  Finding these
you wish, perhaps, for some magic
that will let you stay – release you
permanently from the  drudgery
of every day events – give you leave
to abdicate the dull predictability of home. 

But you know well that moment
when the glow tips over into longing.
No matter what awaits; piles of laundry,
stuffy house, sorting through the mountain
of unwanted mail - your eyes blink past
each green emblazoned sign, watching
only for the one announcing “home.”

There's still time to tweet me thoughts on vacation or stay-cation - the topics for August.  #htspoetweet
Or if you don't tweet, leave a comment below and I can work from that.

Check out my facebook page

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bluestone (Cleveland) Heights

At the Cedar Fairmount Street Fair this weekend, there was a terrific and exclusive tour of Bluestone Heights - the name that the Heights is known by, by geologists.  We had the chance to step into the gulch behind the lovely Tudor Deming House and learn about the geologic history of this area, built on Berea Sandstone, Euclid Bluestone and Cleveland Shale.   Here's a poem that was inspired by (some of) what I learned.

Bluestone Heights 

In the Late Devonian
this place that I call home
lay at zero latitude; Equator.
Before the vast tectonic plates
settled in their current place,
my city’s global longitude
was at the locus of Peru.   

Our Heights were once submerged below
an intercoastal sea. Its depths,
a muck and silted dead zone, left
no ancient fossil trace.  Instead,
it formed the hard-pressed, layered bed
of Euclid Bluestone, Cleveland shale
that sandwiches our neighborhood.  

This rock and shale beneath our feet,
was mined for sidewalks; and above,
capped the crenelated parapets  
of all the old apartment houses
up Cedar Hill and down my street.

Tweet me your thoughts about our local geology, what you are doing on vacation or anything about life in Cleveland Heights #htspoetweet - or leave a comment after this poem.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

What's NOT Cool About Habitat Loss

I've been away on vacation most of July, hence the paucity of posts.  But this one was inspired by a photo and story that HeightsArts' new Executive Director Rachel Bernstein shared when I returned.  And with the topic for July being 'stayin' cool', her experience prompted this negative take on that theme.  It's an experience we have all had here in the Heights - all too frequently in the recent past - but seen through the eyes of our 'best friend.'


For thirty seconds, he just stared;
confusion overpowering instinct. 

“WHAT!”       “WHAT!?” 

raced through his brain.
And then the barking started. 

Even from the upstairs window
he knew the backyard enemy was big. 

“BIG!”            “WHAT!? 

Bigger than the one who lives
next door and smells like meows.
Bigger than the one across the way
who’s always chasing lawn rats. 

“I would catch them if I could get
out alone. But …WHAT!?” 

From the square of green behind
the white frame house, the deer
looks up, at the familiar sound.
Send me your tweets to #htspoetweet or leave a comment below.  Comments/tweets on the July theme, stayin' cool or the August theme vacation or stay-cation, are welcome.  I'll keep making poems as long as you keep inspiring  me.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Pool Poem, Park Poem

My thanks to the staff and students of LakeErieInk for tweeting me inspirations for the following poems on our June topic of Parks and Recreation. 

Cumberland Pool 

The blue glass of the pool,
lane lines wavering below;
one deep breath— and leap!
Then kick, scoop, breathe,
kick, scoop, breathe, kick … 

Only me, only the water
dissolving me into summer.

Simple Pleasures 
I wonder—with each city park
now crowded with construction;
slides and swings and wooden
jungle gyms; fortresses, like
manufactured villages
for summertime amusement—
do children play the games
we used to revel in, on lawns,
in parks, those long and endless
afternoons of liberation in the sun?
Hide and Seek. Mother May I?
Crack the Whip and Statues; games
that need no more than friends. 
The Peace Park down on Coventry
has its entertainment complex;
beams of weathered timber, ropes
for climbing, chutes for sliding, perches
for the lookout, cubby-holes for hiding. 
Yet, down its gently sloping hill
roll a giggled gaggle—free of all
but self-directed motion, self-induced
emotion; tumbling dervishes
of mesmerized emancipation.

Tweet me your thoughts #htspoetweet on the July topic, "Stayin' Cool."  Don't Tweet? No problem.  Enter your inspirational thoughts in the comments section below and I'll  get them that way.  And come back soon!