Kathryn Gahl

Archive for February, 2012|Monthly archive page

Mind in the Spine

In Healthcare, Weighing In on February 28, 2012 at 3:45 am

When was the last time I found my mind in the spine? Or perhaps I should ask : when was the last time I placed my  mind in the spine. I don’t do it, I admit, until I go to  yoga. There, I challenge myself to find my mind. At the beginning of class, I have no mind at all to connect mind with behind.

Until the instructor Bruce Van Dyke begins his intonation. He has the voice of a sleepy baritone: Put your mind in the spine. Breathe. Let the body soften. Release. Renew. Refresh. Magical bones that cradle my spinal cord do as instructed. They open and realign. They dance with muscles that bend and stretch and twist.I am a cat being lazy in the universe. I am a baby without cares. I roll and release. I find peace.

Breathe, Mr. Van Dyke says. Feel that vital force enter you. I breathe. I bend. Pretty soon my head is lower than my heart. Yoga calls it the pose of a child; it is truly the fetal position, a water lily floating in warm water. Feel the body soften, Mr. Van Dyke says. I feel. My body succumbs. I yield. Pretty soon I stretch farther, I hold longer. My body lightens and if this keeps up, I am sure I shall fly, weightless and exuberant.

Mr. Van Dyke demonstrates more movements. He moves like a cobra. He moves like a swan. Pretty soon, he is a standing tree, perfectly balanced. He raises his arms, they are the limbs of his tree. When a good wind comes along, he will fly.

I move like a cobra. I move like a swan. My head is lower than my heart. The vital force courses through my blood vessels. I am lightheaded and giddy. And I think, I too, shall fly.


Trains, How I Loved You

In Kathryn, Postcard Poem on February 27, 2012 at 3:06 am

I cross those tracks on
the old gravel road
imagining box cars of hobos
passenger cars carrying faces of party dolls
kids with suckers
grandmothers with train cases
salesmen, students, and soldiers.

The headstrong engine tugs and pulls
picking up steam
until I am the caboose
growing smaller down the long track

a dot
on the horizon of a lifetime

-by Kathryn Gahl


In Healthcare, Short Stories on February 25, 2012 at 6:40 pm

Many thanks to everyone at the Wisconsin Academy Review for sponsoring a statewide fiction contest. My story MILES recently placed third. The story  appears in WISCONSIN PEOPLE & IDEAS, Winter 2012. It is available on newstands now and also on-line. http://www.wisconsinacademy.org/magazine/miles


In Postcard Poem on February 24, 2012 at 6:31 pm

new hand-breaded chicken
tenders and wrappers
barbecued pork melt
cheesy popcorn
Chicago-style hot dogs
and caramel chew ice cream

push and slam in the mosh pit
while those free-flowing cousins
named glucose fructose and sucrose
crowd-surf and flail

causing riot police to be called in

to quell yet another
disturbance of
gastroesophageal reflux

-PostCardPoem by Kathryn Gahl

Photo by Owen Zylstra

Thoughts On A Country Walk

In Kathryn, Postcard Poem on February 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm

and me having the mind
that I have

thought you said
what I wanted to hear

thought you thought
what I thought

about philosophy
and cognitive psychology

you being cognizant
of my mind

and me of yours
having a mind of its own

A Measure of Hip Sophistication

In Kathryn, Postcard Poem on February 22, 2012 at 6:05 pm

the girl with the single-strap
black dress tight in the right
places wears gold loops and sky-high heels
black and backless ones, open-toed, strapless

when she approaches the dance floor
tottering toward a measure of taking him

for he is tall and thin and glad
a reed in a hot clarinet
a rendezvous, his body
catching the downbeat in a flirtation break

if only she could master the contra body
(a rumba dip similar to Tango)

if only her peek-a-boo bosom
could rollout-to-attack

the importance of form dawning
on her pogo-stick frame
if only she’d kick off those
as they say high-heeled sneakers
and let her feet find the beat.

Photo by Owen Zylstra

Oh, My Quaking Ash

In Kathryn, Weighing In on February 21, 2012 at 6:09 pm

After many of you heard about how the WRX painted the ash tree (properly called the quaking ash) royal blue, comments poured in–OMG, I can see you running to catch that car. Lucky you didn’t get hit crossing the road. Lucky it didn’t take off the car door. Glad you weren’t hurt. Glad you’re okay. But a recurring remark was this: Did you REALLY set the brake? Well, dear reader, the answer is yes. And to give you the back-story, that brake actually held for two minutes and 32 seconds, approximately. That’s how long it took to cross the road the first time to the blue (why is everything blue) country mailbox, open the door of said mailbox, pull out a lovely package that held copies of my latest publication, and then looked up to see a car barreling out of Two Rivers, toward me. I jumped back next to the mailbox to let the speed demon pass and out of the corner of my eye, I spied the blessed blue sportster with front scoop and rear spoiler roll backward down the gravel drive.

My own wheels kicked into gear and I crossed that bloody road, zero to sixty in six seconds. Or something like that. It’s a wonder I wasn’t hit.

When the tow truck driver came, he verified the brake was set. He then drove the car to make sure it didn’t need an alignment. (It did not.) Then, he parked the car and set the parking brake, noting and I quote, “That parking brake needs adjusting–she’s not grabbing . . . you had ‘er in place and she doesn’t grab ’till you crank her all the way.” (I ask you, why is it always a “she”?)

Anyway. The repair shop verified and again I quote, “The parking brake needs a cable-adjustment. It’s lost its leverage.”  For the layman (why is it always a layman and not a laywoman, oh yes, I get that), be advised that while rotor maintenance is a routine procedure in all vehicles, Subaru cars tend to require this much more often, sometimes every 15,000 miles. The rotor deterioration causes failed vehicle inspections, and they sometimes need full replacement. In some cases, the rotors are too damaged to easily remove. Further complications to the emergency brake may result directly from brake rotor maintenance. Any bobblehead can google this. If you drive an automatic, be grateful. If you drive a stick, turn off the car and place it in gear when you park it, so you won’t  rely on an emergency parking brake. Because if you do, you just might have an emergency.

How The WRX Got Its Blue

In Kathryn, Postcard Poem on February 19, 2012 at 11:27 pm

I set the parking brake, crossed to get the mail

Then turned at a faint wail to witness the parking brake fail:

The car backward sailed until the aspen it nailed.

When husband came home, I felt like I was in jail

Though he said, don’t rail–we still have each other to hail.

Researchers Report

In Healthcare, Postcard Poem on February 18, 2012 at 9:11 pm

Researchers report

that a man can detect

the smell of tears.

A chemical in tears

causes levels of testosterone

to drop.

There you have it.

Please cry responsibly.




Friday’s Mango

In Kathryn, Postcard Poem on February 17, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Friday’s mango from the store                                                                                                                                                                                                  is ready on Wednesday                                                                                                                                                                                                             and Tuesday’s tomato takes Sunday                                                                                                                                                                                    each day of the week ripening                                                                                                                                                                                                like a relationship, tricky.

miss a day and                                                                                                                                                                                                                            the avocado goes soft                                                                                                                                                                                                                      limes dry, lettuce curls into brown

while the relationship hungers                                                                                                                                                                                                   for freshness                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       a splash of ginger                                                                                                                                                                                                                           with a side of insight