*Sandee Gertz is an author and award-winning poet from Western Pennsylvania whose work focuses on working class and blue-collar themes. Her book, The Pattern Maker’s Daughter, is available at Amazon and through Bottom Dog Press (www.smithdocs.net). Her book-length memoir, "Some Girls Have Auras of Bright Colors," (a quirky, coming of age story about growing up with a seizure disorder) is currently making the rounds of literary agents in New York City. She has a Masters of Fine Art (MFA) from Wilkes University’s Creative Writing Program and teaches English at Lincoln Technical College in East Nashville. She is currently working on a new novel, and occasionally "poem busks" in Printers Alley in Downtown, Nashville. She can be reached at: .
Sandee Gertz's Articles:
Nashville, TN – For Rent: I saw the photo of the little cottage house kitchen flashing at me from the screen of my Ipad. It had a warmth I could feel from its vintage 1947 age, but was renovated smartly with granite counters and white painted cabinets.
There was a window above the sink that looked out to a yard (always a rule for every house I’ve ever lived in) with streams of light shining in, and it was there I could see the tree. Thick, old, and jutting up grandly, ignoring the busy road with cars gliding by frequently, and casting shade on the “tear-down-turned modern house” that was going up next door.
Nashville, TN – Did you ever have the dream where you discover there are other rooms in your house that you knew nothing about? This month marks my third anniversary in Nashville, and I feel a bit like I’ve been living in those “other rooms” for three full years. They are foreign and yet increasingly familiar the longer I stay in the south.
They say Nashville is a “five-year town,” but that’s for songwriters and artists looking to sign a deal. Many musicians mark each year in Music City as a reflective milestone, marking the highs and lows, wins and losses, in a tough, and often unforgiving town. To be honest, I never thought Nashville would even be a six-month town. You see, I never expected to actually live here.
An Age-Related “Catalog Identity Crisis…”
Alley Poet’s Pen’s Musings…
Nashville, TN – Today is my birthday. It’s not the biggest one I’ve had. There have been a couple of those for sure, and each year I say “well that’s the last one I’ll make a big deal of.” What’s to celebrate about age, I ask?
But then each year as December 4th approaches, my inner child comes creeping out, and I feel once again like the little girl waking up in the lime green bedroom of the David Street house in Johnstown—wondering with great anticipation, what present my parents might have chosen to bestow on me that year.
Nashville, TN – Once, in another life, I found myself seated atop the rear of a convertible Corvette in a Veteran’s Day parade, cruising 5MPH down the streets of the township where I was an elected councilwoman. I’d been called up last minute (just that morning) by a fellow councilman colleague, as though I was to know of the tradition that existed each year.
There would be a program of festivities and a ceremony set up at the local park. As we waved and smiled at our neighbors and friends, I saw the councilman pull out two typed sheets of paper from the breast pocket of his suit. When I asked what it was, he said, “You know we’re making speeches.”
*One of an occasional series of profiles that Alley Poet likes to pen of local businesses and people who make Downtown Nashville unique…
Nashville, TN – They say that color and variety make a good neighborhood or city scape. Places where your eye has something stimulating to land on can invigorate a walk, or even change a person’s perspective. Most of you know I walk the Downtown Nashville city streets every day.
In spite of the bulldozing going on in Midtown and the subsequent “homogenizing” factor such overdevelopment brings, downtown (and I know, I know East Nashvillians, you’ve got a major indie factor!!) still seems to have its share of local flavor. One place that never disappoints is Karma Clothing on 3rd and Church.
But I had almost forgot it existed. I might have thought it had become old fashioned: a relic of a bygone era, or only done well in the movies, perhaps by the likes of George Clooney, who seems to be caught often by photographers with one eyelid clamped down tightly.
But then it happened to me. Three times. Well, probably more times than that, but many were just downcast lashes lost in memory; I’m talking three memorable times in my life. The first can’t count. (It was years ago and I was taken.) But in the past two years, I have twice had (dare I say a flirtation with?) the kind of wink that travels beyond the eye level and transforms somehow into a physical current—one of inexplicable (and downright distracting!) strength.
Alley Poet’s Pen: Providence in Franklin: “Turning the Tables on Greed and ‘Tuning Up’ the Power of Giving”
Sound like an ad in an online dating service? Or perhaps language that would be well-served for a non-profit organization?
The description certainly doesn’t display the typical characteristics of a company in an industry known more for greed, rather than generosity—one that includes another billion-dollar industry within itself to advocate for consumers and to protect them from being taken.
Nashville, TN – A tube of toothpaste. A New Testament mini-bible. A can of Old English Malt Liquor beer. That was all I found at the base of trees of the State Capitol lawn where a young man had been laying in the sun without a shirt on for two days in the Nashville heat.
A cardboard sign was propped up against his tennis shoes: “HUNGRY” was scrawled on it in capital letters—hastily it appeared—in fine point pen.
“You know when everything inside of you is weak…“So numb you don’t want to speak…”
Nashville, TN – “Never Too Late…” (For an MFA)
Many people wonder what it’s like to go back to school later in life to do something they were meant to do (or should have done) a long time ago. Some people dream of a long-forgotten talent being awakened, a paintbrush being lifted back up to a canvas, or delving into studies for an advanced degree in a field they’re passionate about. Thankfully, in 2010, I found out what this is like.
In my case, passion was about picking up a pen. Looking into a blank page without fear—or most often into a computer screen.
Nashville, TN – About two years ago, not long after I made the move to Nashville, a poet friend, and fellow alum of the Wilkes University MA/MFA Creative Writing Program, Kait, turned me on to a “poemer” in New York City. (Or more specifically: Bill Keys’s unique story and Facebook Page “Poems While You Wait.”)
First thing you have to know about Kait: she’s a free spirit and wears broad, impossibly large hats atop her long brown hair. She writes poems and plays and wears red lipstick, which if it’s not applied already, will be whipped out of her purse and slicked on just before a photo is taken.
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