CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{September 12, 2006}   The Professor

(Poem in response to the L-O-L column “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”)
The man in the suit silently roams the Gaslight zone. Some call him, “The Professor.” There’s a rumor: he is a closet

genius, a beautiful mind. His black dog crawls from one sidewalk crack to another, taking breaks. God help him

if the creature gets sicker. The two gaze at the sky, as if secretly checking the weather, moment by moment.

The Professor will be there, breathing, frozen, when I leave to run errands. And he’ll be there to see me return flushed

and weighted down. He doesn’t move for Eddie, who got shot nine times and lived. He doesn’t move for incense burning

in five stores across the street. He doesn’t move for curry air or strangers crammed on the bus stop bench, waiting.

Someone asks if the 17’s ever coming. He doesn’t respond. Inside Ludlow Garage, there lurks the old scent of bands

that once played the rooms. If you stand where the stage once was, you can hear the forgotten roar. He wouldn’t know.

I say “Hello” when I see him. Every time, he waves back, startled, interrupted from his work with stillness, a difficult

employer. I can count on these visions, these regulars, and the bizarre, unchanging comforts so easily taken

for granted when drifting, skating, rushing, sliding through the teachers, the lost dogs, the simple sirens of home.

C.A. MacConnell


Amy says:

What a nice poem.

I lived in Clifton while going to school and I remember this man and his dog. That was five years ago. I guess some things don’t change.

Beth says:

More, more, more! a wonderful poem.

Jeff- or-ly says:

this is a good poem. i hope peter reads it.

Karen @ the hood says:

LAY OFF PETER! I like his poems. I also like this one by C.A. who I wish I could meet. I think I would like her.

Write on, C.A.

I am compelled to write a poem every now and again, but I’m just not very good at it, you know?

I wish I could meet C.A. also.

Dan says:

I think he was a college professor at U.C.

Karen says:

Yes. No more jokes about Peter and his poems. We should thank him for sharing as well as CA.

C.A. MacConnell says:

yup, I think so too.

C.A. MacConnell says:

I meant, abt the college prof. thing…I think you’re right

Geri says:

This is a beautiful poem.

I consider myself a writer – write essays and short stories but I don’t think I’m good enough to write poems. I don’t understand the process, seems difficult. I can’t write that short.

Heather says:

I don’t know. I write short. I write with rythm and sometimes rhyme. And it’s not that I don’t write poems, I’m just not as inclined to share them.

Leslie Marmon Silko, one of my favorite authors, said the she stopped writing poetry the older she got because it takes a lot of courage and trust to put your soul on display the way you do with poetry (or something about being less jaded in her youth).

That’s why I think it’s particularly mean of Jeff to rip on Peter’s poems. It takes a lot of guts to share a poem with others.

C.A. MacConnell says:

Geri…I consider my essays, stories, etc, to be one, bigass poem.

I like some of Peter’s lines…some are right on, like “in a hot closet.” I began w/ poetry as a kid, and focused in college. I didn’t write fiction seriously until senior year, when I announced that I wanted to write a fiction thesis. Out of the blue. My advisor thought I was an idiot.

Then he dug it, and it was all good. And I kept going w/ it. I try to write poetry every day, to keep the muscle going, practice, and it’s an imp. element in fiction, which is my fave thing. To me, it’s an imp. element in all writing actually…essays, songs, etc. That’s what I’m aiming for, even if I’m writing about Pearl Jam. Blah blah. I sound like a fucking poetry commercial. Buy one poem get one free.

Now that I’ve noticed that the word, “fuck” is slipping thru the cracks, I just had to join in.

Jeff- or-ly says:

Give me a break. I know a good poem from a bad poem. Peter has no idea.

Jackie says:

when’s the next citybeat article?

Geri says:

I’m sorry. What’s a imp. element?

Jeff- or-ly says:

Do you really have big hair and big eyes? that’s what Larry said in the column.

C.A. MacConnell says:

Geri…I meant, poetic language, ie, careful word choice, rhythm, tight sentences, form, etc. For me, the two go hand in hand. That’s just how I learned. People come at it from all angles:

Noah gripped the chain-link fence with both hands, looking Peter in the eye. “Peter Pan, shut up, before I get mean.”

“Yo, you don’t have to have no ruptured spleen,” Pete whispered back.

Even skateboarding can be poetic.

As for big eyes and hair, I’d like to add big feet. Now I need to sit my big ass down and take my big brain to work.
outta here.

Jeff- or-ly says:

You have a big ass too! Ha!!

Larry Gross says:


C.A. will have the next Living Out Loud column which will come out tomorrow and I think maybe a music story will be in the paper too.

Sally says:

Dear Ms. MacConnell,

I’m a little shy to say this, but I am a big fan of your writing. I like your style in the music stories and the Living Out Loud columns you have written inspire me. I wish you would write more of them.

You seem like a really cool person and I wanted to find a way to say that to you.

TOM says:



Plain Jane says:

Don’t be a stranger, Tom.

Jeff- or-ly says:

I think Salley has the hots for C.A.

Sarah says:

To spell “Salley” think S-a-l-l-y.

You are becoming almost as bad as numb – a total jerk. Sally was being nice to CA, not coming on to her. Stop being a fucking jerk.

Jeff- or-ly says:

Sincerely yours,

Jeff-or-ly Fucking Jerk.

(my new handle)

Sarah says:

10-4 – ASSHOLE!!!

Larry Gross says:


Deleted your last comment – out of control. Stop it or you will not be allowed to come back. Drink some coffee.

Kelly says:

I think the guy’s name is Richard.

C.A. MacConnell says:

Not Richard. Thank you, Sally. Much appreciated comments. Nice for a writer to get feedback. sweet.

Sarah says:

Actually CA, I think it is Richard or that’s what he wants to call himself anyway. I see him at CVS every so often.

Jackie says:

Hey C.A. –

I like your Living Out Loud column this week.

Larry Gross says:

I just saw C.A. on Ludlow Avenue carrying about ten new CityBeats. Say what you want about her, the girl is a speed reader!

C.A. MacConnell says:

I knew you were gonna get me, Larry. Actually, I had 2 Citybeats and a yoga mat. Not Richard, for real, but he does call himself that sometimes.

Phil says:

Yeah? Your “yoga mat” looks like a CityBeat?

Matt Mullaney says:

Just finished the Living Out Loud piece. Excellent writing!


Peter says:

Read it… nice. Good piece in City Beat also.

C.A. MacConnell says:

Thanks, Biscuit. Say hi to Gravy. Mac.

Dana says:

I saw the Professor today on Ludlow carrying a bunch of drycleaning. You mean he actually gets his suits cleaned? Now, let’s teach him how to get a haircut.

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