Supper time

I picked corn and beans

Put them in a stew pot

With side of beef

lard peas too

Cooked on ma’s old stove

Stirred the mess

Smells filled the room

All stark and rich

Got dark out

Lit the lamps

Pulled the drapes

Stirred and licked

My lips

Called my man to eat

Sat us down

Served the meal

We ate like death was nigh

Spilled down our fronts

Flush with sate.

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

Touch Me

there

no, not there

to the right

my right

lighter

much lighter

okay now harder

stop touching me

Stop?

stop

just stop

let’s talk

tell me you love me

say it

say it again

Love you?

Is that a question?

touch me

tell me

do you love me?

is that a question?

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

Pick a Word

she says

what comes to mind is “death”

maybe because

I am

the oldest person in the room

you know

closer to

death

the derivation of the word fascinates me

end of breath

a state of being old

when teeth fall out and you lose that freshness

once described as life

death has a long and noble history

a commonality of spirit

deriving from the Aramaic word despair

and from the toad dialect for croak

in the Dead Sea

formerly known as life.

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

Holiday Lose Lose

Christmas is the cat

who crouches on the keyboard when you are writing

an important cover letter for an application

to law school

and when you gently pry her off

she digs her claws

in and howls like you are torturing

her, cries so plaintively

the admissions officer

at the law school will hear

and reject you out of hand for animal

cruelty.

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

Conflict Redistribution

he punched the storm door

so hard it splintered

into spikes of glass

one shard slashed his hand

sent us to the emergency room

I drove because

his hand was wrapped in a towel.

I forget what made him so mad that day

it was something I did

is all I remember

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

Charity Begins

dumped in Denver

me and the baby

with our broke down beat-

nik bus, no husband, no boy-

friend, not fifty cents in my pocket.

I knocked at the door

of Volunteers of America

(music stopped I didn’t get a chair)

so I rapped or rang the bell

or kicked, who knows,

this lady opened and smiled

said come inside.

We ate hot supper

in a cafeteria, chicken

with gravy mashed pot-

atoes and milk for the baby.

Given a bed with white sheets,

crib next to me

first good sleep since we set out

cross-country run-

ing from my husband

with my gone lover who

split for New Jersey

as soon as we crossed

the Rockies.

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

I Feel Validated

I should say that more

I should thank my husband for validating me

I should thank my son and daughter for validating me

I should thank the woman at the hospital for validating

my parking chit which acknowledges

that I kept a doctor’s appointment

for my six month checkup –

MRI, bloodwork, palpitation of belly,

tests required when you are not quite okay

but still able to walk, drive

and write poetry –

you know, the spectrum

of human experience minus

longevity.

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

Adventures in the Caribbean – A Sestina

In the pitching saltsweet waves

our family with canny boys

and squeals of tourists all geared up

snorkeling sputtering as the water 

splashes round us, slippery bodies diving

through the peacock seas.

Boys when floating in the seas

Mandated close because of waves

even swimming dare and diving 

but I lose sight of darling boys

cannot con in choppy water

get scared perhaps the jig is up.

Other divers climb back up

boat heaving in the hectic seas

While I surge frantic through the water

Calling out across the waves

Voice blindly cast to unseen boys

swimming crossways deaf and diving

tourists all around are diving

around the boat, blank masked boys

Unconscious of our desperate cries up

Relishing tabasco seas

Fishlike in the wind-torn waves

Churning bodies like syphon water.

I scream across the water

Where are the boys, where are they diving

No one hears me wind and waves

Harsh music keeps our ears stopped up

Fear drives around about the seas

Looking through masked swarms of boys.

I never was afraid before when boys

Dashed deep to whitecap water

Even in these strange and coral seas

Even when the boys were diving

I never doubted they’d come up

And laugh and play among the waves.

We find boys in errant seas

Watered happily in zigzag waves

Diving children both thumbs up.

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

Villanelle for Izzy

Coming on to winter skies

Sky is faded dully cloud

lake drums raucous shrunken cries

My cat Izzy wonders wise

Why the gulls shriek plaintive loud

Against the blur of graying eyes.

Me and Izzy share the sighs

Sight of gulls and buzzard bowed

We crowd to watch the moon arise.

Izzy whispers cat surprise

Prized among the dead and sloughed

Like fish laid out for gullet guys.

Izzy looks as heron flies

Sizes up the meek and proud

Sharp cat eyes all brilliant rise

We walk as winter dips and dies

Afraid of ghosts and haunts and spies

Slicing drunk so pissed and plowed

Flushed on sour whiskey pies.

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment

Before I Knew

what being Jewish

meant I imagined

my ancestors prancing

around campfires

in silks, fortune fleecing peasants

but I have no gypsy blood.

Seventy thousand Jews fled Romania

between 1898 and 1904

Picture: a very large Fusgeyer group with men and women

One man wrote: We walked

through the world

on dusty roads. We walked

the entire day. We went

through many towns. Before night we set

up our little linen beds

in a field and went to sleep.

We were soon warned

that this was one of the towns hostile

to Jews. We went around the town.

My grandfather Moritz and wife Gazela

left their shtetl Piatrer, to join

with wanderers well met, to stalk

across Europe, to sail from Rotterdam

in a ship filled with foreigners wrapped in shawls

and woolen serge, staggering

under the weight of candlesticks

and babies and carpet bags, to

land in America on New Year’s Eve 1900:

a panoply of hand to mouth people walking flight.

Posted in poetry | Leave a comment