Visiting Grandma in the Nursing Home

Someday I will drop by the old

place, sentiment full, see grandma

smelling like darling sachet

tucked in her lady bosom mixed

with scented powder creased against crepe.

She will feebly ask, I imagine,

for a prize, a China lamb or caramel sweet

and when she is finished

give it back to me

with insouciance because after

all she is ancient,

does not really care if my

sensibilities are offensed,

wouldn’t recognize my dignity

even if I looked her in the eye.

She’s not a grand dame, I equivocate, just

withered, slumped and sniffled.

I have to feel a little sorry for her, don’t I?

Maybe not.

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Fishing Season

Is this the end of the line?

So sorry.

Didn’t mean to cut inside your vital

soft parts.

Accident I assure.

You know I make way

for ladies and gentiles. Just

wait, I will sweep the floor with

my Yiddish hair.

Slick me upside

a doorway, let me

kiss the mezuzah.

It’s fine, what’s the hook today?

What’s the catch? How

do I get to the front

of the line?

Such a creature of habit

I am, simple jewfish.

It’s fishing season at the

synagogue, cold.

My fingers are fucking numb.

What’s that at the end of my line?

It’s a monkfish.

My god, we are drowning in ecclesiastic

fish but what I want to know is where

the devil swims.

Okay cut the line.

Cut the bait in half, part for you

parting ways for me

out on the boat fishing for saints.

Jig jiggle harder.

Line them up, every damned priest.

Bend them overboard, let them

preach to the haddock.

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My Computer Speaks to Me

I have created a computer

language called EXTRA

because I am not BASIC.

It goes like this:

if A is true

then the bright sun gives off little heat

even though it makes you sweat;

ergo if B is false

the world is my oyster

being that I am a privileged member of the underclass.

wearing a black eye and ruby lipstick:

then and only then

will the wind blow my shoelaces free

and stitch me a new belly, the taut kind.

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I Met Little Lulu

when I was five

in Deafie’s cramped candy store

around the corner from where I lived

in the Bronx

shadowed by the rattling El.

We called him Deafie because

he was deaf.

I myself was called four-eyes.

It was a cruel time.

So for ten cents I bought a comic book

where Little Lulu and her boyfriend Tubby

experience a terrible big snowstorm,

such a serious weather event

they have to tunnel under the snow for blocks,

cross streets, turn corners

to get to the grocery store.

Many years later when

I met my husband

and we compared favorite comic books

I said I loved when Little Lulu got snowed

in and he said yes and remembered

she bought milk when she finally got to the store.

We fell in love.

Right then and there I wrote

to a comic book store in New York

I am trying to find this

Little Lulu comic, I said

don’t know the date, don’t recall the cover,

but here’s the story.

The proprietor looked through

his stash and mailed

it to us in exchange for $100

wrapped in cellophane

and it sits today on my knickknack shelf;

my husband and I sometimes take it down

to read because we still share

Little Lulu moments.

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Numbers Game

I can count on my fingers

all the occasions you

crisscrossed dick-faced lied to me

that is

if I had eight arms like

an octopus or Kali.

I was counting

on you coming through, you

no-account bastard

and now I am counting coup,

counting down the seconds

until I count you out for keeps.

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Put on them soft sole

shoes baby baby

you know you want to dance

with me. I went to the fish

store yesterday for a pound of gray

sole like my father always ate.

For your information

sole is a flat round fish waveling

along the ocean floor kicking

up whispers of sand.

Sole makes for a fine

supper my father

always said. Let’s dance

in the kitchen my love

tapping double time,

you are my soulmate I cry. For

your information sole’s

eyes are on the upside

looking to the moon, baby.

You know you want to dance with me.

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In a Vision

I bought a stuffed creature today in a vision

Cat swats like a storybook animal in a vision

Sometimes a cat toy is only a hollow thing with feathers

Sometimes it is a five hundred page novel in a vision

Izzy sniffed the creature and walked south tail whipping

Scratches away at herself satisfied in a vision

There is no storyline where the cat does not love you

Even when tears blur and scar her vision

But see, I am the cat and the toy and the scratch

I am the hollow thing in a vision.

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Provincetown Ekphrasis

It scared the shit out of me, the thought of running

my fingers across the crass abs of those Greek gods straight

out of 1970, with their pornstaches and tight pants, scared

me so much I backed away, not me I thought, let

someone else be the guinea pig. Oh come on, the jackass

called, this jackass was the one with the tattoo, come

on, dive in, the water’s fine. And indeed, if you looked

past all that simmering man flesh, the ocean was blue

as lapis, blue as balls.

The other jackass, the quiet one, smiled like an idiot

and nodded like a fetish doll, I expected his fucking head

was going to fall off.

All right, I said, okay, shut your mouth, and I backed up some

more but this time just to get a running start and then took off

and threw myself against the painting, half expecting

to collide and bounce off into the asphalt street, but instead

sailed through like an archangel onto the beach, into

the mass of suntanned male bodies and sand and heat, my

arms flailing bird-like into their midst.

I landed with a roll and looked up at them staring aghast at

this apparition at their feet. Hi, I said, hi from the future.

The sun was bright, intensity magnified. I got to my feet,

brushed grit out of my hair and pushed out my chest. I smiled.

They milled around me, fascinated. The air was perfumed,

ocean, sweat, semen. From the future, they asked

wonderingly? Really? Their voices were like cellos,

deep and tuneful.

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Add Venturing to My List of Skills

I am sick of winter

a season redolent of cat piss and skeletons

where devil trees flay

the ground humped with snow

and spiked with moonish icicles

I spool on my boots

open the shudders whining frozen tears

venture my way outside

air crystallizes in my eyes

as I tiptoe tread on loaves scattered

among cascading glittered traps

all seeded with caraway

feet sinking like swords into

the damn nasty sponge of earth

I will never make it to town

at this rate I cry, skipping

faster and snow blind.

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Who is the Happiest of All Men?

I am not sure he is even happy

Although he says he is

As he plunges a hand into the fire

I listen to his indrawn breath

say to him screw you

You can’t be happy with your hand in flames

your fingers curling like toast

He answers

I am the happiest of all men

Because I am caramelized

Like the famous beast

Ship of the desert

I carry my water

Light my way through the dark.

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