Archive for March 2013

Renewal Under a Rock

March 31, 2013


The renewal of hope after despair seems to me to be always worth celebrating, regardless of one’s particular religious beliefs. I personally have had a rather dismal Easter–going through boxes–and trying to catch up on back work– but I keep trying to remind myself of what the day means and what spring in general offers. May we all find some renewal.

The above photo is a light sculpture made by Jason Martin.

Goldilocks With Just Two Bears

March 30, 2013


Goldilocks With Just Two Bears

She lived in zigs and zags,
ecstatic spurts and crying jags,
ejaculated joy at the start of study
of some new boy whose cheeks
were ruddy (though once his lessons
were fully mastered, his name tag morphed
to “frigging bastard.”)
Too cold, too hot, naught hit the spot
Or, if it did, soon turned to rot.

And though she longed for the middle way,
her balance still would always sway
towards the fasts, the slows,
the highs, the lows,
the extremes that she
could not forego.

The only middle that she found
was in between those two bears brown,
whose matted fur warmed both her sides,
whose porridge filled her up betides,
and taking in each hand a paw
(not deterred by sharp of claw),
she held on tight through day and night
through flight and height, through blight and bite,
keeping always in her sights
the coveted, but not, just-rights.


Posting the above for dVerse Poets Pub Poetics prompt hosted by Mary Kling to revamp some legendary, storybook or mythological figure.  Check out dVerse for wonderful poetry.

ps – as always, all rights reserved in text and pic.

Almond Trees, Miltonian Self-Doubt, Bees, Flash Friday 55

March 29, 2013


Here are two poems about almond trees and bees  – one for Samuel Peralta’s prompt at dVerse Poets Pub to write a (sort of) Miltonian sonnet; the second (a bit more off-color) consists of 55 words for the G-Man.  Tell him I’m late as usual.

On the serious side, the number of bees in the U.S. has almost been cut in half over the last year.   No one is sure what is decimating the bees, but powerful new pesticides (neonicotinoids) are suspected.

Out a Train Window – Almond Groves

I took a heartsick ride through Italy
one spring, the words “no one will ever
love you,” my train of thought, a never
never chug.  But beside the track,  a tally
of pinks scoffed, as beauty does. “What  folly,”
signed fingered limbs, sure-blossomed, and whether
or not they truly cared, they severed
the bad me from the good, letting the woe-self free.
Little did I think then of how those almonds too
were tended–by the fussing strokes of bee,
the courtship of proboscis, the I’ve-won-you
of wing.  Oh furred intermediary
of the fruitful –where, bees, have you now gone to?

And here’s the Flash Friday 55:

Dearth of Bees

Almond trees, where are thy bees?
Thou cannot be
sans buzz.  Without fuzz
of their proboscides, who cocks thy
pistils, seeds thy nuts?
There are no ifs, ands, buts,
and though I seem to jest, I dirge
for their dear trespass sweetly
urged–oh life, where is thy sting?
Oh, bees, of thee I sing.

(All rights reserved in text and visual.)

Moving (with Buddhas)

March 28, 2013

After weeks of kvetching, whining, complaining, bemoaning, touting, I am finally moved! A marathon day–the devil, as they say, is in the details, and if you can characterize old checkbooks, bills and mail of several people, bits and pieces of clothing (of several people), bottles of vinegar, oil, assorted dishes, shoes, papers, sheets, towels, miscellaneous old computers and chargers of several decades (and last couch and a bunch of teeny tables and chairs and who knows what) as details, there were a lot of devils to deal with!

My husband and a friend of my daughters were heroes. U-Haul (which called me yesterday in the middle of an important work meeting to tell me the only truck that it had available for our confirmed reservation was the wrong size and also had to be picked up someplace in the Bronx) was a villain.

Did I ever mention that living in Manhattan for many years can make you quite fearful of driving, especially after dark? But I am no longer living in Manhattan (as of today), and with two Buddhas and Pearl in the car (hubbie driving non-U-haul truck) I somehow managed.

A moment to thank all of you for your support through this endless process. Thanks for all your pre-congratulations! (Based on my partial move about a month ago.) I truly appreciate your kindness, not just about the move but on so many levels.

When Asked To Write Of What Scares Me

March 27, 2013


When Asked To Write About What Scares Me

I will make no surmise
of what terrorizes; crack no chink
for the unthinkable; damn it all up
but good.

Even prayers, for now, err
on the side of the generic, taking care
to wear camo as you do, my dear.


Draft poem for the incomparable Mama Zen’s prompt on With Real Toads to write about what scares you (out the window and in fifty words or less).  This isn’t really out the window and the picture doesn’t exactly fit the poem, but I like the picture, and I am a bit too scared of what scares me to write about it (though I thought it a great prompt.)   I’ve rewritten a couple of times since posting!  

I’m sorry that I’ve been a bit slow returning comments of late.  A terribly busy time.  I will get back to anyone I’ve missed.  

Odd Shoe

March 26, 2013


Odd Shoe

And then there is the loneness of the odd shoe atilt
in the closet; a singleton,
it can’t even manage “akimbo.”
Sloped sides speak
of particular toes; they stood, stepped, sweat,
swanked, sidled, made
their mark.  But where now
is my fellow? the shoe pleads (whether
or not tongued, pumping dust
for some clear lead.)

And you, whose soul is also scuffed
but whole, insist that the shoe
still fits, insist on
wearing it, though
you limp, clump clump, even with
the trial, though even that you fear
may hear.


Draft draft poem for dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night hosted by Tony Maude.  Wanted to join in the fun.  You should too.  (Sorry if you’ve seen drawing before.) 

New York City – How Thoughtful

March 25, 2013


As many of you know, I am soon moving from New York City .  I have worried I will miss it.  Just yesterday, I was feeling especially forlorn, after dinner with a wonderful friend.

But, oh, what a thoughtful City she is.

I trudged down the steps of the subway station at 59th Street, Columbus Circle.

It is a cold, grey station;  last night, there were flaps of yellow tapes blocking off various lines–weekend construction.

The remaining lines all basically parallel each other.  Still, their platforms are at a criss-cross in that station.  If you are a train perfectionist–make that an impatient idiot–you stand at a stairwell in the vague middle of everything  so that when you hear a rumble, you can hightail it down (or up) to dash through some set of grey smeared doors just before they close.

This is a rather dangerous game: you may end up missing both the train you are running towards as well as the one you were originally waiting for.  Still, to a true New Yorker, anything is better than patience.  (In short,  I stood on the stairwell with several other toe-tappers.)

Then came the Number 1.  Fine.  As I dashed/slipped inside, I noticed (vaguely) the conductor making some convoluted announcement about how this train would only go as far as 14th Street–normally, it goes all the way to the bottom of the Island, where I live–and that we should change at 42nd.

The 1 is a local, meaning that the trip to 42nd was slow; stops every few blocks.   The conductor gabbled on about changing, and as we began to pull into 42nd Street, there was, amazingly, a 2 Express also pulling in across the platform.

Wow!   Most of the train stood up.  Most of the train, in fact, leaned towards the glass doors, ready to run.  (We know from experience that we’ll never make it anywhere if we just walk calmly. )

And then, although our train stopped for a palpable instant or more, it suddenly began to lurch again, to stumble further and further into the station.

Shit, the main next to me (pale, unshaven,) cursed.  The other train’s doors were open now.

As our train stopped (finally), sighed (leisurely),–the doors still not open–the doors of the train across slid closed.

The man was really cursing as our conductor began to  explain that this train/ our train would now be making express stops only to 14th Street, and that if anyone wanted any local stops, they should transfer to the 2  (the express) across the platform.  (Of course, the 2  across the platform had already closed its doors.)

At last, ours opened.  People projectiled out.

But it was too late.  (Yes, the 2 just sat there a minute more.  No, it did not open its doors.)

I for one went back to my seat.  If we were going express anyway, we could probably catch up with the 2, I thought.
Except that we sat there until a couple of other 2s went by.

Fine.  Except  when we got to 14th Street, I stepped out to a platform occupied by a sizeable rat. (My car had ended up next to the garbage.)

I jumped back into the train, nearly knocking into the couple behind.

“There’s a rat,” I said breathlessly, and then, with amazing presence of mind, “you go first.”

Thanks God, the Express (running now on the Local track) was also in the station.   The couple, determined, scurried around the rat pillars and into it, with me glomming just behind. .

As I sat down on the new train,I wanted to tell everyone around me about the rat, but they were all tuning out (into iPods or studied disinterest), so I made myself hold in all the excitement.   Only now through the end doors of the car, came a scrawny and somehow flattened middle=aged  woman in a short leopard coat over jeans that showed her to be so knock-kneed that her shins looked like the prongs of a dowser’s fork.

I winced before she even started singing.  She did not have a tuneful voice; the song, moreover, revolved around the line “they can’t take away my dignity.”   (I could not help thinking that she herself was giving that away with two hands.  I knew that was unkind and also dug into my purse for some money.)

And then, at last, my stop.  I stepped gingerly onto the platform that held no rat but a splat of fresh vomit.

New York.

I did not know whether to say please (as in stop) or thank you (for letting me go.)

Hey George!

March 24, 2013


Hey, George.

Hey, George. Sorry to bother you in your bath, I mean…errrr
But it’s ten years now, officially, and tens
of thousands of lives….deaths, and
ruin and bankruptcy and–

What? Can I fix that mirror?
How’s that?
And the soap?
Don’t worry, I’ll shut my eyes (stretching one hand
into the stall)–

Which is what
you did too, hey Buddy?

Okay, sorry.
Sure, you’re a good guy.
You love kids, dogs; Barney as gosh damn cute
as they come, and Laura’s
been a real trooper.

Speaking of which, 4,486.
And the wounded, well, tons more, but those Army docs
have got so gosh darn great they can put just about anyone back together.
Sort of.

And you’re right–Dick was a real dick,
and Donald–forget about it–
and then there was your Daddy and goddamn
Saddam, and what were you supposed to do, and I
can bet you sure did pray–

What? The soap again. No?
the paintbrush?

Okay, fine, I’ll get it.. But this time,
I will not shut my eyes.

Sorry to raise old wounds with this draft poem (of sorts) but it’s the tenth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq this month, and this conversation was all I could come of up with for the dVerse Poets Pub prompt by the wonderful Claudia Schoenfeld re imaginary conversations with the famous or celebrated. I think Claudia was pushing for imaginary conversations with the dead, but there are more than enough dead to go with this conversation.

The references to studio and painting refer to pictures of paintings by George W. Bush that recently came out on the Internet– two are self-portraits painted of him in the bath, one with his face reflected in a small convex mirror. (And absolutely no offense meant here towards Laura Bush whom I genuinely admire, especially for her advocacy re libraries and literacy.)

For those who haven’t seen, here’s a link that shows two Bush’s self-portraits painted in the bath – one of just feet and legs, the other in a shower apparently.

Leaving NYC Soon (Worried)

March 23, 2013


I am planning to move from New York City in less than a week.  I will still be in and out of the City for work, etc., but I will no longer “maintain an abode” here, as they say in New York City income tax lingo.

I first moved to the City almost thirty-five years ago.  A cheap apartment had become available in my then boyfriend’s building.  (It is amazing how many life decisions are made in New York City based on real estate.)

We only heard about the apartment by chance–we were driving around Idaho when my boyfriend happened to call his super about some mail and found that a fire had burned out a tenant the night before.  (I don’t think the tenant had died, but honestly, I do not remember.  The only thing we focused on at the time was that the apartment was rent-stabilized and that we had better rush.)

Rent-stabilized, at that time anyway, meant cheap, i.e. affordable.

We hopped into my boyfriend’s van and hardly stopped to change drivers.  (The good thing about a van and out West was that two people could wiggle in and out of the driver’s seat with one foot maintaining, more or less, constant pressure on the gas.)

We got back to downtown NYC in fewer hours than should be legal, sweaty, window-blown and reeling from the sudden descent of Eastern skies –all that lowdown leafiness (much less the dinge of Manhattan), and, after delicately slipping a suitable reward to the super (a palm’s wad of crisp twenties), rejoiced.  (Which meant, got some really terrific pizza.)  (There is no pizza like true New York pizza.)

Of course, I couldn’t yet move in–smoke damage–but the apartment–a fifth floor walk-up with the bath tub next to the fridge (i.e. in the kitchen on concrete blocks)–was mine.

And so it went, through thick and thin, leafyness and damage, wads and wads (and wads) of twenties (and larger denominations), until, I realize, I have been here for most of my life.   Not, thankfully, in that apartment.  (Well, maybe I’m not so thankful.  It  really was cheap.)

I am not someone who grew up wanting to live here.  I certainly would not have come in the absence of that apartment (and okay, that boyfriend.)

But people are a bit like plants (or maybe just potatoes) – they are plopped some place and before they know it, they have put down roots, sent forth tendrils.  They entangle with that fence just to the side,  knot in the scraped brickface to the back,  fix themselves into whatever specks of earth (o.k. concrete) their feet find.  There’s inertia, but also–friends, jobs, family, and of course, familiarity — that family feeling we develop for a place, the comfort in our normal routes (even if rushed), the quiet calm that takes over us when our normal seat on the train or in our favorite restaurant is free, and that proud awe, almost a sense of ownership, we assume for wonders we come to know well–the entrances of museums, concert halls, the views down certain avenues or way up over our heads.

I am happy about the move and the fact is that I will still be in the City a great deal.    And yet, another part of me worries – oh yes- that still something may get left behind here, something I don’t know how to pack.

(PS – the above photo was taken a few days ago from Battery Park City, which is where I currently live, and which is absolutely nothing like my original neighborhood in NYC.  BPC is nice in its way too–beautiful–but definitely is lacking in some of the grit and character of that old neighborhood which was at the edge of Little Italy and Chinatown.  More on all that another time, if anyone is interested.)

Dream Lids (Friday Flash 55)

March 22, 2013

Dream Lids

We baled out
into a swamp–bad idea, turtle
wading onto my head,
snapper, its creased leg eye-dangling khaki,
mottled shell
a dangerous helmet. You turned
to help.  “Don’t use the oar,”
I pleaded at your hoist, but seeing aim
in your eyes, shut mine,
dream lids able to shield
as needed.


Here’s a re-write of an older poem whittled down to 55 vine-tangled words for the G-Man.  Let him know.  

A week of a lot of work at work.  Agh.  Have a great weekend.