Thursday, September 3, 2015

Books and Flowers and Food

Watched a most unusual and shocking film last night..... Mommy.... a French Canadian film about troubled family dynamics. The violence was hard to watch but worse was the way Mommy talked to her adolescent son plus their sexual intimacy, quite comical at times.

The music was sublime. Counting Crows and Celine Dion. Next time I'm at the malt shop I will definitely put in a quarter to listen to Celine croon.

"You're doing wonderfully," said my nephrologist when I brought my kidney in to him this morning. A Catholic, he told me no matter what your religion God is the same.

I nodded and thought, Hmm, is it possible I could start believing in God again?

In 40 minutes I've gotta report to the library book club. If on a Winter's Night is the featured book. Adam will ask us what we thought of it.

Let's you and I go over my answers right now.

Ahem. Uh. Jeez.

We'll be facing each other across a huge table. Our name placards are right in front of us.

Ladies and gentlemen at this table (Charlie Rose-like) the man knows how to write, how to shape a sentence, a rhythmic sentence at that - tho it's translated - aside: and then they'll all be waiting for my "But."

You know what? I'm gonna keep my mouth shut and let Elaine and Mary carry the ball. Should I wear the earrings I bought from Elaine?

Dr G said I looked great. My ankles weren't swollen - that happened when I was first diagnosed with chronic renal disease - he pressed on my kidney (I told him where it was) and asked if it hurt. Of course I said no.

My numbers were all great.

 Mandatory pic of food. Tomatoes from our garden.

 Out into the trash went this Wallpaper that lined the walls of my upstairs hallway from 1989 until 2015.
I'm tickled Yellow by these Black-Eyed Susans from seed.

 Zinnia - cosmos

Here's my fab breakfast I took out with me on the front lawn to eat. A dash of green Tabasco will do it.

 Can I help it if I enjoy looking at my garden?
 Dreamcatcher arrived in the mail from St Joseph's Indian School. At last I got some address labels. I had to use my expensive Ruth Z Deming labels that I PAID for.

Hey! Got rid of the Dreamcatcher. Gave it to Adam the Librarian, who has two lil boys... Oliver and August.
Reading hard to finish this strange and wonderful book by Per Pettersen called I  REFUSE.

I'll read the Times Review when I come home from the book club.

Leaving now!

Bye! Love ya!

Half the people were missing at the Book Club. As always, we had a good discussion - I read my poem If on a Winter's Night - and we all discussed Reading. So the late Italo Calvino, whose parents gave him the first name so he wouldn't forget his Italian heritage - he was born in Cuba in 1923 - he could still be alive if he weren't dead - succeeded in having us discuss a theme and variations of books books books.

Jeanne had a lot to say about the book. She got mad at it and stopped reading. See! It's just like a person. You have a relationship with it. Then she skipped about 100 pages and dug in and finished it.

I hadn't read the end, but turned to the last page. Calvino asked the reader to marry him.

I think I'll pass.

What book would you marry, Dear Reader?

I'd probly marry the Bible, which, as we said at the meeting, is filled with stories.

Mary shocked us by saying she never read as a kid. She was too busy helping out the family. She was the second oldest of five. Plus she was forced to read certain books which turned her off to them.

Several women said their mom walked them to the library when they were kids - as did my mom - and they were hooked.

Goodbye for now.

The Gong Sounds for Patrick Otis Cox (1955 to 2015)

The late Patrick Otis Cox sings "Big Brother" exactly one year ago Sept. 1, 2014.

Yin Liu  Patrick's wife is Yin Liu, a Chinese-American born in Dalian, China. I met Yin bc she was the owner of Le Coffee Salon in Hatboro, PA. Our Writing Group used to meet there.

Here's a post I did about her.

AND I'm happy to report that I'm now able to download my photos, unlike several days ago. Methinks The Robot Blogspot was malfunctioning, like poor ole HAL in that greatest of movies A Space Odyssey.


THE GONG SOUNDS

While the stars were conversing well past midnight
her husband was beginning to die
she walked past the room where
he worked, maybe she'd caress his
scraggly beard before going to sleep
a force pulled her into
his room, where his head lay
at a strange angle, like a marionette
come off its strings and fallen into
a heap, a terrible heap

He was not dead yet. "Talk to
me," she said, taking his still
warm hand. And planted her
cheek against his, as one eye
blinked, then began its awful
stare.

At the hospital they wouldn't
let her in his room. By now
this woman from the west coast
of China had flown to the moon
they called her a taxi

She came back to earth when
the female driver, rude as a prison
matron, asked if she had money
for the fare

Just as the funeral home
demanded upfront payment
for the cremation

Oh how that widow wept
when she entered the
foyer, a tall woman with
long black hair, spiked heels
and black widow's weeds
for the blackest day in
her life.  I want to die, I want
to die, she sobbed in our arms.

Be strong, said a friend.
Stop your crying, said another.
Hadn't Mary sobbed at the
foot of the cross?

She collapsed and lay
on the high hill of
Golgotha

We got her a rolling
desk chair, pulled her
near lifeless body
onto the black padded seat
and wheeled her to the next room
to see her beloved.

He lay like a Scandinavian
prince in his new home
still, unmoving, peaceful
as a cloud, with color in his cheeks

This was her beloved. She stood
above him, as if he were in a
hospital bed, waiting to
come home. But her man
was no more. Dead as the autumn
leaves come sailing from
the trees, this August 27, 2015.

A man of sixty with a world
of things to do. "Why?" she
asks God or anyone who will
listen.

"Why? Why? Why?"

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Tribute to the late Wendy Davidson of Goddard College - 1945 - 2015

Several years ago on Facebook a rumor began to circulate that Wendy Davidson had passed away. It was not true, but I contacted her for the first time in nearly 50 years.

We spoke and exchanged a few letters. I did write a little story about her which is printed below.

Writing has always helped me process whatever is going on in my life.



DEAD OR ALIVE?

          We sat side by side on the steps of our dorm. I was smitten. She was tiny, had long brown hair, spoke in rapid staccato bursts, and was nothing like the classmates I left behind at Shaker Heights High School where all people cared about were wearing the right clothes and carrying the right pocketbook from My Darling Daughter.
          The sun shone that September of 1964 as the green grass of Vermont spread out like a golf green before us. I was never so happy in my life. Away from home. At Camp Cardinal, I had cried like a baby. Now I was free. And freedom, I discovered, is what I had been seeking my whole life.
          Freedom, mostly, from conformity, a word that until I came to Goddard College, had meant nothing to me. I was free to kiss whomever I wanted – red-haired Felix was the first boy I kissed – and there were a succession of others. I was a pretty girl back then, unafflicted with a variety of ailments that would bedraggle me after I turned fifty or sixty.
          How good it is not to know what to expect when you’re young and beautiful and sitting next to Wendy Davidson on the front steps of Kilpatrick Dorm.
          Unlike me, Wendy was an adventuress. Oh, hadn’t I ridden my bike back home?  My sisters and I, when small, would see firesmoke in the distance, and ride our bikes to wherever the fire soared.
          “Move back!” the police would yell at us. We stood behind the imaginary line and gleefully watched the shiny red fire engines spew an awesome spray of water onto the fire. We were unaware at the time that such hoses would be used to disperse demonstrators during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
          I was in my dorm room at Kilpatrick. I had brought a set of cowbells from home which I attached to the door of my room. Someone was knocking. It was Wendy, who came in and sat on my neatly-made bed.
          “Oh, I’m such a mess,” she said. “Lenny pays no attention to me.”
          “Lenny? That cute boy who looks like Mick Jagger?”
          “Yeah. I think he’s gay.”
          I tried not to let on that I was shocked to hear that word. But I was. As a kid, I’d asked my dad how it could possibly happen that men or women were attracted to their own sex. He patiently explained it to me. And told me that one time, a gay man named Marcus had come to dinner. He worked at my dad’s office and had given me a book of poetry by William Wordsworth. I’ve kept it to this very day, its cover scotch-taped to the slim green volume.
          “Forget Lenny Marin,” I said. “Let’s do something fun.” I put down the book I was reading for English class, “Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man,” by James Joyce. I kept reading the first page over and over again, it was so beautiful.
          Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo...

          Wendy explained she had found a beautiful meadow. I tied on my sneakers and we began our walk. Plainfield, Vermont, was cow country. We passed the little village with its grocery-post office – 05667, the zip code I wrote on my letters home – and crossed the little bridge over the Winooski River.
          “Wait a sec,” I said. “Let’s stop and watch the river flow.”
          Imagine! Our very own river right in this town. Rivers were unknown back in Shaker. I cocked my head and listened to the sound of the waves hitting rocks that jutted out of the water. The bright sunshine added to the display and the joy in my heart.
          I was free! I was free!
I was eighteen years old.
          Wendy’s long brown hair was set atop her head in a bun. She led the way to her meadow, up in the grassy hills. She spread out a blanket and then began to disrobe.
          “Wendy! I can’t do this!”
          “Why not? It’s fun to sunbathe in the nude.”
          I dropped my blouse, my 34-A Playtex bra, panties, and shorts onto the grass, and lay on the blanket she had brought.
          Staring up at the cloudless blue sky, I felt the warmth of Father Sun caress my body. I ran my hands lightly over my nearly-flat breasts, then lay on my flat and muscled belly. I’d been the sit-up champ in our gym class. One-hundred-and-fifty.
          Wendy lay on her belly, head turned to the side. She was beautifully proportioned and even tinier than I was. Her buttocks was dimpled. And a tiny beauty mark rested on the small of her back.
          As we lay, each with our own reveries, a male voice interrupted us.
          “This here is my property, dammit!” it said. “I want you off. Now!”
          The farmer wore overalls, just like in the books. He was fat with a straw hat clamped down on his head.
          “I seen you here before,” said the farmer. “Don’t want you back again, them damn Goddard students. Ruining our town.”
          I waited for Wendy to do the talking.
          “Sir, I’m so sorry,” she said with a laugh, leaning her head toward him. “We won’t come back. I promise.”
          He marched away, indignant, while we dressed and walked down the hill.
          Even now, fifty years later, I can hear that musical voice of Wendy’s. Musical, even though her family hadn’t much to sing about. They had been destroyed in the McCarthy hearings. Her father lost his job as a Baltimore judge and had no choice but to work mopping floors in a synagogue and churches in Baltimore.
          Now, fifty years later, I receive emails asking me, “Is Wendy Davidson dead?”
          I had last spoken with her five years before. She had stayed in Vermont but moved to the college town of Burlington. Going to my desk in the living room, where I checked myself in the mirror – not particularly liking what age had done to me, my round face was rounder and my thick brown hair, which now hung lifeless as dead winter leaves, I colored burgundy right upstairs in my bathroom.  I reached into my desk drawer and pulled out my green address book.
          “Can she be dead?” I kept thinking, as I opened the book with its soft green fabric and found her phone number.
          A man answered. “Wendy doesn’t live here,” he said. “But you’re not the first person to call this number.”
          It would have cost me money to find her phone number online, so I called the local library, receiving an 802-area phone number. Clearing my throat, I dialed it immediately.
          That awful robotic voice answered, telling me to leave my name and phone number. But, then, a woman answered.
          “Hello?” she said.
          “Wendy! It’s Ruth, Ruth Deming.”
          “Ruth! It doesn’t sound like you,” she said.
          “Really! It is me, though.”
          “You don’t have that Ohio twang anymore.”
          Though I said nothing, I felt sad about that. It was part of my identity. Although I’d lived in many places – Ossining, New York; San Francisco; Houston and Austin, Texas – I needed that twang as proof of who I am.
          I told her about rumors of her death on Facebook. She was shocked, dismayed, I could hear it in her voice. Perhaps I should have kept it to myself and just pretended that I was calling to say hello.
          Wendy, whose birthday I always remembered, had turned 68 on May 29. I was younger by seven months. She began to complain about her miserable life. “I don’t mean to complain, but….”
          Her car was old and it cost too much to fix, so she got rid of it. She took the senior bus everywhere - “Can you frigging believe it, Ruth?  - she lived in an apartment for seniors – “Can you frigging believe it, Ruth?” – she had no friends, she told me, and stayed in her apartment for weeks at a time. “I’m isolating myself, Ruth, it’s terrible!”
          The final straw was when she brought up Ellen Pansen. Ellen had been my roommate but hadn’t liked me so she transferred rooms. One day she was found – hanging from a rope in the shower. The Bible was turned to a page in Ecclesiastes on the toilet tank.
          I moaned inside and changed the subject.
          “Wendy, why don’t you go for a walk?” I suggested.
          No, the neighborhood wasn’t nice enough.
“What do you see out your window?” I asked.
          “Trees, just trees,” she said.
          “Trees,” I exclaimed. “Beautiful trees!”
          How we loved the trees on the Goddard campus. We all had our favorites. Autumn was magnificent in Vermont, the fabled New England autumns where tourists arrive in sleek buses for the golden views. And, now, as we spoke, it was autumn, sending glorious overcoats of leaves onto the dying grass.
          The horrible words, “help-rejecting complainer,” came to my mind as Wendy continued her litany of despair. Trained as a psychotherapist in my forties, these clever words came from Irv Yalom’s classic text “Group Psychotherapy.”
          Wendy heard me putting away my dishes in my sunlit kitchen, where a cup of peppermint tea was cooling on the table.
          “What are you making for dinner?” she asked me. I explained that I was putting away the dishes – multi-tasking is second-nature to me – and told her I’d eat some cabbage soup I made the day before.
          “Oh, I’m a horrible cook,” she said.  
          Desperate to end the conversation on a positive note, I suggested perhaps she should get a cat for companionship. I should’ve known. She was allergic to cats, so there was no happy ending.
          Only for me, there was. The knowledge that I’d found Wendy Golden Davidson, that she was alive, alive and living miserably in Burlington, Vermont.
          The next day I ordered a box of Thin Mints on Amazon.com to be delivered directly to her apartment. Certainly, eating must be a way to cheer her up. I sure wished I could fix her. 
***
LETTER OF JULY 15, 2015


Ruth Z Deming
204 Cowbell Road
Willow Grove PA 19090
July 16, 2015

Wendy Golden Davidson
214 North Prospect
Apt. 203
Burlington VT  05401

Dear Wendy—

Just in from Goddard College….

Join us for an Award Ceremony at the Fall 2015 Psychology & Counseling Program Commencement to celebrate the accomplishments of our graduates and to recognize the life and work of Jonathan Katz (BA RUP '71).

Katz will give the commencement speech and receive the 2015 Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Goddard College President Robert Kenny at 2pm on Sunday, September 6th in the Haybarn Theatre.

Can you imagine! Our own Jonathan Katz will become an honorary Doctor! AND give a commencement speech.

I think we all give little speeches, don’t you, every day of our lives. When my mom wakes up in her own bed, she says to herself, “I’m still alive.” She’ll be 93 in August. The eighth, to be exact, should we wish to send a card.

Today I woke up in Scott’s bed. He’s my boyfriend of 9 years. “Is it that long?” he asked me. Women remember these things. Scott was at work. He works in the dark of the night fixing trains for the City of Philadelphia. I slept over b/c my air-conditioning doesn’t work right. I watched a fantastic YouTube video of the film My Cousin Rachel, by the same Daphne duMaurier who wrote Rebecca. This film starred the young gorgeous curly-haired deep-throated Richard Burton who was obsessed with Cousin Rachel, played by Olivia deHaviland, who was part-evil! Are we all?

And all dead now, sadly.

But not the two of us. You have your Winooski River – or at least, Goddard does – and we of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have our Pennypack Creek which dumps into the Delaware River.

Look how we kill the Injuns and keep the beautiful place names they invented. As Peter Paul and Mary sang, “When will we ever learn?”

The Twelfth of Never! Well, WGD, that’s it for now. Twould be nice to get a note from you. That lovely penmanship I can still see in me mind’s eye.

Love always, 

***




Ruth Z Deming
204 Cowbell Road
Willow Grove PA 19090
July 16, 2015

Wendy Golden Davidson
214 North Prospect
Apt. 203
Burlington VT  05401

Dear Wendy—

Here I am sipping my one-dollar cup of McDonald’s black coffee at my upstairs computer. “What size would you like,” asked the tall young man this morning. He told me all sizes cost one dollar.

I got the tallest cup, a lovely deep brown, with gold flecks. I love drinking coffee when I write. Am working on a short story called “The Gatekeeper” about a 13-year-old autistic girl who cannot speak. My bro had autism, dead at 29. We just lit Yahrzeit candles for him. Or, should I say, thought about doing it but did not.

Enclosed is a poem I wrote about you, plus an old photo when I had red hair. As we said o’er the phone, you and I both stopped coloring our various heads of hair, mine as thin as a skull cap.

Jonathan Katz emailed me yesterday. He told me you were dying “and on a lighter note,” he said, “What about those Mets?”

How did he know? Did you call him? He invited me up for the commencement speech at Goddard. At my age, 69, I can only drive around the block. Perhaps there will be a miracle and I’ll wake up and be young and bold again, sit like a lady in the audience at the Haybarn, see a few people we know – and wildly applaud, my upper arms shaking like vanilla pudding.

Ding! Ding! Ding! My library sent me an email that a good book awaits me at the desk. Such nice people work there. Margie Peters, the director, fought cancer and she won. Who cares if you’re in your late fifties and your boobs have been sliced off like baloney meat? 

Mine grow huger all the time. I’ll send you a poem about that, if I may.

It’s in the 90s today. I refuse to turn on my A/C since it’s too expensive. I sit a few feet away from large fans, which blow what little hair I have and send cool kisses to my legs residing under my blue dress – “Oh!” says Scott – “you’re wearing one of your sexy dresses.”

Your ‘umble servant,

Ruth Z Deming, MGPGP (master, group process and group psychotherapy)
215 659 2142
Here's the poem I mailed her

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

Breasts grow bigger with age
we agree, one of many things
we talk about at the kitchen
table with the faux chicken liver
nearly gone. No one can guess
that cashews and green beans
account for the taste. Mom,
nearing ninety-three, is it? has
forced her shutting-down
body to make it. The woman
has everything – family, friends,
Ron and Hildegunde, servants
like Ellen who do her bidding –
everything but her legs which
used to gallop across the tennis court.

We don’t cry over the past. Miles
eyes framed in black glasses and
Veronica in a purple sundress will
travel to her country of Columbia
over Christmas. Her family hails
from a modern city, too civilized,
she says, for El Chapo to hide there.
He’s running his drug empire from
the hills.

Ah mescaline! Mom’s antibiotics
made her see patterns. Hands went
up around the table over who used
it. There wasn’t time to describe the
trip I had in the rolling hills of Goddard
College, the three of us walked into the
unlocked library, with its red carpet. I
stole a book, then mailed it back later
that year.

Would it be a lie – or my imagination –
if I told you El Chapo Joaquin Guzman
has tunneled his way into my house?
At sixty, we are almost compatriots. He
sleeps on the husband’s side of the bed
in his black Hanes briefs, tapping me
when I begin to snore. We love the
same TV shows – Mad Men and X-Files.

I won’t let him smoke in the house
so he goes on the screened in back porch
and lights up the night with his
Spanish Galleon cigars. He has a
loving heart and sends me to
the mall to buy gifts for his
mother, a few former lovers,
and tells me: Someday, Amor Mio,
I will buy you a ring.

He is not to know, but I will turn
him in before then, the everlovin’
Bastardo.   
I will miss him, certainly, the
sweat from his body, those
little black underpants, and the way
his gold teeth shone in the dark.  
*** 
I wrote this poem and mailed it to her



WENDY OF THE GREEN HILLS OF VERMONT

Flowers by wire on their way
A selection of violets
which will live long after you
my dying friend from Goddard
College in Vermont

The trickle of blood
your own Winooski River
went unnoticed until
too late. The cancer
has spread through your
insides like blue plum jam.

Who knew your third floor
pad in Burlington would be
your final home. “I should have
stayed in Maryland,” you sighed
over the phone, as memories
of your parents fill you with
longing, longing now that the world
grows small as a mattress
with a morphine pump
on the side. 

You beat me to age seventy
We were risk-taking teenagers
when we met, sun-bathing nude
in the cow pasture, wishing our
great unrequited loves could
ride over the hill to caress us, Lenny for
you, Frank for me.

I will ride the wild stallion when
you’re gone, galloping to the
high hill on Terwood Road
to tell you who came after Obama
and if they’re advancing in
Alzheimer’ and dementia

Your shoulder-length hair
is gray. Like me, you stopped
coloring it. A slow concession
to time. I still remember your
articulate sentences you spoke
at Kilpatrick Dorm, while people
were screwing in their rooms.

What must that be like, I wondered.

Sip on that licorice tea I sent you
it might have healing properties
Who decided to kill you off
Who planted that curare flask
in your womb that never bore
fruit?

As we speak on the phone
you from your bed
me on the red couch
a cardinal appears at your
window. “He is there on
account of me,” I say.

“For sure,” you say in that
voice I can summon at will.
The two of us lying beneath
the stars awaiting the blackness
that will come when it will. 

***


Some things I remember from speaking with her on the phone:
- Her incredulity that she had cancer. 
- Numerous regrets - why hadn't she stayed in Maryland where she was born
- We reminisced about people we remembered at Goddard
- I told her to call me and I would write an obituary notice for her. This surprised her. Why? That I cared about her? That she thought she was important enough to be remembered? 
- She was unduly modest. Or shall I say in psychiatric terms - she had terribly low self-esteem. 
***
If any reader wishes to contribute to this eulogy of sorts, please email me at RuthDeming at Comcast.net.
I await your response or phone call - 215-659-2142.  


         
         







Monday, August 31, 2015

The good die young - Patrick Otis Cox - Wendy Davidson - Death of Blogspot Photos - Letter to Editor - Two new poems: The Fading Edge of Light and If on a Winter's Night

No photos on here, Folks, Blogspot has changed their 'photo mode.' Apparently they don't accept a shot from a camera.

Click on this link - it's the website of Patrick Otis Cox, who died last week of a massive heart attack. His wife - Yin Liu - found him dead in the other room. A sight she will never forget.

I apprised my Writers' Group of this last Saturday.

Before the Giant Coffeeshop and Weinrich's Bakery, we met at Le Coffee Salon in Hatboro,  owned by Yin.

Everyone made a comment about dying suddenly. Many said they'd prefer dying in their sleep.

Do we have a choice?

I'd saved so many great photos for my next blog post.

Obviously, though, this is a major loss for me.

Who out there can help me?

Today I had a Letter to the Editor published in the Intelligencer. Hope you don't mind if I print the entire thing below. Scott helped me write it.

I read Mike Fitzpatrick’s Aug. 23 column with incredulity. Like a smooth politician, the Republican congressman from the 8th District writes without saying a thing. He mentions “protecting our nation.”

We spend more than the rest of the world on defense, which needs to be totally overhauled. The VA is woefully underfunded and our veterans suffer horribly. Many are depressed or homeless and end up killing themselves. Will you work on this, Mike Fitzpatrick?

What does Fitzpatrick mean by “growing our economy”? He offers no solutions. We’ve done nothing about renewable energy and getting away from fossil fuels. Republicans like Fitzpatrick are owned by the fossil fuel corporations.


As for his “reforming our government,” the national Republicans want “no government.” They’re almost anarchists. What about a fair tax system? Will you work on that, Mike Fitzpatrick? He also talks about bipartisanship. What planet is he living on?

When Congress returns in the fall, perhaps Mike Fitzpatrick can make a strong stand on these important issues. Dare I say he might follow some of the teachings of Pope Francis, particularly on our threatened ecosystem, when he arrives at the end of September.

Ruth Z. Deming
Willow Grove
Wanted to end the Letter on a hopeful note.

I'm always racing against the clock.

By Thursday I must finish If On a Winter's Night, by Italo Calvino, wrin in 1979. Very difficult to read. Sometimes I luv it, something I hate it.

Look! Photo is straight off the Internet. 

Image result for italo calvino


Image result for patrick otis cox  Here's Patrick and Yin off the Internet at a party at my house.

TWO POEMS I WROTE FOR OUR SATURDAY WRITERS GROUP



IF ON A WINTER’S NIGHT

Well, Calvino, my library club has chosen
your, shall we say, Bach Theme and
Variations, in font form, for our August
selection, fitting, perhaps, as the
leaves pitter-patter to the ground
not caring a whit to dazzle us anymore
just as you, at sixty, lay eyes closed
thinking perhaps of one more book to
write, no use, as rivers of blood closed
the curtains of your mind.

I’m enjoying my relationship with you
feet propped up on my red
living room couch, sipping black
coffee through a matching straw,
“sensitive and sensible soul” that
I am – how kind of you to say that –
jotting down notes for the writing club
a week hence

You’ll appreciate this, Calvino. The
library director thinks “club” has an
elitist meaning, and might change
our name to “group” as in “groups of
Jews riding the trains to Auschwitz”
Your Italian compatriot Levi survived
but then plunged headfirst from his
villa

On to the lovely things of life
Right outside my window a
mourning dove – huge, long-tailed
freight-train gray – sways back and
forth on the branch, we know not
why.

My copy is a paperback. In the
original Italian, the reader took
a paper knife and slit open the
pages “cutting our way through
a dense forest”

We meet Ludmilla, a fine name,
denoting, oh, a tough Russian
blonde, the definitive Brunhilde
in golden armor who – and I’m
turning my head now – has
thrust herself in Siegfried’s
funeral pyre.

There is no end to these tragedies.
We may have succeeded in saving
the monarch butterflies, easier
than the Muslims, Jews, Pro-Choicers,
these quick-flying demigods have
eaten from my milkweed puffs
in the front yard. See them flying
skyward toward the heavens?

Gone in a wink
like life aboard
the trains or
sitting on the
red couch.

***

I came up with an ending for this poem similar to the "Change your life" ending of a Rilke poem. Our new member Rem Murphy thought of the Rilke poem, which I couldn't remember.


Read Archaic Torso of Apollo here.

And weep, if you're a poet like me. 


THE FADING EDGE OF LIGHT

That time of night when
the moon plays peak-a-boo
behind Charlie’s dogwoods
and I slip on my sandals
stand watch on the front
stoop, gaze upward for
the stars’ glitter
then take off downstream
on Cowbell.

Pumping my arms
I glide like an ice-
skater down the slope
my shorn white hair
catching the evening
breeze. What will I
see tonight?

A pacifier on the lawn
of the new people. I
toss it toward the door
then step lightly across
newly mown grass
dying in the street.

A huge chalk drawing
in the street shows
a female child with
two large cavities
above her waist.

Is this imagination
I’m seeing on Cowbell
Road? Or a prophecy.

Shall I stand outside
the window on the
lower slope and watch
the Phillies’ work their
magic on the big screen?

Greyhorse has many changes.
“I live in the grey house,” Carol
once told me. Why then the
Dumpster in front? Wayne is
moving her out. Miss Dee Mentia
has moved inside.

Do I have the stamina to make
it up the steep hill of Greyhorse,
this blink of a thought is quickly
changed as I peek from afar
in open windows and then
I see it
illuminated by the moon

A house bathed in light
its whiteness like
marble from the tombs
of Italy, Michelangelo
hovers near.

Who would I be
if I lived in that house?
A grand dame driving a
Mercedes? The leader of
a political party? A novelist
appearing on the Morning
News?

“In other life,” my friend
Pam used to say. I am in
no hurry. Let me stand, in
my blue evening gown,
bathed in moonbeams,
and ask the gods for
an easy exit when
my time comes.

Happy birthday number five
Grace Catherine Deming.