Monday, March 27, 2017

Poems: Sitting in the Dead Man's Chair - Sixth Kidneyversity on April 1 - Poem: When the Fog Comes Rolling in

Image result for vampire drawing blood


SITTING IN THE DEAD MAN'S CHAIR

I'm sure someone who's sat
in the chair has died, not
me yet!

At Quest, I pull up the
gray sweater I have worn
for nearly a week

It's become part of my skin
and I'm not ready yet to take
it off

Jane tries a spot on my
left arm. That damn needle
pokes around looking for a
nice big vein. I sit there
in suspense.
Have you found it yet, Jane?

Now we try the right arm. Jane
finds the gray-green upraised
bruise, high as a pitcher's
mound, where she poked me
last week.

Did you have surgery, she asks.
Jane, I laugh, you did that to
me last week.

Now she pokes me in a new place.
Virgin territory. Staring in
wonder, I ask, is it coming out?

Yes, but it's in no hurry, as it
takes its time filling the empty
vial, but only half way.

The moral, the mantra, the message?
Relax and take it slow. What's the
hurry? Your appointment in Samarra
will come when it will.

***

Helen and Larry Kirschner saw The Bad Plus at Bucknell University on Sat, Feb 18, 2017 at 7:30 pm. Helen gave me the poster, which is posted below and is also on the bulletin board just to my left. They brought friends and family members who are now fans.

Image result for the bad plus poster weis center    I've been listening, while I compose, to TBP plus Joshua Redman here on YouTube.

***
My little sweetie pie called.

You know what's happening on Saturday, she said.

Uh, yeah, I said. Our sixth Kidneyversity!

Sarah will find a nice restaurant downtown and I'll take the train in to celebrate!

For dinner, I took myself over to the Willow Grove Giant. Needed to make some soup so got all the ingredients. It's bubbling away in the crock pot now.

The salad bar was closed, darn, so I bought one shrimp egg roll for $2.00 and a half pint of fresh orange juice for $2.00

Man, that OJ was tasty! Egg roll good too.

Image result for fresh o j


Very high in carbs.

Then I sat and read Illumination Night by Alice Hoffman for about 15 minutes before driving home in the pitch black dark.

W/o checking my sugar, I walked around the hilly block. It was very dark out. Did not see a soul except for cars passing by. Hi Patrick's house. Hi dead man Luke's house.

Then I return home and know I must exercise more to lower my sugar. Watch PBS for 20 minutes while riding National Velvet with Elizabeth violet-eyed Taylor and then go downstairs to check my sugar. It's a perfect 81.

But you gotta eat cuz it's gonna go low.

My new fave food is

Image result for apple rice cakes
I spread two with peanut butter. Fantastic!!!

Just ate anudder one so I'll hop on my pony shortly and ride like the wind.

Took the liberty of sending Sarah Lynn three poems to read. Am gonna submit them to Proud to Be: American Warriors.

Southeast Missouri State University.

She really liked Poem for my Father, which had a couple parts. She said it was very emotional.

The Napoleon one? Eh....nice try.

And she really liked Memories of Vietnam. Liked the new rhythms and short stanzas. My friend CC did not like that one atall!

Are YOU as tired as I am?

This is the first Monday I have not worked at Symphony Manor. They fired me last week for lack of funding.

I would joke with Scott yesterday.  Gotta choose my two songs now!

Here's a poem I posted this morning on FB.

WHEN THE FOG COMES ROLLING IN

Greg Whiteside, the first voice
I hear in the morning, told us
the fog lay dense in the
Philadelphia area.

I put down my book - Whistleblowing
in the Age of Snowden - and walked
to the bedroom window.
Where was all the fog? In these days
of celebrations on the deeds of women,
I walked downstairs and onto my
front porch.
Standing in my warm polka-dot pajamas,
I inhaled through my nose as if meditating
and then blew out through puffed cheeks.
Thick fog enveloped our street and
Mailman Dante, driving his truck,
vanished.

They "liked" it which made my serotonin blink on and off, on and off!

It's reminiscent of the great children's book The Five Chinese Brothers.

Five chinese brothers.jpg


Thursday, March 23, 2017

What's that DING on my laptop - Bella Online Spring Issue published!

Was in the kitchen eating my Leg O Lamb when I heard the familiar PING, meaning a new email had just come in.

Don't look, I said, it's nothing important.

Lemme tell you first about the tragedy of my Leg o Lamb, which is filled with fat. I was about to carry my bowl into the living room. It had a soup spoon in it. As I started to walk - I've been wearing PJs all day - the g'dam spoon acted like a cantilever and my Leg o Lamb spattered all over! Twas on the kitchen table, the floor, between the slats of my chair.

It must be cleaned up fast or it would congeal and stink.

I decided to peek at what had come in. Was very pleased it was the 2017 Spring Edition of Bella Online, in which I got lotsa stuff published. I knew that already as Lisa O'Shea had written everyone about their work, asking us to make sure everything was correct.

Click here.

I emailed folks in our Writing Group about Linda Barrett's GREAT poem, Morning Conversations. 

Read it here.

Wrote this poem this morning and posted it on my home page plus a poetry page that my friend Iris Arenson Fuller created on World Poetry Month.

Image result for white orchid kremp

WHITE ORCHID

With its floppy
green leaves that
look like dog ears,
my new white orchid
likes its home
on the coffee table
A slant of winter
light breaking
silently through
the windows caresses
it far from its
home near the Panama Canal.
Transplants. Immigrants.
All of us. Movement is
the universal condition
of life. The earth
moves beneath our feet.
Hush! And you may feel it.

You may wonder if I ever go to sleep.

Had a huge nap around noon. I was exhausted. As I slept I felt the presence of someone in my room. Probably a man.

HELP  HELP!  I called, very frightened. Then I woke up, heart pounding.

When I told Scott, he said, that's not a dream, it's a nightmare.

Wanna get a start on a short story I plan to present to a Thursday Evening Poetry Group at the home of Linda Jones on nearby Fern Avenue.

It's about a young boy's experience of his dad going off to war. His dad will be a Marine, like mine own father.

Where should the family live?

Am reading a spectacular novel SOUTH OF BROAD by Pat Conroy. Should I set it in Charleston, SC? Of course not!

Then it came to me.

Why not in Trevose PA, home of Symphony Manor.

Image result for symphony manor    Perfect, I thought. On Buck Road, where it's located, there are lovely homes plus a swim club.

Image result for dolphin swim club  Dolphin Swim Club. Great name!

Then I thought, No, the family should live in a trailer park!

So, if you'll excuse me, gonna make a start on the story now. Gotta get up early and get a blood test for 

Image result for tacrolimus

PS - Am terrified to start my story. I have no idea what I'll do.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Feels terrible getting fired! Poem: We Love Ya, But We Don't Want Ya! - Poem: Silence

 Oh darn! I got fired from one of my favorite jobs I ever had. To be fair, tho, my boss, Josh Mason, said I may be called back in a month or so.

Frankly, my dear, I don't believe it.

Image result for symphony manor trevose

Read this poem I wrote about it. The room above is where I ran my last group - The Now and Then Group.

WE LOVE YA, BUT WE
DON'T WANT YA

Stayed up till two
typing up lyrics to
"Johhny B Goode" and
"The Way You Do the
Things You Do."

How they love to sing!
Open mouths like Christmas
choralers standing outside
the castle, breath ascending
to the Heavens.

My people! John in his
wheelchair saying Trump
is our last hope, white-
haired Mary waking from
her ocean-deep sleep
to belt out the songs,
Elaine the delightful
curmudgeon in warm sweater
and pearls, saying "I know
that song!" at 92.

During Johnny B Goode
we put each woman's
name in... Hattie, then
Ethel, then Patti,never
learned to read or
write too well, but
she could play the
guitar like ringing
a bell

My job for one whole hour
is to bring people joy
in their final home.
Wrenched they were
from moving into
their tiny bedrooms
with family photos
reminding them
of what life used
to be!

Scott drove me to
whole Foods to
comfort me when
Josh told me it
was my last day.

Budget cuts demanded
Fire all the entertainers.

I bought a leg of lamb
which is roasting overnight
in the slo-cooker and
two Hamantaschen, one
poppy, one apricot.

When I fall asleep
tonight their faces
will float past me,
Elaine, most of all,
every time I take
a breath from reading
Whistleblowers in
the Age of Edward
Snowden. 

***

Mad Swirl, an online lit mag, had written me a note saying they missed my work. I stopped submitting to them b/c they rejected me and also b/c they take forever to respond.

Was quite surprised they published this poem that I totally forgot about

SILENCE

Be silent
Be silent when you wake up
in the morning light drizzling
thru your lavender drapes

Listen to the sounds of the world
whether the cars splashing up the
street – oh, so it rained last night! – or
the mournful whistle of the passenger train

Are you afraid to hear the
whispers in your own mind?
Give them room
Give them space
They have a right to be heard!

There’s that squirrel again
outside on the back porch
the same one I saw last week
Peering at me as he nibbles
an acorn – or is it a dreidl? –
as the world enfolds us both, unconcerned.


***

I see, reading the last line, my existential view of the world, shows the very neutral nature of the world.

  Jean-Paul Sartre, author of the play No Exit - what a despairing name -and Being and Nothingness, his chef-d'oevre.

  He and Simone de Beauvoir had an open relationship. Here they are in Beijing. Photo from Wiki. What? You think I was there with my Polaroid?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

First Day of Spring - Robert Osborne Tribute on TCM - Poems: Patches and Panattone

Last night I spent hours and hours submitting.

Megan A whose website deals with very odd things had rejected my story Gibberish. I was shocked as I thought it was so good.

Thought of sending it to Twisted Sister and very quickly they got back to me. Angela said she loved it and loved the idea of the ant colony.

***

Image result for panettone

This morning's poem:

PANA-WHAT?
It's Pannatone, said
Beatrice, Dante's guide
in Paradiso
Unknown to us in the
Writers Group and even
Beatrice herself.
She reigns on the long sofa
and paradise is ours
when she points to the
Panatone in the kitchen.
Hungry always as the
tiny birds that trill
about the feeder,
I pad, socks off, into
the fragrant kitchen
my nose up like a
bloodhound
What's that strange
creation, looking
like a foot-high
cupcake, wrapped
in paper?
Raisins, golden,
and dark, and citron strips,
finally see the light of day
I nibble right away
like a mouse, then
bring in ragged
slices for Linda,
Rem, Ken and myself.
Panatone! Panatone!
Wher'ere I go
over land or sea
I shall never meet
the likes of you
until I land in
Paradiso.

***

Earlier this evening, strode over to the K's house to give them a check for $25 for shoveling me out a few days ago. Then I just kept on going, walking as fast as I could around the block. Noticed these different patterns of snow in the front yards. "Oh no!" I said to myself. "Now I've got to write a poem about them."

PATCHES

Walking quickly round the block
as the darkness spread a
blanket across the land
I was suddenly aware
of the way the snow
was melting and
continues to melt

My foot ached to slice
a tower from its base
but like an Amtrek
floating into the station
I could stop for nothing

Set me free cried the grass
to the heavens and the
green and white rancher
on the corner got its
wish: a misshapen patch
shone free

The house I like, the
wedding cake house, in
various shades of white
and cream, had zigs and
zags across the lawn

Patterns unknown to us
mortals swept over the
neighborhood as I stepped
lively, avoiding the
mud, and hollered to
the barking white dog
as I cross the street
Hello Kalie Barker,
opened my door and turned
on the film Westworld
with its creepy
characters and pulled
out my rice cakes
spread with pear sauce
to nosh on as I
watched in total darkness.

***
Started eating those sticky rice cakes spread with warm pear sauce and when I finished, I knew I was low.

Gosh darn it!!!

Image result for thin mints          Thin mints. Whoa, am I full!

Called my sister Donna and asked if she'd read my newest story - The Saint of the Poconos - great title, huh! - she is not a great fan of my work, but I wanted her to read a part about drinking coffee. She did and said she didn't know the meaning of the Rubicon and dalliance, which I defined for her.

Well, sir, I just biked for 20 minutes and read the brilliant writer Alice Hoffman who, instead of using the word "boyfriends" uses "Romeos."

***

Sent an email to my group and included these words:

Two giants in entertainment died recently. The first is Robert Osbourne of Turner Classic Films. My sister Donna and I watched a tribute to Osbourne all night long, sleeping and watching, sleeping and watching.

- Saw wonderful intervws by Bob: Eva Marie Saint, Kim Novak - she's happily settled in Portland, married to an equine vet, and paints. Her dad was mentally ill and she has bipolar d/o.

He interviewed the great filmmaker Norman Jewison, born in 1926. Read about him here.  Thanks, Ruthie! I'll do it later.

Osbourn's alltime fave actor is William Holden.

The second was Chuck Berry. Read his obit here from the Times.

10 years ago I had a monthly "gig" at the Horsham Clinic. On Monday nights I'd cheer up the patients by bringing in my stereo and playing various songs, including those by Chuck Berry. I'd get them up and dancing.

And I'd do a modified "duck walk" like he did.

Hold on and lemme try it now.

Well, I did it in slo-mo.

Today, with snow still on the ground and 43 degrees, according to WDVR, it's THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING.

What can we do to celebrate? How about bundling up and going for a walk around the block?

- Scott and I did that. We took the long way with me huffing and puffing. He don't. We watched Hell or High Water, which I had watched on the cruise ship. Wasn't that great the second time around. Still enjoyable as it got toward the end and the useless killings.

Or how about a lovely spring poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, Scottish author of the famous...uh...Treasure Island and ... it's about the guy who has two faces...email me if you know.

- No one wrote. Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Don't you hate that? You do your best and no one responds. Oh, stop complaining.

Summer Sun by Stevenson.

My son/law Ethan Iverson and his band The Bad Plus were commissioned to write their version of The Rite of Spring or Le Sacre de Printemps.

Listen to a few bars here.

Feel free to donate to New Directions to help offset the cost of our Compass. Total, for 650 copies, including printing and graphic design, is $2835.90.

Send donation to New Directions, Box 181, Hatboro PA 19040 or go on website below and press the YELLOW PayPal donation button on the Right.

- Thanks Ellen R for your $20 donation. Every bit helps. I found a penny on the floor of the Giant Supermarket.

***

Image result for holden in picnic

He had to shave his hairy chest as it was considered too sexy. And this isn't sexy? 

William Motter Inge (/ˈɪn/;[1] May 3, 1913 – June 10, 1973) was an American playwright and novelist, whose works typically feature solitary protagonists encumbered with strained sexual relations. In the early 1950s, he had a string of memorable Broadway productions, including Picnic, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize. With his portraits of small-town life and settings rooted in the American heartland, Inge became known as the "Playwright of the Midwest."

***