Friday, December 9, 2016

Staying up late - saved poems - cardboard houses - man in next room

Last year's photo of My Writing Room. Scott's pink rhododendron hidden in his backyard where no one can see it.

Watched Miranda Esmonde White do her exercises.  

Image result for miranda esmonde white

Send Miranda a message, it says on her website.

I'd turned off the light and was trying to fall asleep when she came on. I bolted upright and xercised along with her and her gang.

They feel like family. Miranda's favorite word is 'atrophy.'

Was wracking my brain tonight to think of a word. It was on the tip of my brain. After 40 seconds I remembered it.

Will tell you what it is tomorrow.

I have nowhere to put a Few Good Poems so I'm using this blog post as a big suitcase to stuff them in.

Could not believe that my short story The Day Trip was rejected earlier today by Into the Void.  It's just a pleasant easy to read story loosely based on neighbors Elaine and Alan.

So 6 hours later, I fixed up The Day Trip and submitted it to Quail Bell.


We sat in a circle in folding chairs,
the lucky seven,
I was wearing a party dress that showed my curves
forgot to wear panties, so kept my legs together.
Paul spoke. For the first time I liked him.
Not because he used to be a radio D-J or
his mother was dying of Alzheimer’s in a nursing home
but because he banged his head against the wall
when his daughter hung up on him.

The newcomer was diagnosed two days ago.
He knew nothing about his illness.
He was 22 and had led the life of a gallant well-
dressed pimp
but now guilt pressed him flat in his chair
- a run-over worm.

I stared at him. Nice contrast of
ebony skin the color of a Chinese lacquer box
and peach-colored palms he clenched on and off
in his lap.

He began his confession,
looking down and talking staccato.
I touched his shoulder. Keep some
secrets for yourself, I said. We don’t need to
know ev-ery-thing.

The dam began to leak and
Harry, who worked for a drug company,
talked about his rampant sexuality when manic,
laughed when he talked about the women he made love to,
a few men too, the wife taking off with the
house and the kids.

The newcomer nodded.
You mean it happened to you, too?
he asked Harry.

It happened to all of us, I say.

Harry told about writing a hundred pages of gorgeous
notes only two months ago during his last mania.
Hypergraphia, I said, mouthing the beautiful syllables of a
new word I’d just learned.
Mine, I threw away after 20 years hidden in the attic,
useless horseshit.

The newcomer wanted more symptoms.
I handed him a brochure. Everything has a
name, I said. Whatever you did, they’ve already
named it. They’re pretty smart.

Well, if they’re so smart, he said, why can’t they
fix it?

Well, they’re not that smart, I said.

The newcomer was guilt-ridden over his
sexual escapades. Used the word ‘evil’ to
describe himself.
C’mon, I said. Something big comes over us. We
light up. We glow. Arrive with a halo for godsakes.
We’re like lightning bugs in the dark.
We blink.
Think of the evolutionary possibilities if you’re a
man. Populating your side of the island.

Paul, the guy I finally liked, talked about his old
man shooting his brains out.
Oh no, I thought, now we’ve gotta explain
we kill ourselves to the newcomer.

Derek, I said, turning toward him, there’s
something you need to know.

I know it already, he said. I was 9 when I first got
out the rope.

Hallelujah, brother, I said, slapping his hand.
Well, that’s just fine, Derek. You know everything now.
Relax and enjoy yourself.


When you don’t need it anymore,
when it’s imparted its last
gifts of manhood and of shame

When its hands cuff your neck
with a forest fire of remorse
and they march you off
quicker than a red fox vanishing

and you can barely glimpse
its sun-sequined back
too glossy for the moral eye –

Then, finally, there’s nothing left,
no one left to call
or shower with your gifts or laughter,
you’ve used them up
one by one
each of the many faces
you thought were yours forever.

So they buy you a trailer
and stick you inside,
the better to sleep away your princely dreams.
A dog twitching under a glass table
couldn’t resemble you more.

You rise up and stand on a box.
With your one good eye
you squint through the narrow window
at the grassy fields outside

and sing.


When I began eating my omelet
sprinkled with scallions
and melted cheddar,
hot to the tongue
and thought of my Christmas shopping
and the places I’d go
I asked Thich Nhat Hahn to
sit with me in the kitchen
to help me savor my food.

In dark robes
he bowed his head
over black tea I prepared,
delicately lifted the white cup
as he bowed again
meeting my eyes,
eyes that have seen much
some of it wrapped into books
or poetry or praying for peace.

Taste returned to my tongue
the omelet and the goodness of
the hen who had given her life for me
I became one with the morning
The sun shone into my living room
I bowed my head in thanks for its
arrival that morning
Then lifted my glass of water
stared at the clear cold liquid
then drank,

It is cold and it is good to me.

And the master across the table
pinkie lifted as he drained
the last of his jasmine tea.


Pulled by mysterious forces from
my nighttime bed
I sleepily descend the stair
open the front door
and peek as a stranger
into the dark night.

A misty, charcoal world
lay before me
no moon
no stars
was this the earth I knew so well?

Two houses like cardboard cutouts
grinned at me from
across the street
windows dark
tilting slightly toward the other.

Had they just landed?
Were they sturdy or
in imminent danger of

Did they see me or
have any regard for me?

I closed the door.
Then opened it again.
They hadn’t left.
Was it my imagination or
did I hear them laughing
under the cloudless sky?



Orange peels - eggshells - purple rubber bands
blood-soaked Band-aids - stinkbugs in napkins

I shall miss you
plop you
with a thud
in the garbage can
the truck will pick you up tomorrow
grind you to bits while I sleep
   unlike father and brother whose bodies
   decompose with the worms and the grubs
you shall live forever
vying for superiority in the landfill

Will you come alive?
will you pull apart and swarm with the microbes
who love you so?
o dwellers of the underground
Let Orpheus sing his song for you
and Christ set you free on Judgment Day.



Dedicated to Bella of Troop 7063, Willow Grove, PA, USA

I hear him snoring in his favorite chair
my husband, the professor, with
his long snowy-white beard

We met at a pub in
Philadelphia, each sipping a
beer. He took my hand
and said, "O nameless woman
I aim to marry thee. Dreamt
about you only yestereday, in your
pink and purple scarf that frames
your cheerful face just so."

Sixty years went by.
Children, grandchildren
Book shelves filled with
books lined up from A to Z.
Julie Child cookbooks,
bios of presidents,
my slender volumes of poetry
his four tomes of ancient

Never dreaming that we too
would get ancient, memories
dim as fading stars at twilight.

I hear him awake from the
next room, fumbles around,
then, "Darling Mary! I've
bought you a Valentine gift."

Stutz Candy? The
Whitman Sampler? But, no,
this man of mine, wearing
his polka-dot pajamas, shuffles
into the living room bearing
a box of Girl Scout Cookies,
Thin Mints, we will share over
a glass of wine.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Ye old jukebox - Poem: Singing for Mommy

  What would you think if one of these was sitting atop your table at the diner?

I'd think, Where are my quarters, so I can pick out three songs.

What songs would YOU pick?

John Glenn has just died at age 95. He was a good man. A kind man. A warrior and an astronaut. Wiki will tell you more about him

John Glenn Portrait.jpg
 He was a Democratic Senator from Ohio. Ed Harris played him in the film THE RIGHT STUFF.

At age 77, he returned to space. He also had a brief stint at president of Royal Crown Cola.

One wonders, Could he stomach the drink? 

Was thinking about sharing his death on FB and then thought, You are not a slave to FB.

Hold on, lemme just peek and see if anyone liked today's poem. 

Just came home from visiting Mom. Am gonna write a poem about her in a moment.

Since I was all bundled up I took a walk around the block. If you have diabetes like me, you check your sugar first - 100 - and then walk, with a protein bar in your pocket.

Came home and KNEW I was low. 52. Ate half of my fresh fruit I bought for $1 off at the Giant. Blubberies, strawberries, and fresh Mango, which used to be my favorite fruit before I got the disease.

Had to make sure the yellow mango was not a yellow piece of pineapple, which when I was a kid made my throat close up. Anaphilactic shock. I try to remember all these words to cleanse out the pipes of my brain.

What brain?

You've gotta eat when you're low. So I ate this siggi's yogurt, pineapple spice. Flavorless! 

Mental note: never buy it again. DUH! (My new favorite word)

Brown Cow and Chobani are fine.


Climbed up the stairs to her bedroom
where she sat daintily covered by
the crazyquilt wool blanket.

I've just eaten at Panera's, I told her.
Had a hankering for cranberry sauce
and ordered their Thanksgiving special
squooshed onto a flatbread sandwich

I'm doing better, she said, after her
latest fall. Her tailbone broke.
Did she feel it snap like when
she was a kid, eighty-some
years ago, snapping the wishbone
from the turkey with a cr-rack!

I'd never sung a solo for Mommy
Felt a little nervous as I've only
been a mezzo-soprano for
a day now.

Puffing out my chest like a
bagpipe, then pulling it
in, I began, standing
beside her walker.

(Snapping of fingers)

From the diaphragm now

I don't know if we're in a garden
or on a crowded avenue
(Mom joins in)
You are here
and so am I
maybe millions of people
go by, but they all disappear
from VIEW

She's shocked by my high
voice. And I only have eyes
for you.

All about her are the
paraphernalia of the
elderly, not that 94 is
old, you know. She's looking for
Daddy's discharge papers
from the Marines and cannot
find them anywhere.

My mind isn't working, she said.
Of course it's not, I reply,
choosing my words carefully.

You're in an opiate fog
with some lesser analgesics
thrown in and your body,
not that 94 is all that old,
is still reeling from the fall.

We look at one another.
She's still pretty, think.
In fact, I say,
say, You're turning into Daddy
each and every day.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Singing Lessons! Our support group really helped a 29-yo man - Poem: Pearl Harbor Day - Where Were You? - TIME: Man of the Year

 My teacher is Caitlyn Kellegher.  View her website here

C'est moi! I had to learn to breathe thru my diaphragm.

I should be practicing until it becomes second nature.

Caitlyn established the range of notes I can sing.

She'd play a note on the piano and I'd match it with my voice.

It was different than anything I've ever done before. I surprised myself by being both nervous and enjoying it.

Told her I got a tiny headache while singing. 

Above I'm pretending to sing I ONLY HAVE EYES FOR YOU.  Since she's gonna be 29 this month, she's unfamiliar with the version by the old Flamingos - the Flamin Joes - of Chicago. Listen here. 

You know what? While I love listening to Beethoven Brahms and Bartok, I think this doo-wop version is one of the greatest recordings I've ever heard.

When I left, I was in such a good mood I stopped by Willow Grove Therapy - hello Margaret Fitzpatrick - and walked inside.

There I spotted Anne, the therapist who helped me with my painful hip from wearing my boot.  I still do the exercises every morning.

That's b/c I have intense pain in my left leg upon awakening. Within an hour it's gone.

At New Directions last nite, we helped a 29-yo man whose been depressed about five years. Suggested he see a new psychiatrist - DUH! - and get into a daily routine.

Now lemme tell you something. We can make the greatest suggestions in the world - Ada, Harriet, Rem - but it's up to Zeke (fake name) to do it!

My goal for today was sending out Holiday Cards for the 14 or so folks I work with at Symphony Manor.

Made the acquaintance today of Jennifer Angelina Petra. View her blog here.

A transgender woman, she created a whole new name for herself.

I've known several people who did the same thing.

A man who hated his father changed his name. His dad was my son Dan's chess teacher at the Huntingdon Valley Library.

A woman who lived on my street changed her name, as did a therapist I knew.

What would YOU change your name to?

Okay, lemme think a sec.

Katy Robin Dinnerstein.

Image result for time man of the year

Trump made the worst appointment he possibly could for the EPA.

From Wiki   The United States Environmental Protection Agency is an agency of the Federal government of the United States which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environment by writing and enforcing regulations based on laws passed by Congress.[3] The EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order.

NIXON created the post. 

Read about Scott Pruitt, the disastrous choice to head the EPA.

David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker, wrote An American Tragedy, about President Elect Trump. Read it here

Tomorrow when I rise, I'm gonna buy tix for the Beach Boys concert at the Keswick. A former neighbor of my sister Donna turned me onto the greatness of them and bade me read their book, which has since been disowned.

I Am Brian Wilson.jpg


75 years ago today
Pearl Harbor was
bombed, torpedoed.
We watched it on
the 6 o'clock news
while munching
Doritos and
marveling at the
accuracy of the
Japanese bombers
and submarines.

The future president
of one of the Toyota
subsidiaries was the
First Prisoner of War.

Hari kari was his goal
but his American captors,
who believe an embryo is
alive at conception,
and denounce euthanasia
treated him like dung.

Years later
Kazuo Sakamaki, strong
as ten thousand ships
was reunited with his
sunken boat.
He remembered and
wept. Pledged peace
from now on.

Nothing could replace
the nine dead men
who perished on his watch

Their families grieve still.

When Sakamaki died at 81,
he was a man who studied war
no more.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

The exciting Penelope Project - Dinner at the Demings - Poem: Aqua

Ruth Deming, have you no shame?

Was vacuuming under my bed when this piece of paper came up.

It's a shopping list in a female hand. On the other side of this paper is her husband's name. Jewish, of course. Who else would eat lox?

Oh, YOU would! Good for you. Buy the Nova. Less salty.

Just finished watching the Penelope Project on Channel 12.3.  About a nursing home in Wisconsin - those broad and lazy drawls speaking of innocence and kindness - then called Ada and Rich, whose Lillian Mom  is in her own nursing home, her brain closing down - and they checked their TV and couldn't find it, couldn't find it.... and then did.

They have cable. I do not.

Photo please!

Image result for the penelope project   Originally published Oct 2015.

While watching Penelope, I downed one-third of a bag of pretzels, then rode bike to nowhere, and my sugar was a - hey, let's establish a new rating scale.

Moderately whopping

Mine was a moderately whopping, in the low 200s.

Pix from dinner at the Demings

 Bubby, how dyou like my trains? He knew how many cars there were. An ambulance is in the cave in the back. YOU figger that one out.
 Well, at least he doesn't have a big belly. Hold on and lemme check mine. Moderately whopping. In the book I'm listening to, one of the characters in this Nazi era book, regularly gets whopped by a man with a hairy apron of a belly.
Max got a new app.

 Grace checked out the book Additives from the skl library. People have always added additives to their food and drink to keep em preserved.
 Delicious spaghetti squash with mushrooms and sausage. Menorah in back with leftover wax in its ears.
Clock that was Tom's. Reason I took foto is bc in a short story I just submitted - Me and the Ole Man - Luke had a clock like this, but filled with

Image result for hummel tyrolian boy      Hummels. 

 We're five people in the kitchen, I said, each one doing their own thang.
 Max was asleep on the couch, his legs crossed like when an adult sits.

The below poem didn't come out like I meant. So I'll work on anudder one. 


Tottering in coffee intoxication
I walked down the runway
of my upstairs hall

Are you old enough to
remember Beth Myerson, the first
Jewish Miss America

Years ago my Aunt Tay
the template for Shakespeare's
Taming of the Shrew

Forgot herself and called
me pretty.

I sipped on the hot strong
bitter Starbucks, until I thought I'd fall
off the chair in
my writing room.

The soul of Miss Woolf was nowhere to be

Get up, I commanded myself and go
to bed!

The aqua color of the
walls hurtled into
my eyes


A thousand symphonies
roared from my walls
my head throbbing in

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Did I actually make a new friend today? Poem: Driving home in the foggy night - Letter to my Sister Donna (about Crown series about Queen Elizabeth II)

Okay, Ruth Deming reporting from her upstairs computer, the computer where you cannot delete a thing!

Did I tell you the guy at Classic Computers yells at me when he tells me how to fix the problem? Scott will have to get on the phone with him.

Remind me on Monday.

Scott just left for work in this chilly weather.

When I left his house one of my favorite films - which he dislikes very much - 2001 A Space Odyssey was on.

HAL was just 'losing it.'

Scott and I watched a very good film - Mr Church with Eddie Murphy.  

Well, Scott slept thru much of it.

Roger Ebert gives it a terrible review saying... Sep 16, 2016 - The Academy loves its servile Black people, and “Mr. Church” is directed by Bruce Beresford, who seems to be addicted to this kind of character ...

Image result for mr church
As far as I could tell, there was absy no prejudice in the film against black people.

So, I was to meet my friend "Denise" at the Barnes and Noble Cafe and buy her a cuppa whatever as I have a $5 gift certificate.

She went to a real Starbucks so was a few minutes late.

I got my own tall coffee, which I'm sipping on right now - I added some olive oil and put it in a coffee mug with an inch of wild berry tea.


B & N  doesn't accept Starbucks coupons b/c this is not a Starbucks. It's a B and N. Fershtay? 

While waiting, I asked a woman what time it was.

2:05. Then I asked her what she was reading.

She showed me a book by Thomas Kinkade and said he died recently of an OD of Valium and alcohol. View story here.

By now, a fresh pot of coffee had been brewed and the barista brought it over to me. I asked Adeline if I could sit down w her. She said she would continue to read her book and I said fine.

The woman I was waiting for, I said, was blond.

She was not. Curly dark hair.

I just called Adeline now and told her not to forget about me. She lives in the area and we'll get together again some time at Starbucks. She does not drink coffee. She comes alive in the morning by drinking tea. I said I don't drink coffee reg'ly as I don't wanna get addicted.

Image result for godiva bars  Bought Mom four Godiva bars. Had them wrapped as it was Upper Moreland Library Wrapping Day, and then drove over to give em to her. She's still in a lotta pain from her fall. An ambulance drove her to the Abington ER about 1 in the am thother night. Tremendous pain that neither Vikodan nor Perkies really help.

She's good though. Her mind is just fine. When I told her about Adeline she said she went to Sunday School with Adeline Rasher.

"Wonder where she is now," said Mom. "I can guess."

She died in 2011. Am gonna call Mom now to tell her. 

Mom: Defending champ of longevity.

Scuse me while I sip on my coffee.

Finished up my story for the Intell on New Year's Resolutions. Based many on the PBS Show A World Without Cancer with radiologist Elizabeth I Cuomo, of the famous Cuomo family. 

Image result for me before you

Lest you think all I do is watch movies, you're correct.

Immensely enjoyed this tearjerker. Let's see what Roger Ebert says about it. Chaz, his widow, has someone write about the film.  Read it.

In fact, I'm gonna read it when I dismount from this blog.

Also, in the car I was listening to NORA WEBSTER by Colm Toivin.

Image result for nora webster book

Our Book Group meets the First Thursday of the month.

I forgot to write it on the calendar so I missed it!!!


After leaving the Italian restaurant
the world has gone foggy,
I strap on my seat belt
pat my belly filled with
cheese ravioli and enter
the whirl of traffic
like a Medieval jouster
bounding into the ring

After the balustrade of
lights, the road grows
dark, Christmas lights
sparkle surrounded
by mist

I climb up the hill
make the first right
while cars on side streets
wonder Should they
dash onto the main road?

I'm in the lead of this
parade of brightly
lit cars, thinking me
brave, a leader like
Pope Francis or
Johnny B Goode

Though I'm frightened
I relax, I know where
I'm going like a reader
who's just begun the book

If I must stop suddenly
for a deer prancing across
the road, we'll have a
12-car collision as shown
on Action News

I stop traffic as I put on
my blinker for a turn onto
Overlook, then chug up the
wet road, fallen leaves
stuck like bangles across
the road.

Two more turns and close to
home, open my window and
invite the mist inside
but shuck it off
as I enter my brightly
lit home.



I finished watching the first
season of The Crown, ten episodes
of the family of Queen Elizabeth
the Second, a plain dresser, who
also loved horses, and watched,
the unromantic mounting of two
brown beauties, to produce a
new generation.

Conservative to the bone, The Queen
pissed off, most notably, her delectable
husband Philip - was I wrong to take
his side? - and her younger sister Margaret,
referred to in print as "The Tragic Younger Sister."

What I want, I emailed my sister, is a Fan Site
where we can exchange views and say, Did you
see what Anthony Eden did? or how could Lizzie
be so cruel? or did you see the outside of
that palace? It looked like the Cabrini-Green
Project in Chicago.

It's just a movie, of course. But the
minute I shut it off, all tension fled,
all worry vanished and I went upstairs
and fell asleep. Why then, can't I
stop thinking about it?



Last night, Turner
Classic Films presented
"She Who Must Be Obeyed."

I sat upright in bed
and stared.

Ayeesha, a beauty in
golden headdress, was the woman
of might who ruled her
kingdom like an Afghan

Did I care? I was
far far away. Or was I?

Suddenly I became a
child again, back in Cleveland,
reading the book by
H Ryder Haggard,living
in a fantasy world

No longer possible since
I'm all growed up.
The relief of childhood!
To be loved, taken care of
and never know the worries