Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Lunch with Ron and Carolyn - With my four new books I feel rich as a queen / Poem: The Soup Bowl

Carolyn and I drove to Elaine's funeral thru beautiful Bucks County w/its old stone houses on back roads only she knows, some with hair pin turns. I'm a very good driver, as long as it's daytime.

Went to bed early last nite so I could leave home at 9:25 a.m. for Carolyn's house and then she'd tell me how to find the chapel. I actually woke up at 9:10.

I probly fell asleep at 4 AM. I did nothing all nite. Just lay there. Next to that horrid book by Dean Koontz, which was undoubtedly casting a spell on me.

Forgot to mention that Koontz made a great point in one of his interviews. As a young man, he worked at a home for troubled young men, one of the so-called government social programs. It was a program, said Koontz, built to fail. All they did was pocket the money but did nothing for the kids.

That's when he turned against big government and became a Republican.

After Elaine's funeral, Carolyn and I drove back to her house in Chalfont, where we had lunch with husband Ron.

They're planning another trip to Alaska, this time to Kodiak Island. Ron also wants to buy the car of his dreams - a Camaro (what dat?) so Carolyn said, Do it! I'll goggle Camaro offstage and then I'll discuss it with Scott.

Hey, that's blurry me, holding a cup of hot tea. Carolyn, a great cook, gave me her wonderful carrot soup for lunch, fresh beet salad, feta cheese w/no crackers cuz of diabetes, though I made up for it w/her delicious homemade pizzelles.

The views of Bucks County are nothing short of spectacular. This one ain't so hot.

Get a load of this tree! Which would you rather have: money or a tree? No, Virginia, there's no such thing as a money tree. Add this to my Favorite Tree List.

For dinner, I had my turkey soup, made w/the leftovers from my birthday dinner. Next to it is a slice of carrot cake Carolyn's mother made. Her mom lives in an assisted living facility where she comes n goes as she pleases, and at 91, still travels by airplane to visit her daughter in NM.

After I dropped off Scott at the train station tonite, I went to the library. My life is empty if I don't have a good book to read. You know how I found good books? Take a look on my blogroll to the right of this blog. I'd printed the Times' 10 best books of the year. None were available at my library, but assistant librarian Cathy helped me find good books.

We put "Arguably" by Christopher Hitchens, the famous contrarian and atheist, on my request list. Hitchens died about a week ago and was lauded in the Times.

After I checked out these exciting books, I wanted to start reading em immediately, so I drove to nearby Panera's across the street.

What time dyou close, I asked the manager.

9 o'clock, he said.

OMG, I said, I better leave, it's almost 9.

Feel free to stay until I leave, he said.

Now that's a good manager!

I got a cup of decaf and sat and read "My Declaration of Independence," by Senator Robert Jeffords from Vermont.

This is one of the many books Jeffords, now 76, has written. A moderate Republican his entire life, he upset colleagues in the House and Senate, when he could not abide George W Bush's fiscal policies and announced he would become a Democrat.

Under intense pressure, he refused to buckle, believing it was necessary to spend money on education, health care for all, Medicare, Social Security. science education, nursing shortages, rather than make millionaires happy with tax cuts.

He decided not to run in 2005 due to health concerns from his wife, facing chemo, and his own failing health and memory, he said.

What's that? said Scott, when he saw Transcendent Visions lying on the couch.

Oh, it's my friend's magazine, I said, leafing thru the pages to find what poem I'd sent David Kime.

Ah, the Lucky Seven. He said that was the best poem I ever wrote. But, then, he said that about Enrico the Man, about a schizophrenic man I did an intake interview with over at the agency.


Whose bowl is this?

Surely not mine with its

delicate traceries, as delicate

as the woman I got it from

a small gift on the occasion of

her confinement


in a Lutheran nursing home

though she is Jewish

and has become a

reluctant octogenarian

I sip the fine Harrod’s tea

she gave me from a tin

though the taste has long gone

like the finer

workings of her mind

an early obituary causing

the shutting down of many corners,

a panic and hysteria that her home

on Bauman Drive

is missing her terribly

I took one succulent plant but

my windowsill is crowded with my

own nest and pine cones and feathers

Greeting my arrival in the Lutheran home

was a quick order from the attractive Gestapo

behind the desk

Sign in and wear a stick-on Visitor’s Badge

More Nazis on the second floor

she now calls home

Fake smiles,

bowing aides who accompany

me down the hall,

my steps watched lest I

inject The Demented with enough

morphine to kill them all off

these Busby Berkeley babes

with wild white hair

and frumpy housedresses

these once sexy bathing beauties

who made love with a passion

and now sit deadpan in a circle

eyes vacant as a dead dog’s eyes

We can’t let you die Helene

Writer, sculptor, woman with a camera

your photograph of my Sarah hangs in

my study, she was only fourteen, you

measured my children

on your kitchen wall, a swipe of a pencil

and - voila - they’re all grown

We shall keep you alive though the

grilled cheese is horrid

We shall keep you alive though your

lime-green Olds has been taken from you and

the husband you once loved is

failing in another building,

an untended bedsore on his heel

- who is watching whom? –

You’ve got your phone and your computer

and you’ve got me, too, eating peanuts

and raisins from that stunning bowl that

shall help mold me into a more delicate

and thoughtful woman

as I lick my fingers from my

late-night snack and feel the cool

porcelain of the bowl

a reminder of my own future

doom-filled days.


  1. It seems you have been going to many funerals lately.

    I hope they enjoy their trip to Kodiak - one of the very few Alaskan communities I have never been in, although I did fly my plane over it once.

    Good poem - I wondered for a bit if it were about Elaine. Even though it turned out to be about Helene, I still wonder a bit.

  2. hey, bill, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. hopefully you'll finally get your plane back. today i read three of your blogposts but didn't comment b/c i was afraid of those new horrid letters that appear at the bottom. i'll take a gander at it now. loved that beautiful woman from india you're related to! and that gift she sent you.