A former dog groomer who ran her own business for years, Lisa was forced to retire due to a series of mishaps, the latest being a terrible fall which smashed her ankle to pieces requiring surgery and a trake, hence her long recuperation at Fox.
Judy visits every single Sunday. As a gift she brought Lisa a book for the High Holy Days of Judaism, altho Lisa isn't Jewish. Judy regaled us by reading in Hebrew the "yisgadal v'yiskadash" or Kaddish.
Not to be confused with Allan Ginsburg's Kaddish, he wrote for his mother Naomi. Go ahead and read it, it's a lazy Sunday and we have all the time in the world.
Lisa has made lots of progress since I last saw her. She asked Leo to bring in a couple chairs for Judy and me.
Thie blue-eyed man from Ukraine has been in the USA about ten years. His whole family, including grandchildren are here now, except for his sister who stayed in Kiev.
Judy's kin are also from Ukraine. Judy and I are both Jewish, but Leo said he's half Jewish.
After Hitler, which he pronounced Gitler, people began inter-marrying but taking the name of the non-Jewish spouse. Who knew when antisemitism would again reign across the land. Stalin, of course, was no friend of the Jews.
Leo has worked several jobs while in America. B/c of his poor English, he said, he can't get a good-paying job. He was a teacher in Kiev. But he worked hard and sent for his entire family.
That man loves America more than we do! He has something to compare us with.
In Leo's native Ukraine, one of the worst massacres of Jews took place after Nazi forces over-ran the city. Read about Babi Yar here and thank the heavens you and your people are safe.
When Russ came in to change the sheets, she introduced me as the head of New Directions.
You're in luck, Russ, I said. I'm about to read my poem.
I pulled out my surgery poem and read the little group the entire poem, the first time I read it aloud. I did not make any changes while reading.
TO THY KNIFE I COMMEND MY SOULThey applauded at the end.
As the day of my surgery grows near
the demon sciatica
its torture has
failed to drown this swimmer
who comes up daily
how useless to taunt me with your newest games
when will you understand?
oh, if it makes you happy, demon,
i will call you by your right name
i’ll shout it aloud to the world,
o conjoined twin of the devil:
people in pain are sworn to secrecy
we must not speak our pain
it is how we remain unbroken
but demon lucifer has broken through
reading in bed last night
the breeze from an open window
caressing my hair
you grabbed my feet
scraped the soles with
I closed my book and howled
“you would do that, you loser!”
as the straw grew into hay bales
on Raytharn’s Farm
under a perfect sky
next, o demon, your poison has
spread up my tanned thighs
where two children sprang
and men lay there and sighed
now I am crushed beneath a
that digs furrows
a river of blood on
your encore is
a vietnam cage that held
the captured warrior
as coward Lucifer
laughed in the clouds.
Time heals all.
time or surgery or death will be
your final demise.
Where go then, coward Lucifer?
When my demon leaves me
amnesia like the scent of
lilacs in spring
will walk with me through
the hospital ward
twenty years of pain
erased forever from my mind.
Since Lisa gets around in a wheelchair, she visits other patients and makes them laff. When the worst is over, your personality returns. She's hoping husband Bob will visit today. Judy introduced them. They met at New Directions.
We said our 99 goodbyes and Lisa rolled out with us to the top of the hill. If she rolled down the hill in her manual chair, she wouldn't be able to get back up w/o help.
Dear Mr Verizon,
Your customer service is really terrible. When my two phones went out the other day after a very bad storm in which small branches hurtled themselves against my windows and a tree six houses down caught fire, I lost the use of my two phone lines.
Quickly I got my Verizon bill and looked up where to call for repairs.
Nowhere on the bill was it listed.
How then to report repairs.
You website was no help at all.
Finally I simply called 411 on a neighbor's phone - who will be charged for it - and answered the questions posed by the friendly robot.
Forgive me, but as I answered the questions, I got madder and madder, and my voice may have snapped NO or YES out of frustration.
I did so wanna curse at you, but did manage to control myself.
The first time your crew could come out to the house, and my outage occurred on a Friday, was the following Tuesday, so of course I hollered YES (goddammit) into the phone.
Turns out the phones came back within an hour.
There is no way I'm calling you back to cancel.
For the record: 800-837-4966.
Even Comcast, the other monopoly I'm a party to, has better customer service.
Last time I stopped at Mom's she was getting her papers in order, as she's been doing for the past twenty years.
She gave me two tattered large envelopes of things of mine she had saved.
What a feast of memories. I opened my autograph book from:
(1) when I graduated sixth grade at Mercer Elementary School, in Shaker Heights.
(2) when I attended Camp Cardinal in Rome, Ohio, run by the Williams Family
Mrs. Van Duesen (great princiPAL)
Agnes Digby, her secretary
Miss Lillian Puncer ("to a wonderful poet, best wishes")
Evelyn Fertman (Dickie Rose's GF)
Ruth Hamm, music teacher
Viola Wike, art teacher
Camp Cardinal -
Ina Swade, my counselor (!)
Mici Lych (jr counselor)
Ronnie Shensa (my mom told me she died)
As soon as I opened the zippered-style autograph book, I checked the inside pages of the book. I knew what I would find:
I got this book Dec. 1954
I was 10 years old.
The pencil-writing has really faded. Wonder why I didn't use a pen. At school, we were not allowed to use a real pen until third grade.
School was regimented and very strict. At the time, Shaker was rated best school system in the nation.
My mom had also saved numerous newspaper articles I'd written, including one where the editor wrote the lede of my story. It was an absolutely terrible lede, but I guess, since I was a cub reporter, he wanted to show who was boss.
Mom also saved issues of Art Matters where I wrote most of the copy during my year-long tenure before I was fired for having a nervous breakdown.
I shoved all this stuff into a clean envelope that my kids can go through after my untimely demise.
soon enough I shall
dance with you in yonder sky.
Who wants me?
I am made for the moon
to bounce along her
so like mine,
But perhaps I will leap
through a cloud and hijack a star
there to shine more brightly
a dimple for my children
Prepare for me a place
in deep space
Your girl will surrender
when she is called.
Ready to shine on
and shed her shoes
on her toes.