Sunday, May 26, 2013

Coffeeshop Writers Group - Hi again Barb Abramek !!! - Let's start our own Blog/ My poems: Mercy and the Bear - Trash Symphony on Cowbell Road - The Girl in the Striped Sweater

Our Coffeeshop Writers' Group at the Willow Grove Giant Supermarket should establish our own blog. They're free on the Google Blogspot.

Let's do it!

Thanks, Barb, for taking the photo. She used to be part of our group when we met at Weinrich's Bakery Coffeeshop, which they closed on weekends. Barb is a teaching nurse at AMH. Our poet Martha Hunter's daughter Emily just graduated from nursing school and Barb, of course, knew her.

Thanks, Beatriz, for taking this with your iPad. Beatriz wrote one of her informative nature stories, this time about "National Pollinator Week," June 17 - June 23.

Who knew? Certainly not the pollinators, which include, from B's article: 4,000 species of native bees and the lesser known flies, wasps, moths, butterflies and a sprinkling of beetles.

The honey bee is not a native of America! They were introduced from Europe in the 1600s.

Her piece was so interesting, I suggested Beatriz email Alan Kerr, editorial page editor of the Intelligencer, and ask if she could do a Guest Column about it. Just emailed her the contact info.

When I write a Guest Column, as a mental health advocate, I'm allowed 700 words max. But you can get lots of great info into those 700 words.

Arlene Walsh is an amazing writer whose characters are very strange individuals. Suddenly, I realized who they reminded me of: the people in Flannery O'Connor's work.

Shockingly, no one had heard of O'Connor. I discovered her when I lived in San Francisco and read all of her work, which included two novels and 32 short stories.

Flannery (1925-64) died of lupus, as did her father. She was 39 years old. She was a devout Catholic. The home and farm where she and her family lived in Georgia is now a shrine, of sorts.

I sent Arlene a transcript of A Good Man is Hard to Find. It takes all of 20 minutes to read and will shock the heck out of you.

We all enjoyed the start of Arlene's "Appearances." I learned her son Peter is an RN in the ER at AMH.

Martha, on the left with the flag on her chest, wrote a great poem "The Waiting Room," which begins
The news comes
like a pail of cold water
thrown in my face
by a dispassionate passerby
- a drive-by soaking -
A simple test,
taken and forgotten
showing the need for attention.

The imagination revs
and takes me at racehorse speed
to all the darkest places.
This is how it began for my mother.

... The smiling doctor blinks out...
Death held off for another day.
One of the great things about our group is that people make friends with one another. Carly and Donna have formed a friendship.

Carly wrote a wonderful mouth-watering poem called "Mother's Day Brunch" that begins
Breakfast potatoes, onions & peppers
Sunny side eggs displayed
Sausage gravy decadent with cream
Achieving a grandstand parade
"It gives you such a warm feeling," said Arlene. "You have a really caring family" ...
Finding a toy for grandson
Is all we can think of now
Donna, whose beloved 15-yo daughter Mariel died of meningitis many years ago, met Carly for lunch on May 24, which would have been Mariel's 26th b'day (I think).

At the restaurant, both of them felt Mariel's presence.

Afterward, Donna wrote a poem to her dear friend Carly!

The prolific Linda Barrett totally rewrote a poem from 2007 about The Sandman Comforting You and will give it to her grand-nephew after he's born.

She specializes in writing about people and places in her life.

Which reminds me that Martha gave us all gifts. Here's mine

Counted cross-stitch, next to a bag of pistachios I'm bringing to yet another foodfest tomro. Later today Scott n I are going to Rich and Ada's for a swim in their 83-degree pool. Yes, I have wrin two poems about swimming.

Here are three poems I wrote for today's group.


See her swinging down the street
short shorts
over legs that have wrapped themselves
around horses and
bicycles and
men who caught her

Can you see by her
dancing steps
she’s a woman who
cheated death
and wears the crescent-
moon-shaped scar
on her belly
and the full-moon scar
on her brain   

She’s not like you
She breathes with
music of pulsars
God rides on her shoulder
as she walks toward
her yellow house
mezuzah a’tilt on the door frame 

Can you see her
in her striped shirt
and short shorts
as she thanks the
trees and seashells and
bird houses three
for her sixty-seven years of life?

We’ll allow her to believe
she is still that long-haired
captivating girl she once
was on the tennis courts
at seventeen.
She swats away
time like a dead fly.


It’s hot as we lug our various cans
wheeled or otherwise
to the curb
ba-bump ba-bump ba-bump
like women in a dorm whose
menses align
we find ourselves outdoors at dusk
precisely at seven when
the birds come home from a
rough day at the office
a final bedtime snack for
the baby robins living in my
rosebush nest
and then sleep
blissful sleep
for all denizens of
Cowbell Road
sparrow swallow bluejay cardinal
the warm spring wind rocks
the birdhouses in my front yard
birds sleeping among men

I believe the birds
preeminent in the diurnal cycle
hear the garbage trucks rolling
from their stables near the high school
chuffing green machines
who make house calls
every Thursday morn
trucks heralded not by
legions of monarch butterflies
or rose petals strewn in the street
but the distinctive lurch and groan
all the way up the hill
listen and ye shall hear!

Next morning, like a spent climax, I lug the can
back to its home
beside the peonies on the side of the house
I sit on the porch steps
with my manicured red nails
and watch the water in the
bird bath shimmering
in anticipation of the coming day.


(Inspired in the summer when several brown bears were sighted far from their forest homes in Pennsylvania and New Jersey)   

Zing! The first missile came
from the tree
her tree where she feasted
that day on
sweet clover honey as bees
swarmed over her thick
black pelt
she leaned back
and with her long blue tongue
squashed and ate them
feeling the tickle in her throat
then rearing, on hind legs,
she howled for joy at the sweetness
of the taste and the air and a
brief memory that life was fine
her suckling cubs went deep into the forest
on their own
her mammaries no longer pained

But what was this?
Not those men again
quiet, hidden under green brush
and dead leaves
she’d been searching for breakfast
a spotted fawn
as it trotted tail up
after mother
Zing! that sound
that sound that meant
run, hide, strike
claws out
claws that a while ago
yesterday, really, had
found a nest of young
badgers unprotected
their fur tickled her throat
their blood hotter than
the sun as it ran down her
throat and underbelly

Zing! As she runs
through the pine trees
faster and faster
she trips
falls on front legs
rolls over
sees blood
her blood
roars with
something worse
than bees
that sound – the missiles –
brings pain excruciating
she limps away
faster and faster

More zings fly past her
she sees them
faster than winged flies she
has licked from her fur,
blind with fury
and agony
she lays down and
unfurls her tongue
to assuage the burning
the endless sting
of the flying missile
now part of her shoulder

Next morning
the pain lessens
Flee the forest
her ancient memory
tells her
she crosses a highway
hot to the touch of her
naked claws
that make her lope
across this hardened
so different from
her forest floor.

Dwellings she sees,
a building with balconies
women with white hair
and hunched-over bodies
sit together in white chairs
on the green grass
she moseys up to the one
whose hair is in a bun atop
her thin pained face
the bear gives a soft moan
and quicker than an evaporating
rainbow licks a sandwich
of white bread
mayonnaise and ham
from her lap
and from another
a honeysweet
cupcake with delicate
white paper
then stands with her blue tongue
streaked with saliva
and icing
as the ladies gape
then rears back on her
rear legs and roars
with contentment

The ladies sit still,
she smells their fear
like rotting flesh before the
vultures come  
she will stay a moment
feeling the pleasure of
the smell she instilled
arching her head
in the air
to sniff and roar
then ambles away
toward home.

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