Saturday, May 4, 2013

Coffeeshop Writers - Happy B'day Dad - he's mentioned in my poem "Watching Mr Lincoln"

Three poets at Giant.

Linda wrote "Fluffy Buttons" about a family dog she mistreated. Martha, who left early, so no photo, said she never would have the nerve to write about something like that. Linda, whose poetry and short stories span many subjects, is not afraid to write about cruelty.

Donna wrote "The Porch Swing" from the viewpoint of the swing. Well-done. She realized she was actually writing about herself: her renewal since she was widowed last year.

Carly wrote what I thought was a perfect poem called BFFs, a term I did not know.

"Did you show it to Charlie?" I asked.

"It's not about my husband," she said. "It's about my best friend."

We suggested she state that under BFF. She moved to Illinois, said Carly.

I was trying to shoot candid shots, but Arlene was like a hypervigilant prisoner just released from jail, and snapped to attention with a smile.

This is probly the best picture she's ever taken. She's very cute!

Which is more than I can say for her characters in "Sugar Makes a Call," a fast-paced well-written tale of people I think of as "white trash."

It's part of a series she's been working on for five years, I think.

Since I don't have Martha's photo, this one is a close second. Martha wrapped up a story she's been working on for TEN YEARS. This last part had her character Yanny die a good death and then ascend to heaven.

Very moving!

"How did you feel when you came to the end?" I asked.

"I'm lonely," she said. These characters accompanied her every single day and now she's let them go.

To cheer you up, Marf, lemme play you a little music. Click here.  

I'm doffing my hat for being so thoughtful.

Here's Beatriz's eBook. See her name prominently published. She and her son Peter designed the spritely cover. Peter is an amazingly talented comic book artist.

Comic books! Don't snort. My son Dan only read comic books until he went to college.

Let's see what Dan looks like today.....
Dan Deming

He's a joker.

And always on the g'dam phone. You get so you don't notice it any more.

Attencion! en espanol, Beatriz's native language. Her fascinating piece on "Bumble Bees: It's a Jungle Out There," featured the survival of the species, such as wolf wasps, cuckoo wasps - they lay eggs in wasp nests that are not their own - and other curious pollinators who will do anything to survive and bring up their young.

Really amazing little stories.

Photo is of the Ambush Bug, who lay in wait for HOURS, until he gets his man, in this case a bumble bee, who the bug paralyzes, and then sucks out yummy juices for sustenance.

I showed Beatriz a wonderful book I'm reading now. I'm probly the first to borrow it from the library cuz it's so stiff, I can hardly pry it open on my chest. Here's the author Edward O Wilson

Ants are his specialty. Their numbers are the largest social creatures in the world. Born in 1929, he said, referring to ants, that "Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species."

In the book he advises us young scientists to never take a vacation. Go on field trips, he said. 

The first piece I read was Swim Within Me, a loose interpretation of a library director I know who struggled and won over breast cancer. 

If it ever gets published, the group urged me not to send it to her. 

I began writing this morning at round 10 a.m. Knew I wanted to revise the Swim article and write a poem on a movie I saw yesterday.

While watching the film and being supremely bothered by the audience, I said, This will be my poem for tomro.


"Lincoln at 2?" I asked the
blond behind the counter
"Hurry," she said, pointing thataway
The room was full
My seat was taken by a
“It’s for my wife,” said the man
I grabbed a folding chair from
the side, unfolded it, and neatly
put it where I could see
assuring the woman behind me
"I won't block your view"

“Is it 2 yet?” asked the
The man looked out the door
for his wife, who soon hobbled
in with a cane
She was all dolled up
a huge aquamarine ring
that barely hid her finger
knobs. Would I like her? I wondered

The projecteress turned on the
video, Spielberg’s “Lincoln” and
impure sound issued from two
speakers on the floor up front
we were people past our prime
if our hair was blond, it was dyed,
like the chubby-armed woman –
what chubs! – and how I stared –
my own grow fatter, I’m insulin-
dependent and never feel full –

Shades are drawn and the room
is dark, images flicker on the screen
I think they’re coming attractions
like at the “Cedar and Lee” back in
Cleveland where we’d buy Good & Plenty
and watch Rhonda Fleming get saved by
Kirk Douglas

“Is this the movie?” I ask
thinking it was coming attractions
SHHH! say the chorus of the elderly
the woman with the ring looks at her
big fat watch, and I knew it...
continued holding up her watch
every twenty minutes
forcing me to contemplate the
passage of time
and with it

How, I wonder, can I sit through a
three-hour and twenty-minute movie
in front of all these strangers
my own bodily systems pumping away
to keep me alive,
my stomach, intestines,
duodenum, what if I shit in my pants?
Anything is possible when you hit

Soon, I assure myself, you will forget you’re
here. You’ll find yourself in the same room
with flag and book-lined mantelpiece
as the credible Lincoln – man, is he tall,
standing next to the shorter Missus

Then they take out their food.
They take out their foooood.
Not the Lincolns, but the audience
In the periphery of my left eye is a
woman in sequined red, unless it is
a newly developing cataract that causes
the sequins, she is very discreet,
like the soldiers we will meet on the
battlefield, and chews first with restraint
then more vigorously, never lifting the bits
high enough for my periphery to see

The ringed woman pulls out ghastly orange
peanut butter crackers, I had thought better
of her than to buy processed foods, after all,
I was beginning to bond with her, oh well,
she downed a pack and I congratulated both
her and the woman in red for not making much
of a rattle

It’s the rattles that disturb you at the movies
and I am not talking about palsied hands

According to the Internet which I check at home
while the movie is on, the film concerns the
last four months of Lincoln’s life. He is fighting
a war he knows he’ll win, is fighting his pretty,
accusatory wife – “you killed our baby” – and
fighting for passage of the amendment to
abolish slavery.

I sit alone in another theater. The downtown Ritz.
Tears well, as the roll call begins.
We’ve won! We’ve won!
I sadly look down. A night at the theater will do
the president good.
Should I leave? There is no one to comfort me.
I simply remain sitting and practice for the
inevitable. “Daddy! Daddy!” cries his son Tad when he hears
the news.

My own father went first. Today, Saturday, May Fourth
is his birthday. A day of twittering birds and pansies in
the front yard, and the gestation of three blue oval
robin eggs in my rose bush.

“Mom,” I say over the phone. “Just called to wish
Daddy a happy ninety-first.”
“I’ll tell him when he calls,” she said, neither
of us flinching from the knowledge we
will never see him again.

At the end of the movie in the library
I race out to my unlocked car
The windows are down
allowing fluffs of early spring
to settle where they will.

Forgetting all I have seen
is the only brace against death:
to put everything behind us
and await the breaking of the
eggs and triumphant
winging forward.


  1. It really was a nice afternoon. I am among so many gifted, dear friends. More than writing, caring for one another. That's what community means.

  2. oh, look, your photo came out marf! indeed it was a wonderful afternoon.

  3. I have been absent for a time..just busy but not disinterested. I enjoyed this poem a lot but found the end brilliant and it is sticking with me. Beautiful lines.

  4. jeez! that's awfully nice of you to like it, iris! i'll keep on writing! as will you

  5. We better keep on writing, you and I. This week am getting ready for a brief getaway but heart is heavy due to suicide of 13 yr old I placed for adoption as a baby (and placed his brother too). The family could not be more wonderful and loved him so very much. I imagine I will write about it, but not yet.

    Hope the tendinitis is all gone. I have had trochanteritis but not tendinitis. Body parts seem to always find new ways to play tricks on us.

  6. i can certainly understand how distressed you must be.... only 13 yo old. his family probly had no clue. who knows what thoughts reside in other people's minds. no way of tellin.