Saturday, November 16, 2013

Coffeeshop Writers - An Evening Stroll Around Hatboro, PA - Poems: The View from the Tree House / The Passing of Alan Schonberg / The Pilgrimage to the Garden of the Luxembourg

I just emailed a message to a new guy in our support group and ended by saying "Help! I can't stop eating."

Here's what I said to myself when I ate Smucker's unsullied peanut butter on healthy flaxseed crackers, "I do believe this is the most delicious thing I've ever eaten."

The problem? Diabetes. I must tell you I have fantasies of not having diabetes any more. As we know, I got it from my antirejection meds for my new kidney.

So, in the fantasy, I slowly wean myself off the antirejection meds.


I just couldn't get myself in the writing mode this morning. Yesterday I slept great parts of the day since I have a cold. OMG! My mother discovered from my voice that I was nasal. This woman's favorite topic is Disease Control.

Finally I crexed out a couple of poems for my group to go over.

Misery loves company. Neither Beatriz nor Carly brought in new material but were kind enuf to come, set a spell, and share their opinions.
Les six.

Adryn, our lovely Coffee Lady, took the photo.

Linda is working on Mr Cat's Revenge. It's an exciting mystery story and she got help from Tatiana Heller (the charming Mrs Allan Heller) who suggested changes due to her familiarity with the Islam religion.

Shaitan (شيطان) is the equivalent of Satan in Islam.  

Ooh! Knowledge like this almost makes one jealous!
 Always a pleasure to see our Laffin' Gal, Carly. She was wearing a lovely embroidered sweater.

Allan Heller shared another chapter of his mystery novella. Always a great writer - google his name and you'll find him all over the place - the mystery in Sycamore Glen Nursing Home deepened. Ole man Walt, loosely based on Allan's newly deceased father (Dad, said Allan, you can't die until I've finished my book - but Dad didn't listen).

Ole man Walt Clayton suspects that nursing home staff are killing off residents. Great premise. Allan has no idea what will happen at the end.

Which reminds me that when I wrote my one and only novel I had no idea what would happen at the end and then it came to me in a big whoosh.

I like the novel a lot, but no one else does. Hence, it's not published, but resides on my Desktop.

After group, Scott and I traveled down York Road all the way to Buckingham to locate

I'm going to a 3 pm matinee there tomro to see several one-act plays, one of them directed by the great
Maurizio Giammarco, PhD, our discussion leader at the Upper Moreland Library Sunday films. Carly was helpful in giving me direx to the theatre.

On the way home from T & C, I said to Scott, "Let's go for a walk."

We parked in McDonald's parking lot in Hatboro. Kids were entering and they were soooo excited to be eating at Mickey Dee's.

We noticed they did away with the Playground. In the days when I used to become psychotic, I excused myself from eating with my kids, and went out to the playground to regroup.

Ronald McDonald was very comforting.
We walked thru town. LaFontana's was bare. New bakery Nonna's - say 'no-no' - had Italian women in there speaking in their native tongue.

The baked goods were gorgeous. A diabetics' dream.

The Mexican restaurant had two couples in there.

Rina's Rocks was bare. Rina's mom Marsha was in there. She said Rina is at a trade show in Lebanon.

The country? I asked.

Sometimes, Ruthie, you don't think too good.

The store is huge! They have events in the back such as Weds nite meditation.

Do you offer yoga? I asked.

No, said Marsha, you need a wooden floor. Their floor was nicely tiled.

The remainder of this post concerns a family friend from Cleveland named Alan Schonberg. We had the the pleasure of seeing him for the first time in 30 years about a year ago.

Six months ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. It was basically untreatable but he opted for treatment anyway.

Pronosis: six months. 

Then four days ago, he dictated an email stating the cancer had spread to his bones. Prognosis: three months.

I began writing him one last poem, thinking I had time to send it. Here it is, plus one other Alan poem I presented at the Writers' Group.

I knew, however, that I MUST write more poems about my trip to London and Paris before the memories dissolved.

Alan R Schonberg, died xxxx.


As a black-haired boy
he built a tree house
stood on the top
to view the world and
spin his own private dreams

In his Cleveland Indians cap
he saw himself pitch
for the World Series
winding up on the mound
he threw what he hoped
was the last pitch:
the batter didn’t even
see it coming.

He waved from the mound
on that blue-sky day
to his mom and dad
so proud so proud
of their dark-eyed boy

Supper’s ready, dear,
mom would call,
he’d fly down from his tower
and wash up for some
chicken thighs and mashed potatoes

In the blink of an eye
he became a man
same dark curious eyes
that looked kindly
across crowded rooms
some would call him old
but the boy inside
knew better
“I’m still that boy on
the mound,” he’d think
with keen eye and
love for all

He and Carole
watch the falling leaves
from their many-windowed home
was that a deer nosing around
the backyard?

Dearest, he says,
come to bed
he closes his eyes
thankful for another day
still can’t figure out how
the years have flown by
then listens for the deer
in the backyard.



With these words in the subject line
of the email
we learned it was over.

Fitting that the day after he died
it’s beautiful here in Philadelphia
Eighty-five is a long life
but it’s never enough
for a man who woke
each day as if he were
a boy
ready to go up in his tree house
and dream of the
man he’d become

A pitcher for the Cleveland Indians
A businessman like his dad
A man with his own boat
A musician who beguiled the ladies

Nothing in life
can explain a death
it's like waking up
one morning
in total darkness

Show me a sign
I call to the skies
A sign that Alan sees and cares
Alan, a friend of my fallen father,
who never made it to sixty
Dad, who showed me there is
Calamity in this world

You can't know it
until it flattens you
a cecropia moth
run over by a careless shoe

When father died
all joy hid like a
deflated egg souffle
for fully five years.

But up and at ‘em!
Alan and my father
have shown me signs aplenty
signs to last a lifetime

It's a beautiful day in
Philadelphia and I
am allowed outside
to see
to dream
to breathe
to speak
to run. 



How would you have it?
A girl of seventeen
sits in the main library
of her town
amazed by the huge
the strange people
the guard at the door

The librarian brings her
the book
A Night in the Luxembourg
and the girl sits
at a table and
turns the pages

She is surprised when
corners, used as bookmarks,
fall into her lap
like undecoded messages

The book is mystical
she can’t forget it
buys it at a used book store
with its malleable
green-leather cover

Where has it gone?
Gone with the years
that have passed.

At sixty-seven
the girl and her daughter
travel to the garden
le Jardin du Luxembourg

Its largesse is enjoyed
by all in Paris and the
tourists who somehow
have found it
to the girl’s dismay

I thought it would be ours alone,
she thinks.

Lakes the size of clouds
statuary at every turn
flowers that bloom
in the cold and the rain
People in pairs
ambling down the
wide avenues of the park
or sitting in lawn chairs
nibbling goat cheese
and fine wine

If the book was mystical
so is the journey
a time for her daughter
and she to become closer
this does not happen
Sarah is impatient
with her mother's mincing steps
her mother must take
everything in

For she has become
that girl of seventeen again
her black boots patter
along the walk
to sniff the
to feel the spray
of the fountains
she won't be hurried
on this trip of a lifetime

The girl of seventeen
walks slow
yet feels like a giant
for remaining true
to the girl she was
at seventeen.

I won’t give it up, she thinks,
I’ll never give it up.
Always seventeen, no matter what.

1 comment:

  1. Since I live in Hatboro, it was interesting to read your newest post. I recognized Allan right away since I live in the same building and get to read his poems in our monthly newsletter. Nonna's is exceptional and their cookies are only $5.00/lb as opposed to $12.95/lb at the other bakery in town! I lived in Maine for three years before I moved back hiome and I had no idea how noisy it was. If you know where Allan lives, I am on the front right corner of that building, 3rd floor, an ear-shot from the train station and all the traffic that heads there very early in the morning. I miss Maine.