Saturday, May 2, 2015

My Three Poems for Huntingdon Valley Library Poetry Night - Altered State - Evergreen Shampoo - Lawn Party


Me, one of the millions
who have diabetes. Not grossly
overweight, not a junk food
addict, my antirejection
meds gave me the disease.

Diabetes rules my life, I told
my sister, who can eat anything
she likes, grilled cheese
sandwiches on rye and Archway
cookies straight from the box.

She has no idea what happens
to me in the dead of night
when I awake and am “low.”

The “low” killed Bobby’s roommate
found face-down on the floor,
a promising pharmacist, like Bobby

With the purple light of dawn
filtering through my drapes
I arise like Lazarus from what
might be my tomb, pause a
moment, and close my eyes.

Something is wrong.
Very very wrong.
Aha! I am low and bound
down the stairs in my
pre-owned striped pajamas
that make me feel like George
Elliot. If only I could wear them
to the Vietnamese restaurant.

Switching on the kitchen light
the room vibrates
boink boink boink!
as I reach for the foods
that will save me.
I rip open a new bag of
pretzels, flood them into
my mouth, then get some
chocolate raspberry yogurt
from the fridge, dripping it
onto my PJs.

My sugar level is 35. Normal
is 80 to 120. I step onto
the front porch in my pink
diabetes socks, then run
down the sidewalk to
look up at the stars.

Jupiter, I wave, with its
many moons. I am
saved. I am saved.

Lying in bed, body
heaving, I think
this must be like
taking drugs. Cocaine
where they
get the bloody noses.
Hands on chest, I am
rocked to sleep by
Charlie Rose humming
in the distance. 

Hurry Perseus, I'm frightened!


The tiny transparent bottle I stole
from LaQuinta Hotel in
New Orleans, resembles a
lipstick container or
a coffin. I husband the
remaining sweet-smelling
drops I rub through my
silver hair, never believing
I would get this old. Rubbing
my skull, I remember my
week in The Big Easy. As long
as I have the shampoo, I will
still be in New Orleans.

Ever eaten Shrimp Po-Boys
at the Commerce Deli? Bread
that crackled like a mouthful
of diamonds, and succulent
shrimp who gave their lives
for us.

Most of all I’ll remember the
bus ride. Legs
dangling as helplessly as
Andromeda tied to
the rock. Where was Perseus?

The god was in my suite
on the fifth floor.
Listening to the patter
of the rain on the roof,
I massaged my ankles,
swollen as the Crawfish
Sandwich I ate at the
park, staring at
St. Patrick’s Cathedral,
and wishing I could
ask Jesus for help.


Image result for queen elizabeth


The Queen of England
dressed in yellow, is
hosting a lawn party
and so shall I.

Please be my guest.

Out come the picnic tables
spread with tiny cucumber
sandwiches, on whole wheat
toast. The lone maple tree
nods in approval.

What’s a spring party
without lemonade? I’ll
serve it in my pink pitcher
Mom gave me, though at
ninety-two she would
no longer remember.

You’ll meet my mom
along with a dozen guests.
Beethoven will be there
with his wild eyes and
white poodle hair. A silver
ear trumpet will rest on
his table. I do hope he likes coffee,
the Vanilla-Hazelnut
I drank earlier today.

I’ve always admired the
poet Rilke. He’ll sit over
by the forsythia bush,
spiking toward the sky.

I’ll only invite one dead
boyfriend. Not Simon
The Hoarder, but
Christopher. He’ll drive up
in his Mazda truck, brimming
with laughter in his plaid shirt
and faded blue jeans.

You thought I’d forgotten you,
I’ll say, though you left me for

I’ll stand atop a table and
recite through a megaphone:
We’re having a party of the world.
And the bluejays and cardinals, the
tiny little sparrows, will twitter
in approval as they
soar across the yard,
pooping as they go.

1 comment:

  1. Ruth, these are fabulous blog posts. You captured the highlights of the evening. You are amazing and I loved your new poems. - Lynn Levin