Saturday, September 26, 2015

Writers' Group meets at Beatriz's Condo - Special guests Lorraine and Fran Bareikis Pulli - Poem: Barbara's Notecards

53 Twin Brooks Dr, Willow Grove, PA 19090  C'mon in. We have appetizers, seltzer water, and a blue cake Donna Krause made.

Oh, and we'll also read our latest work. Almost forgot about dat.

Beatriz was very comfortable on her beige and blue sectional. I really felt like sitting on the floor ... and did.

Looks like I've sprouted wings and am about to fly away. B's coffee table is expandable... it rises... so she can reach things inside it.

Newcomers were surprised about her lovely place.

Steve from Elkins Park went first, as he had to leave early. He read favorite Bible passages. We all liked "Your name is written on my hand." Just checked and it's from The Prophet Isaiah.

Steve is a volunteer at Rock Ministries in the Kensington section of Philly. This once beautiful neighborhood has gone downhill and now has lots of crime and poverty.

Rock has 'safe houses' on every block. Steve enjoys telling the gospel to the down and out in the neighborhood, under the El.

Judy, who prefers her real name, Judith, read a lovely piece she wrote in 2003.The Break of Branches was about a meeting at a coffee house of a man and a woman to see if they were companionable.

No no no! He was a social worker, who She took to task for his lack of compassion.

Who is Judith from the Bible?

Martha, our bible scholar, as is Murphy, said that in the Apocrypha ... well, let's hear it from Wiki

The story revolves around Judith, a daring and beautiful widow, who is upset with her Jewish countrymen for not trusting God to deliver them from their foreign conquerors. She goes with her loyal maid to the camp of the enemy general, Holofernes, with whom she slowly ingratiates herself, promising him information on the Israelites. Gaining his trust, she is allowed access to his tent one night as he lies in a drunken stupor. She decapitates him, then takes his head back to her fearful countrymen. The Assyrians, having lost their leader, disperse, and Israel is saved. Though she is courted by many, Judith remains unmarried for the rest of her life.

Judith with the head of Holofernes

What other biblical characters were beheaded? Dozens. Bring me the head of John the Baptist said Salome.

Rem Murphy read a revised poem about his late wife Valerie, making an excellent poem even better. When she died, his heart was shattered like Waterford Crystal.

His newest poem Where Have You Been Sky Saxon, written in his usual couplet form, talked about sightings of this dead rock musician who was the lead singer of Seeds.... he was found under a manhole cover and near a dirty river in Las Vegas.

The poem was a delightful mishmash of images. Let's listen to the late Sky Saxon, whose real name was Richard Elvern Marsh, born in Salt Lake City, Utah

He died at age 71 of an untreated infection that spread through his body. Sounds a bit like Jim Henson, doesn't it?

Listen to his famous song Pushin Too Hard.  Don't mind if I do, Ruthie!

Conflict of interest! Ruthie is listening to the Blues Show on WXPN. The Tennessee Workhouse Blues by Jenny Pope. You can imagine what that's about!

I didn't get a good pix of Rem, who wore a Phillies' baseball cap.

Fran, on the left, had never heard any of Linda Barrett's stories.

Linda Barrett.

Fran was shocked at the depth of Linda's writing. Her short story Lucy's Quest was about a brilliant young woman who was terrified by a woman named Klemmer who no one but Lucy could see. She was so terrified she jumped into Ada's backyard pool from her bedroom. Linda was describing our friend Ada who has a pool in which I swam thother night.

As someone commented in the group, Klemmer (can't remember her first name) was embued with red-hot anger against Lucy. Linda submitted it to a journal where Allan Heller has been published. Night to Dawn.

Martha, Lorraine, and Murphy

Martha wrote The Grand Cleanout, a poem about throwing things away, how difficult it is, so you put it in three piles, one never to be seen again. But, then again, maybe she'll keep it after all.

Marf told us that when she goes home, her husband David will have a cup of tea ready for her.

Mon dieu! What a guy.

Donna presented Down and Dirty Vacation, an unforgettably horrible trip to Wildwood. The bed in their room slanted downward like a slope on Mount Everest.

We all talked before we began reading. Lorraine found out she was Jewish when a relative - can't remember who - lay dying. I guess these individuals had to hide their "Jewish blood" when they lived in antisemitic countries.

Lorraine was kind enough to help Beatriz out. Wouldn't that be great if I could say, "Lorraine, would you mind getting me a glass of water?"

Fran read two poems she wrote in the 1970s. She no longer writes poetry, is not interested, but enjoys photography. Her marvelous photos appear on Facebook.

 When I goggled her name, this photo came up! Brava

Wonder if she's ever seen the pix by my friend Carl Yeager

  She read Amber Roots which she wrote after taking a trip to her native Lithuania, though she's a first-generation American. Her poem is impossible to describe. It took our breath away. Incredibly great lines - :Baltic rain" -working up to a crescendo at the end. It ended "We remember."

Amber, used in jewelry making, is exported from Lithuania, tho many international companies have branches in this Baltic country. 

Image result for paint strips

Monet's Lavender was the second poem she shared with us.

FRESH GROUND COFFEE HOUSE Last nite I attended the Coffee House, where the coffee is always hot and strong. Two people were of great interest. I wrote a poem about Barbara and short story based on meeting a 66-yo man named Rich.

Rich, I said. I need to write a story for my writers' group tomro. I'd like it to be like a film noir with lots of sex, violence and seedy characters.

Can you be thinking about it, while the band plays.

At intermission he told me a terrific story about his wife leaving him. They had marriage counseling, by which time it was too late.

What didn't she like about you, I asked.

She said I was controlling... I can't remember the other thing. Truly I was amazed he told me this. I did mention I was a therapist.

I wrote it up very quickly before 1:15 when it was time to leave for B's. I drove Judy L since I know where B lives.

I called it Jack. The weird thing is that I was in bed at about 7 am and I had the entire story in mind, was real happy about it, then fell asleep, and it had vanished.

Neither Rich nor his ex-wife has remarried.  Wish I were awake enuf - yawn! - to tell you his story.

When I got home, boyfriend Scott was down his basement playing with his train. He said he liked my story.

 The swirly clouds, said Scott, are cirrus. The fluffy ones, cumulus.
Kids were riding by on their scooters and bikes.

"Look up at the sky at the beautiful clouds," I said.

One little girl, Bella, said  "Hi Ruth."  That's very advanced for a 5-yr-old.

Notecard of a Starfish.


As I walked into the
crowded basement
of the cabaret I spotted
her, a woman my age
with honey-blond hair
and a name tag around
her barely wrinkled neck
“Barbara Rosenzweig,” a
Jew like me, peddling her
watercolors and notecards.

Now that I’m no longer young
and the pet of various one-
night stands, I seek excitement
in various new ways, the hummingbird
levitating, the darting bats at
dusk, the algae in my birdbath
and Barbara’s notecards.

For fifteen dollars I buy Seashells
from the Jersey Shore. A pack of
five, wrapped like my new Animals
of the World calendar in cellophane.

The coffee here is good, I tell her.
May I get you a cup? Her husband
Aaron fetches a hot one as we
reminisce about our families
in the Holocaust. Her people
escaped Russia in 1924. Well
before Hitler, I say.
The Pograms, she counters.

I am sixty-nine,
she is a month older,
and somehow we learn my
son Dan was her math and science
student in middle school.
Quite a boy, her blue eyes sparkle. 

I rock with joy. 

You look like him! she smiles.
Is that when I decide to splurge
on the notecards? Once my
Fallingwater cards were the
love of my life, but nolo contendere,
the seashells beat all.

Remember the first time you were
at the beach, sand, unlike the prickly
grass and clover back home, sand
crunchy underfoot, can you feel
it, sticking like paste, and
foul on the tongue, gritty on
your teeth?  

I held a conch up to my ear
in Barbados,
the sound of the sea leaking
through, along with the
slow hiss of the beginning
of the universe, whose surface
I tred upon lightly,
lightly and gently
so as not to
fall in.

No comments:

Post a Comment