Thursday, January 18, 2018

Poems: If Only I Could Stay Awhile - A Good Death - For Tree: Let it Snow, Let it Snow



IF I COULD ONLY STAY AWHILE

Let me perfect the art of
relaxation, as I sit on
my red couch with tiny
crumbs from pretzels
and peanuts.

I look around and see
all the things I love
my Christnas cards on
the wall

My blue shovel, two mobiles
hanging from the rafters,
a fancy chandelier a la
Liberace that needs a
good dusting and a
colorful wall-hanging
from Ecuador.

And there's Denis, not
dead yet from kidney failure,
and a long turkey feather
I could use as a quill if
my pens go dry.

Seen any good films lately?
Read any good books?
Tell me if you know.

***

The poem below was just published in Kaleidoscope.  Click here. Very fine writing.  Theme was Unpredictability.

A GOOD DEATH

The doctor told me my kidneys would fail
I wanted to know when
so I could start practicing being dead

Empty house
filled with things
my jar of feathers
the bird’s nest
pine cones and shells
on the windowsill

She loved nature so much
someone would mutter
The rosebush I clipped
so the mailman wouldn’t get bit

the maple I watched from the high
bathroom window
framed just so
a Van Gogh

From my bed with the cool
breeze caressing my hair
I sniff the smoke from
the furnace that dispenses
with the little girl that

loved her bike and
rode no-handed down the hilly streets
and back home to feed her fish

Summers, she would ride to
Uncle Marv's
read gloomy Dostoevsky
on the porch steps
and dream of
George Gordon, Lord Byron
in love with a dead man:
impossible.

The girl was finished
kidneys useless as if
raisins grew there
she was not old yet
still enjoyed snuggling with the
one she loved

he would get her ashes
as would her children

Toss the red berries on her windowsill
the feathers, the shells
the Christmas lights
into the landfill

Still she sees the moon
shining on the For Sale sign
of her yellow house
swaying in the breeze.

***
As my many readers know - how many are we now? speak up! - I stay in bed awhile and read. Oh shoot, just checked my chart. The Pope book was due yesterday. He's got some great parts in there. Women, he says, should play much more important roles in the church. He travels around the world giving talks.

He spoke about genital mutilation in countries that don't respect women. He's very psychologically insightful. Puts it to a false sense of power when it's really fear.
Image result for pope francis book 2017    Here's his photo, but my book is called Happiness in This World.

My friend Harriet wanted to buy me a new bowl bc the one I use has tiny cracks in it. It's from my late friend Elinor Schuler. She and hubby George moved to Ann's Choice and both conked out for good. Shhh! Don't tell anyone but that's gonna happen to us.

Oh! I almost forgot. Was listening to WRTI-FM, when a phenomenal piano piece came on. Then the guessing game began.

Brahms? Certainly as b'ful as, but not the tinge of melancholy. Schubert?

Greg Whiteside announced the name. It was by Beethoven but was never given an opus no. b/c it was not one of his favorite pieces.

Here's what it's called. 

Beethoven 8 Variations on a romance by Gretry 

Listen to it here.

Oh, so I told Harriet to send me a book instead of a bowl. Now the hunt for the right book. I did find it on Amazon. I goggled 'the best stories ever written about sports.'

What I'd really like are two little Golden Books, one about Jesus, and the other about Life on a Farm. When we moved from Village Green to my own home I left them on the high shelf where my kids couldn't get em.

Have the very best day you possibly can!

PS - My friend Tree sent me a wonderful gift. To thank her, I wrote her a poem.

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW

Mailman Dante wrapped up for
the cold like a babe in a snowsuit
drops the mail in my hand-painted
mailbox that says Hello when you
open that.

You did that for me? said former
mailman Ken, before he retired.
He couldn't stand happy people
but I paid no attention to him.

In my warm blue diabetic socks
from the Sox Lady in Furlong,
I padded into the kitchen to
dispense of the mail.

Into my carton go the huge
cartoon-like ads, the
envelope for my healthcare
payment - already? - and next
a fat pillow-puffy letter
from Bennington Court.

I'd know that address anywhere.
Trudging through the caves of
Altirmira, with bison on the walls,
dining in style with Sarah and Ethan
at The Reading Terminal - save room
for Bassett's Vanilla with Chocolate Sauce

Tree's gifts are always practical, usable,
surprising. They make me wanna do my best
with what I've got. Such smarts she's got.

She'll be happy to know I've made an appointment
with one Daniel Paul Deming, mon cher fils, to learn
how to use APPS.

The fear will fly away from me like sparrows
on wing and my head held as high as Madame
Bovary before she flung herself in front
of a train. 

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Waiting Room - Meeting my Friends at the Giant - Poem: Wheeling my Booty to the Car

 Last night I made Scott and myself a special dinner:

 Scallops with veggies on a bed of brown rice.
 Stewed pears for dessert.
"That was delicious," he said.

Here's what I did this morning:

THE WAITING ROOM AT
QUEST IN JENKINTOWN PA

When I left home, snow
peppered the neighborhood
my car door and I sparring
to make it open

Up the Duke of York Road
I traveled, and into the
parking lot of Cloverly
Plaza, then trotting in
the chill to the well-
attended waiting room.

A dozen sat in chartreuse
chairs, while I pulled
Tom Hanks from my pocketbook.
Everyone stared. Tall, receding
hairline, with that unmistakable
voice of his.

Relax, ladies and gentlemen, he
said, holding up his book of
short stories.

We did as he said. I kicked my
leg and looked out the huge window.
Across the street was the former
Strawbridge and Clothier.
From the era of department stores.

We used to have lunch there, Mom, Dad,
the kids and I. Chefs in white hats
prepared meals and the carpet glowed
green.

Finally, Jane called me.
As the needle went in, it hurt.
I breathed as I watched the tubes
fill up with the elixir of
the gods.

"You done good," I said to myself
as I dressed for the day ahead,
clamping my blue beret on
my head.

Here I am, home on the red couch,
sipping on - what else - hot water,
not ready yet to remove my beret.





***

So long Christmas Lights for the season.

Every little thing in my window sill is precious to me.

Now, yes, right this minute, I am doing something very difficult.

Enough procrastinating.

Am talking to Jasmine from Verizon. Got my password to get on Verizon. Thank you, Jasmine, from Dallas, Texas.

It's 19 degrees down there.

I'm laffing now at the ridiculousness of our world.

She and her fiance will take a road trip cross country.

WOW!

I invited her to Philadelphia and said they'd enjoy this cradle of democracy.

Sensible people believe the current administration has set back democracy, but not everyone agrees.

Image result for jelani cobb        Jelani Cobb is hopeful.

A gregarious individual like myself can only be cooped up for so long.

What time is it now?

3:11 pm.

We're waiting to see if ND will meet tonight or not.

You decide and lemme know

I'm hiding my eyes.

***

Bought two important things at the Giant. Olive oil and a flashlight with batteries. I need the flashlight to see what the temperature is in the living room. I turned it down to 64 b/c I biked for 20 minutes.

***

Ate delicious Chinese food that Helen served me. Does SHE know how to save money? Into a small Styrofoam box, she ladled two orders - noodles and chicken and broccoli.

Image result for chicken and broccoli on noodles chinese 

Ate it in the Starbucks section, where I saw Sally and Danielle from my nephrologist's office. You can't miss Sally's gorgeous curly hairdo, or Danielle and her tiny nose ring.

Also bought a Rotisserie Chicken, an impulse purchase.

Cathe at Starbucks - blue nails today - gave me a small black coffee and a warm chocolate croissant. Really enjoyed the the food.

Remember, Ruthie, the napkins are on the left of the Starbucks counter.

WHEELING MY BOOTY TO MY CAR

Image result for starbucks cup  

Careful, as we cross the bumpy keep-the-carts-out section,
to my car, parked as far away as possible.

We don't wanna lose one precious drop of coffee,
as we sail across the lot, my strides as long as

a pony. What does this coffee cup represent?
Cathe made it for me. The beans are a

dark roast and come all the way from
across the Pacific.

As I sip, I feel warmed all over. And
maybe I can even write a new

short story I stumbled upon last
night while watching Antiques Roadshow.

Image result for antique watch from tiffanys

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Just learned about great guitarist Tommy Emmanuel - My Friend Frankie just published in Literary Yard - Ruth Roth and blowing out the bday candles

Let's see. It's 9:25 pm. Not late, right?

It was pizza night at Scott's. After the great pizza, we went upstairs to watch TV. We fell instantly to sleep to Skull Island, a King Kong movie, an update from the original King Kong.

We were each gone after five minutes. The film was terrible.

I woke up and walked home in the beautiful darkness, staring up at the sky. Such a pain that I'm so uncomfortable walking in the cold.

Raise your hand if you've heard of the Australian guitar player Tommy Emmanuel? He's 62 now and is touring the country.

Image result for guitar tommy emmanuel plays      Tommy, lemme shake your hand. You is one fine geetar player. What's more you will be coming to our local Keswick Theater in Glenside on Feb. 3. Lemme check my calendar - I keep it under this laptop - to see what day of the week that is.

Saturday night. No way am I gonna drive. Thing is, should I make an effort to go? My friend Neal is an Uber driver. Will give it a think.

Image result for frank kelso wolfe   Self-portrait of Frank Kelso Wolfe.

Read my story MY FRIEND FRANKIE which appeared in today's Literary Yard. Thanks for publishing it, Onkar Sharma. Click here.

I sent it to loads of people, including Tony Salvatore of MCES, who said it was a powerful story but very sad.

What really got me about Frank's death is that I think it was caused by kronic pain. Nuff said.

WHAT DID YOU WISH FOR WHEN
YOU BLEW OUT THE CANDLES

Ruth Roth, the smartest girl
I knew at Shaker, had a face
like a frisky palomino,
blue eyes and blond hair
and a smile as wide as
the moon, wanted only
one thing. To know how
to dance.

She was shy and couldn't
make herself jitterbug at
the dances in the crepe-paper
decorated gym.

Dance lessons were mandatory
with my parents. Calvin, my
father's chauffeur, drove me
to Carlos and Kaye. I stared
at the brace on his leg
as he drove.

Was there anything worse than
dance lessons? As a grown-up
now, I can think of
a million bad things, over-
shadowed by one great thing.

I look out my upstairs window.
There's my car with its
powerful radio. It looks like
a rhino who took a bath
in the mud.

I always wondered how cars
got so dirty with the ice
and the snow. I've joined
the fleet and hope it don't
drive over the edge when
I watch Lynn Levin's documentary
on the Galapagos later today at the library.

***

B/c of the freezing cold weather, only three people attended Lynn Levin's LIFE ON THE NAPO RIVER:  Life on the Napo River, A Glimpse of the Ecuadorean Amazon, its People, and Their Traditions.

Lynn went on two trips. First to the Galapagos - maybe a dozen folks were there -  and then to the Amazon, where half a dozen were there.

She went all by herself. Lots of walking. She tried going to her gym more frequently to get into shape. Lynn is short and slender.

Image result for lynn levin

I was late to the program bc I couldn't remember how to get to the Huntingdon Valley Library. I started off and headed toward Olive Garden, knew I was wrong, said Do not panic, I'll get there, panicked and said I'll never find it, came home via Davisville Road, pounded on Scott's door which was locked, uncharacteristically, then looked it up on my laptop.

The key was Terwood Road. Was very nervous driving, plus listening to my audio book, but got there fine.

The front parking lot was empty. I allus back in.

Gonna send the Upper Moreland Historical Assocation a note asking if they want Lynn to give a presentation. Look, she did all that hard work and it must be seen!

And so it goes.

(Dyou like this as a closer?)

  


Tuesday, January 2, 2018

A Satchel Full o Poetry - Happy New Year - Stories by Tom Hanks - And the Studebaker Parked on our Street - Mom and Tom Thumb - View from the Bathroom Window

Here's all the folks I sent postcards to in the last couple days. Nelson Yeardley, Iris, Sarah Lynn, The Creamers, Max and Grace. As you know, my intimate readers, I never buy postcards. They arrive by the dozens for free. Boys Town I nearly donated to today and Sierra Club, but I stopped myself just in time. Like a drunkard, tipping the Jack Daniels into my mouth but failing to complete the action.

Image result for janis joplin and jack daniels

Was very excited to wake up this morning and start working on my short story, finally titled Moon River, I think. Make that Moon Over Miami.

BREAKING NEWS! Just went upstairs to ready the TV for a guitar concert. The end of a film was still on.

A couple were out in the rain and passionately kissing. I mean passionate!

The song Moon River was playing and the kissers were Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard. Breakfast at Tiffany's, of course.

I'll tell you something. I could never stand the film and always shut it off halfway. The end was great!

Last night watched a fab concert w Lady Gaga, 38, and Tony Bennett, 87. Twas a repeat. My story would mirror their concert somehow.

Image result for tony bennett lady gaga      So many costume changes. Oh, if only you could see what I'm wearing now, Dear Reader.

As I said when I sat down in our Writers' Group, I'm wearing my smoking jacket. My polka-dot pajama tops. Should I request I wear this to my wake? My body will be cold, so this will warm me up, Mr Rigor Mortis.

In the cold weather I wear my beret around the house.

Jerry Van Dyke just died as reported on FB.  A nice round of applause for Jerry!!!

Image result for jerry van dyke dead       Friendly guy, great teeth. Wanted everyone to like him. A quick note from Wiki, and yes I did pay my yearly donation of five bucks.


HAPPY NEW YEAR

Join me in toasting
the New Year with a
cuppa hot, make
that fiery hot
Starbucks, a
gift from Rem
at my birthday
party.

Why, you may ask
is this cat wearing
a hat? Freezing
in here, tho the
sun steals unabashed
into the living room.

Ah, I hear gurgling
in the kitchen. You
mustn't allow coffee
to burn.

So many things we've
learned in 2017. The
fidelity of neighbors,
the devastation of
hurricanes, the value
of a lingering kiss,
and the patience
required for yet
another swinging
mobile.

The treks to the
compost heap to
sleuth out who
ate what. The
tiny track marks
of the birds
are a show of
God's kindness
to mankind.

Did I tell you
I added cinnamon
to the coffee? Just
a pinch. Toasting
y'all for a happy
healthy prosperous
and surprising
New Year, 2018.

***

Pssst!  Don't spread this around but I don't care much for coffee anymore. 

Image result for old studebaker station wagon

AND THE STUDEBAKER PARKED ON OUR STREET

- Lines from the audio book "Killers of
  the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders
  and the Beginning of the F B I "

Aside: I check out many audio books at a time b/c most of em are no good to listen to when I make a meal. The above book is one such book. The cavalcade of characters was too much to keep track of.


"Studebaker" and I remember when he
pulled up to our row-home at Caster and
Cottman, in Philadelphia

A huge green two-tone car, fueled by
gasoline and six-packs. We gave the
old man the living room, while we
slept on a lumpy mattress, made love,
and argued, When is he gonna leave?

He loved to talk. Over breakfast, he
plied me with tales about the Jews.
Never been one in the family in
Crockett, Texas.

Josephus, a Jewish historian, wrote
about Jewish history, Jewish history,
repeated The Old Man, as the beer began
affecting his brain.

It was worse than that. He had alcoholic
dementia, I learned. Rolling Rock Beer,
a local variety was stacked up against
the kitchen wall like a shelf of books.

At night, he'd come whistling home from
the local bar.

I'd never met a drunk before. What was I?
All of 24?

He kissed my hand before he left. His third
wife Nedra was waiting for him at home. The
sad thing was that after he died - there were
a dozen of us at his funeral somewhere in
Arkansas - baby Sarah was with us - Nedra
died a year later.

And the jalopy? The Studebaker? Ripped
apart, I'd imagine, the way he did
the family, and sold for a pittance
to the local junk man. 

***

STORIES BY TOM HANKS

Nah, I said to Emilie
the intern at my library
it got bad reviews. Don't
want it.

Pushed it back to her.
Never mind, I said.
The critics are often
wrong.

At home I plopped it
onto the husband's side
of the bed or the cat's
side, whatever you please

And began to read. The
second story Christmas
Eve 1953 may win the
Pushcart Prize

And maybe I'll take
Honorary Mention for
the most books -
twenty or thirty -
being read at one
time.

You think you're the
only one that does
this, right? All over
the world in languages
including Cajun, Inuit
and Roumanian, ten-
thousand are reading
right now in their
huts, shacks, wigwams
or whatnots, just like me.

***


Be not afraid of the winter. Stay indoors if you're a fraidy cat like me.

However, I did drive to Beatriz's today being scared as hell but having no problem.

 Wall of birthday cards
View out the bathroom window. Hold on, a poem goes with this.

I had to fetch it from FB.

VIEW FROM THE BATHROOM WINDOW

They came straight at me
the tiny whirly helicopters
that made me laugh
Nature thinks of everything
to perpetuate its species
A thousand maple trees
growing on my backyard lawn
my yellow house in the
middle of a forest?

Let's drink a cuppa tea
and have a good think.
I know. I know. When next
I look out, there's the
Gingerbread House and
Hansel and Gretel
on the outside nibbling
the delicious frosting.

Stop right there, I shout,
putting down my tea. Go to
your left, my darlings, and
there you will find another
abobe, a safe abode, a
yellow house where I shall
have milk and cookies
waiting for thee.


*** 

WHAT IF GEORGE SCHULER
WERE TONY BENNETT

Don't look in the mirror
bad hair day
Eeeek! I can
always wear a hat
and do.

"I don't know you" I wrote
Julian Amin after he
emailed me twice with an
urgency not seen since
the Downton Abbey folks
fought in the trenches.

Seems like someone with
my surname was mentioned
in a will. I need only
respond with some vital
information. Bra size,
favorite dessert, and
sport you last played.
but I jest, Beau.

What a show! I clapped,
I laughed, I rode my
stationary bike, and
blew my nose with what
once was a lovely summer
blouse, and felt the breezes
of spring, though it was four
degrees only three feet from
my clapboard home.

My late friend George Schuler
could have been Tony Bennett
but it never came to pass. George and the
high-strung performer Lady Gaga
danced across the stage. Bennett
was 87 at the time. My George
was 91 when he was felled by
a fast-moving illness, he
couldn't outdance.

I have danced across the living room
this morning, then peered out the
front door seeing if the world was
still there.

***

Chant from Haggadah:  Why is this soup not like any other? Hint: It's creamy, healthy, thick, filled with onions, garlic, mushrooms, Udon nodules, half a cinnamon stick removed after 40 minutes, plus one whole egg for protein.

***

Scuse me, if you please. Gonna work on Moon Over Miami a bit before burying myself, not at Wounded Knee, but under my colorful bedspread/quilt I bought at K-Mart and a white feather comforter with pink nail polish on it to indicate which end is up. It's still impossible to tell. As I mentioned once, putting on these covers is like sailing a ship and hoisting up the sails in hurricane winds.

Special !  ONLY FOR READERS of this blog.

My Kmart has closed. In its prime, it was a great store. Bought springtime plants there plus soil. A  $40 gorgeous ceramic bird bath but made the mistake - mea culpa - of leaving it outside in the winter.

The top cracked.

Read these hilarious comments about the newly closed K Mart.

In closing...watched the great guitar player Selwyn Birchwood and his band and could not stop dancing.

Then another great guitarist came on!

Remember, tomro, to write a poem about Ruth Roth from high school.