Thursday, August 16, 2018

And the heat rolls on - poems - Aretha Franklin died today at her home in Detroit, 76, pancreatic cancer

Don't interrupt me. Am eating a King-sized Hershey with Almonds.

Very fresh and delicious from the Giant.

Image result for king size hershey with almonds


We never tire of their tiny fluttering shapes
Unafraid, they perch outside even when
larger birds appear
like those squwalking crows
sparrows or chicodee

All are welcome here
We love diversity
Makes for a better


I admit it. I can barely
keep my eyes on the road
as I drive to the grocery store,
past glorious throw-aways,
mostly crap that of necessity
besmirches one's home or basement.

Then, like the Aleph,
I see it! (The Aleph is a
short story by Jorge Luis
Borges. My daughter
would know it.)

Wedged between the
forest green recycling
can and the telephone pole
is a terribly faded rocking

They must have loved it
to wait so long to dump it.
Perhaps it was a gift after
the old grandmother was put
in a home for the aged.

Or maybe they found it
on the side of the street
awaiting a new home.

At midnight I'll tiptoe
over, under the light
of the crescent moon,
and sit there.

Oh no! It's the rocking chair
of Norman Bates in - egod! -


Shhh! This is goood!
Stuffed cabbage from
The Hot Bar.

What a day I had.
Speeding to finish
Short Stories by
Haruki Murakami
so I wouldn't
pay no fine.

Don't look at his
photo unless you're
prepared to answer
the question: What
are you doing with
your life and why!

Forever dissatisfied
I took to my diary
to see into my heart.

Then signed up for
piano lessons from
a graduate of
Cairn University. She
signs her emails

I'm of the opinion
I'll be alive in
10 years and at that
time will take to the
stage in a shimmering purple
chiffon dress playing some tunes
of my own.

We'll have
flowers on the tables
in the audience and
I can look Haruki
in the eye and say

Well, I didn't get a
hummingbird to land
in my hand but being
a budding pianist
ain't half bad.

Image result for haruki murakami

Just requested Kafka on the Shore from the library.

Just got home from Affinity Toastmaster's. Enjoyable. I spent $75 at Lands End, owned by Sears and wore my new pink and white checkered shorts and a roomy V-neck black shirt

Next week my role is to tell a joke.

Bought African Violets at the Giant and gave em to Zora, a nice woman from Paris.

More than half our folks are non-native American citizens who are determined to learn to speak better English.

The phone's ringing now. The last time I got up from Red Couch it was a hang-up.

Gonna write a short story based on this $6 million party given by the Shah of Iran. Watch here.

He started out as a good man but as his riches grew - oil country - he hired 10,000 Secret Police who finally tortured suspected dissidents.

All of Persia hated him. He had no idea.

Image result for shah of iran photo

How the hell will I think of a story?

Ah, I'll write about it.

Dear Pinkie, I'll start out in my pink diary from Linda Barrett.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Poems - What? You actually finished a book - The Little Guy Blinks and Stares - Mr Rogers Bathes the Elephants


Is the fault in the stars or in my inability
to concentrate on one book at a time.

The time arrived to put childish things
behind me and to concentrate on

one nearly 500-page book by Englishman
turned American

Lee Child. His Jack Reacher books
feature a giant of a man who

pales in comparison to small, but
handsome  Lee Child on the back cover.

Reacher is left up to our imagination.
He never stays put for long. Carries
a toothbrush in his pocket and loves
coffee, any kind will do. Even burnt,
I suppose.

There's a knock on my front door.
The red door. Come on I yell
from my upstairs study.

Make yourself at home, I shout down.
His heavy footstep tromps into the
kitchen where he finds my leftover
coffee in a mug reading "I love cats"
and heats it up over the stove.

I descend the stairs. Save me a
couple sips, I say. "Midnight
Line" was a great book, I say.

"I'm a fan of Clyde Cussler and
Ross MacDonald," he says.

We sit in the living room and
talk about - what else? -
our love of books.

cecil stokes  author


The 3-year-old stood steady
on the sidewalk near
Kremp Florist
Pop-Pop at his side

What could hold their attention
in the 90-degree heat?
The cloudless blue sky?
The roar of the cars
streaming by?

The high-rise is going up!
First the parking gargage
Don't tell the little guy
but it's where lots of
crimes take place in

The huge crane seems
to scrape the sky
backhoes and earthmoving
machines parade across
the gravel that spits
tiny stones and fogs up
like mist in the
early morning.

Our Little Guy will never
forget the love ole gray-
haired mustachioed
Pop-Pop showed for him

And when he grows up
to be a backhoe driver,
swiveling, then bobbing
he'll keep Pop-Pop's
photo alive on the dashboard.

steve coleman's natal eclipse


I woke up just in time
Mr Rogers had on a brilliant
emerald green cardigan and
invited his listeners -
including myself! - to
meet the elephant family

"Go back! Go back!" is what
the elephant keeper told
his elephant family, who
backed up against the wall

A huge hose squirts the five
or six elephants, then moves
them into another room with
very tall walls
and sprays them with
suds. They love the suds
and baby elephant rolls
on the floor in the suds

Such big floppy ears!

The elephant keeper explains
they drink 40 gallons of water
a day with their trunks, which
bring water to their mouths

At the end of the day they will
go outside into the vast area
in which they live and will be
fed fruits and vegetables.

I like elephants, says Mr Rogers
in his emerald green cardigan
and I'll bet you do too.



What can this mean?
She's lent it to
the Syminski Family
as she did back
at Village Green?

She's donated it
to WXPN so she can
stay home and read
the 19 books on the
husband's side of the bed?

In the lead, right now,
is Ben Rhodes' Memoirs
of the Obama Years

Or she's having her
car aligned at REMS
Automotive, Brian
having driven her home.

She suffered a massive
ego assault this morning.
Her friend Linda needed
a ride to work. Ruthie
with directions riding
on the side like a pizza
from Roman Delight
couldna find her house.

Linda calls. She's walking
to work.

Ever heard of Chameleon
Coffee? The cap snaps
easily off. A lovely glass
is selected with blood red

Terribly strong, like Heracles
freeing Alcestis from the
Gates of Hell

I added more water.
Water. They say there
may be life on the
clouds of Venus
or in the center
of Mars.

What a mystery
it all is.
Good topic for discussion.
C'mon over and we'll have
iced coffee and you bring
the dessert, Marcia
Weinstein Hanzel. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Two photos - New design in Upstairs Bathroom - Dinner is served, dear!

New short story CHELSEA - Getting to B's in the pouring rain - Best Iced Coffee Ever!

For about a month I've wanted to write a story called CHELSEA. In nearby Fulmor Heights, there's a street named Chelsea, so it's been on my mind. The story is more ambitious than others I've written so I needed a good space of time and the magic potion of coffee.

Went to Starbucks at the Giant and said with my wee little questioning voice, Dyou have iced coffee?

Then of course you must choose your size.... medium, please... no room for cream ... and there she was with a tantalizing green straw.

Image result for starbucks iced coffee  I began sipping right away, just as at home, Monsieur Hummingbird was sipping at the feeder.

Got a good pic of the little guy but - you guessed it - ignorance has forbidden me from uploading it.

I'm composing downstairs on Red Couch. Upstairs I couldn't get onto my blog. But one slip onto the whatchamacallit and the whole thing is erased. Luckily I'm not a heart surgeon.

There was a great documentary on tonight about Arab Americans. One day, said one, I was an ordinary American, and then after 9/11, I'm a terrorist.

I begin the Chelsea story, loaded down with pretzels and peanuts, and that sensational coffee. First I've gotta name all my characters.

And research the Vietnam War.

Image result for photo of kent state shooting

What if you found her lying there?

So I'm getting a nice start last night, stopping at a place where I can pick up after breakfast on the day of The Beehive.

I realize how much I enjoy writing. But when I pick up next morning I think, Well, it's all here but the writing is awful.

That's why we have drafts.

The words and ideas flowed nicely.

Time stops when I write. My former BF Chris Ray said the same thing about his "Vision Forged in Iron," the name of the story I wrote about him for Art Matters.

Scott and I watched a film called The Leisure Seeker with Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland. He's now 83 and she's 73.

Image result for the leisure seeker

A really terrible film, but fun to watch.

They each play Americans tho he's Canadian and she's British.

Was trying to get the end of Chelsea right - how I labored over the last two grafs - and I finally got it.

Stuffed everything in my Canvas Bag and set out. Raindrops peppered the porch steps.

Got halfway down the street, it was raining more, stopped my car, looked into the back seat to make sure I'd brought my work.

Of course. What brain quirk is dat?

In five more minutes, my wipers are going top speed. I turn off the radio so I can concentrate on rolling off the road and dying.

Which was worse? Walking home from Staples for two hours and fearing a heat stroke or this?


Whenever I stopped at a light, I was terrified about slipping n sliding when I pressed the accelerator. Plus Scott told me my car needs an alignment. (Scheduled for next Tuesday.)


Wet cars
wet street and driveways
shimmering male hummingbird at feeder

Wearing my best sneaks
I set off, WRTI on the
bedroom radio

Waiting to come home and
finish the latest Jack Reacher novel
the girl fought in Afghanistan
her addictions were two
fentynal and heroin

Garbage waits patiently
on curb as our Upper Moreland
green trash trucks are let
out of the starting gate
near the high school

Breakfast awaits and cuppa
green tea supposedly good
for aging brains

Just 10 minutes of exercise
said a new fitness guru
on PBS last night

Steven? You can write him directly.
After you said dat, I rode my
stationery bike, thinking
about the coming of the new day
or worst case scenario - he's
a cardiologist - a quick tumble
off bike onto purple carpet.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Loads of photos! Poem: Right Here in our Neighborhood, Better than the Circus - In honor of Stephen King I walk Around the Block

 Front windowsill.
 Click to enlarge photo of hummingbird on feeder.

Say goodbye to Helene's tea kettle. Bought a new one at Giant by Bradford.

This girl is very satisfied.

Will have a cuppa tea right now. Hold on while I fill it with water.

To the left is my new copper skillet. Shtuff don'd shtick to it.

 My top of the hostas which I brought to Second Home are still going strong. Today I brought more flowers. My friend Helene had a friend we called The Flower Lady.
 My tea is cooling. You don't wanna ruin your day by burning your tongue!

New lamp bought at Home Goods. Google it and surprise yourself by who owns Home Goods.

Told myself last year I'd never go there again.

Wisdom is saying it's okay to change your mind.

Scott asked me Why dyou call them poems? They're like little stories.


Slow down.
Park at Kremp's Florist.
Pack a picnic lunch
if you so desire.

Feast your eyes, with
or without binoculars
across the dust-filled

A crane is reaching for the clouds.
It has no wheels, but treads like
an armoured tank.
It can go as high as
a 20-story building.

Will it tip over?
Nay, the back is weighted
down. The job of the day
is putting in the parking
garage. Pre-fabricated
panels make it easier.

Chorus: Oh, the men in orange
hard hats and glowing orange
vests. Oh, their Igloo containers
filled with water and Orange Crush
and Italian hoagies from Wawa

Crows - count em! - fly high
and squawk over the scene,
thinking Humans are so complicated!
We just use twigs, cigarette stubs, and innards
of seat cushions for our comfy nests.

Max, get your daddy to drive you over.
A sight like this you will never forget
I can just see you jumping up and down
and catapulting over and into the
swiveling crane, to help while the driver rests.



He was on Fresh Air this morning
and I listened to every word.
He loved to be frightened
even as a young man

Like a story from Mr King, the famous writer
was walking along the road near
his home in Maine.

A man in a van was struggling
with his Rottweiler who'd
jumped in the front seat.

King's candle almost went out
but the fates of horror kept him
alive to write many more books.

Out of the house I went
longing for fresh air. I took
the long way, my arms swinging,
neck swiveling to catch what's
new in the neighborhood.

Fast-moving cars made me
feel vulnerable. Walking
is positively dangerous
around here.

Disgusting! People throw things
in the street like in the
days of Oliver Twist.

My eye lit on a smoked Tiparillo
And then, M. Proust, I remembered.

When I worked as a therapist
I'd come home and stop for
refreshment at the Wawa.

Outside in a wheelchair was
a little man in a little
wheelchair, smoking a

I always said Hello,
but could think of
nothing more to say.
Where are you now,
Little Man?

Image result for tiparillo