Friday, April 20, 2018

Season Six of Homeland - Acer Laptop Breakdown - Poetry Reading with Lynn Levin at Huntingdon Valley Library

Was at the Huntingdon Valley library at 11 am to watch Lady Bird, a coming-of-age film that I didn't much care for. Jane Lynch chooses all the films and does a great job.

Hear the music coming from the TV two rooms away? It's live from Lincoln Center.

View it here.

Sutton Foster in Concert This is Sutton Foster, one of the most famous and beloved of all Broadway stars.

Please, not a word. I've never heard of her.

After my Acer Laptop sputtered itself dead, I made copies of six poems to read tonight.

At naptime, Scott and I watched the last disk on Homeland. The prophecy that Dar el Dar made came true. Madame Presidente (should I put an 'e') after her name? - has a dark side. Everyone is getting arrested including Saul Berenson.

Soooo exciting! The only way to find out what's happening is for Scott to buy Showtime, since he has cable. He'll wait it out.

Hobson's Choice the morrow. Either go to my sister Donna's b'day party, depending on how my mom feels (she can barely walk) or participate in the Pennypack Trust's Walk/Run.

Scott said it would be easy cause of all the stationery biking I do. Just biked 20 minutes while watching Sutton Foster, who ended up tap dancing with Jonathan Swift, not his real last name.

After I finish this blog I'll look up 'marathon running.' I've got my close laid out - sneaks with pink sox, loose pants with pockets, I'll carry my backpack with a bottle of water.

Cheer me on from afar, Dear Readers.

Lynn Levin looked fetching in a warm striped sweater. She was a great host. Read some new poems including one about a cellphone, watching people walk into walks, and Howling, like the Ginsberg poem, and a mysterious line she loves from Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad. I could never get thru that book, tho I did read many others by him.

Yeah? Search your mind, Ruthie, and remember a couple.  Maybe later. Victory?

PRINCESS DROSOPHILA

At the Nobel ceremonies
earlier this year one of the
professors in black tie
and tails, and a sassy
red bowtie like former
Nobelist Eric Kandel
Will also bring his
favorite pet. The schnauzer
twins will be left home
in the company of the handmaiden.

But the Princess will attend.
She is none other than
the Princess Drosophila Melano-
gaster, with her sparkling green eyes
and the cute little bzzzz
she makes, moreso when she is being courted
by a comely lad.

One day they will marry in the compost heap
in Ruthie’s back yard. Perhaps on a brown
egg shell
decomposing.

The Princess will bow to the King and Queen
of Sweden as does her master. Afterward they
will dine at a long teakwood dining table.
Twitching her wings, she will dine under
the table on fallen food.

***
SUCKED OUT

It happened so fast
like being pushed down
a sliding board like that
mean Erik Turner in kindegarten.

A million thoughts crossed my mind.
Mike, of course, the kids, God please, don't
let me die. What did I do to
displease you so?

Too late. The guy wearing the cowboy
hat and a firefighter tried hard
but the force of a hurricane
had its way with me, little Jennifer
who sped down the street on her
blue bike as if there
were no tomorrow.

No tomorrow.

About the Boeing Airplane with one engine out that landed on a field in Philadelphia.

***
RAIN

Fun at first, you'd hear it on the roof
while going to sleep, close your eyes,
and be in the moment, as they say. In the
morning you'd wake up and peek out the drapes
your car was wet, the garbage cans shone with
liquidity, and a little rivulet was rolling
down the street, MY STREET, not quite a
hurricane, but still, and it saddened me.
I've accepted it.

Did you know the last of the five steps of grief is
acceptance? She was a homely woman that
Dr Elisabeth Kubler Ross. My friend Dotty
who I've lost touch with, was invited by
Dr Ross to assist on her healing farm
in Virginia. I wouldn't have gone either,
Dotty. Death talk stiffens me.

Today when I got in the car, I wore
my wool coat and wool beret, made in
China, and all the little papers I keep
in the little pouch on the driver's side
were slapped hard by the rain. Stop it!
I yelled. I need to read the damn things.
They're directions. At my age, and I'm
still young, I can't remember places.

I drove to Hatboro to mail my income
tax returns. "You can't get wet,"
I whispered, or they might get
suspicious and audit me. I raced
indoors, holding the two envelopes
aloft, like a squealing baby. Plop, plop,
they went, one after the other,
down the chute, like the sliding
board at my grandkids' house.

The rain removed an enormous branch
from "my" tree, which fell onto the
neighbor's plot. The fellow mows his
lawn, with gusto and whistling, any
time he pleases. That's men for you.

So, I must-needs remove the damn branch
and the little branchlets that went
down with Mama, so I squatted in my
pink socks and Birkenstocks, and
carried them all to my backyard
and gave them a good horseshoe toss
into the weedy little forest
behind my house, always expecting
to see Hansel and Gretel with their
sweet little anguished faces.

Shall I build a house of twigs
and branches and straw from
grass clippings and live
there de temps de temps?

Tell me. I value your opinion.

***







Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Apology from Cheltenham Township Adult Evening School (CTAS) - Poem: Still They Bloom

Stood at my front door this morning watching the pouring rain. Well, I thought, it's not gonna stop any time soon, so I better get going.

The phone rang. It was CTAS. I'll tend to that when I get home from my volunteer job at Adult Daycare, and off I went, beret on head.

It was surprisingly warm outside.

Managed to find Second Home easily. Their sign is bright and cheerful but I often miss it. I was driving fairly slowly.

Everybody loves Bingo. I help one gentleman there. When he walked in I said, "Hail the conquering hero."  He has difficulty recognizing numbers.

They fed me today. Veggie soup with sour cream and then salad, mashed taters (terrible for people with diabetes) and breaded fish that was delish. Plus a piece of coffeecake. At one point, I left the table and injected 8 into my blubbery belly.

Once I was home, I called CTAS. Lynn apologized and told me that three people hadn't shown up but I had left shortly after I was denied admittance on the bus.

I hadn't realized I was on the waiting list for the trip.

I was reassured tho that I will be going on the Hudson Valley Trip and to Storm King Sculpture Garden.

Am listening now to the opera Elektra on Channel 12 and feel like singing....

Yes! I will be going to STORM .... KING....

View YouTube here before they take it away.

STILL THEY BLOOM

The pounding rain
The birdsong's too-wee too-wee
Beyonce's two-hour performance
at Coachella, those eyes,
those lips, those legs, those fulsome
The overflowing bird bath
in my front yard
The new inhabitants of the
jazzy chartreuse bird house
the sky of misery and of scorn
Where art thou? I wonder
Cannot stop the yellow forsythia
the dappled akuba bushes, the
pink blossoms of the peach tree
or memories of the Holocaust.

***
Anything else?

C'est ca, my love, c'est ca.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Visit to Carlos's Home in Point Pleasant PA - The Bus Trip that never was - Poems: Available: Property for Rent - Teddy Roosevelt's Mansion-

Yesterday Donna drove us to the immense unusual house that Carlos and his late wife Barbara built. Twas a rocky ride for Mom, who gets car sick.

Read about Barbara here from the Michener Museum.

Click on the museum link to view a couple of her paintings and a view down her stairwell, reminiscent of the Hitchcock film Vertigo.

My guess is their house has about 30 different rooms, including her collections of unopened boxes of dolls. What's Carlos gonna do with all this stuff?

When we first arrived - it took us about an hour from Mom's house - he had a nice spread waiting for us in the Hummingbird Room, which is where Barbara, sadly, died. She could look outside on her beloved view of nature. Now the spring peepers are climbing up trees to find a mate.

Peep peep peep peep. For such tiny frogs, they make a lot of noise.

Wait wait! Here I come! Don't move. I LOVE the sound of your peep and want to have your children.

Just between you and me, that's what I thought when I met my ex-husband. He was so different than me. Blue-eyed and blond, spoke with a Texas twang, and was brilliant!

Country song: But he treated me mean and put me down, so I jumped on a plane and left for good.

Carlos served us a delicious spread, walnuts, loads of fruit, and Pelligrino Sparkling Water.



I first tasted the water when Sarah and I traveled to St Martin's and ate at a spectacular French restaurant.

Must everything be controversial? Sparkling water is!

Fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.

Hold on while I eat some Kirkland unsalted mixed nuts. The big bottle is at Scott's for safekeeping so I won't overdose.

Image result for kirkland mixed nuts unsalted

***

Playing of sad music. Click here.

Was really psyched to go on a bus trip sponsored by Cheltenham Adult Evening School. B/c it was gonna be 84 degrees, I decided a dress would be the coolest thing to wear, plus a sweater for the A/C bus.

Got there half an hour early and was denied entry. You're not on our list, said an incredibly unsympathetic woman. You can wait around, said the other woman, to see if someone doesn't show up, tho there we only reserved 50 seats at the restaurant.

Most important, said the woman holding the bottles of water, is Did you pay? Do you have your checkbook?

I don't carry my checkbook around with me, I snapped.

Got off the bus, waited a couple minutes, and thought, Just leave!

Went home, found a copy of my check for $154 for Theodore Roosevelt's House on Long Island, plus another check for The Hudson Valley and Storm King Sculpture Garden - which Ellen Rosenberg told me I must see - which I knew.

My sister Ellen wisely told me, "See if the checks were cashed."

According to my credit union records, they were not cashed. Called up and talked to Ray, who said, No, they were never cashed!

They were made out in February, which is when their catalog arrived and yes, I did mail them to the correct address.

Wrote them a polite letter, then, after realizing the checks were never cashed I left them a voice message and said I'm really angry!

***

Didn't feel like going to my writer's group today. Took c/o important business.

In the past 10 days I've gotten at least 20 phone calls from Microsoft telling me to renew my latest Microsoft disk. Called Staples and they said It's a SCAM.

Then I returned my gorgeous navy blue sandals I bought yesterday at Dress Barn. "Cat" was my wonderful sales girl.

She'd ask all her customers, Do you have a special event you're buying these for? (She's worked there 9 years but has always been in retail.)    

Ouch! Ouch! My poor aching feet! Why did I ever buy these?

Right next door is the Willow Grove Hair Cuttery where I had my hair colored again by Pedrera who takes infinite pains with her clients. She was booked solid but fit me in.

I looked great when I left. In the a m  when I awoke at 5 a m  to drive to the high school my hair was a mess, so I wet it and it looked fine.

***

Poets: Step up to the microphone. Here's some recent poems yours truly has written.

AVAILABLE: RENTAL PROPERTY

Years ago this was the office of
Jerrold Electronics, a low-lying
building on Byberry Road, a cable company
built by the late Governor Milton J Schapp,
the first Jewish governor of the Commonwealth
of Pennsylvania.

Perhaps the architect was inspired by Robert Venturi
and Denise Scott-Brown, still alive in their 80s.

Can viewing a building for two seconds
as I drove by listening to a James Patterson
audio book inspire me?

Why not? The Kaddish cup from Haiti on my
sunny window sill inspires me. B.F. Postel's
pointalist paintings we viewed yesterday
in Point Pleasant, inspires me.

Get up, Lazy Girl!
Stop looking out the
window at the cheerleader
in short shorts walking
her little white dog.

Do something!
Do something!
Stand out in the morning sun
holding out your arms and shout
Hail Caesar! Hail Cleopatra.

***

TEDDY ROOSEVELT'S MANSION

View pics here.

Image result for theodore roosevelt

Teddy, dear, this be's my favorite photo of you
Moustaches have many names, these are the
janitorial broom whiskers.

Sagamore Hills, often called The Summer
White House, is a great show-off palace.
Elephant tusks, c'mon man, how'd YOU
like it if someone tugged off your ears
as a trophy.

I'm gonna rest my tired feet on your
front porch. Would love some
lemonade with ice, please.

Oh, thank you, sir. It really
hit the spot.

And, yes, please drive me
to the train station in one
of the those luxury automobiles
with the leather seats and
pouches to store my Scotch
and soda.

Here's to you, Teddy!
And to conservation of
ever-diminishing species.
See what you can do
in your new platform,
wherever that be!

***
IF YOU'LL LET ME

I'm gonna use my imagination
What's going on? All these noises
in my house. Creaks. Moans. Groans.
Ghosts have returned and are walking
around loud as popcorn going off
in the Jiffy Corn Popper, careful
not to burn them

And another thing. When I turn
my head and look upstairs methinks
I see them, slinking along, never
breathing, hooded, with blue eyes
as if they own the place.

Image result for jiffy pop


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Mass Shootings Tell Nothing About Great People with Mental Illness

For years I've written Guest Columns for the Doylestown-PA based Intelligencer. My new contact for the Intell told me it's okay to write a 600-word story in response to the Parkland School shootings. My article below was never published. Here it is.



MASS SHOOTINGS TELL NOTHING ABOUT GREAT PEOPLE WITH MENTAL ILLNESS


We continue to be throttled by reports of school killings. They are not new. Massacres were perpetrated in Colonial America. Effective gun control, mandated by Congress, may not happen in our lifetime. The NRA (National Rifle Association) gives generous donations to many members of Congress. President Trump, with a flourish of his pen, could lead the effort, but it’s not on his agenda.   

We, at New Directions, the support group I founded for folks with depression, bipolar disorder and their loved ones, commend the brave high school students  who speak out on behalf of our government who turn deaf ears to this unending problem.  

And rallies are planned all over the country to advocate for gun control. “Never again” is their motto. 

Remember Gabby Giffords? This Arizona Congresswoman was holding a Q and A session in a parking lot near Tucson in 2011. A man in his mid-twenties attempted to kill her and began shooting into the crowd with a 9mm pistol with a 33-round magazine. He killed six and injured 13. He is currently serving a life sentence. 

Giffords, now 47, has had years of rehab. This is what an assassin’s bullet does to a vibrant, intelligent woman: she’s had a tracheotomy, a surgeon repaired a damaged eye socket, she had cranioplasty surgery to replace part of her skull that had been removed to permit her brain to swell after the gunshot to her head. 

She is a fighter and will continue to fight for gun control. View her website at www.Giffords.org, “The Courage to Fight Gun Violence.”    

It takes an extraordinary amount of courage to live with a mental illness. We, at New Directions, founded in 1986, advocate for medication and talk therapy. Still, we often feel like “guinea pigs,” as we don’t know which meds will work or not. 

Talk therapy changes neurons in the brain quicker than medication. 

Our talented people move forward.

They’ve performed onstage in a theater in Center City, led meetings at AA groups, won prestigious awards for photography and short stories. Some folks do their work even if they’re on kidney dialysis. The drug lithium may destroy the kidneys and careful monitoring is required. 

I am one of those people whose kidneys failed due to taking lithium. I found a match in my daughter Sarah Lynn, seven years ago. You only need one working kidney to survive. We joke that my kidney misses her. 

These are our brave heroes. 

Famous poets, such as Robert Lowell, often have mental illness. Our poets may not be famous but they sure are good!  Linda wins poetry awards from Montgomery County Community College. Donna writes heart-wrenching poetry that has been widely published.

Sadly, we do lose people to suicide, such is the terrible anguish of depression. As Donna wrote in one of her poems, “Climbed into your brain / chemical imbalance like mine / I feel your torture / I feel your panic / medications aren’t always the answer.”

If someone is suicidal, he or she must talk about it. Get the thoughts out. We set up a call team, phoning or visiting the person until the “suicidal urge” is gone.

Helen, as compassionate a person as you’ll find, runs our Daytime Meetings. 

“She’s better than any therapist,” her group says. She’s been through the illness many a time and always comes out with a smile.  

We fight mental illness every single day of the year. We’re ordinary people. 

Prejudice against us is so strong we dare not tell others lest we be harshly judged.  

Cheer us on! We’re just like you. Ordinary, but extraordinary. 

Ruth Z. Deming, MGPGP
Founder/Director  

Be sure to read the comments below, or post your own. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

BREAKFAST AT THE BRAUHAUS - Poem BREAKFAST AT THE BRAUHAUS - Poem: A Walk around the Block - Grab a Chair and Watch the Film - Three Billboards... Let There Be Light


Image result for otto's brauhaus



BREAKFAST AT THE BRAUHAUS

Lightning struck while reading "Munich"
and after rolling out of bed, off I went.
Had no idea where it was but memories
of stops n goes, up hills and down, led
me to their muddy parking lot.

Entered through the bar, where men
held beer steins and stared up at
the silent TV.

Knew where I wanted to sit. Was tracing
the steps, not of the bombing of London
and later, Berlin, but when the four of us
had eaten here. Dead of cancer, he's
still my friend.

Do it up right, I hollered to myself.
A croissant filled with eggs, ham, and cheese,
homestyle potatoes I heavily Ketchupped
fresh tender cantalope and coffee filled
to the brim, I sipped slowly. One good
cuppa coffee led to three.

"Michel," I said to the black-clad attendant,
"ask Samantha for some water."

I stared at the wallpaper of a Bavarian
castle. Words came to me, beer hall putsch,
Kristelnacht, Lord Chamberlain and his
wife Annie. Churchill, leaning over intently,
following his every word.

Samantha arrived with ice water
in her Heidi outfit. I was moaning with delight
over the thick sandwich and water, thanking
God I was released more or less intact
from the camps.

***

WALKING AROUND THE BLOCK

I've changed the names of the child

Blustery, still, in early April,
Christ has risen, so he's got
my back, the wind kisses my face,
and a child cries, Hello Miss Ruth!

"Who's that, I call?" backing up a bit.
"Eric," he calls as he and his sister
get out of the car.

For a moment I think they're singing.
They're fighting.

My one wish is to walk astride
a kid. Eric will do. "Look!"
I'd point. "See that red bird?"

All bundled up, Eric would nod.
"That's a cardinal."

That's what I did with my kids
in Austin, Hatboro and Willow Grove.

Gone gone gone. They don't need me
anymore.

***

GRAB A CHAIR AND WATCH THE FILM

There's nearly always a fracas at the free movie.
"Three Billboards Outside Ebbings, Missouri"
one of the top films of last year, began in confusion,
hold on, I told myself, soon it will all make sense.

Sitting in the back jagged row the viewers had fashioned, I recognized the long horsey face of McDormand, her anger
spilling over and filling up the wood-paneled room. If she
were my mother, I'd've run away.

Her daughter did. A sensible vigilante, she did what her brilliant brain told her to find out the daughter's killer.

Suddenly a bearded man four seats to my left began
to rattle. Rattle Rattle Rattle.
Heads turned. And stared and stared.

He was fishing into some sort of bag. What was he
looking for? I knew if I went over and said, Shut
the hell up, my words would reverberate with me
the length of the picture.

Another major fracas, this time within me.
I'd left my noodle soup on "high" in my slo-
cooker. No way to shut it off except with
your fingers.

Now the movie was ruined for me. Should I jump
up and go home? Would my house go up in smoke like
all the fires in the film? Bloodshed too.

Oh, it was a terrible film, winner of major awards.
Are you glad you went? asked my friend Chris.
Sure am, I said. Now I know what the hullabaloo
is all about.

***
Just had the following experience. Afterward it's up to bed I go to read myself to sleep. And bike, of course while doing so.

LET THERE BE LIGHT

Readying myself for bed
My socks- and PJ-clad self
Shuffles into the blackness
of the kitchen to put away
the hummus.

The darkness terrifies.
I could break my toe
on the leg of my Ikea kitchen table.
Or ram, head first, into the softly
humming fridge.

Mindlessly, I open the
fridge and instantly
I'm in the First Book
of Genesis swimming and
bathing and drinking
in the light.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Contagious! Writing Poems - Ode to my Dryer - Yes, Facebook, Please! - Happy 76th Anniversary Mom and Dad


Ask me why I don't post pictures?

Gotta go thru a big rigmarole to post em!

Look, novels don't have pictures, right?

Am reading: Munich by Robert Harris, Escape Clause by John Sandford (a Virgil Flowers novel), Me Before You by Jojo Myers, Books by the Dead - A Memoir with Poetry - by Alan Catlin ( we email back and forth)

Image result for alan catlin poet
 Holy cow! This man has written loads of books!



ODE TO MY DRYER

You have been here since the day I moved in
O Whirlpool with a whistling "Wh"
The lovely items I've dried in you
Made in USA Cotton shorts I bought in Cape May
A wet book or two, but only for a second
Your looks are magnificent
Sorry I can't show you off
dans le living
A perpetual shine
like the midnight moon.


FACEBOOK SAYS DATA HARVESTED TOPS 87 MILLION

I certainly don't want Zuckerburg's cheatin face on my blog!


YES, FACEBOOK, PLEASE

Peddle my diseases to your cohorts
Fibromyalgia
Sjogrens syndrome
Congenital Heart Disease
The entire Hepatitus Family
and let's not forget
I was a Siamese Twin
separated at birth

Use your data to send me ads
about lingerie, rock music
from the sixties, dried
flowers made of silk and
posters for my living room

Unlike my friend Judy,
I am not a Facebook addict,
just a parttime user, who
likes her Salem cigarettes.

***

Happy Seventy-Sixth Anniversary, Mom and Dad
April 4, 1944

Stationed at Guantanamo, in World War II,
Staff Sergeant Harold Greenwold read 17 books a week
while smoking Lucky Strikes, stubbing
them out into a glass ashtray.

On furlough, he wore his Marine uniform
to Marlindale Road in Cleveland Heights,
where Mom awaited in a purple dress
that showed her shapely legs through
seamed stockings.

Rabbi Rosenthal married them. Dad
put on a shiny silk yarmulcha, and
said to me one day, he wanted to be
a rabbi, and was in fact to his
employees at Majestic Specialties.

He hired blacks, Jews, Italians and
former inmates. Many worked in
undershirts it was hot as a furnace
in there.

Page Sumpter Jr, Alan Schonberg,
Morty Shesol, Beryl Pinckney. Mark,
his nephew, who thought everyone
was watching him. 

Dad would go round every morning
to greet his people, including his
fast-typin secretary Lois Stendor
who he told tactfully to wear
deodorant.

He worked on the seventh floor
Holocaust survivors were there
with numbers tattooed on their
arms.

The place was huge like a church.
Little by little, many of them died off.
His lovely shapely bride remembers
him with fondness, saying, "He gave
me such great people to remember
him by."

And the list goes on and on.   



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Gifts at our Seventh Kidneyversary - Poem: Party Leftovers




Image result for barack obama an intimate portrait   Image result for a fatal grace by louise penny   Bought both of these on Amazon since the Barnes and Noble link was not working properly.

How long should I wait?

Was hoping - silly me! - that Ethan had never heard of Louise Penny and her Inspector Armande Gamache series from au Canada.

Good, he said, I haven't read this one.

Sarah said she'd put the Obama book in her office at Atlas Cops and Kids.

Whenever she goes somewhere she brings me beautiful postcards.

Ada does this as well! I often send them to her 108-yo mother at Brandywine Eastates.

Since I'm reading LAB GIRL for my Book Group this Thursday, was gonna say a tree has more memory than Lillian does, but that's not true. 

Ada and Rich gave me a donation to a fighting cancer foundation.

Eschewing my usual egg omelet this morning, gotta eat some of my leftover party food.

My chili is simmering in the pot.

Gimme a couple of minutes. Gotta write a poem for Facebook. 

PARTY LEFTOVERS

Sure, I try to lose weight,
but the goodies at my
party, tempt me like the
heroin addict I never was.

That iced coffee, medium roast,
from Rem, named after the bankrupt
Remington Bullet Company, tastes
great, hot to my tongue.

It's shiverin' weather outside.
Raining droplets that match my
polka dot pajama tops.

Our funnest neighbors have moving vans
lined up on the street.

Blue-eyed Zeke peeked in at our party.
Always wants something of MY-in, as they
pronounce it in these parts.

Change from my hand-painted coin bowl
Fat green tabs from Donna at Starbucks
Who am I to teach him a lesson?

Let him learn from Hope Community Church
just around the corner, as I allow him
two fat green sticky strips I seal my
envelopes wid.