Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Write letters to the editor to promote mental health awareness / Poem: Homecoming

It's always nice to see a newspaper on the Caller ID, in this case, Calkins Media, who I used to work for. They call to confirm I wrote the letter and want it published.

In the letter, I complimented them. Last Sunday they had a FRONT PAGE STORY on the Reach-out Foundation of Morrisville, PA which, among other things, serves as a drop-in center for people w/mental illness.

Their funding is being cut. Their modest budget is $150,000 per year, which includes leasing their office.

The founder of Reach-out was orig. a member of New Directions. She was so good I told her to start her own group near Levittown, where she lives. Thus spake Reach-out.

In my letter I suggested readers send her a donation, like I just did. (Reminder, Ruthie!)

Am reading Poets on Prozac by Richard Berlin, MD. The book features essays by about 15 poets who have published books and who also suffer from various form of mental illness.

It's good reading and also has me organizing my poetry - there's so much of it on my computer - much of it I can't remember writing. And I'm emailing it in, hoping someone will take my poems or my prose.

My always great fear is that when I was on psych meds for nearly 17 yrs, I was a better poet than I am now. Won a couple of poetry prizes while on lithium, the mysterious link between madness and creativity.

Was sitting here minding my own business when I remembered I had lima beans a-soaking and I had to do something with them.

So I made this soup. Ya know those health docs you watch on Channel 12 when you can't fall asleep? Well, I watched two of em last nite and was mightily influenced by what they said.

So into my lima bean zoup goes black pepper and fresh ginger. I season soups w/cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Never any salt.

On my kitchen table above you can see an iced drink I made for this hot summer day. It's iced ginger tea w/fresh grated ginger.

Here's a poem I have no recollection of writing.


Sixty years was a long wait
but I’m still the girl
with the long legs
and rosebud mouth
as when they locked me up

How I gazed through the iron grates
year after year
waiting for my release

A prison like no other
we had Napoleon in one corner
Sister Rose in another
I was the Empress
in fine clothes
no one could see
for we wore
green gowns
starched stiff
from the laundry
tails hanging

Through the bars
I’d wait for the
robin in spring
his fat orange breast
sat on my gutter,
and snow flurries
floating on the pink parasol
I carried high
walking in the courtyard
ballerina slippers
leaving fish trails.

The Empress was always gay
my furnace within burned with

Or tried to be
during my lockdown
of sixty-one years
dad drove me there
in our family Hudson
black like an undertaker

I thought it was a southern mansion
new home for daddy’s belle
he shook his head
as he gave them
my suitcase
see you soon
he said driving away

did they come to visit?
my memory is dim

When they set me free
when I walked through the numbered gates
I beheld the sky
my long white hair fell
upon shrunken breasts
my knees wobbled
I fell to the ground
and kissed my freedom

All I wanted
was a room of my own
with a chair
to look out the window
at the climbing roses
growing higher and higher
while my pink parasol
rested unharmed
at the place I call home.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Catching up with Mother after my writer's group / Poems: June 25 and Yo, God!

Nice turnout at our Writer's Group. The online newspaper, which serves communities between 15K and 100K, accdg to their website, will cover our Writer's Group for their Willow Grove edition. Our group was excited to hear this.

Everyone presented something at the last meeting. My two poems are at the end of this post.

I usually order a relatively tame drink at Weinrich's cuz I don't drink caffeine. Well, something came over me and I wanted coffee!

I couldn't remember why I'd given up caffeine - dependence, I believe - so I ordered a small iced decaf. Since they were out of that, Jenn gave me the cappuccino.

ZOWEE! It was so delicious! But I only drank half of it cuz I was afraid of getting totally stoned and not being able to drive to mom's.

At mom's, we sat out on the screened back porch w/ the sun streaming across our bodies. Mom says she sits here in the late afternoon to get her Vitamin D. She has 3 friends named Ruth, all of whom are still alive (88-ish like her), and all living in Cleveland

Ruth Katz, who never married
Ruth Grossman
Ruth Gans

She told me about all the accomplished dead people whose obits were in the Cleveland Jewish News.

Recently she talked to the Biskinds, who lived next door to us in Shaker Heights. Now they live in Flagstaff. Oh, I could go on and on. I used to babysit for the kids. June would leave a coke in the frig for me. I would eat anything from their frig that I thought wouldn't look like I took it.

I also used to also read John's medical books w/sickening photos. He was an ob-gyn. Today he's a healthy 85. His license was revoked in 1998. Don't ask.

My sister Ellen arrived home w/Chinese food. Since I haven't had Chinese food in a year, I couldn't remember if it was contraindicated by the strange diets I'm always on - first the kidney-preserving diet and now the diabetes diet.

I'm not much for avoiding temptation, so I told them I'd shoot up and then join them. I got my shooter out of my bag, stood up at the table, and injected 10 units in my ever-expanding belly. Yes, I am gaining weight. Scott doesn't notice. I think he just likes flesh.

When I finished, my mom said, Oh, can I watch you inject?

I just did, mom, I said, but I'll show you how I did it.

That nite I went over to my sister Donna's in Hatboro.

Dyou have any snacks, I asked her.

She brought out sunflower seeds. The salt hid its minor rancidity.

We watched a film noir classic on TCM called Out of the Past (the book was titled Build the Gallows High) starring a sultry Jane Greer and a hot young James Mitchum who couldn't keep away from this beautiful bad woman. A tramp!

In his intro, Robert Osbourne, looking dapper in a suit and tie, said Out of the Past is his fave film noir.

In short, every single scene was perfect-o. The way every scene was framed, the snappy dialogue, the character development, and constant surprises.

Poor Virginia Huston loses her beloved James Mitchum to a soul-less con-woman only out for herself. In the movie she kills at least three people including her man Kirk Douglas.

Wonderful double-cross movie almost as good as Double Indemnity w sultry Stanwyck and lovesick Fred MacMurray.


who better than me
has studied her fingernails
over and over
curling them upward
for reassurance
in the ceaselessly marching
days since my red rooster
arrival in the military hospital

they were glad to have me
raised me a girl
in pretty dresses and
piano lessons

he left first of a
monstrous disease
she's going slowly
an icicle dripping from
the eave

why is it I remember a
birthday at six-and-a half?
popcicle molds my gift
to make lemonade and
cherry pops

today I celebrate
my one-hundred-and-thirtieth
fingernails intact
brain a little shrunken
appetite gargantuan.

polite applause followed by Yo God, in which it helps to know your Bible history


I've got something on my mind.

Know first
I am not Job
prepare yourself for

Tell me,
are you a merciful
god or

Sitting there on your golden throne
polishing your long fingernails,
a regular Chinese mandarin,
can you see me Walking
among the maples

Why did you let me flourish
while she lay her head on the
railroad track?

Do you hate the Jews?
How dyou like our pretense:
Chosen people!
Rationalization of the first degree.

When did the tide turn?
You gave us free will
and now we destroy
everything you gave us:
the oceans
the hills
the Amazon

So, as the Deuteronomy of
generations unfold
we'll soon be bereft
like the Neanderthals
abandoned in the snow
no buffalo in sight.

The splash of your tears
comforts me.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Speaking of Mental Illness: Linehan disclosure - Schizophrenia lecture

Marsha Linehan, creator of DBT for borderline personality d/o

Well, this was certainly the talk of the town yesterday.

Marsha Linehan did a NY Times interview in which she talked about the difficulty - and finally the necessity - of disclosing her condition - borderline personality disorder. Upon occasion, she still gets thoughts of killing herself.

From the article by Benedict Carey:
Are you one of us?

The patient wanted to know, and her therapist — Marsha M. Linehan of the University of Washington, creator of a treatment used worldwide for severely suicidal people — had a ready answer. It was the one she always used to cut the question short, whether a patient asked it hopefully, accusingly or knowingly, having glimpsed the macramé of faded burns, cuts and welts on Dr. Linehan’s arms:

“You mean, have I suffered?”

“No, Marsha,” the patient replied, in an encounter last spring. “I mean one of us. Like us. Because if you were, it would give all of us so much hope.”

“That did it,” said Dr. Linehan, 68, who told her story in public for the first time ...
Today Marsha is probly finishing up reading all the comments readers left at the Times. Mine is no. 135.

Without even thinking, I left a comment. That's cuz the Times tempts you. All I wanted to do was READ the comments. But my own name popped up, asking for my comment.

Am on the mailing list for the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, formerly NARSAD. New Directions has made many a donation over the years to this charitable org who give out grants to brain researchers. When John O'Reardon spoke to us, we donated money in his name to BBR.

We also offered him a blueberry bush, which he declined - and took the white mums instead.

When I took a pic of the blueberry bush just now, I noticed a blight growing on the leaves. Must call the berry doctor.

Yesterday I listened to this 52-minute audio about Drugs for Schizophrenia by Dr Jeffery Lieberman, a smart white-haired dude who's prof of shrinkology at Columbia University.

Efficacy of antipsychotix varies.

In order of effectiveness are: Clozaril, Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel, Abilify. This is valuable information! A few of the antipsychotix are not available in the US. Oh, well, I guess I'll have to move to Zimbabwe.

Lieberman wondered why only 5 percent of patients take Clozaril since it's by far the most effective schizophrenia drug.

I know half a dozen people on it and they're all trying to get off. Side effects!

We have a guy in our group, who I'll call John, who recently told our small group, that when he was diagnosed w/schizophrenia, his doctor said he had "the good kind."

He worked for quite a while, but then I believe sheer loneliness began to shut him down. All his family had died and a remaining cousin moved away. John is hurt that the cuz never invited him to see his young grandchildren.

We guided John about this, particularly Helen who is in frequent phone contact with him.

Altho it doesn't come naturally to me (I come from a family who were scared of touching each other!) I try to give hugs to various New Directions people and some of my therapy clients.

Never underestimate the power of human touch.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Willow Grove Train Station Relocation Presentation at the Giant / Poem: His Train

My potato salad includes in-season veggies like asparagus, lightly steamed and crunchy. I'm eating my second bowl now.

Scott and I drove over to the Giant supermarket classroom to hear about the proposed move of the train station. I learned some interesting things.

Click on this great website.

The 13-member Task Force has been working on this phase of the study since February. They meet in the Township Commissioner's room.

It was initiated by the County, according to Task Force member Bob Crippin.

He's also instrumental in the development of one of our many township parks, historic Boileau Farmstead. Scott and I are both members. Bob remembered our names.

Jonathan is another Task Force member, instantaneously recognizable. Some of the info I got from him contradicted Bob Crippen's, unless my hearing aid wasn't.....oh, I don't have a hearing aid.

"I met you when I visited my friend Alex Zachariah," I said.

How is Alex?

Oh, he was just leaving for work when I was coming here.

Yeah, he's still in prison, I guess.

Alex is a corrections officer at Graterford.

Gerry Dungan, a writer/editor at, writes notes after videotaping a resident. His video features comments by residents about what they think of the 'transit relocation' project. I believe that's its official name.

There are grants available for this: Federal, state, and county.

Here are the money people. They call themselves by a more respectable name. The sign on their table read: Economics/Finance.

His first name might be Mark. Then again, it could be Ben, Chris, Murray, Jesus, Moses, or Vladimir. There was no need to take notes.

Here's the owner of the planning company, Todd J Poole.

When I learned he was the owner, I wanted to take a picture of his purple tie.

Together, you and I will look at his website.

Altho they call it moving the train station, they would leave the station where it is, but build a new train station somewhere in the vicinity. They have several ideas. Plus they would revitalize downtown Willow Grove, the center of which is a Burger King that smells of cherry toilet deodorizer when you walk in.

Chrissie is the spokesperson for Michael Baker Management Services. I asked her what projects Baker had undertaken. She knew practically nothing about her company b/c she's new. A quick look at their website revealed the incredible: they were involved in the Alaska Pipeline.

She told me to look for the man with the tie and he would answer my questions.

Scott just informed me that Baker is doing research on Phila's 12-lane Roosevelt Hwy, which extends from the Greater Northeast Phila area through North Philly, including the Roosevelt Extension which leads into I-76.

Very heavily trafficked. Baker will see if they can use all-bus dedicated lanes and other traffic-control measures. Click here for more info on the Boulevard.

I believe his name is Ferguson.

Huge map was spread out on a ping-pong table. Well, it looked like one anyway. Two young guys were there, very involved, on opposite sides of the table. They were interested in a biking path!!!

Notably missing from the presentation were the future of our town: families with young children. I brot this up to Todd Poole in the purple tie - a Tie means you're important - and he said they were probly home after a hard day's work.

In fact, I told neighbor Patrick about the meeting but he couldn't attend.

He and his kids stopped by earlier with this lovely drawing:

When I got home from the meeting, my pain was so bad I took a new drug recommended by my back surgeon. I'll never remember the name so I'll call it - with high hopes - Prometheus, actually Promathazine.

On my way out. And off to the Upper Moreland Library to pick up my latest DVD, Rome, Open City, made in 1945 by Rosselini. Recently reviewed in a video by the Times, I knew after the first two seconds, it was a great film.

The moment I got home from the library I took my pain meds. One Percoset is practically useless so Dr Lee, thru his nurse, recommended an enhancer.

It's always scary taking a new drug. Will it cause psychosis? halitotis? rhinitis? bursitis?

Fatique is its main side effect. Not to mention fatigue.

I slept very well. The anti-pain properties didn't kick in until four hours later. Then I was in less pain than ever before.

What a great opportunity to publish my poem, His Train. It's about a fellow poet at the Lambertville, NJ, River Poets' Group. George Dabrowski is now happily retired from his train job.

Before we met at the Lambertville library, the poets would meet at people's homes. The below poem takes place at the apartment of Joe Traceno. His wife Sylvia, a former Look mag cartoonist, recently passed away.


George, when you called it, “my train,” my heart opened like a fan
and I saw all traces of your fine unspoiled face – where were the worry lines? –
and I saw you - not where we were –
at our host’s filigreed table with its spread of brie and tiny finger sandwiches –
but I put you instead aboard your train where you belong.
It’s yours, you know, and I watch you in your conductor’s uniform –
oh, maybe there are epaulets and an American flag pinned just below the collar,
a watch chain like in olden days
and certainly a captain’s hat with a rim that shines.

Steady yourself in the aisles, George. The train goes fast.
Lean against the back rails,
o learned’ man of the motion of the sway of trains,
let your knees and thighs keep you standing and let you
rectify yourself against the odd lurch.

I await you, George, and have come aboard your train this morning,
am riding it now, steadying my book and my cup of coffee,
listening, for the clash of door and pressing of the high-up button
that means we’re a go.
Your cheery mumble gets nearer
and the sound of clicking tickets
becomes an arpeggio of desire, waiting ‘til it’s my turn for
an oh-so-quick-will-he-look at me this time, like he did the last.

The brie and crackers stick in my throat, and you are there hovering
above me, George, offering me a glass of water.
O, forget them all, George, forget them all. It’s your train I want to ride,
dining face to face in what used to be the dining car.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Did the hard thing today and it turned out easy! - A few political rants

Since submitting my latest article, I realized I could do a little desktop cleaning.

A month ago I realized it was time to write another Guest Column for the Doylestown-based Intelligencer. I was loath to do so for many reasons, chief among them it's a lot of hard work.

I requested permission from the Intell this morning, got it, and finished the fourth and final draft two minutes ago.

The byline should read: by Ruth Z Deming and three bowls of organic peanuts. You are what you eat, after all.

I made reference to something that took place at our New Directions' meeting last nite. Called up a family member and got her permish to write about their situation.


You see, it finally occurred to me - this is hysterical! how could I have not known before - that our terrible mental health system will never change.

I did try w/my attempt to introduce the OpenAccess system of scheduling to Creekwood Mental Health Center. That's so depressed people will not die while waiting for an appointment, as happened w/ our Justin Hawkes.

I visited his mom this morning.

I was hoping that when I drove by, after depositing funds from last nite's meeting at my bank, that she'd be out gardening.

She was!

We talked a long time. I didn't take notes.

My editor gives me 700 words max. Ya know what my word count is?

700 exactly. Hey, it was hard shaving everything down.

What I'd like to see - and I put this briefly into my guest column - is a central authoritative Bipolar Foundation - Schizophrenia Foundation - etc - similar to the one-size-fits-all Diabetes Association and Heart Association w/ universally acknowledged policies and procedures, like take meds, get therapy and make lifestyle changes.

And for godssakes try therapy first before you medicate the hell out of us.

I started reading Scott my article.

It'll never happen, he agreed, about a better mental health system.

But why, I asked.

You know why, he said. People don't wanna associate with people w/mental illness, tho half the people at SEPTA are on psych meds, he said.

They'll always be wackos or psychos, he said.

How dyou like your wacko girlfriend, I laffed.

He had actually come to fetch me for our afternoon nap.

He slept very well. I watched two hours' worth of Rockford Files with a smiling, charming James Garner.

Hey, I just read in the Times that Michelle is in South Africa with her mom and the girls. They love her in Africa, where she is the same woman she was before becoming First Lady, truly interested in bettering the lives of the poor.

What if she, like Scott and me, despises Obama's policies and, defying convention, divorces him when his presidency is over.

She's now wearing clothing from J. Crew. I bot one of their pullovers at Impact Thrift in Hatboro.

China is completing the largest and fastest rail line in the world.

What is America doing about our car-infested roads where the traffic increases every year.

Has Obama ever heard of mass transit?

Another dismal failure of this president.

Last nite the great Margaret Fitzpatrick spoke at our group. Title of her presentation, which was up on a big screen was, Staying physically fit throughout the lifespan, or something like that. I couldn't believe it was me who thot of the title. As I've said before, a part of me feels 7 years old.

Do YOU ever feel like a small child inside?

I told Margaret, who is indeed my physical therapist, that altho my sciatica is excruciating, I keep moving. In fact I have the same motto as the mail carriers.

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

This is commonly misidentified as the creed of our mail carriers, but actually it is just the inscription found on the General Post Office in New York City at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street.

Here's how the official Web site of the U.S. Postal Service describes the origin of the inscription.

This inscription was supplied by William Mitchell Kendall of the firm of McKim, Mead & White, the architects who designed the New York General Post Office. Kendall said the sentence appears in the works of Herodotus and describes the expedition of the Greeks against the Persians under Cyrus, about 500 B.C. The Persians operated a system of mounted postal couriers, and the sentence describes the fidelity with which their work was done. Professor George H. Palmer of Harvard University supplied the translation, which he considered the most poetical of about seven translations from the Greek.

Let's get back to the Rockford Files w/Jim Garner, b. in 1928. He's 83 yrs old and married to the same woman he met at an Adlai Stevenson convention.

I think I've advanced and instead of being 7 yrs old inside, I'm now a teenager in love with Garner. Bet I can check out his show Maverick, one of those old Warner Bros westerns I used to watch back in Cleveland.

Each nite before I go to bed, my baby, I ... oops, that's an old song. What I do, tho, is go out on my back porch and watch the fireflies.

All earthly cares and arm-chair quarterbacking disappear, as I watch the tiny lights flicker on and off, on and off, and I marvel at the ingenuity of these little critters and the intensity of their short lives.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hey you big-spenders, this is my town too!

When Scott and I drove over the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge to NJ on Father's Day, I said to Scott, Maybe they'll wanna move the bridge too!

I was referring to the desire of some of our town fathers to move the Willow Grove Train Station to another location.

Yes, you heard me right. Did you ever hear of anything so ridiculous?

They're having a task force this week about it, which I read about on

I was so incensed I actually wrote a comment as follows: (made a couple changes here; as usual my adverb was in the wrong place)

who is behind this idea of train-station moving? i'm wondering what they will personally gain from such a radical, capital-intensive project that will tie up our roads for several yrs during completion?

why do we need more retail shops or office bldgs in willow grove? willow grove is a small community. we are not philadelphia or pittsburgh.

look, it's good to think big but let's not get grandiose about it.

settlement music school was a good addition to our town, as is the giant supermarket. we have wonderful parks and schools.

find other goals to strengthen and enhance willow grove. all who agree say aye and do not capitulate to the monied interests!!!

I tried to make my comment worthy of my friend and political ally Stephen Weinstein who made a grand gesture thother day to halt a property-management company - Haynes Management of Wellesley, MA - in their ruthless mistreatment of an employee whose wife got sick.

What did they do? They fired the man. Here's Stephen's email to the Haynes people:

Dear Mr. Haynes,

Today your real estate management company really stood out.

Haynes Management could be the iconic poster child for what is wrong in the American business community. How “proud” you and your team must be for “saving” your firm a few dollars when you fired a 13-year employee who requested an adjusted work schedule to assist his wife dealing with stage 4 cancer.

This is the same employee who received a raise in November for a job well done. Anyone with a sense of decency and humanity, after reading about your company, must feel they are experiencing a nausea one would associate with chemotherapy treatment.

I am including links to articles about this story since I am copying this email to an extensive mailing list that includes residents of the Boston area who may want to know the details.

The Haynes website has subsequently been removed.

In the numerous comments about the company I found on the Internet, there was an official "straightening out of the record" from Haynes.

One thing I noticed was their proudly stated comment that most of their employees have been there over 10 years.

Well, the guy they fired had been there 14.

How many other people had they fired for the same ruthless greedy reasons.

Leona Helmsleys are everywhere!

Luckily they didn't see me filling my pillbox this morning!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Woman about town - New Library Carpet - Story idea for the Times / Poem: Misery at the Pennypack Park

Dyou know I actually drove over to the Upper Moreland Library this morning to see their new carpet?

The libe was closed a week for installation.

And whom should I meet but David Robertson, head of Pennypack Trust and Richard Booth, board prez of Pennypack Trust, our number one favorite 800 acres of trees and wildflowers, turtles and turkeys, and Mike's Hikers from our support group.

When I got home I saw that my article on Authorized Camera Repair had been published on

Then I remembered I had unfinished biz.

I'd contacted the NY Times about a story idea. I wrote the query to three different people, but never heard from em.

This is a fantastic story idea and I should do everything I can to ensure they write about it.

I ain't famous, I ain't got no money, I write poetry that only Iris and Carolyn like, and I take 14 antirejection pills morning n nite (some of the pills are antiviral or whatnot).

Here's what I wrote to a Gardiner Harris, who has covered kidneys in the past. He did acknowledge my email. I made one typo in it.

Dear Mr Harris,

I'm a 65-year-old woman who was on the drug lithium for nearly 17 years for bipolar disorder.

This April, 2011, I received a new kidney from my daughter b/c I was in end-stage renal disease.

I run a support group for bipolar d/o here in suburban Phila and know numerous men and women who have had kidney transplants due to lithium toxicity OR who are on dialysis.

I believe it's high time lithium is exposed for the dangerous drug it is. Altho it certainly does help folks w/bipolar, there are many new drugs from which to choose.

Psychiatrists still put patients on lithium. Unfathomable.

Thanks for considerating this story idea, Mr. Harris.

Ruth Z Deming, MGPGP
Willow Grove PA
New Directions Support Group

For Father's Day Scott n I drove to his family's in NJ to celebrate. Above are the leftovers, including a tender morsel of steak you could cut with a plastic fork.

We ate outdoors in the cool breeze. I wore a dress cuz dresses are cooler in the summer.

Here are some photos I took on the way over.

For the first time I realized how b'ful Roosevelt Blvd is. This is a huge 12-lane highway with islands of trees in the middle.

Scott, who was driving, told me that they used to have Park Guard Houses every so often. They took c/o the park.

When we passed a particular corner, he said a huge Wawa will be installed there. A death trap, he said. Read below.

The road is notorious for two intersections which have been designated the second and third most dangerous intersections in the country by State Farm Insurance, at Red Lion Road and Grant Avenue respectively.[4] The dangerous reputation of the road led to installation of the first red light cameras in Philadelphia in 2004. The road has been the scene of numerous pedestrian casualties and studies are underway to allow pedestrian traffic to be separated from vehicular traffic
Oh well, what are a few pedestrian casualties, including children, for the opportunity for corporations to make lots more money? If the City had any sense, they'd hire full-time crossing guards to get those kids safely across the street after they buy their gum and candy and sodas at Wawa.

We headed for the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge, which is a fairly narrow bridge and painted green.

By now I'd pulled out my book-discussion book Fordlandia but Scott and I were so busy talking I never had time to open it.

We never tire of talking to one another.

I do love trucks, esp. nicely painted cabs.

Dig the photographer in the side-view meer.

I've been getting around just fine w/my aching sciatica. I believe a person simply habituates to the pain. Was standing in line waiting to check out books when a seizure of pain went up my left leg.

You get used to it. Easier, of course, cuz my back surgery is scheduled for August 3.

Lying in bed trying to sleep is the worst pain of all. Ever see the Stephen King film w/Kathy Bates? She hates this particular man and keeps him in bed by bludgeoning his legs w/a club.

That's how my legs feel. Pity me! Pity me! Pity me!

I wonder if people w/fibromyalgia feel this way.

Dunno about you, but I'm ready for a nap. Just checked out the Rockford Files from the libe. That's the old detective show w/James Garner playing Jim Rockford.

Scott and I will watch it and snore together.


the sinned-against

floated in from a bergman film

marched down the steep green glade,

a path the deer had made

and the Indians too

in pennypack park

studded with maiming rocks

and tree roots that tripped the hapless

the last of the wildflowers, cried sally,

bending to cradle a tiny orange

something in her palm

it only opens when the sun’s out, she announced

to the sky

the threesome had left their

baggage in the station wagon

post-traumatic stress disorder

voices on the pillow

scenes of falling off the roof after hallucinating

steve survived an overdose of nembutol

and a padded cell at norristown

ernesto wished he’d had the courage

to take a stab at calling death

but earthly obligations

kept him tethered to his life

los miserables walked the pennypack

chained together by love and need

ernesto pointed to a picnic table on the right

laughed while nudging the others

the diners were of a different stripe:

five silent turkeys

tails spread open like fantan dancers

strutting across the table

because the world is theirs.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Our BBQ is on the most perfect night of the year! Unless you're Clarence Clemons

I have the greatest group of friends. We planned our BBQ for two weeks and at last we had it at Tamanend Park in Southampton PA.

I've come home smelling of charcoal and S'mores.

We arrived when it was light - 5 pm - and left when it was dark - before 10.

We stood out on the soft grass and looked up at the constellations. There's the big dipper, someone said.

Jim just bought a new house. He's waiting to move in. I told him I was gonna read my poem called A House is Like a Beautiful Face.

His house is one-third of an acre and out in the country. I'd emailed him a story I wrote about my own quest to find a house called Spanish Arches. It's been rejected by about 10 different publications but you know what? I think it's fantastic.

Here's ToddVark who brought the wood. He even had tiny lil twigs so we could roast marshmallows on them.

That fire was so hot you had to stand far away from it when you stuck your marshmallow in the fireplace.

You wait till it catches fire and then you take the burning marshmallow out and let it burn till it's crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside. You put it on already-prepared gram cracker halves and a bar of Hershey's chocolate.

I only had two.

The amazing Chris! From Indianapolis, his dad always took him to the Indy 500. He went earlier this year and watched w/amazement as a rookie took the lead the whole way.

But then Chris couldn't see the track b/c of a blind spot and next thing he knows Dan Wheldon wins the race. Rookie Hildebrand had crashed into the wall and his broken-down car was going so fast he finished second.

Chris just returned from the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs where his 16-yo son is a cadet!

Loved this cluster of trees and wild grasses. Turns out the tree bore fruit. Crabapples.

Ya think these is crabapples?

The crabapple tree's view of Our Gang.

Noam, are my healthy hot dogs ready? I'm starving. I buy the no-nitrate kind in the freezer at Giant. They're chicken dogs, uncured. Look, you smother them w/ mustard and relish and who's the wiser. Not me.

This is only one-tenth of what I ate. And now I'm getting up from my laptop for my dessert. A bowl of cashews.

Everything good is happening for The Trace. She's one interview away from a great job.

Clare brought potatoes and had Noam roast them on the grill. Takes a long time to cook but man were they good. I dipped mine in some sour cream dip Chris brought.

Jeff is a guy who gives advice to everyone. Could he be the next Dear Abby?

I took him to be Jewish but he's actually half and half. Italian.

Are you Jewish, he asked me. You don't look Jewish.

Well, then why did you ask me?

He sells things at flea markets.

Columbus? I asked.

That's too far, he said and named other fleas. I'm quite familiar with most of em. My ex Simon Bolivar would buy stuff at fleas and sell em on eBay.

His goods are in his car.

Jeff does know a thing or two about eating. A former chef, he made up the hamburger patties which had egg and onions.

Someone else brought bison burgers. I so wanted to try em but I was already stuffed.

Horseshoes or Rings. In August after my back surgery I'll be able to join in.

Hard to see but Ellen was roasting a marshmallow. She really liked those marshmallows and hasn't an ounce of fat on her.

Ellen lost her husband on June 5 to a progressive neurological disease similar to ALS. Gene was VP of the a local NY Transport Workers Union.

Linda came late since she was at a Bible Study Class. I can't figger out what she sees in God or Jesus Christ but they give her life meaning.

My life took on meaning when I figgered out there ain't no god, despite Job's well-reasoned diatribe, but they didn't know about DNA and genomes back then.

She brot a flashlite so she could read her fine poem about August.

One woman was lamenting. Is it time to leave already? It feels like I just got here.

That's life, I said. Everything has a beginning, a middle and an end. Except if you're the Bondis, some Catholic friends of mine, who believe the Afterlife is a place you party forever and ever.

I am not a fan of the Afterlife. I think death gives our life meaning.

Watch for the moon rising, I said when I left. It should rise late at nite. It's big and beautiful.

And then you come home and check the Times and find out Clarence Clemons, the saxaphone sideman from Bruce's E-Street Band has died at 69 from complications of a stroke.