Saturday, March 22, 2014

Coffeeshop Writers' Group - My poems: Insomnia - In the Middle of the Street - Bernice at Close Quarters

Thank goodness they didn't pose.

Carly rewrote Freedom: A Story of My Life about all the teachers we have in our lives. And who are the most important teachers? That's right. Our parents. Carly's mom, the one and only Mildred, was a regular Chairman Mao, insisting she was always right. No dissension allowed. She even told a Muslim woman who was caring for her that Islam was not the right religion. Ironically, today, Carly's hairdresser is a Muslim.

Carly wrote three sensational poems on her new Dell laptop with Vista software. She likes the looks of an italic or script-like font. Font names are so beautiful. Palatino and Arial, Bookman and Verdana. The font in my blog is Georgia.

The titles of her poems are good:

What Was Written - this is about what's written on a palimpsest - 

 Carly imagines it - perhaps a grocery list, a letter to a lover, an appointment for a child. Quite imaginative and deep!

Idea for the poem came when she looked up the meaning of the word "palimpsest." Note the tricky spelling.

When It's My Time to Go. Carly went on a website which helps inspire poets. It suggested you use the first line of a poem you like, which she did, and carry on from there.

The "death theme" has been repeated in our group as we're all older adults. I told them my short story "A Fine Notion" was about a man dying of ALS.

Her two poems are some of the best work she's ever done. See, we all get better from having weekly writing deadlines plus the helpful critiques.

Carly shared her poems with our baristas - Adryn and Kiana. 

Linda presented "Butterfly," a surprising tale of fantasy, which was nearly word perfect. It concerns the metamorphosis of an "ugly duckling" into a thing of beauty.

She wants to submit it to a lit mag called Unlikely Stories. It this the correct one? I'm gonna read it after I finish the blog and take a quick peak on Facebook.

Altho Beatriz didn't bring anything to read - only to eat - she was nice enuf to stay and critique our work.
The chocolate truffles were left over from her birthday celebration. They came from Sam's Italian Market on Welsh Road, right across the street from where Carly lives. When Carly wants something, she sends Charlie out, good man that he is. Click here and smell the food!

Donna also got a new laptop. The tek will come out on Monday to show her how to use it.

Her poem Josephine was about a nun, who wept when she joined her order during child-bearing years, b/c she knew she would never bear children.

The poem was a truthful portrayal of Sister Josephine. I was shocked to find out the poem is pure fiction.

This is me when I was younger and had hair.

My goal was to write three poems. I got an early start. Had lots of work to do this morning but fnished at 11:30, but I went upstairs and began to write.

All are based on true incidents. I keep paper and pen in the pocket on the driver's side, so I jotted down the ideas.


Hey beautiful! I see you
as I drive by
a black ballerina
right in the middle of the street
Quelle vision!
You refuse to submit
like les autres
on the side of the street

Look! The gray one lays
spent on her side
against the curb
appearing the victim;
a green one
lid askew
searches the sky
looking perhaps
for God or the meaning
of plastic,
while another black
has rolled across
the lawn
and delighting
like a child
in her altered state

I, too, am altered
by the boldness
of your statement
See me!
I am here!
We count!
My thoughts on
trash cans will
never be the same.


Spine straight
eyes closed
I lay and listen
to the sounds
of the night.

A car going by
clanging next door
A siren!
Where to?
its operatic aria
portending fright.

Rolling over,
I switch on the light,
grab my paperback
but am too tired
to read.

Now what?
Teach me the rules
of falling asleep.

Never look at the clock
one expert says.
It is one minute
after three.
But you mustn’t
turn on your radio
it would ruin the
sounds of the night.

Like the mystery of birth
and the formation of the
babe in the womb
I awake when the purple
light of dawn creeps like
a silent river through my window
and I arise to the glory
of a brand new day
another chance to make
my mother proud.


Is that you, Mom, in the
rear view mirror
hat on head
hands on the wheel?
At ninety-one your eyes
look rheumy
you gave up
driving too many years
ago to count
preferring instead
to be driven   

Never mind. I drive
next to you down
Easton Road
like cowboys
in a Western

Unlike you, I am
able to turn my head
without spasming
and smile at you
as we pass the pizzeria and
the newspaper where
I once worked.

What has become
of you?
Growths like
ship’s barnacles
on your neck
Unbridled breasts
that flop like
once-tasty sausages
that suckled me

Your friends back in
Keep driving Mom
keep living Bernice
a piece of me will go
when you do
a whole pecan pie
with whipped cream

I read the poem about my mom to my sister Donna while I was on the bike. I'd eaten dinner at the kids' house and didn't inject - the needle had fallen outa my pocket onto the floor of the back seat - so I biked for half an hour to lower my sugar.

Donna and I discussed the aging process. She'll be 65 in April. I'm the leader in our family, at 68, paving the way into the danger zone.

Was up until four in the morning finishing off A Fine Notion a story about a prominent Philadelphia lawyer who gets .... well, think of the worst disease anyone can get. Yes, that's what he has. And he's accepted it.

Before he allows himself to succumb to it, he has a notion to go out into the world once more - he's at an assisted living facility - and have an experience.

While Carly and Donna read the 10-page story - I'd read it aloud to Scott around noon - I did my shopping.

While the two of them were planning on getting together, I visited the table of

Helen, one of the owners of the Taiwanese food booth at the Giant and her two darling children

 Lisa is six

and Alan is three.

She thanked me for taking their pictures. The food looked and smelled delicious. Can't wait to try it.

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