Saturday, March 29, 2014

Coffeeshop Writers' Group - My three poems: In the Middle of the Night - Deeds - Backyard Trees

Believe it or not, Ripley, but my tea is still hot. I get the delicious hot cinnamon spice, and when it's no longer hot, Adryn fills it with more hot water.

You never know who will show up at the group.

These fingers typed up three poems this morning. Was driving thru Hatboro on the way home from visiting a Mental Health Facility in Warminster. The co-owner, Yanniv, asked me if I wanted something to eat or drink.

I politely declined but when I was leaving he insisted I take something.

"You know how Jews are," he said. "We've gotta feed you."

"How about some fruit?" I asked.

Driving thru Hatboro, colorful flags alerted me to a new nail salon.

How many nail salons can Hatboro support?

HATBORO: Nail Capital of the Western World. Diana's, Polished, and now Strawberry, which is HUGE! None of the Chinese women there speak English.

Man, this tea is delicious! Free advertising for the English tea company.

Photo: Carly, Ruth, Linda, Martha - writers extrodinaire
Les quatres!


Martha wrote a fascinating short story DORA about a family living during the First World War years. The many details lent authenticity to the story. The mother in the story dies suddenly leaving several young children behind, including little Dora.

Because the factory-working father can no longer take c/o his little darlings, they go to live with an assortment of other families.

In those days, the children were made to kiss their loved ones goodbye in the coffin, the stiff cold cosmetically-altered individuals who looked like wax mummies.

It was something Dora would never forget as long as she lived.

Who was Dora? Martha's mother - real name Eunice - who told her the whole story.

This is Dora the Explorer, heroine of books, games, cartoons and of Grace Catherine Deming.

Well-done, Marf! I write "Marf" as it's easier to type up than .... oh, my aching fingers... Martha.

Deeply religious, Marf also wrote a poem Morning Star, which is meant to be sung - Marf writes religious song lyrics - and was quite beautiful. I hadn't known "Morning Star" is a synonym for God.

Next victim:

Linda Barrett wrote a new story GUN about a toddler who takes his dad's gun in the backyard and begins shooting.

That girl can write! And describe things beautifully.

Carly, with her new Gmail address, brought in an essay "Is This the Place?" about organizing her house so she can find things. Her dad was a hoarder so said she follows in his footsteps.

Everyone's goal, hoarder or not, is to remember when we put things and to find them.

Can you relate?

She also wrote a poem "A Vastly Different Day" about when plans change.

Carlana belongs to a Writers' Group on Poem Hunter. They send daily poems and Carly shared one by Emily Dickinson. We didn't quite understand it, but it referenced the saying "You did not choose me, I chose you," from the Gospel of John.

Hmm, maybe I can watch the movie!

I was familiar with the saying b/c when I worked as a therapist at Bristol-Bensalem, I visited on my lunch hour the Mother Katherine Drexel shrine and the above saying was written on the wall, near some philadendron.

The plant sat in a small windowsill. The philadendron, like Martha and Linda, was chosen.

We were joined at the Giant by a young woman named Naseem, who we hope will attend again.  She asked a great question, as she looked over our poems, "How dyou know how long to make a line?"

I said, "I look at the lines to see if they look right."

Funny how I steal various lines.

"Insatiable curiosity" in my first poem came from looking up Charlie Rose's history. As a kid, he got into trouble for his insatiable curiosity.

Our Donna couldn't be with us bc she's at home recuperating from foot surgery. When she returns next week, she'll bring a book one of her family members wrote. That's one of the ways she spends her time convalescing.

Her surgeon actually called her this morning to see how she's doing. Fancy that!

OMG! What a great song is on XPN right now. Gotta add it to my Playlist.

Alabama Shakes - Hang Loose - Boys & Girl

Lemme tell you something if you promise to keep it to yourself.
I can't stand reading my poems again. 


I’m awake,
including myself,

I swing my legs
to the hardwood floor
see a flash of light:
Car coming down the street.

Insatiable curiosity:
Why? During the
wee-wee hours,
which is where I’m headed.

Barefooting it back
to bed I realize
I am not alone
My tribe lies
outside these
yellow walls of
the shelter
we call “house.”

Please! I need to
be alone, as I tuck
my once-deerskinned
legs beneath what
once were bearskin covers
feeling the
presence of
the Lenapes
who dwelled here
on this rain-soaked
my home, where
acorn stew or char-broiled squirrel
has never been served
their only trace
the deer that
come sauntering
home in twilight.


I sit on the stair
clipping my toenails
the cream has smoothed
out the jagged bottoms
of my dry winter feet
as she tells me about
the changes her taxman’s
suggested at her
august age.

Get your name off
all deeds, he tells her.
She’s in good health
heart steady as a
mouth spewing
I always obey

Ninety-one at last count
she told me Eighty hit
her hard

“I still have the deed
from the Travis’s” she said
in her young nonmalignant voice.
The house is in both
our names
When I remove her name
will she die?

She doesn’t much like music
or my sister Donna
loud TV – a Doctor Oz
in ridiculously-looking scrubs
greets me when I come over
to the house which she no longer

One of the humiliating losses
we face as we near the finish line
a marathon runner
collapsing, owning nothing,
not even themselves.


How the maples
have told my life
the way calendars
do yours

Lines, sticks, delicate curves
every geometric shape possible 
beheld from my tiny bathroom window
changing, growing, dying with
every passing day
commingled with a black plastic wire
that bounces in the wind
allowing electricity to flow
soundlessly into the house.

I cannot say the words
“my house”
it is too magnificent
to be mine, filled with rooms
furniture, desks, computers
a television, antiques and black
Bic pens in every room and
on the marble night-stand.

A quarter of a century of
watching backyard trees
now, tiny red blossoms
portend the coming of
yet another spring

I am not so young anymore
but always the collection of
bare naked branches,
lines you can interpret
as pick-up sticks
housing for birds
and squirrels
crinkly lines around
my eyes and mouth
somehow, I know not why,
people ask, “Are you retired?”

The trees know better.
We salute one another
and I cherish them
rooted deep in the grassy ground. 


  1. Here I am again. I haven't forgotten you, but only forget to check your blog, as I still haven't figured out a way to automatically subscribe, which would work better for me. I like all three but the last one, the most! Is it true that you don't like reading your own poems once you finish them? I am embarrassed to admit that I really like reading mine. It makes me feel like I have accomplished something when I return to them, even when nobody but me has seen some of them. Not certain I completely get the deeds poem. Who is this who doesn't like Donna and why? It may not matter to the meaning of the poem but it confused me and made me wonder.

  2. Well I will try making comments as I have done before and was summarily dismissed because I am not a member. I don't know if this will go because I have not signed up yet, either . Well we will see because it is coming to the end of the little space in which to write.

    1. Apparently Google Blogspot granted you Club Membership. Let's drink to that!