Sunday, September 21, 2014

Coffeeshop Writers Group sandwiched between a bar mitzvah - Poems: Baby Max Swings his Arms and Whales

My friend Judy Kroll and husband Barry had their son bar mitzvah'd at Shir Ami in Newtown, PA.

Indeed, the cantor sang and performed on the guitar.

The bar mitzvah boy, Max, had grown considerably since last I saw him when he was about seven. He's taller than Mom and catching up with dad.

I asked Max later if he enjoyed performing and he said, Yes. A young woman Alana was bat-mitzvahed on the same bema.

They do projects, much like Catholics do on their confirmation, Elyse Bonner told me this morning when I ran over to the Giant to set up the room for our one o'clock program with Dr Bob Sadoff.

Max played the piano in various nursing homes. He also remembered the death of a five-year-old Jewish boy in the Holocaust. When my daughter Sarah and I went to Paris last year, we saw a remembrance for the Jewish children from Paris killed by the Nazis in death camps. One was 21 days old.

The rabbi said something to the effect that we will always persevere against our enemies and try to bring about peace among nations.

What planet is he talking about?

When Scott and I drove home from the bar mitzvah, I told him I'd drive to the dinner, which was at 6:30 pm. He went right to sleep as this is his weekend of sleep, since he works by night.

Judy emailed me this photo of Scott n I at the bar mitzvah. She asked why we left early. I told her the truth but she didn't 'get it.' Each dinner was $135 per plate. Yeah, but let's feed your guests on time.

It's a terrible feeling to be at the mercy of others for your comfort.


 Some of us reviewed Floyd B Johnson's short story online. In "The Good Old Days" the narrator seeks out old "Pap," a ball player, whose baseball glove he has. Great story with great dialog and characters. That man is goooood!
Carly Brown read a speech she wrote for a presentation this Weds on what she's learned from her hypnosis class. Her goal is to control her eating and continue to lose weight.

We all found it inspiring!

This is a "stock photo" I have of Linda, who wrote the conclusion of her dystopian story "Mother of Society." Floyd commented on what an undertaking she had created.... an entire world of science fiction. The main characters are named Adam and Eve.

New guy Jack Mulcahy

made some good comments. Editors, he said, will stop reading the story when they hear the characters' names are Adam and Eve. Too obvious, he said.

Behind him on the photo are guys from the Computer Club which meets upstairs.

Jack wrote a "heroic fantasy" story called "Mikhaila's Final Mission." This 17-yo woman and her team are charged with ferreting out enemies but must go through a forest and not make any noise. It was well-wrin, exciting and suspenseful.

Welcome to our world of writing, re-writes, and differing opinions, Jack!

I got feedback for the conclusion of my short story "The Power of Love" or, as Floyd remarked, "The Power of Lust."

I've got a lot of work to do on it, including changing the profession of my main character, who just won a Terri Lynne Lokoff award. My friend Rob Lokoff, is the late woman's brother.

Scott and I drove to the beautiful Spring Mill Manor in Ivyland PA for the bar mitzvah dinner.

A truly beautiful place.

All the food was delicious. We enjoyed the appetizers. Since I have diabetes, I injected the maximum amount of insulin - 10 units - and enjoyed two potato latkes with applesauce on top

while Scott enjoyed knishes. We also sampled various fare on other tables in the appetizer room.

Had we known we would not stay for dinner, we would have eaten more.

I also drank half a glass of wine.

Then into the dark and freezing banquet room we went. I figured it would be cold, so I wore a warm pretty sweater that Ada had given me as a gift over my light blue dress that my sister Donna gave me.

Everyone was having a grand time - they finally turned on the lights - I enjoyed the slide show of Max and also the lifting up of chairs with Max and Judy and Barry - a great tradition.

Scott and I sat patiently at our tables waiting for the food to be brought in.

We were starving.

Fortunately, waiter Brian brought us a delicious Caesar salad. And when I asked him he brought me a glass of hot water to warm me up.

I didn't wanna ask for a heating pad.

Our tablemates were most unfriendly. You know, you meet someone's eyes and wait for them to talk. Of course, talk was impossible due to the loud throbbing music.

I went over and spoke to a man originally from Israel and told him I was listening to an audio tape Son of Hamas

He said nothing after that, but, again, how could he?

Finally, I turned to Scott.

You wanna leave, I asked.

He said, If I had driven here and had the keys, I would've left long ago.

Grrrr. Why hadn't he told me that sooner!

I was in a HORRIBLE mood that night. Simply horrible. I was so looking forward to a filet mignon dinner, not to mention dessert.

I feel fine today, having "vented" over the phone to my mom and Ellen - they went to my nephew Tyler's baby shower in Jersey, where he proposed to Kamilla, the mother of his baby - and also telling Elyse Bonner of the Giant.

Here's the two poems I presented in the writers' group


He doesn’t talk yet but listens.
His sharp eyes focus on
you and swallow you whole.

When he walks he swaggers
pumping his little white arms
with gusto
a gambler walking into a
saloon in Dodge.


Mariam from bombed-out
Beirut cooked with cinnamon
and spoke French. Husband
Julio – Whoo-lio! -  lapped her up
like a white lollipop with a
Tootsie Roll center.

Together they bore children
while she fixed hair and faces
and he drove taxicabs and limos
in New York
cheating his immigrant
customers. He still spoke
a Spanish English as they do
when born in Ecuador.

Finished with her
- she had grown fat on
her shish-ka-bobs and
baklava, her derriere protruding
like an extra-soft pillow you lie
on watching television at night
which they no longer did –
he left her.

Heartbroken, she begged and begged
but her phone never rang. She opened
her own hair salon and worked seven days
a week. Her grown children – Priscilla
Jacqueline and Little Julio - would visit
sitting in the twirling chairs with foot rests
inhaling the aromas of Redkin Shampoo,
silver nail polish, and a light hair spray
that never climbed the ozone.

Telling no one, she went on Internet Dating.
She and Robert went for coffee. Don’t they all?
She spilled her tea she was so nervous and he
patted the spots with a cloth napkin.
She did not tell him she could no longer fit into her
white bridal gown she’d bought at Bloomie’s as
she had gained one-hundred and thirty pounds.

Nor did he tell her he had lost eighty pounds from
a startling three hundred.

They both loved to eat.

The first kiss, on their second date,
was as soft as milkweed puffs blowing
in the wind

“He’s everything I ever wanted in a man,”
she told her friends.

Be careful, they advised. He may be a….

He was. A killer in the bedroom where they
lay down on the new Downy-soft lavender
sheets, but the mattress remained strong
four hundred pounds, like a newborn whale,
she didn’t even care if the neighbors heard
her scream.


  1. Oooh I enjoyed these poems but what a wonderful story poem is the second. Is this based on anybody real? You may tell me privately if you prefer. Terrific! Sorry about the Bar Mitzvah. I probably would have left as well.

  2. the bar mitzvah mom emailed me and asked if i enjoyed myself. 'very much,' i said. she didn't know i left early. glad you liked the poems. my sister donna came over a couple days ago and told me the story about Giselle. i changed her name and made up some details. got the name WHALES from an architecture show i was watching on PBS. thanks mucho for checking in, iris! just finished my short story The Power of Love and read it to a friend over the phone. when we're on a roll, we gotta keep rolling.