Friday, December 9, 2016

Staying up late - saved poems - cardboard houses - man in next room

Last year's photo of My Writing Room. Scott's pink rhododendron hidden in his backyard where no one can see it.

Watched Miranda Esmonde White do her exercises.  

Image result for miranda esmonde white

Send Miranda a message, it says on her website.

I'd turned off the light and was trying to fall asleep when she came on. I bolted upright and xercised along with her and her gang.

They feel like family. Miranda's favorite word is 'atrophy.'

Was wracking my brain tonight to think of a word. It was on the tip of my brain. After 40 seconds I remembered it.

Will tell you what it is tomorrow.

I have nowhere to put a Few Good Poems so I'm using this blog post as a big suitcase to stuff them in.

Could not believe that my short story The Day Trip was rejected earlier today by Into the Void.  It's just a pleasant easy to read story loosely based on neighbors Elaine and Alan.

So 6 hours later, I fixed up The Day Trip and submitted it to Quail Bell.


We sat in a circle in folding chairs,
the lucky seven,
I was wearing a party dress that showed my curves
forgot to wear panties, so kept my legs together.
Paul spoke. For the first time I liked him.
Not because he used to be a radio D-J or
his mother was dying of Alzheimer’s in a nursing home
but because he banged his head against the wall
when his daughter hung up on him.

The newcomer was diagnosed two days ago.
He knew nothing about his illness.
He was 22 and had led the life of a gallant well-
dressed pimp
but now guilt pressed him flat in his chair
- a run-over worm.

I stared at him. Nice contrast of
ebony skin the color of a Chinese lacquer box
and peach-colored palms he clenched on and off
in his lap.

He began his confession,
looking down and talking staccato.
I touched his shoulder. Keep some
secrets for yourself, I said. We don’t need to
know ev-ery-thing.

The dam began to leak and
Harry, who worked for a drug company,
talked about his rampant sexuality when manic,
laughed when he talked about the women he made love to,
a few men too, the wife taking off with the
house and the kids.

The newcomer nodded.
You mean it happened to you, too?
he asked Harry.

It happened to all of us, I say.

Harry told about writing a hundred pages of gorgeous
notes only two months ago during his last mania.
Hypergraphia, I said, mouthing the beautiful syllables of a
new word I’d just learned.
Mine, I threw away after 20 years hidden in the attic,
useless horseshit.

The newcomer wanted more symptoms.
I handed him a brochure. Everything has a
name, I said. Whatever you did, they’ve already
named it. They’re pretty smart.

Well, if they’re so smart, he said, why can’t they
fix it?

Well, they’re not that smart, I said.

The newcomer was guilt-ridden over his
sexual escapades. Used the word ‘evil’ to
describe himself.
C’mon, I said. Something big comes over us. We
light up. We glow. Arrive with a halo for godsakes.
We’re like lightning bugs in the dark.
We blink.
Think of the evolutionary possibilities if you’re a
man. Populating your side of the island.

Paul, the guy I finally liked, talked about his old
man shooting his brains out.
Oh no, I thought, now we’ve gotta explain
we kill ourselves to the newcomer.

Derek, I said, turning toward him, there’s
something you need to know.

I know it already, he said. I was 9 when I first got
out the rope.

Hallelujah, brother, I said, slapping his hand.
Well, that’s just fine, Derek. You know everything now.
Relax and enjoy yourself.


When you don’t need it anymore,
when it’s imparted its last
gifts of manhood and of shame

When its hands cuff your neck
with a forest fire of remorse
and they march you off
quicker than a red fox vanishing

and you can barely glimpse
its sun-sequined back
too glossy for the moral eye –

Then, finally, there’s nothing left,
no one left to call
or shower with your gifts or laughter,
you’ve used them up
one by one
each of the many faces
you thought were yours forever.

So they buy you a trailer
and stick you inside,
the better to sleep away your princely dreams.
A dog twitching under a glass table
couldn’t resemble you more.

You rise up and stand on a box.
With your one good eye
you squint through the narrow window
at the grassy fields outside

and sing.


When I began eating my omelet
sprinkled with scallions
and melted cheddar,
hot to the tongue
and thought of my Christmas shopping
and the places I’d go
I asked Thich Nhat Hahn to
sit with me in the kitchen
to help me savor my food.

In dark robes
he bowed his head
over black tea I prepared,
delicately lifted the white cup
as he bowed again
meeting my eyes,
eyes that have seen much
some of it wrapped into books
or poetry or praying for peace.

Taste returned to my tongue
the omelet and the goodness of
the hen who had given her life for me
I became one with the morning
The sun shone into my living room
I bowed my head in thanks for its
arrival that morning
Then lifted my glass of water
stared at the clear cold liquid
then drank,

It is cold and it is good to me.

And the master across the table
pinkie lifted as he drained
the last of his jasmine tea.


Pulled by mysterious forces from
my nighttime bed
I sleepily descend the stair
open the front door
and peek as a stranger
into the dark night.

A misty, charcoal world
lay before me
no moon
no stars
was this the earth I knew so well?

Two houses like cardboard cutouts
grinned at me from
across the street
windows dark
tilting slightly toward the other.

Had they just landed?
Were they sturdy or
in imminent danger of

Did they see me or
have any regard for me?

I closed the door.
Then opened it again.
They hadn’t left.
Was it my imagination or
did I hear them laughing
under the cloudless sky?



Orange peels - eggshells - purple rubber bands
blood-soaked Band-aids - stinkbugs in napkins

I shall miss you
plop you
with a thud
in the garbage can
the truck will pick you up tomorrow
grind you to bits while I sleep
   unlike father and brother whose bodies
   decompose with the worms and the grubs
you shall live forever
vying for superiority in the landfill

Will you come alive?
will you pull apart and swarm with the microbes
who love you so?
o dwellers of the underground
Let Orpheus sing his song for you
and Christ set you free on Judgment Day.



Dedicated to Bella of Troop 7063, Willow Grove, PA, USA

I hear him snoring in his favorite chair
my husband, the professor, with
his long snowy-white beard

We met at a pub in
Philadelphia, each sipping a
beer. He took my hand
and said, "O nameless woman
I aim to marry thee. Dreamt
about you only yestereday, in your
pink and purple scarf that frames
your cheerful face just so."

Sixty years went by.
Children, grandchildren
Book shelves filled with
books lined up from A to Z.
Julie Child cookbooks,
bios of presidents,
my slender volumes of poetry
his four tomes of ancient

Never dreaming that we too
would get ancient, memories
dim as fading stars at twilight.

I hear him awake from the
next room, fumbles around,
then, "Darling Mary! I've
bought you a Valentine gift."

Stutz Candy? The
Whitman Sampler? But, no,
this man of mine, wearing
his polka-dot pajamas, shuffles
into the living room bearing
a box of Girl Scout Cookies,
Thin Mints, we will share over
a glass of wine.

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