Thursday, August 30, 2018

Part Two - Ocean City N J - to bury Pop's Ashes



We drove to Ocean City, New Jersey,
to honor Scott's late father by tossing
his ashes into the ocean he so loved.

First the family met at the oddly fashioned
condo, huge, which, by stepping up
two steps, you'd find half a dozen rooms
built along the carpeted hallway.

Jews and one gentile, we noshed on trail mix,
ham and cheese, and glasses of freezing cold water.

Danny sat out back on the porch smoking a fragrant
cigar. His wife Debbie noticed a huge red moon
rising over the sand dunes. "Rayleigh rays"
cause the red color, same as the sunset.

Dave Sherman sat with us too.
He needed a large chair since his girth
kept increasing the older he got.

He did enjoy those meals at Angelo's in
Bucks County where his laughter tickled
all of us at table, including grandson
Matt, who loved his "Pop."

Ready, said Natalie from the porch.
Slender, white hair beneath a cap, we set out across
the thick sand, our feet sinking down
hoping they'd pop up again.

The stars guided us on our way.
Mars and Venus, and that dusty
red moon rising higher and higher.
When Scott was a boy, he called
the crescent moon "a banana moon."

Maxine, a sister, clad in a long black dress and
painted toenails was in her own
world till we arrived on the
shore, waves lapping its beloved shore.

Their dog Zoe galloped like a
small pony, getting her paws
wet, which along with the
claws of the seabirds,
made a lovely Picasso painting
on the sand.

Everyone said a few words. Natalie
went last as we sobbed within
for, quick as a wink, David
Sherman was no more.


Scott and I ate at Spadafora's, for the freshest fish ever!

Click here, then eat. Been around since 1981.

Early bird special was $14.50 including dessert.

Scott had tender salmon, I had crab cakes. Both of us ordered Baked Potatoes and plenty of sour cream and chives to spread on it.

I had rice pudding - no whipped cream - we're very proud of you Ruthie - then walked it off on the Boardwalk by the Drifters. Those doo wop bands - gone like the leaves falling off my tree in the front of the house.

Went for a dip in Watson Regency's pool.

I bought one thing that I couldn't eat.

A light green pair of beech shoes. Seafoam green. I'm wearing right now since today is Garbage Day. That's me carrying lots of stuff out. Gee, I'm glad I got rid of dat!

Walking in the sand, esp uphill, and was hard. Today new leg muscles hurt!

We also ate at the Starfish restaurant, all healthy food. Two blocks down. And the Ocean Beach Grille. I always schlepped along my blue blouse in case I was cold.

Note: Just throw it out when I'm dead.

And I don't plan on going any time soon.

Hey! was that the breakfast gong?

Part One - Quick trip to Ocean City, NJ, that felt like we were there a week

Monday, August 20, 2018

Footache - Columbo - Poems - Unsubscribe - Begone Jeffery Deaver - Diet Dr Pepper - Cucumber

Ouch! Left foot, doc. All was fine and then the pain was turned on like the sound of sirens going off in Fahrenheit 451. Must miss my work with the elderly today.

Scott and I couldn't agree on anything to watch. Then I found out Columbo is on YouTube. We watched and slept thru the first two episodes. Martin Milner and Jack Cassidy, the first episode was directed by Steven Spielberg, who lauded Peter Falk upon his death.

Please laud me while I'm still alive. Oh, look, anudder unknown personage wants to be my friend on FB. 

Watched the first scene of the film Fahrenheit 451 and ordered the movie, since I'm having a tuff time with the book for our book club. 

Looked up the cast and saw that Oskar Werner had died. Many films and TV series in his young life.

Werner was an alcoholic, which was a deciding factor in the decline of his health and career.

For some reason, the word ALCOHOLIC really saddened me. 

Wrote an article about Columbo for Patch which you can read here


Turner Classic Films thought I'd
like a beach blanket with Annette
and Frankie Avalon.


All Posters sent me
dazzling posters for Scott's
upstairs bathroom. We'd
already bought seven
and there's no more room
on the walls.


Alzheimer's sends
soliciations every
single day of the week.

I call and speak to
Stephanie. Please!
I plead. I'll donate in
my own sweet time.

And do. And envision
a darkling plain where
thousands, if not millions,
of elders walk around toothless
with blank eyes, an apocolypse
unlike anything what's his name
ever imagined.


While making my morning eggs
my heart flutters to hear
the next chapter in Deaver's
Bone Collector.

Repetitious! Tiresome!
Carefully, without malice,
I remove you from the Sony player,
and press a button for
music. Classical's at
the ready.

Frederic Chopin's last work.
His passionate Cello and Piano Sonata
in G Minor.

How it soars with the loveliness
only Chopin can produce. See him
back in Poland, in white powdered wig
thinking of his latest lover's conquest
making his fingers fly across the keys
the hurrier to get to her.



I hobbled into Zoe's Kitchen
and studied the menu. There was
Rem waiting on the outside. I went
over to the window and knocked.

My Greek Salad was delicious. I'd
caught up on my sleep by watching
BBC true crime mysteries and told
Rem, a little too cheerfully, I'm afraid
that they finally found Carole Packman's
body. Her husband Elliot was incarcerated
tho her body was never found.

Simple. He built a fire in his back yard
and after having strangled her, set her
afire like burning books in Nazi Germany.

Rem remains firm about retiring to Las Vegas.
Will travel light. He's a great dining com-
panion, conversation never flags.

"Every Man Dies Alone" is a German-
translated book he gave me, bought for
a buck at the Abington library.

My favorite thing is to read the first line:
I patted the book. Good one, I said.

Rem did not clean his plate, so it was mine
to gnaw on, like a dog her bone. Moroccan
Chicken - flavorful - with that turmeric-
lime flavor rice that surprised you like a
home run caught at the Reading Phillies game,
where he goes.

He loved my Shah of Iran short story, now there's
a guy for the ages. After lunch, I hobbled to my
car, which I actually locked. Then I walked to
lower my blood sugar in the long parking lot.
People change their oil there! A condom lay
spent though I thought of a very clever
short story about it.

So much to do on this rainy day while our
cucumbers grow plump as a blimp and our
cherry tomatoes jingle on the vine
like Christmas carols.

Nearly forgot! Rem didn't finish his
Diet Dr Pepper. I removed the scabbard
and sipped gladly, happily, remembering
when at the agency, that was my beverage,
for the bestest job I ever did have.



I'm listening to The Gin Blossoms, on YouTube

"found out about you," so many great bands
from the 70s, the comments are like little bios
that could be made into a new band that comes
to our Keswick Theatre
A cucumber seed jumped from my mouth
to my keyboard, I plucked it off quick
Dying of thirst in the desert, the stranger
in sunglasses empties out a sack of
cucumbers. Thirst no more.

Image result for cucumber

Thursday, August 16, 2018

And the heat rolls on - poems - Aretha Franklin died today at her home in Detroit, 76, pancreatic cancer

Don't interrupt me. Am eating a King-sized Hershey with Almonds.

Very fresh and delicious from the Giant.

Image result for king size hershey with almonds


We never tire of their tiny fluttering shapes
Unafraid, they perch outside even when
larger birds appear
like those squwalking crows
sparrows or chicodee

All are welcome here
We love diversity
Makes for a better


I admit it. I can barely
keep my eyes on the road
as I drive to the grocery store,
past glorious throw-aways,
mostly crap that of necessity
besmirches one's home or basement.

Then, like the Aleph,
I see it! (The Aleph is a
short story by Jorge Luis
Borges. My daughter
would know it.)

Wedged between the
forest green recycling
can and the telephone pole
is a terribly faded rocking

They must have loved it
to wait so long to dump it.
Perhaps it was a gift after
the old grandmother was put
in a home for the aged.

Or maybe they found it
on the side of the street
awaiting a new home.

At midnight I'll tiptoe
over, under the light
of the crescent moon,
and sit there.

Oh no! It's the rocking chair
of Norman Bates in - egod! -


Shhh! This is goood!
Stuffed cabbage from
The Hot Bar.

What a day I had.
Speeding to finish
Short Stories by
Haruki Murakami
so I wouldn't
pay no fine.

Don't look at his
photo unless you're
prepared to answer
the question: What
are you doing with
your life and why!

Forever dissatisfied
I took to my diary
to see into my heart.

Then signed up for
piano lessons from
a graduate of
Cairn University. She
signs her emails

I'm of the opinion
I'll be alive in
10 years and at that
time will take to the
stage in a shimmering purple
chiffon dress playing some tunes
of my own.

We'll have
flowers on the tables
in the audience and
I can look Haruki
in the eye and say

Well, I didn't get a
hummingbird to land
in my hand but being
a budding pianist
ain't half bad.

Image result for haruki murakami

Just requested Kafka on the Shore from the library.

Just got home from Affinity Toastmaster's. Enjoyable. I spent $75 at Lands End, owned by Sears and wore my new pink and white checkered shorts and a roomy V-neck black shirt

Next week my role is to tell a joke.

Bought African Violets at the Giant and gave em to Zora, a nice woman from Paris.

More than half our folks are non-native American citizens who are determined to learn to speak better English.

The phone's ringing now. The last time I got up from Red Couch it was a hang-up.

Gonna write a short story based on this $6 million party given by the Shah of Iran. Watch here.

He started out as a good man but as his riches grew - oil country - he hired 10,000 Secret Police who finally tortured suspected dissidents.

All of Persia hated him. He had no idea.

Image result for shah of iran photo

How the hell will I think of a story?

Ah, I'll write about it.

Dear Pinkie, I'll start out in my pink diary from Linda Barrett.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Poems - What? You actually finished a book - The Little Guy Blinks and Stares - Mr Rogers Bathes the Elephants


Is the fault in the stars or in my inability
to concentrate on one book at a time.

The time arrived to put childish things
behind me and to concentrate on

one nearly 500-page book by Englishman
turned American

Lee Child. His Jack Reacher books
feature a giant of a man who

pales in comparison to small, but
handsome  Lee Child on the back cover.

Reacher is left up to our imagination.
He never stays put for long. Carries
a toothbrush in his pocket and loves
coffee, any kind will do. Even burnt,
I suppose.

There's a knock on my front door.
The red door. Come on I yell
from my upstairs study.

Make yourself at home, I shout down.
His heavy footstep tromps into the
kitchen where he finds my leftover
coffee in a mug reading "I love cats"
and heats it up over the stove.

I descend the stairs. Save me a
couple sips, I say. "Midnight
Line" was a great book, I say.

"I'm a fan of Clyde Cussler and
Ross MacDonald," he says.

We sit in the living room and
talk about - what else? -
our love of books.

cecil stokes  author


The 3-year-old stood steady
on the sidewalk near
Kremp Florist
Pop-Pop at his side

What could hold their attention
in the 90-degree heat?
The cloudless blue sky?
The roar of the cars
streaming by?

The high-rise is going up!
First the parking gargage
Don't tell the little guy
but it's where lots of
crimes take place in

The huge crane seems
to scrape the sky
backhoes and earthmoving
machines parade across
the gravel that spits
tiny stones and fogs up
like mist in the
early morning.

Our Little Guy will never
forget the love ole gray-
haired mustachioed
Pop-Pop showed for him

And when he grows up
to be a backhoe driver,
swiveling, then bobbing
he'll keep Pop-Pop's
photo alive on the dashboard.

steve coleman's natal eclipse


I woke up just in time
Mr Rogers had on a brilliant
emerald green cardigan and
invited his listeners -
including myself! - to
meet the elephant family

"Go back! Go back!" is what
the elephant keeper told
his elephant family, who
backed up against the wall

A huge hose squirts the five
or six elephants, then moves
them into another room with
very tall walls
and sprays them with
suds. They love the suds
and baby elephant rolls
on the floor in the suds

Such big floppy ears!

The elephant keeper explains
they drink 40 gallons of water
a day with their trunks, which
bring water to their mouths

At the end of the day they will
go outside into the vast area
in which they live and will be
fed fruits and vegetables.

I like elephants, says Mr Rogers
in his emerald green cardigan
and I'll bet you do too.



What can this mean?
She's lent it to
the Syminski Family
as she did back
at Village Green?

She's donated it
to WXPN so she can
stay home and read
the 19 books on the
husband's side of the bed?

In the lead, right now,
is Ben Rhodes' Memoirs
of the Obama Years

Or she's having her
car aligned at REMS
Automotive, Brian
having driven her home.

She suffered a massive
ego assault this morning.
Her friend Linda needed
a ride to work. Ruthie
with directions riding
on the side like a pizza
from Roman Delight
couldna find her house.

Linda calls. She's walking
to work.

Ever heard of Chameleon
Coffee? The cap snaps
easily off. A lovely glass
is selected with blood red

Terribly strong, like Heracles
freeing Alcestis from the
Gates of Hell

I added more water.
Water. They say there
may be life on the
clouds of Venus
or in the center
of Mars.

What a mystery
it all is.
Good topic for discussion.
C'mon over and we'll have
iced coffee and you bring
the dessert, Marcia
Weinstein Hanzel. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Two photos - New design in Upstairs Bathroom - Dinner is served, dear!

New short story CHELSEA - Getting to B's in the pouring rain - Best Iced Coffee Ever!

For about a month I've wanted to write a story called CHELSEA. In nearby Fulmor Heights, there's a street named Chelsea, so it's been on my mind. The story is more ambitious than others I've written so I needed a good space of time and the magic potion of coffee.

Went to Starbucks at the Giant and said with my wee little questioning voice, Dyou have iced coffee?

Then of course you must choose your size.... medium, please... no room for cream ... and there she was with a tantalizing green straw.

Image result for starbucks iced coffee  I began sipping right away, just as at home, Monsieur Hummingbird was sipping at the feeder.

Got a good pic of the little guy but - you guessed it - ignorance has forbidden me from uploading it.

I'm composing downstairs on Red Couch. Upstairs I couldn't get onto my blog. But one slip onto the whatchamacallit and the whole thing is erased. Luckily I'm not a heart surgeon.

There was a great documentary on tonight about Arab Americans. One day, said one, I was an ordinary American, and then after 9/11, I'm a terrorist.

I begin the Chelsea story, loaded down with pretzels and peanuts, and that sensational coffee. First I've gotta name all my characters.

And research the Vietnam War.

Image result for photo of kent state shooting

What if you found her lying there?

So I'm getting a nice start last night, stopping at a place where I can pick up after breakfast on the day of The Beehive.

I realize how much I enjoy writing. But when I pick up next morning I think, Well, it's all here but the writing is awful.

That's why we have drafts.

The words and ideas flowed nicely.

Time stops when I write. My former BF Chris Ray said the same thing about his "Vision Forged in Iron," the name of the story I wrote about him for Art Matters.

Scott and I watched a film called The Leisure Seeker with Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland. He's now 83 and she's 73.

Image result for the leisure seeker

A really terrible film, but fun to watch.

They each play Americans tho he's Canadian and she's British.

Was trying to get the end of Chelsea right - how I labored over the last two grafs - and I finally got it.

Stuffed everything in my Canvas Bag and set out. Raindrops peppered the porch steps.

Got halfway down the street, it was raining more, stopped my car, looked into the back seat to make sure I'd brought my work.

Of course. What brain quirk is dat?

In five more minutes, my wipers are going top speed. I turn off the radio so I can concentrate on rolling off the road and dying.

Which was worse? Walking home from Staples for two hours and fearing a heat stroke or this?


Whenever I stopped at a light, I was terrified about slipping n sliding when I pressed the accelerator. Plus Scott told me my car needs an alignment. (Scheduled for next Tuesday.)


Wet cars
wet street and driveways
shimmering male hummingbird at feeder

Wearing my best sneaks
I set off, WRTI on the
bedroom radio

Waiting to come home and
finish the latest Jack Reacher novel
the girl fought in Afghanistan
her addictions were two
fentynal and heroin

Garbage waits patiently
on curb as our Upper Moreland
green trash trucks are let
out of the starting gate
near the high school

Breakfast awaits and cuppa
green tea supposedly good
for aging brains

Just 10 minutes of exercise
said a new fitness guru
on PBS last night

Steven? You can write him directly.
After you said dat, I rode my
stationery bike, thinking
about the coming of the new day
or worst case scenario - he's
a cardiologist - a quick tumble
off bike onto purple carpet.