Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Who will you be on Halloween? Poems: Start the New Year with a breezy ride in a convertible - Halloween World and the Crowning Achievement of the Stars


They go fast, these calendars,
so stuffing myself with the last of my
famous green bean salad,  I
walked down the path behind
my house, through the parking lot
of unionized Keystone Screw,
and trotted down the hill.

Backpack on in case I was run over
or suffered a diabetic low.

Pausing to cross busy Davisville Road
I launched myself like a Kenyan sprinter
across the crowded street.

A red car was zooming by.
No prob, I thought, as I jumped
with a whoop in the street,
but to my surprise my legs bent
and I nearly fell.

Walking on the sidewalk I looked
at the recyclables waiting for
tomorrow's pick-up.

Oh, dear God, we ARE a drinking nation.
So many fat-sos, bellies hanging like
fluffy pillows below their belts.

"Thanks, Barbara," I say arriving at
REMS, which happens to be the owners'
last name. A pretzel lover, like me,
she doesn't look up.

Carrying two calendars, one for me,
one for Scott, I crossed the street
like a champ.

Private property, reads the sign
in unionized Keystone Screw.

The hilly path has gnarled tree roots
The first one I could not breast.
Sitting on the root, I crawled
on my butt to get atop it.

Mother would yell at me, I thought,
getting my favorite blue pants

Our past is always with us.

But on New Year's Day, 2019,
I shall be driving a shiny 1970
turquoise Mercury Cougar.

Watch me soaring through the
neighborhood, with Kookie Kookie
Lend me Your Comb, beside me,
hand on my thigh.

As I pull up my driveway
sprinkled with snow dust
why am I driving my
usual car, wipers flicking
off the lovely snow?

Rem said: You were like Odysseus, bracing the red car and Davisville Road  which correlate to the Cyclops and the Mediterranean. The auto shop correlates to Ithaca. Sorry, I'm getting all Modernist.--Rem

I like it, I like it, Telemachus, I wrote back.

Love Mom/Penelope

Have I posted this yet?


Hear the howling of the wind?
As if all the hatred in the world
were swept up into a fungus of evil

Pitch black, Scott and I, wrapped
in warm clothes, walked down our
street, not a drop of light
to guide our way

"Halloween Row" like "synagogue row"
on Easton Road, was dressed in every
shade of orange imaginable

And what an imagination our neighbors
have! Who knew? Standing there
I was a child again. Daddy took us
for drives to see the lights. Back
then, only Christmas lights were up.

Tombstones, skeletons lying on the grass,
witches swinging from the trees, and eleven
are dead at Squirrel Hill Synagogue in

Shot! Bullets pinging from the peaceful
chapel where a baby-naming ceremony
was going on.

One of the houses had vapor spewing
from some sort of machine, another
house had lights projected onto
their brick, this house, always has
its front door open, like I do.

Trick or treat. Judy is giving out
Sunmaid Raisins. I've got a Woolworth's
shelf filled with M&Ms and tiny
Hershey Bars, nothing better than candy
my dear, hollared the wicked witch,
for the little beggars, as my -ex
used to call them.

Where are the winds of love?
Where are the winds of peace?
Where are the winds of all religions
proclaiming to the nations
God is love?

As I just told Mom, my candy is by the door. The M&Ms are in one bowl, the Hershey Bars in another. The smell is nauseatingly sweet.

Why, then, is my mouth watering?

Gotta make a salad now, while listening in the kitchen to "What is What" by Dave Eggers, a novel about a young man making his way from Sudan to the U.S.

You think YOU have problems?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Poem about the Killings at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and more


Nothing but Yiddish will do
to express our Sorrow of the
massacre at Squirrel Hill
Tree of Life synagogue
in Pittsburgh, city of three

Eleven! Eleven dead at the hands
of the deluded shooter.

David ben Gurion
Martin Buber
Isaac Bashevis Singer
pray for peace wherever
you may be.

So do I and also prayed
before bed for the leader of
the United States to change
his vicious dialogs that stoke
the killings like wildfires
decimating Colorado pines.


Come to our defense, Almighty,
or stay silent until we all
lose our humanity.

If you wish to donate to Tree of Life Synagogue, the mailing address is:

Tree of Life
5898 Wilkins Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15217

What can we do? Each of us has a family. Often there are family feuds. Speak nicely and bury your harsh feelings. Do the best you can. Make God proud of you. 

Sent this out as an email alert to folks in New Directions.

Had breakfast at TNT Diner in Hatboro, PA. Love that place. Delicious scrambled eggs which I dotted with pepper, and hash browns laden with ketchup.

Sadly, as I told my neighbor Eileen, there was a lotta cursing up at the front table, and statements like "I'm gonna slap you in your head."

Made my delicious Green Bean Salad and brought it to next-door neighbor Eileen's. What a great companion she is. Very positive with a great sense of humor. We drank Lemonade, cold and delicious and refreshing, on this cool autumn day.

Then we walked a block on Cowbell Road. 

Just heard the roar of the motors, meaning The Kiernan Kids just finished mowing my lawn.
Great kids, hard-working like their mom n dad.


 Just started my short story, tentatively named Kidnapped, which is due tomorrow night at midnight. 

Good beginning but gotta finish and polish it up.

Ate a great meal of oatmeal and pumpkin almond milk w pecans and sunflower seeds. Ate it while watching a Netflix film I just started called Wild District.

My friend Harriet sent me a video from her synagogue about the gathering of people of many faiths to share thoughts and feelings about Squirrel Hill. More than 1,000 people gathered in unity and in love. Watch it here. It begins around an hour in

Okay, gonna get back to Kidnapped, which features the one and only Freddy Mercury. 

Years ago, my kids bought me a poster of Queen, which I kept in the dining room at Village Green over my Selectric typewriter. Beige. With the ball of fonts.

Enjoy your dinner and be kind. Be kind. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Blog no longer 'unsecured' whatever means dat! Poems: Halloween World - Birthing a Black Baby

My friend Iris alerted me that she couldn't get on my blog - wah! wah! wah! - due to the word 'unsecured.'

Finally, my son, Daniel Paul Deming, fixed it! Thanks a million, my blue-eyed son.

Verizon is driving me crazy. Just paid a humongous bill to both the RZD account and the ND account. Luckily I had the money. The bastards!

Still no caller ID comes up.

Can you see me gnashing my teeth like a huge dragon?

Have I told you I started to snack on baby carrots? Awfully good.

Bernie - of Freda and Bernie - gave me a container of home-made hummus - in which I dipped carrots, instead of carb-laden Triscuits.

Did you know that if my wrists drag on this keyboard, everything will be erased?
Gnashing of teeth.

The below poem, which is quite fine, was rejected by River Poets Journal.


Cicily Tyson
Frederick Douglass
Miles Dewey Davis
Zora Neale Hurston
Oprah Winfrey
Toni Morrison
Romare Beardon

Her screams could be heard
far outside the fifth-floor
walk-up on North Broad Street
as the Medical and Dental Schools
just readied their new classes
for fixing all the white folks' woes.

Her mama and her brother dabbed at her
sweaty forehead with clean white towels
as she cried, When! When! When can I bear
this child that's making mincemeat pie
out of me.

Yes, she remembered when they lived
in the big house back in Georgia,
pies, jellies, rum cakes, all went
into the clean, well-swept pantry
unlike this mouse-infested low-
ceilinged rat's nest, her boyfriend
stabbed in prison, fighting over the
price of Salems.

But, damn, this was his child, and
she, with her wide hips and bound-up
mounds of hair, came from royalty,
a tribe known for its subtlety of
song, "Go Down Moses."

Her five children waited in the
living room, listening through
the walls, playing dominoes and
craps, when they heard the loudest
scream ever, loud as the screams
and whips on the slave ship

Yes, little baby Daniel yelped
his way into the world, and one day
they were going to make it a free world,
and if not this time, then the next and
the next and the next

Hail there, Daniel, put on your walkin
shoes, we're gonna meet the preacher man
and he'll learn you some real
down-home prayers and teach you how to
play the organ for the glory of the
Lord or whoever is up there beyond
the stars, ole Jackie Robinson
or Ornette Coleman or Sweet Baby
Jesus hisself.



Hear the howling of the wind?
As if all the hatred in the world
were swept up into a fungus of evil

Pitch black, Scott and I, wrapped
in warm clothes, walked down our
street, not a drop of light
to guide our way

"Halloween Row" like "synagogue row"
on Easton Road, was dressed in every
shade of orange imaginable

And what an imagination our neighbors
have! Who knew? Standing there
I was a child again. Daddy took us
for drives to see the lights. Back
then, only Christmas lights were up.

Tombstones, skeletons lying on the grass,
witches swinging from the trees, and eleven
are dead at Squirrel Hill Synagogue in

Shot! Bullets pinging from the peaceful
chapel where a baby-naming ceremony
was going on.

One of the houses had vapor spewing
from some sort of machine, another
house had lights projected onto
their brick, this house, always has
its front door open, like I do.

Trick or treat. Judy is giving out
Sunmaid Raisins. I've got a Woolworth's
shelf filled with M&Ms and tiny
Hershey Bars, nothing like candy
my dear, hollared the wicked witch,
for the little beggars, as my -ex
used to call them.

Where are the winds of love?
Where are the winds of peace?
Where are the winds of all religions
proclaiming to the nations
God is love?

Stayed up till two a m last night watching Dick Cavett interview Groucho Marx (sex sex sex) and Alfred Hitchcock.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Big Day Today Poem: Ordering my Medication

Yes it was. Gonna take my first piano lesson with Joanna Firth. She sounds like a young woman when I called her to say, "Joanna, I could not find your house, so I came home."

A nice woman named Lisa helped me on her iPhone but to no avail.

Scott and I will take a trial run. He doesn't know this yet as he's asleep but I mailed him a poem about how much he means to me.

Here's what he'll say, "You wasted a stamp! Why didn't you just leave it in my mailbox?"

I couldn't decide what to eat for breakfast, so I asked my best friend, Google, and she gave me the info.

Click here.

Eggs, Greek Yogurt, Coffee, Oatmeal, Chia Seeds (good for those w diabetes) plus there's a chia seed pudding, which I may make, Berries, Nuts, Green Tea... Cottage Cheese, which I ate silently so you wouldn't see me. Had cut up apples and cinnamon in there.

Wrote my 89-yo friend Helene today. I used a large font and composed a poem to her.


Make sure I’ve got my reading glasses on, the blue ones are my favorite. Blue, like my son Dan’s eyes.

Dial the CVS Pharmacy, 215 658 1465. Too hard to commit to memory at my age.

Oh, the man talks so fast. Like in a movie where you need subtitles to understand the dialog.

I punch in the numbers of the meds I need. Tacrolimus, the most important, to keep my kidney transplant in good shape.

Sarah, you know, now 43, donated it in 2011 after naughty lithium ruined my twin kidneys.

Pills, Pills, Pills.

I keep mine in a blue pill box. Sometimes a pill drops on the floor.

Mercy me! Where the hell are ye?


Hope these Jewish artists from the revolutionary days of the early 1900s. There's an exhibition with their wonderful works showcased. Ah, how I loved working for Art Matters. That's how I met Helene.  

Who's the artist? Send me an email if you know.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

More poems for ya! It takes a worried Mom! Watched a great film! Verizon Message

Just wrote this and dedicated to my friend Teresa who gave me two gift cards for Wawa. I had $27 left on it so I bought Chicken Crab Soup, a meatball hoagie, and Coffee, which was terrible, until I came home and doctored it up with Pumpkin Almond Milk.

On TV right now I listened to the terrible plight of mothers who have no idea where their children and babies are, or if they're even alive.

The NY Times had some advice for how to respond to this, the worst situation in the world.

Today I went to the office of  state rep Tom Murt to see if they could fix my home phone. Verizon has been terribly unhelpful. 

As Patti said, if that's your worst problem, it's not so bad.


I must confess my heart lights up
when I spot a Wawa! The winged goose
soars silently but if you use your
imagination you can hear its cheery honk
which guides its numbers to safe wet spots
across the land.

How many of us are truly happy? I am
when I enter the store. The workers
are nice! Go out of their way to
help you.

That name we're so used to. A baby name,
like Wah-Wah, I want my mommy. You'll
be surprised to learn it's from the Ojibwe words
for goose, the Canada goose, taken from the
Song of Hiawatha, which features old Nikomis
and Minnehaha!

Picture, if you will, a reading of the
first two stanzas of the poem, near the
free ATM machine.

By the shore of Gitche Gumee,
By the shining Big-Sea-Water,
At the doorway of his wigwam,
In the pleasant Summer morning,
Hiawatha stood and waited.

He waits there still, beseeching us
to honor our sacred lands, our sacred
Mother, to pick up our litter, and
sully not the land with pesticides
or other unnaturals.

Peace and love, he cries, his
black hair swinging in the wind.


Greg Whiteside on member-supported WRTI
said it was 46 degrees outside.
Forty six, I thought, and walked
outside on my front porch.
Certainly not a day you'd go out
barefoot to show off your polished
pink toenails, but you do wanna
show yourself how brave you are
before surrendering to your
warm kitchen where the oatmeal
with pumpkin almond milk awaits.


Meow! Meow!
Don't come near.
I cannot trust you.
Yet well fed am I.
Food is found everywhere.
With my black paw I push aside
a rock. I'm faster than the
salamander dwelling there.

Mice may freak you out.
Not me. Nice small bones
that feel good n crunchy
all the way down.

Water? I'm up early
in the morning and lick
the dew off the grass
and ivy.

Happy? There's no happier
cat than your fat cat
Snappy Lou!


Queen Ruth Zali
produced two fine heirs
Princess Sarah Lynn
and Prince Daniel Paul

They dwelled in fine homes
and loved their work.
The Princess helped
the less fortunate,
while the Prince, with
the guidance of his wife,
Nicole, helped Max and Grace
grow into the best citizens
of our land.

The Queen thinks she's nothing
like the Evil Queen in Snow White
or Isabella who purged her nation
of Jews.

A mezuzah hangs in the doorway
of the Queen's home,
honoring the Almighty
to write the words of God
on the gates and doorposts
of your house.


Called Mom last night just to report on my day. Told her I got my labs done at Quest.

Are you worried about them, she asked.

Of course not, I snapped.

Watched half an hour of the highly touted Haunting of Hill House.

The acting was superb. The story was a bore.

Upstairs I go to ride bike. Ate way too many pretzels I bought at Whole Foods.

Scott and I drove there to see if they had a cauliflower crust since Giant no longer carries them.

I bought wonderful small pretzels and a new thing - pita chips.

The chips were so salty they were like a salt lick in the mountains of Punjab.

Threw them in the garbage so I wouldn't poison our creatures at our dump. I mean compost heap.

How many great films are there to watch?

Three Identical Strangers. Poignant, deep, reflective, and horrifying.

Check it outa the libe as I did.


Got this email from the idiots at Verizon. Oh, their gonna ruin my credit report? I already own my own home, car, Water Pic, and 27 hand-ker-chiefs. Plus I have a stellar view of the moon from my front door.

Reconnect your Verizon service with these easy payment options.

We know how important it is to have your Verizon service reconnected to avoid permanent termination and any applicable early termination fees.
We’ve made it easy for you to make a payment 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Pay with any of the options below and we'll receive immediate notification of
your payment.
  • My Fios app - works for non-Fios customers too
  • Pay online at
  • Pay by Phone at 1.800.Verizon (1.800.837.4966) ($3.50 vendor fee applies)
Important Credit Reporting Notice:
We furnish our customers' bill payment information to the major credit reporting agencies in accordance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Monday, October 22, 2018

What a dinner! Poem: I've still Got a Mother

First of all, just got the news that my short story WOMAN ON THE LAM was published by Literary Yard. View story here.

Onkar Sharma, editor, changed the format. They now accept ads.

What would YOU advertise?

How about Hennings Foods in Lansdale PA? I just ate their mmm-mmm good Turkey Chili with big fat kidney beans.

Cast of characters: Freda and Bernie Samuels; "Tree" and Jerry Forstater, the bringers of Bagels, Lox, Smoked Whitefish.

I couldn't wait to get together with my friends, tho, truthfully, I was a bit scared of driving so far. I tore myself away from "Designated Survivor," one of the best Netflix ever, and got in the car.

"Silence" was playing on my CD, a painful account of the attempts to get rid of Catholic priests in the Japan of the 1500s.

The Samuels live in Legacy Oaks. I pulled up to their lovely white house with cute steely animals on the front porch. When I rang the bell, I no longer heard the bark of their two Standard Poodles, Lucy, and prior to her, Oliver.

Bernie wore his white robe. He returned to his recliner, while I sat like an acolyte in a huge ottoman at his feet.

There is no raconteur like him. I should have brought my steno pad, I joked.

The one thing I wanted to remember was a pain cream - Diclofenac sodium topical gel 1 percent - by prescription.

I emailed the name to a few folks who are in bad pain.

Hold on a sec. It's now Oct. 22, Monday. I go to my vol. job, leaving at around 10 am. Will there be any parking for me? A big worry. Gotta drink something hot. Is this a burgeoning sore throat?

While Bernie and I chat, a chime cometh. I jump up. He tells me it's just the clock, not the Forstaters.

Meanwhile, Freda comes out to say hello, wearing a b'ful caftan. She asks if I want any of hers. No thanks, I say, you gave me some already, which are hanging in my closet.

You, Bernie, I say, should wear the male equivalent of a caftan.

Yeah, he says, They're white and Muslims wear them.

Well, scratch that idea.

At table, we feast on the delicious fish while Tree and Jerry share stories with the Samuels. Jerry's mother owned a terrific grocery store but the mob wanted 'in.' An adviser said Get out while you can or you'll end up with cement feet.

Jerry was drinking Schwepps which was 'flat,' no bubbles. The year was 2015. Stored in the Samuels' store room. They have so much room in their house! I slept over once or twice. Delightful! A pajama party for the Over 65.

I mentioned that FredaRose, as Tree calls her, had wrin a book, when she was 88.

I loved doing it, said Freda. One of the best times of her life. I keep my copy dans le living, near some other books - Rem's poetry book, Sibley's bird book, La Pedrero, I bought in Spain.

The Samuels will be 92 or 93 in December. They claim they've slowed down. They are the smartest people I know.

They always give me something when I leave. Bernie had made hummus, so he gave me a small container that said peanut butter on it. When I got home and opened it, the strong smell of garlic poured out.

Finally I said goodbye. Had to drive home while it was still light.

Just made it. I didn't follow my direx thinking I was taking a short cut. It's gotta be here, It's gotta be here, I thought to myself as I drove up 263 thru Hatboro.

Called Freda to tell her I was home.

She was surprised I made it home so fast.

Several months ago, just for the heck of it, I looked up Ed Quispe, from Janssen Pharmaceutica. To my shock he was on "Go Fund Me." He had stage four cancer. His daughter Melissa just wrote us that Eduardo had died, with his loving family at his side.

View obit here.

I signed the condolence list.

Wanted to share this w someone, so I sent it to Ada. Wanted to share it with Eddie Van Noys. Once when I got lost, I stopped at Eddie's house and he told me how to get there but, sadly, Eddie is no more.

Read He Died in the River here.

For a year I kept Eddie's pho no in my Rolodex but finally removed it.

Yes, people die, which is why we must appreciate them while they're here.


Every Sunday we meet at Mom's house
a tradition initiated by my sister Lynn
As I walked in the house
from the corner of my eye
I saw Mom coming down
the stairs.

She has her own way of doing so
Something that gets harder
all the time.

She makes it though, she is a
stubborn woman and knows
a thing or two about humanity
and all her daughters.

At her age she still loves food
her family and a good dirty joke

Our feast was perfecto
I brought the remaining
lox and white fish and cream cheese
with chives.

We used to break the fast, I told her,
with whole white fish and
cherry pop.

A broad smile, wide as the sky,
broke across her finely wrinkled

I beamed! For her, for me,
for us.

Friday, October 19, 2018

THIS IS MY BRAVE a huge success - Poem: My Morning Coffee

THIS IS MY BRAVE aims to educate the public about mental illness and help erase stigma that keeps many people from getting help.

Help is out there! Have confidence that many fine psychiatrists are available.

Our program was a huge success.

But don't believe me! Let's hear it from Rem.

Just got back from This Is My Brave. Great! And what a cross section of people. I thought you were the funniest. I actually know Jennifer Petro, because he/she used to have a Roslyn P.O. box. One day he came up to me and said, "For your records, I'm Joe now, but in another three weeks I'm gonna be Jennifer." 

Great Arlo Guthrie homage, by the way. I thought the testimony from the Egyptian woman on your left was super. The fellow to your right mentioned the Simon & Garfunkel song that says, "The New York Times said God was dead." That's actually Elton John from his song "Levon," which I heard today, actually. I sat all the way in the back. I saw a few people we know. I saw Ada, and Sharon Katz.--Rem

I wrote Sharon this morning thanking her for coming. Hope you enjoyed it, I wrote, and learned a thing or two.

Also wrote Kenny Cobbs thanking him for standing outside on the corner directing people to Gratz College, Mandell Bldg.

Thanks also to Abigail for handing out the Compass. We had a table filled with the Compass but barely anyone took any!

The moment I got home I called Scott, who was at work, and said "I was fantastic!"

Here's my poem


Frankly, my dear, it's not so good.
But, truthfully, any coffee will do
as long as I drink it in this fragile
nicely-tapered glass cup that once
graced Helene's table in Maple Glen. 

My tiny shapely unarthritic fingers
curl themselves round the handle
I sip slowly in my gardenia-bright
kitchen, my painted clogs tap tapping
on the kitchen floor.

Breakfast I ate outside. Sitting in
the sun in my green plastic chair.
Contemplating, contemplating,
the success of This is My Brave

Each and every performer a gem
a diadem, who wore an invisible
golden crown. 


Let's give Ed Quinn, our director, a standing ovation now!!!
Bravo Bravo!'


Thanks for attending: Helen and Larry Kirschner, Bob Johnson (who looks like Willie Nelson), Randy (who may have gotten lost) and Marzina, who looked great as a redhead!

Ada and Rich gave me sweet-smelling flowers which are basking in the sun now on my living room window sill. They're getting along well with Martha's fancy Teapot and cup, tiny glass people Mom brought back from Belgium, my late brother David's ceramic bird house, two clay pots from my sister Donna, clay objects I made several years ago, a Replogle. And more.

Sarah said Ethan is coming home today. But then he'll be off again. The life of a successful jazz musician.

Here's my post on our Jazz Cruise, when Ethan was part of The Bad Plus.

Also couldn't help thinking about the late David Kime, who would have loved the program and been part of it were he still alive.

Photos were taken by Nicole Goss. View her website here. She was excellent and asked me if  I wanted to take a photo with my reading glasses around my neck.

Of course not! Good call Nicole!

After the program, Rich Fleisher drove us to the newly renovated Trenton Train Station, so Sarah could get home quickly. The four of us had a great time chatting, discussing the program. Many folks said the program was too long, others said they could have listened to much more.

Will let you know when it's posted on YouTube. Did I tell you I'm watching Designated Survivor on Netflix? The Fleishers watched it but said it got silly after a while.


The lot of us socialized in the green room, which was a sad-looking yellow. My new friend Nick Emeigh was a riot. We were discussing important things like knowing when to take our last pee before we went onstage.

I was trying to open a bottle of water and I said to Jennifer, a proud transgender, "I need a strong manly woman, to open this."

Trish was wearing a beautiful diaphanous dress with high heels. She was afraid she would trip.

I was wearing my new favorite lavender shirt.

Told the group I took it out of the drawer and it was totally fucking wrinkled.

They laffed.

What I did to unwrinkle it, I said, was to lie it on the carpet, and smooth it out.

It worked! Who wants to turn on the iron, tho I do have one.

We all voiced our concerns. I said I was afraid I'd get cold on the stage. I did not.

We all sat there - on stage - for a little over two hours while the performers told their incredible stories. People in the audience laffed and also cried.

I carried a hanky in my back pocket, made from a former sheet I had, and dabbed at my eyes.

At one point my face began to itch. It was impossible to ignore. When people started applauding, I scratched my nose.

One important suggestion is they should have turned on the lights in the audience at the end of the show.

Anything else, Ruthie?

Just drained my coffee. Loud buzzing on my street. They're still fixing the sewer mains.

What a perfect subject for a poem!


The orange for hazard sign
forbids us to drive down Sleighride Road.

Sewers, invented in the 14th century, was
a terrible time for the populace of Europe.

The plague ravaged Europe, decimating
the cities and countrysides.

Look, we all have to die, but some deaths
are more painful than others.

When I was ten, I prayed to God
"Please never let me die."

So far, so good.

Called up the Mandell Center of Gratz College this morning.

Told them I left my bean salad - O delicious bean salad - in their fridge and to just throw it away, including the Pyrex container.

You don't wanna come and take the Pyrex container?

No, I said, not mentioning it's a long drive there and the rubber top was cracking with age, unlike yours truly.

I got there via UBER. Nice driver, a widower, who talked the entire time!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Readied myself for my big day tomorrow - This is My Brave - Poem: Elegy for an Unhappy Woman

 Got my toenails polished a lovely light pink at a place called Pearl Spa. My server, Tina, kept me under the foot dryer for nearly a hour, while I attempted to nap. Finally I cried out, When will I be done?

The owner looked at me. Oh, you're done.

Bad business!!!

I was worried that my sugar might go low, so I walked down to China Garden and had a great meal - Buddhist's Delight. Walter Straus and I used to go there.

While waiting for my meal, I got up and wandered out to the foyer, looked into the cooler - loads of cans of beer - and then into the vestibule where they had a gift shop. Once ages ago, I bought a couple of bowls.

My server, Michael, and the owner were very alarmed that I was wandering around. What?  I'm gonna sit there after sitting for an hour at the nail salon?

The real reason I was at the Staples shopping center was I needed a new ink cartridge. Friendly Dave helped me. That's what I actually call him

While I waited for him, I wandered down the aisles, enjoying looking at all the things having to do with communication.

Dave said his wife loves wandering in hardware stores. You know, don't you, I said, there's an old-fashion hardware store in Hatboro? He knew.

His wife also likes "feed stores" as she grew up in Texas.

Bucks County, PA, is horse country so she enjoys that.

Listen to Faure's Requiem here on YouTube.

At last night's New Directions' meeting we were shocked to hear of the suicide death of "Silvia."

Today, as one of her many former therapists, I went into my study, and found her "chart," green and scuffed. As always, I put a yellow Post-It note on the front with her name, a phone no. and the date we started therapy. Jan. 19, 2015 thru September 13, 2015.

I told her she never listened to any of my suggestions so there was no point in her seeing me.


"Silvia," you will not hear
hear Faure's poignant Requiem
playing for you, dead of an
overdose at some anonymous
hotel where you couldn't
be found.

As a favor to the man
who would never let you down
I accepted you as a therapy

Our conversations took place
over the phone. You knew me
well, asking how Scott was,
and if I was writing any
short stories.

You were caring, funny, and
beautiful too. That, my dear,
was one side of you, the other
remained hidden like the dark
side of the moon.

When you moved to a less expensive
apartment, I suggested a volunteer
from Seniors Helping Seniors. You
had no knowledge I paid for
a woman to help you get your
things in order.

I congratulated you when you
held your head high and went
into the Hyundai dealership
to give the man hell who had
swindled you.

Your mother had finally unblocked
your phone calls, the two of you
could have been conjoined twins,
both forgetting that love once
dwelt between you.

In the end, love was nowhere
to be found. In your angry state
you cussed at everyone who came near,
o humanity, how could you?

As death came near, lying atop
a bedspread in the hotel, where you
spoke your last words to "Will,"
did you remember your happy days
as a child, your grandmother
reading the once-upon-a-time
stories to you?

What was the meaning of your life,
Silvia? Was it all in vain? Or did
those of us who knew you and hoped
for your deliverance find a new
meaning to our lives: Every child
who is born is precious under
the Eye of Heaven.

Am doing my exercises per Margaret Fitzpatrick, walking at least 20 minutes per day. Scott and I returned our library books, and then walked to A C Moore. He was looking at very sturdy wooden birdhouses. Then we went to Barnes n Noble. Ah, the smell alone!

We napped together during the news and I slept profoundly.

Goodbye Silvia goodbye!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

My back is getting better - Poem: Eating Monterray Jack Cheese in the Dark

When your back is really painful as mine is/was, it's hard to believe it will ever get better.

It is, thanks to Margaret Fitzpatrick.

She worked me really hard today. I was walking backward at her Hatboro office. This is about trust, I told her. We walked up the steps. She had me on a small balancing stool where I had to close my eyes.

Totter totter totter!

My friend G from New Directions was there.

Told Margaret I was gonna go to Wawa across the street for a cuppa coffee. "Tree" gave me a gift card I haven't used up yet.

Carefully crossed the street. Entered the Wawa which looked very strange!!!

The place where you order soups n sandwiches was covered over with a long piece of paper.

The place where the many different kinds of coffee are ... was not there.

What's going on?

Aqua, the water company, is installing new water meters, so they had NO WATER.

When I got home I made my own coffee with Dunkin Donuts original dark roasted.

Delicious! I sat down on Red Couch and simply enjoyed the wonderful flavor. Drank it in my new favorite cup from Helene.

Got one of those requests to contact my State Senator - Stewart Greenleaf - to ask him to not approve a new PA Senate Bill that requires people to work in order to receive Medicaid.

I spoke to Judy and explained why this is a bad idea. We chatted for 45 minutes. Told her my name - people always think they've heard of me - and gave her the website for ND.

Last night Scott said he wanted to watch July 22 on Netflix. Oh, I watched that, I told him, but it was so good I'll watch it again.

Of course he fell asleep, so I left when he did.

This morning, tho, I finished watching it. The end is fantastic. The 'terrorist' in this true movie was given a life sentence. The attorney who represented him was asked by the terrorist if he would come and visit him in prison.

No, said the attorney. Then the terrorist stuck out his hand to be shook. The attorney would not shake it.

You lost, said the attorney. And you will always lose.

Wrote my sister Donna some Netflix films I've enjoyed. Loved the Bruce Willis film Armageddon. How dyou pronounce this word?

Arm a GED don

Wrote Donna in an attempt to make up with her since hanging up on her a week ago.

Image result for monterey jack


After watching the appalling story of a woman
starving to death in a mansion in Vermont
the pit of my stomach started to ache.

What should I eat?
Brought a big slab of Monterey Jack
up to bed. Turned off the light
and munched.

The lights of cars driving by
flickered like waterfalls
- Niagara, Victoria Falls -
through my drapes and onto
the now-black wall.

I was happy.
Thanked God as I always
do, though I'm not a believer
and swallowed the last of
my cheese,

and forbad myself to
leave my warm bed
and burgundy comforter

lay down and must have
fallen asleep as I did
wake up in the morning.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Yes, I'm excited about the Duke and Duchess of Sussex having their first child - Poem: The Queen Ruth Zali Speaks

Prince Harry & Meghan Royal Wedding Mug royal wedding mug prince harry and meghan markle 11oz ceramic mugAs I wrote my sister Donna, since I have my own coffee cup I ordered online when they got married, I can fill it w champagne when the little one comes.

The photos online are fabulous and I'm pleased to show my 8 readers the nicest ones.

I'd forgotten that Meghan's mother is a black woman - and as you know - one drop of black blood and you're considered black - in our hysterical racist country. My late writer/poet friend Elaine Restifo would tell people she was part black. What was her journal called? River Poets.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle took a long jump across the pond and landed in Australia for their first royal tour as a married couple.
Other than Australia, the two of them will travel around the region to Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga and New Zealand and will be overseas until Oct. 31. Their visit in Australia coincides with the Invictus Games, which Prince Harry founded in 2014, and will be held Oct. 20-28. It's also a special event for the Duchess of Sussex. The two of them made their first official outing as a couple at the 2017 Games in Toronto.
The royals arrived in a Qantas Airlines plane, which is the main airline for Australia. 

Harry founded The Invictus Games, above.

See Meghan Markle's reaction after royal fan praises mum Doria Ragland Mother and daughter.

Read about Doria Ragland here.

Alas, I must be off. Gonna eat my oatmeal and then go to my volunteer job.


Queen Ruth Zali
produced two fine heirs
Princess Sarah Lynn
and Prince Daniel Paul

They dwelled in fine homes
and loved their work.
The Princess helped
the less fortunate,
while the Prince, with
the guidance of his wife,
Nicole, helped Max and Grace
grow into the best citizens
of our land.

The Queen thinks she's nothing
like the Evil Queen in Snow White
or Isabella who purged her nation
of Jews.

A mezuzah hangs in the doorway
of the Queen's home,
honoring the Almighty
to write the words of God
on the gates and doorposts
of your house. 

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Taken by surprise! Poem: Helene's Music Box

Stewart Greenleaf Jr., a Republican attorney, announces he will run for the 12th District state Senate seat his father will vacate; his wife Heather by his side. (Dana DiFilippo/WHYY)

Was upstairs noodling around on my computer when I heard a knock on the door.

It's probly the kids, I thought, wanting to mow the lawn. It's not long enough yet.

Instead, a good-looking guy was standing there in a checked shirt, rather relaxed.

What's he gonna try to sell me?

New windows, was my guess.

It was Stewart Greenleaf, Jr. He introduced himself and I said, Oh, I'm gonna vote for you! Your dad did a great job and I'm sure you will too.

Let's look at his platform. Education and county pension reform are the 39-yo's priorities.


Just came home from Scott's. Fab pizza w cauliflower crust.

Image result for pizza with cauliflower crust

Didn't finish so I'll eat the rest tonight while we're watching TV. Netflix - Kindergarten Cop w Schwartzenegger and Kindergarten Teacher, both recommended by Marcy.

Finally talked to Marcy  from the Los Angeles area. She loves volunteering for the kitty-kat place.

I was eating some ors derves from Giant before dinner. The roasted garlic was delicious, as were the pitted olives. The artichokes literally made me choke.

Kindergarten Teacher was terrible. The woman was obsessed with her 5-yo student Joey, a wonderful actor, as was the teacher. I was in such distress watching the film, fearing she'd kill him.


Went to the kids' this morning. Remember those games I found at the end of the street? Dan, Grace and I played one of the card games.

Also gave her an Alice in Wonderland jig saw puzzle. Dan explained it may take quite a while to finish it, so he suggested she put it in a permanent place until she finishes.

Beatriz from my writing group does dat.

Bc Max and Nicole left to buy groceries, Grace, who is very calm and adultish at 8, watching some YouTube cooking shows.

At Mom's for lunch, she remembered that Aaron Ryesky used to do jigsaw puzzles.

Look at how dark it is at 6:19 pm.


Several people - Keith Shaw - Marcy - Iris - asked me why I went off Facebook.

Primarily bc few people paid any attention to what I posted.

I did get a couple readers for my poems and Stephen Stahl would always welcome his fans with a message about coffee. And he would answer every single response he received.

Let's give him a standing ovation right now!

I'm clapping by tapping on my laptop.


Grace felt very disappted, she told me, that she wasn't chosen in school to play the violin.

"I'm sorry to hear that," I said.

The cats were about - Doober, the fat cat - and Nudge the yellow calico.



At the picking at Helene's in Rydal Park
I chose a lovely black beaded bag.
Inside was a music box.

When I asked Grace if she wanted it
she paused far too long. I want it
to be loved, cherished, for
once belonging to my friend Helene.

It's tiny, like a fragrant soap,
and sings Send in the Clowns.

Made in Japan, the clown
is sad-looking, strange-
looking. Rubbery red
lips and ears and an
enormous ruffled collar
like fluffy clouds
protecting us from harm.


Saturday, October 13, 2018

Just one Sniff - two poems, same name


Just before dawn
pulled open the drapes
and there it was

The rain pouring down.
I could smell the worms
come out of their holes,
the slick street with
water running down

Our brain's made mostly
of water. I stuck my
head back in, clumb
back in bed, and sipped
on my bedside wawa
captured from my
bathroom sink
in an azure blue
cup with water.


I was aboard the Arc
Lo, those many years ago,
Great-Grandpapa was not
to know his little
Abigail found the
stench intolerable.


I would sink my
face, with boils
and filth, and
long black braids
into the thick fleece
of Nora, who accepted
me. Her curly wool
heaved as I wept
salty tears, praying
the dry land would
soon be ours.


  Photo taken years ago when The Fleischers drove us to the Pennysylvania State Fair.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Margaret Fitzpatrick to the Rescue - Starry Night

This morning I sent Z great Margaret Fitzpatrick an email asking if I could see her soon.

She told me to come over at 1 pm.

Hurray! I don't want my leg to be in pain during THIS IS MY BRAVE, which is coming up on Thursday, October 18.

I titled my talk What a Long Strange Trip This Has Been.

She gave me loads of exercises to do, many of which had to do with Balance. Told her when Scott and I ride our bikes and there are other folks coming the other way, my bike wobbles.

She and I went for a walk outdoors. She told me when my leg starts to hurt I should bend from the waist down.

It's always such a pleasure being with her.

When I left I carefully crossed the street - the Nascar race drivers were out in full force - and went to Silvio's Deli - which finally got A/C - and bought Scott and me a large tuna hoagie.

We walked nearly three miles down the Pennypack Trail, not the usual trail, but the one across the street where the original dedication took place.

Here's my blog post about the dedication.

We walked until we got to the Bryn Athyn PA post office. I went indoors and asked when will the bridge be fixed.


At home, we wolfed down our tuna hoagies and then repaired to his bedroom to watch the PBS Evening News, snoozing a bit as we watched.

Al Gore was interviewed by Judy Woodruff about climate change.

What's with his hair, I asked Scott.

To me it looked golden.

It's white.

Al Gore, please show yourself. He had no wedding ring on.

He won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his work on Climate Change.

Read more about Gore, who is 70,

Here on his own website or on


Marcy had recommended a Netflix film, which, apparently, hasn't been posted, so we watched a film called PRIVATE LIFE, about a married couple trying to get pregnant.

His private life concerned his one testicle and her oocytes which weren't producing. A woman is born with all her ovum. Hold on and we'll find out together how many there are.

Good Lord, this is complicated. Click here or not.

Sitting in my front window sill is a marvelous jack-o-lantern I bought this morning at The Giant. I also bought 5 tiny punkins.

Two are missing. We blame everything on the squirrels.

What a beautiful night this is.

Scuse me a sec, and I'll write a poem about it, after I take out my flask of  Ernest Hemingway whiskey. Just joshin.


Yes, van Gogh at Arles looked up and saw it, too
I've got a reprint in my bedroom
But none of these count.
The thing you must do
is go outside, in the dark night,
no matter what the weather,
no matter what pressing issues
and stand head held high
to see the majesty of
the night sky.

River Poets special edition of Immigrants just arrived - Poem: The Buddhist in Me

Sent out an email to New Directions about two Americas we barely know.

Trapped: Sex workers, Massage Parlors, and Questionable Cops

Read it here.

The other is The Underbelly of Philadelphia.

Read it here.


As the winds howl and hundreds
of leaves race like marathoners
down the street, then stop...
for rest

I remove the clothes from my
Lady Kenmore and fold them
over my new white drying
rack. Why, I wonder,
does this feel so good?

Is it because I'm seeing
Margaret today? Margaret
at 1 pm?

Everything impinges on
everything else. Yesterday
I retired from Facebook.

Freedom is mine. For as
long as I want it.
How about forever?


Judith Lawrence did a great job with her new book River Poets Journal 2018 Special Edition THE IMMIGRANTS.

As I told her in my thank-you note, I read the entire short story Letter from My Great-Grandmother Bella (total fiction) to Scott and my voice broke, the story was so emotional.

I'll continue writing a poem a day, just not for Facebook.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Broke up today with Facebook

What I'm drinking

Click here.

Sunniva/Kitu Super Coffee RTD, Mocha, 12 fl oz, 1 bottle

Am eating my dinner now on Red Couch. Remind me that one frozen salmon patty is enuf. Scott said it's called having 'big eyes,' courtesy of his mom.

And the frozen sweet potatoes are delicious.

On Facebook today I was asked to pray for so many people.

I was introduced to many coffee drinkers.

I was told there are still some good people in the world

I knew the time had come to get off for good.

Googled - how to get off Facebook.

What shall I do with all the time I have gained?

Practice my electric keyboard. Why am I so terrified?

Told people to email me or read my blog or the New Directions website.

Here's the last poem I posted on there.


As soon as Scott and I set out the door
the drizzle began. I ran back inside
and shoved on my Storm King Sculpture
Garden cap.

How refreshing the water felt!
When you're an adult you can do
stuff like this, without having
to check with Mom or your Facebook

Catch cold? Catch pneumonia?
Rounding the bend the Kiernan's
cans waited like tin soldiers
on the curb.

I drug em up to their proper places,
servant of the Almighty that I am.


The real reason I got off FB is people do not read what I post.

This is a very important story about the underbelly of Philadelphia, the incredible drug use that takes place under I-95, by Conrail tracks. People wanna get clean but it's impossible. 

Let's pray for them. 

Big Pharma got people addicted to the opioids, claiming they were safe. 

Read story here.

When I was a therapist at Bristol Bensalem I had a client named Joanne who lived in the squalor of Kensington. After the agency closed down - Medicare fraud? - she called me and told me she was dying of cancer. Her greatest accomplishment in life was her daughter Diane, who was doing well. I suggested if she want to make a recording of her voice telling Diane how much she loved her. Diane was about to be married.

Watched some brilliant films on YouTube

ALL PASSION SPENT with Wendy Hiller, based on a novel by Vita Sackville West.

A PASSIONATE AFFAIR 1953 with Glynis Johns. She's still alive at 95. Go Glynis go!

Glynis Johns - still.jpg

Her voice is described as breathy.

She goes missing in the film as she is in love with her college professor who is married to a scheming Gene Tierney.

Anything else, Ruthie?

Scott and I are watching ALL THINGS GREAT AND SMALL. Got it out the library. Somehow I got mixed up - who me? - and thought it was a collection of film noir, but it weren.'t.

It's about veteraniarians. One of em just stuck his arm up a cow who had a tumor inside and he removed it with his yes bare hands.


The moo-cow thanks you, James Herriot.

What to do on a blah day like today

Image result for cloudy day


And still is. Every day
is a chance to experience
the world anew. The
color of blah has descended
upon our neighborhood.

Shhh!! All sounds have stopped.
Wayne and his infernal buzz saw
putting in a new bathroom
across the street.

All them manly tools
sitting on the front porch.

Cars whoosh by to their
destinations. Decades ago
it would have been a horse
and buggy. Gee-up! Gee-up!

I made a mistake and put
too much cheese in my omelet.
Could barely wolf it down.
If you find me dead of clogged
- pronounced clogg-ed - veins
and arteries, send my mom
a condolence card and
toss me into the Pennypack
Creek and make sure
I don't float to the top.


Scott's got some type of intestinal virus and couldn't keep food down. When I checked him this morning, he is better. Said he knew he was last night bc he kept thinking of food. Every time he has time off from SEPTA something goes wrong.

He did fix my front door which was so warped you couldn't open or close the door. And the bricks on my side door that the chipmunks had dug up.

Why? Just for the fun of it, I suppose.


I was deeply disappointed that none of my submissions for Hektoen were accepted. They were really good.


Michael is a beautiful name. Look how the hurricane is ravishing Florida and soon George. Visiting scholar Scott just told me it's been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Image result for storm

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

More on Ryesky

Image result for seashells


I will speak for Helene's living room furniture
Not me, RZD, but whoever is writing this poem.

We're at a storage facility, her last assisted
living facility at Rydal Park.

We were happiest at our home in Maple Glen PA
Huge trees sheltered the house she and
Aaron shared.
The leaves spun like ballerinas
from the trees.

What was it he had for breakfast?

A chorus of voices is heard behind me.
Yes, that's right. Cold cereal.

Her photos hung on the walls or leaned
comfortably on the ledge atop the stone
fireplace. Antonelli Photography
trained her.

She submitted photos to Stephen Perloff's
Photo Journal. Unabashed passion. And
to Doris's Art Matters.

All artists have seashells in their
living rooms. Why not? Only the sea
can create such a masterpiece

which of course Our Helene once was.
It was the getting older that did her in.
Or maybe the deaths of her children,
one by one.

She's in her new home now. A name like
Mawnatawny. Run by do-gooders. Where
will solace come from? I suggest
music. How bout Joni Mitchell?

I've looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It's cloud's illusions I recall
I really don't know clouds at all.

It is so important to keep our friends who live in nursing homes filled with hope and love. Helene has an excellent mind, but just the fact that her freedom is dreadfully impaired has made her give up on life and all her talents!


The fresh orange juice
tasted delicioso in
the clear glass cup
with handle

I should carry it all around
today just to imbibe its beauty

A magnificent vase, round as a
fishbowl, with tiny mouth on top
sits on my living room window sill
having befriended the other lovelies
who currently live there

Come sit with me a while
I'll give you the purple swivel chair
with ottoman, bearing two scissors
from your sewing drawer

The bright white hanging rack's
in my laundry room draped with
washcloths and linen napkins

So much abundance in these
United States.

If only I could think of something
to make you happy. Close your eyes
and think of the best days of your

Wake up and write about it.
Pen or pencil will do.
I'll buy your book
on Amazon. Don't think I won't.

Just read in the Erickson Tribune - very well wrin, btw - that an orange a day reduces the chances of getting macular degeneration sixty percent.