Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pressed Flower

Pressed Flower                Frannie Zellman  

To the memory of my mother, Millicent Eunice Kant (1928-2014)

A paper cut out
Of gold in your hair,
With a white sash
And white silk scarf.
At six, you are a daisy.
You dance around the pole
And sing.
You forget the eye condition
They can’t cure.

When you are thirteen,
You skim the stage
In toe shoes, smiling magic
Into the hall.
You forget
That you're not dancer-thin.

When you are sixteen,
Your voice floats an aria
Onto the record.
Even Italian cannot capture
its fluid sweetness.
You sing and play by ear.

When you are twenty,
Fifteen men ask you out.
You smile and toss out
Words to amuse.
Instead you captivate -
More interesting than
Dewey and Russell.

You are a bouquet of flowers,
The sound of swift laughter,
Sun on the parkway.
But they tell you
the next performance schedule:
marriage, children.

Why couldn’t they have just let you play?

Monday, September 15, 2014

How to Undress a Fat Woman

Kathy Barron is surely one of the mistresses/masters of fat erotic poetry, so I can only follow quietly in her footsteps :)

If your eyes
know how to undress a fat woman
how to  love the  flesh
that ripples under her arms
and slips over her belly
how to play under her pants
and grab hold of the rounded hips,
how to limn the hair like small feathers,
how to tease
in thought
the soft moistness
and oh so satisfying wet curves
that glisten when your mouth sweeps them,

then you are allowed
to let your fingers
your stare

A Wish

During the last two weeks before she slipped into semi-consciousness, my mom voiced the desire to go outside. Because she could not sit, I was afraid that she might -we might- hurt her, even badly. At least my rational side kept telling me that it was impossible.

Another side kept arguing that it just might be within the realm of possibility...

And I have reproached myself every day since she passed on.

A Wish

I thought
if we wrapped you up
in sheets and blankets
as you sailed down
in the chair,
you would hardly
feel you were sitting
at all

you would simply
greet the motion
of the oiled wheels
as part of what you'd
known hundreds of times
before your body
refused to flex

And some inner magic
would lead you
not to feel pain
as we propelled you
into the second chair
and wheeled you
first onto the porch
then into the backyard

where your always-friends
the cardinals
would hail you
with their dry chirrup
and the blue jays
would grind out
the harsh croak
that signalled their presence.

But before we could ease you out,
you flew to another place
inside the bedroom
and prepared
to seek another sky

now you arrive
every time i walk
in the yard
as I know all too well
what I could not bring you
before you left

Forgive me
if you can.
Be with me

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Terminally Fashionable Ms. I

Ms. I
thin as a fashionable rail
not a hair out of place
not a button loose
not a thread frayed
not a heel worn
reels back on her feet
when confronted
with the ineffable sight
and sound and touch
of a fat student
who wishes to hug her
in thanks.

Ms. I
looks down her nose
almost wrinkles it
almost gapes
almost blanches
not quite believing
her oh so trim limbs
and fashionably spectacled

Ms. I
takes one fashionably small
step back
to let the student know
the full extent
of her oh so fashionable

Ms. I
takes one fashionably short
because breathing longer and louder
would be hopelessly uncouth.

Ms. I
lets her fashionably spectacled
glaze over just  slightly
as her pursed mouth yields
a wordless reproach
and her skin crawls
just a smidgen.

How did I ever let her in my class again?
her adeptly fashionable mind rages,
but not too far.

To meet one's anger and show it
is so so uncouth
that it stands the risk
of exposing the owner
as terminally


Monday, September 8, 2014

Last of the Line

What I will probably do is launch a separate blog to write about my mom and our family. Meanwhile..

Last of the Line

I only understood
Long after they’d left
Long after I could have
Asked them the questions
That would have joined the stories.

They ask to be told, but I can only write
And thread them inexpertly,
Like a reluctant tailor’s apprentice:

Great grandma in May Day parades,
Great grandpa making Prohibition wine,
Grandpa at HUAC (House UnAmerican Activities Committee)
 not naming names,
Grandma helping the evicted
back inside.

Will a city embrace them
like some kind friend
or recite them,
Like Kaddish,
And score them with voice
Into hereafter,
Dreams written
Into memory
By the last of the line?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


Opera     (To the Memory of My Mother)

You left your body
before you died.
I could feel you,
a slight coolness
softness in the ether.

I was so glad
that you could fly up
and poise yourself
above your thin
tired little arms.

First you swam
past lights
then to the window.
You stopped
near the closet,
then turned
and floated
the wall.

Before you left,
you came back
one more time
and glued your eyes
into mine
to say, "Always."

As you passed,

your voice,
now released,
ranged into trees,
into the night-borne
dark blue sky
and climbed free

over early autumn stars,

Monday, September 1, 2014



She sleeps
stops sleeping,

she belongs to me
belongs to all

she is
will have been