Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Seducer

The Seducer

Nice man
with a grad degree.
He snows,
not with leather
and a motorcycle,
but with slow
words chosen
with the crisp
of an archer:
"Thank you,
my lady" in
three languages,
or eloquent discourse
on the subject
of the day
and subtly framed
about hers.

And a smile
that begins
and crinkles
somewhere east
of a promise
just dawning
in his mind's eye.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Matter of Time - For Bree Newsome

First anger,
then determination.
On her way up,
she thought
of lynchings, whippings,
No time to fear.

Taken into custody,
she said, "This flag stays down."

It's back up now,
but not for long.

What kind of day
feeds not remembering?
What length of time
can anoint
old hate?

Old time feeds wishes,
but the wishes are only
that old houses replay.

They lost a war
and that war stays lost.

This flag stays down.
It's only a matter of time.

Friday, June 26, 2015



Amid flowers,
tropical fruits and spices.
and the meanest flan
you've ever tasted,
of  young years
in bars.
Taking care
of moms
who couldn't care
for them.

Standing about five feet
and plump,
they make home
of their apartment
and the one double bed.

They've been working for the city,
extra jobbing at the call center,
writing theses
for time out of mind.

I won't give names,
but if you go to Madison,
you may meet them.
Tell them I said hello.

Hug them for me.
Tell them I miss them
and that I never stopped
I would dance
at their wedding.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Kaddish for a Robin

Kaddish for a Robin

It must have fallen
from the tallest tree
in the yard
during the storm.
Wind, rain and lightning
must have intervened
as it toppled,
never knowing what hit.

Its robin companions,
must have known
soon after the storm left.
Leaves surround it
on all sides
as fallen twigs and branches
spread nearby.

Quiet now,
the sky gleams
with blue
and white clouds
that fly over the yard
in the shapes
of animals and large birds.

Sun leaves shadows
of white dust and pollen
near the window.

Sometimes a bird
flies near.

It may slip
through currents
of disturbed air
if it is lucky
and does not point down.

Life in death and death in life,

Earth folds us to her spine
and we learn to fly up.

Monday, June 22, 2015

After All This Time

After All This Time

When I swam without clothes
it was as if my body knew
for the first time
what it was to have water
as a friend
not through yards of wettable
yarn or fibers
but as air
took sun
and created light
through flow.

Three men,
one looking like a sheriff,
rode up
to the hill on the other side
of the reservoir.
I was out of the water
and looked back
as they stared.
After a few minutes
they rode away.
It was as if
drops from water
and sun
clothed me
in enough fire
to repulse
their avidity.
The reservoir
saw us
two more times
that summer.
During the last time,
someone I knew from camp
swam up
and greeted me
by my back.
I explained to my bf
how we all changed
in the bunks
and knew each others' backs.
He laughed and said,
"After all this time?"

I laughed,
feeling my body
greet his
and the cold white wine
he'd hidden.

"Yes," I said,
loving the sun
and the icy water
that we would leave
way too soon.
"After all this time."

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Writing Name

Writing Name

Frannie Zellman

Frannie, so much more friendly.

Zellman, more Jewish.

The "real" last name,
clipped at Ellis Island,
is stern and ungiving.

Better "Frannie"
as friendly,
"Zellman" as your friendly
salt person.

"Frannie" is outspoken,
a "mentsh," emotes.

"Zellman" argues,
defends, rejoices,

As "Frannie Zellman,"
I smile easily.
I friend. I hug.

As "Frannie," I become.
Evolve. Rethink.

Being "Frannie":
more than fun.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

People from the Future

People from the Future

Yo, people from the Future:
If you're around,
please help.
Disable all weapons,
the way they did
in that Star Trek II episode.
Dart them out of hands;
freeze time.
Stop cars.
Suspend planes.
Tell us
you won't stand
for violence,
gratuitous or other.
Gentle people.
Disable hate.
Dispense spores
of peace.

Dizzy us like Spock
when he laughs
at his other busy self.

Could you also
hurry those long trains
that run faster than jets?
Much safer, much cleaner
and you actually see outside,
into the bargain.

And finally, FP,
if it wouldn't be too much trouble,
please tell the nut fringe
that their prayer words sicken far more
than their visions of  apocalypse?

Thank you.

Sincerely, Frannie

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Goodbye to the Fly (Apologies to Fly #2)

Goodbye to the Fly (Apologies to Fly #2)

Oh, fly.
I won't ask why
The root beer float captured
your eye.
And thinking it looked
most delicious
You dove, settled in
but found it inauspicious.
By the time I made my way
over to where you lay,
no longer jumping,
you'd signed out of the fray.
Not wishing to augment
my root beer float with filament,
I poured it down the drain,
a necessary dumping.

Oh, fly.

My apologies.
But at least
your descendants
may have learned
that if a surface
does not seem firm,
it will not support the pendant.
I am sorry that your mistake
resulted in an ending
that we were not intending.
But for your children's sake
Your life stopped, opaqued -
I hope they will appreciate
Your last fly testament.

If there is a lesson
to be gathered
from this tableau,
it is: Rather
pick flylike at toast
than at a root beer float.

Marie Antoinette hung
after having sung
croissants' virtues
to those she thought
talked more than they ought.
She found out, but did not rue
upon leaving,
that the late 18th century detested
her thieving.

Au revoir,
my insect sharer.
No more grieving.
May your next life
come fairer
and without strife.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sixty One

Sixty One

Time to stop learning
new things.
I don't mean
the occasional squirt
of interest,
the factoid,
the unruly but laughworthy
I mean languages, ologies,
If I haven't grasped by now
whatever it is,
it is not likely to seize
my tired brain
and catapult it
to revelation.
Much more pleasurable
or at least contenting
to walk in familiar tracks,
gaze on routes I've walked,
lap from bowls I've kept.
Newness is oldness.
Excitement is boredom.
Ecstasy is a letdown.
Let the earthshakers
rile the planet,
claim its agonies,
right its difficulties.
I will go to my couch,
think of sunsets,
and ply cocoa
with a dedicated eye
and mouth.
Firstness, I sniff
in your general direction.
Ease, I embrace you.

Au revoir. Au lit.
A la paix.

Good night.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

From Pelham Parkway Esplanade

From Pelham Parkway Esplanade

I sit on a bench
on the esplanade.
It's summer,
and the drowsy life
of green too green
and dried grass
fans out.
All the times
I spent here
slide in order,
like a powerpoint.
and even before,
as if  I'd been hypnotized
like Bridey Murphy:
Mom sitting with friends,
flirting outrageously.
Mom here with beaux
(I love that old-fashioned syllable.)
Great grandma with friends.
Grandma and grandpa
with neighbors.
Then it's the dawn
of my time,
and I'm in a carriage.
I'm older, being hit
by a neighbor's boy.
Older yet,
in patent leather.
Then it's onto Son of Sam
and quiet as my dear friend
guides us away
in case horror obtrudes.

And now.
after they've all gone,
I'm the last one
in the bus.
I flow back.
Like Edelweis,
the benches are glad
to see me.

And even missing
all the people
in my photo album
doesn't hurt
quite as much.

Monday, June 8, 2015

My Tablet and I

My Tablet and I

Tap. Tap.
Oh. Wrong letter.
Tap again.
Next letter. Oh.
No, my password
is not ALIAS.
 Next letter.
What do you mean,
"name and password
do not match?"
I do not know how to cap :(
Oh, it's the arrow?
Broken arrow..arrowroot..
arrow to my heart..
But now all the letters are caps.
Oh, it just looks that way?
Yes, I see they are all dots now.
This is my password.
If you don't take it,
I will throw you
across the room.
You took it..
Deities and forces
be praised.
No, I don't want you
to tell me
apps I might like.
You have no clue.
Oh, what the hell
is yahoo doing here instead?
How do I get out of it?
I click this...okay..
Youtube. Now please
take Youtube.
Well..here are my lists.

Next to fight with...



Try for cats.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Another Deer

Another Deer

At first I thought
she might be hurt
because of the way
she hugged the corner.
But she straightened up
and picked her way
through the tree roots
and scattered leaves
and petals, only to stand,
as the late spring breeze
fluttered around her,
like an unsure visitor.
When we looked at her
she looked back,
her eyes unblinking,
without fear,
perhaps because
she was too young
to know humans.
We took her photo
in the poor light
through the patio door,
showing her shape
but not her post-fawn

But when we opened
the door,
she knew enough
to straighten her haunches
and run.

The rest of the day
it seemed somehow as if
the small mammals
and birds
knew she had passed:
a brightness
from the rain sky,
a quiet grown
from her path
through roots
springing from soil,
the midday hush
of  sleeping things

and in the later afternoon,
 the rustle of grown trees
without wind.

Friday, June 5, 2015


Like others
in the photo,
he seems  
to play baseball,
His stomach, 
bigger than many,
sticks further out.
How angry the posts!
I ask: Is he a good player?
No one answers.
I remember 
many good fat 
my slim grandpa
stood up
in his seat
to cheer them.

Does the law
now disallow

Does hate
now mandate
in its claws?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Thoughts on Fresh Fish

Thoughts on Fresh Fish

"Fish, a great food
for the thrifty family."

At the top,
a family blurb,
with dad in suit,
mom in dress with heels,
brother held by dad's hand,
sister by mom's,
dog over all,
to the left.

The fish
smiles saucily,
its midsection
tail suspended.

six fish siblings

How to cook
such fresh sea folk?

Then again,
in the 1950's,
all food danced.

It was a TV thing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

Humid Blessing

Humid Blessing

Air to water,
rain as sky,
thunder for sound.
Night  thickens
like confusion,
but without mystery.