Thursday, July 30, 2015



Like Persephone,
you leave for six months.
I mourn, then resign myself.
But then, when I have grown
expert at pinching in
my diet of the soul,
and manage to navigate
my day without tears,
you plan your return.

must have steeled herself
to endure,
hoping that being with Hades
for the half year
left her daughter
with light enough

to greet the sun
without burning
each time
the underworld
released her
and spring warmed
her mother's heart through
from six months
of frost

only to go dormant
when her daughter
left again
and again
and made winter
of her soul

until another spring

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Yes, I Know You Like to Fly (To Someone Flying Tomorrow)

Yes, I Know You Like to Fly (To Someone Flying Tomorrow)

You should have been an eagle.
When you wing,
your body floats.
Feelings pull free.
Thoughts balance,
flirt with limbo.

Not-so-inner space man
flashes the stars.
storms the clouds.
menaces the sun,
dances on rain.

Fine.Take the sky,
Ride the air,
Own the heavens.
But please touch down

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Neighborhood Concert (Simon and Garfunkel Reunion Concert in Central Park, 1981)

A Neighborhood Concert (Simon and Garfunkel Reunion Concert in Central Park, 1981)

We all cheered
when Paul Simon said it
because we knew
the neighborhood stretched
from Central Park
a fine and fancy ramble
to the East Side
to the West Side
to Brooklyn
to the Bronx
to Queens
even to Staten Island.

The neighborhood concert
included sellers of loose joints
lovers and haters
of Ed Koch,
lovers of madness,
lovers of wild.
As we all walked off
to look for America,
we found it again.

And lost it
in the wars.

But looking at the troubled water
and the bridge over it,
we sailed on somehow
easing our minds

when we just couldn't


Friday, July 24, 2015

Humam Chickem

Humam Chickem

Simce a comgresspersom outlawed
the letter "n,"
we are forced to sigmal our
choice of Humam chickem.
Just thimk: humam (people) chickems
rum away.
Humam take out chickems
get soy sauce.
Humam (people) thighs, hopefully,
do mot.

This is also a commemt
om capitalism
and our society
slidimg head first
imto third worldism.

Home rum!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015



Now people use smartphones,
but remember
when GPS Mary ruled
and told you quite
how to proceed.
but when you struck out
on your own,
labeled you an insufferable
goose egg
in one syllable:  “Recalculating.”
You could hear her sighing
for the woe of the world
and her erring GPS children.
A world in that term:
reworked treaties,
revisited stratagems,
reappraised networks.
The road not taken, Mary,
and against your advice,
but mostly
because we dreaded
making that unwieldy left turn
with the vengeance of dozens
bearing down on us
as we slipped just past
the warning
of flashing red.

Split second decision, Mary.
Like an owl deciding
to flag a mouse
and swooping down
to carry it off.

Please forgive us, Mary.
We knew just what we did.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Marblehead Calling

Marblehead Calling

I'd stare out to sea,
not like the wives
of  captains
loving dead husbands,
but instead
asking that it not change.
I'd take my daily constitutional,
rounding the fort
and the walkway,
sitting on the benches
with other tough old farts.


Then dinner at my favorite
small restaurant,
slightly darkened,
quite cool.
with a finger plate of cheese
and fruits
for dessert.
Ice cream later,
with judicious chocolates.

Then home, James,
although there would be
no James
because I like to walk.
I would nod to the stars,
approving their sky walk
and their appearing in place
for the season.

A longer nod
to the moon.

At home again,
with tea
and a biscuit or two.
Writing for time,
then reading
to calm me.

Last look at the sea.

Last listen to waves.

Turn out the light.

Sleep without dreams.


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Anabatic (The Fart)

Anabatic  (The Fart)

I come with the dust
and I leave with the wind.
Who said I didn't have
a poetic soul?
If you hadn't eaten something
extremely delectable
I would still be inside you,
gearing for a rush.
Don't sniff
or pretend disgust.
There is nothing as fulfilling
as expelling me -
that intake, outgo,
exquisite relief.

And don't worry.
I know sarcasm.
I am down with nose
I even sympathize
with parental

After all,
I am a million mile
aromatic, anabatic.

I am a mature fart.

Thursday, July 16, 2015



Bess Myerson,
former Miss America,
once flirted with you.
I grant that I was more
amused than angry.
And why should she not?
You charmed even
insomniac owls,
soothing them
with your well modulated
and your choice lectures
on gangsters.
You sat and smoked
like a 40's movie star,
giving great play
to the abrupt removal
of the cigarette
from your lips
and puffing almost
as if you had an ax
to grind
with the cigarette paper.

Now you are married
and your house
has been museumed
by your artistically expert
who showed me the jewelry
you'd bought her
when I came to visit.

Her cat hung out
in the kitchen
and nosed for treats.
I liked her cat.
She did not like me.
As we left,
she said, "Have a great trip,

Bess Myerson,even,
was more polite
in the midst
of trying to nab you.

I hear you do not smoke
these days -
spot on your lung.

A pity.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Thunder and Lightning - Or, Pizza and Tamarind

  • Thunder and Lightning - Or, Pizza and Tamarind

In Sri Lanka
the thunder and lightning
were unexpected guests
in my sleep. 
When I looked out
from the balcony
I saw only moonlight
off the Indian Ocean.
In the dream that followed,
I ordered pizza, plain,
but for some reason
it shimmered
like the most pleasant 
of ghosts
-or like still undwarfed Pluto,
which I couldn't possibly see-
in the moonlight,
perhaps because
an owl rose
from the garden
and alerted
an actual mongoose
with whom I had words.

The following night,
the biryani I ordered
for dinner
housed just a tinge
of tamarind
in the masala,
sweet as rhyme,
sour as envy.

I am ashamed 
to admit
that I gobbled it
and then turned,
stomach still craving,
to lanced pineapple
for dessert.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer Night Music

Summer Night Music

The music is different
on summer nights;
it makes you want.
You don't even know
the shapes want will
and the music could even
be coming from your own
from a  device you've known
all your years
and yet you'll feel
there's something
want is inspiring
that you would scream
or fly up
or unbecome
to capture
and yet you don't know
you cannot know
and you will never know
just what it is,
cannot name one syllable
of it
or the time it encases
which is just as well
because by now the music
has stopped teasing
and become pretty well timeless
and unshaped

and the night to which it belongs,
a hazy summer night
has uncurled
into smells of far off thunder
and something you hardly
as day.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Goodbye to Dr. Class (Omar Sharif: 1932-2015)

Goodbye to Dr. Class (Omar Sharif:  1932-2015)

For most of us,
it was Dr. Zhivago.
For me, Nicky Arnstein.
He'd show up,
or have some side deal going
but all through it,
stay as debonair
as an unrented tux.
The real NA was
of course
nowhere near
as insouciant
or dashing
and gave
the real Fanny Brice
tons more heartache.

But, Omar,
your trace of accent,
flashing dark eyes
and constant warmth
amid controlled cool
nailed me
the first time I saw you.

And to find out
that you loved for life
a French Jewish lady
thrilled vicariously.

As Fanny Brice
said in Funny Girl -
class. Pure class.

And it really had
nothing to do
with those 7 toothbrushes.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Jazz Girl - For Belinda

Jazz Girl -  For Belinda

Flapper girl
Belinda belts
her dress
at the hips,
her hair in a turban,
her cigarette holder
poised between
her forefinger
and her third.
"Darling," she intones,
"coffee or tea?"
(Of course coffee
is the last thing
you'll find in the cup.)
As she dances
her arms swing up,
her legs open and close,
her eyes swirl around
 her mouth,
lipsticked bright bright red,
remains tight, cynical,
the pose of the year.

Jazz girl, they say.
She does not care
how many
She's had the ones
she wanted
with her eyes.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Just Out Of Reach

Just Out Of Reach

Our entire school
fell in love.
Grade 5 were the Jets.
The leader of the Grade 6 Sharks
had dark hair
and piercing dark eyes.
I sang the movie songs
to him but really only
to myself in the mirror
without breathing
lest my parents
hear and ask
why my mouth
kept twisting.

Not possible,
for smart girl,
special gifted class,
to talk to the hood.

In college,
the movie still
in my head,
I danced it
on the bar table
for him
wherever he was.

Then I heard Robert
ended up in prison.

I knew I would
never find out,
but kept hoping -
as I took English 279,
The Brontes,
and wrote about Heathcliff,
of whom my professor deeply
disapproved -

that he'd escaped.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Skunk Juice - A July 4th Poem

Skunk Juice - A July 4th Poem

The skunk
must have hidden
at least a mile down,
but you can smell
the spray
as if it were next door.
It spilled into the air
last night.
I thought it would be
gone today,
but the humidity,
the heavy breath
of a rain sky
kept it close to the ground.

Now booming.
earth echoes
and colors
drench a sky
without stars.

If the skunk travels late,
it may rest
in the last parcel
of unbuilt land -
scared, hiding,
skunk juice bursting
in thick South Jersey air
now giving proof
that we hear only firecrackers,
not gunshots.

But banners that yet wave
set churches aflame.

Not the skunk's fault.

The dawn brings no light.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Duck Visit

Duck Visit

If you live near a pond
or if the rain drifts
and makes the ground
wet but not muddy,
they may fly in
thinking that the land
feels as right as the
river or creek
not far away
but somehow 
firmer or cooler
and pleasing
to set a foot on
and survey 
trees, sky
and other water.

They won't stay long.