Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ingrained

I'll never forget the peddler
who sold paper bags of roasted chestnuts
The heat seeped through my mittens
I'll never forget the pushcart with hot sweet potatoes
cooked over coals. I juggled the potato from
hand to hand--waiting, then squeezed the sides
I'll never forget the peddler who sold marshmallows
on a stick. He twirled that stick in a boiling
cauldron of jelly while we watched in awe.
I recall the knife sharpener with his grindstone
calling out "Knives to sharpen." I'll never forget
the call of "I cash clothes," from the peddler
who bought used clothing. My grandmother
gave him hot tea during the winter. I'll never forget
pickles floating in wooden barrels or potato knishes,
or sauerkraut, or hot pastrami sandwiches, or
egg creams, or the seltzer man who delivered
glass bottles of seltzer to every family on our floor.
I'll never forget.





PAD. Day 20. Prompt: I'll never...




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Twenty Pages More

I finished the chips
ate the last cookie
forgot to pick up the dog
didn't replace the cap
on the toothpaste
left hair in the sink
please excuse these lapses
I had to finish my book




PAD. Day 19. Prompt: an excuse

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

In the Bronx

Nothing beat out a Charlotte Russe,
a thin layer of sponge cake covered
with mounds of real whipped cream,
topped with a Maraschino cherry ,
held together in a scallop edged
push-up cardboard cup.Sometimes
Eddie at the bakery added slivers
of chocolate. We tried to see who
could make the whipped cream
last longer, who might extend pure joy.





PAD Day 18 Prompt: Something sweet or sour

Monday, November 17, 2014

Stalked

Today a cold wind followed me
when I crossed the street, I tarried
and it swirled around my ears
I tried to duck into a building, disappear
behind a light pole, stare at the sidewalk
I stopped for a hot cup of tea
and a blast slid beneath the door
and slithered until wrapping
around my legs




PAD. Day 17. Prompt: an afflicted poem

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Just Say Amen

Just like that my computer screen went black,
no warning, no flicker, smoke, or sirens
I tried turning everything off, checked
connections, tried troubleshooting,
closing and opening the cover,
crossing my fingers, rubbing my amulet,
even said a prayer for healing
After a nervous hour interlude
the screen came on as if nothing
untold happened.Was it the amulet,
my crossed fingers, or a simple prayer?



PAD Day 16 Prompt: An Explanatory poem

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Holy Catfish

"Holy cow," she said when the
railway man hammered in the last
piece of track. "Holy smoke, "
he replied, " It's done."
"Holy mackerel,"said the passenger,
" It's faster than a horse
bent on galloping."
" Holy moley," said the horse,
" My roaming days are gone."
"Holy, holy, holy, "
said the preacher
when spotting a train
belching out steam



PAD. Day 15 Prompt: Holy (Blank)




Friday, November 14, 2014

The Danger of the Chase

careful
don't follow the first person
who promises you a gold ring
it may be brass or fool's gold
don't follow the crowd
beyond the bend in the road
it may be a dead end
leading nowhere
or to a spiral
downhill



PAD Day 14. Prompt : to follow

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Definition for the 21st Century

It's optional.
What's optional?
Some things aren't optional.
What things? Death?
No, that's not optional.
Suppose you decide against it.
That's not optional.
What's optional?
Do you want extra cheese
on your pepperoni and salami pizza?
That's optional.


PAD. day 13. Prompt: write an optional poem

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lost Gravity

Only the ceiling
stops me from continuing upwards
to join the constellations, to hang
suspended-- an acrobat turning
somersaults, at loose ends,
unable to find my way
Upside down, then parallel,
floating, bumping into objects
suspended for mere moments
before moving on






PAD. Day 12. Prompt: something you can't see

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Timeless Conundrum


Unaffected by the turning of
the calendar, change of seasons
or fickle sentiments or notions
Dateless in ordinary time,
but nonstop in recall
It is not nostalgia
that homesickness for the past
tinged with regret
It is an impossible wish
to rewind and wind the spool again
until the pieces meld together"





PAD. Day 11 Prompt: a timeless poem

Monday, November 10, 2014

Water Trouble

the faucet's leaking
sump pump working overtime
toilet gurgles
and the sink stopped up

bought a wrench
assorted washers
a plunger
poured Draino in the sink

sat back and waited
for the drip to stop
for the water to drain
for the plunmber






PAD Day 10 Prompt: ———————Trouble

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Unheralded

A small item, probably overlooked,
hidden in a corner, not announced
on the first page, or heard and
discussed. Something used as a filler
because the big story
ended a few
inches
short.




PAD Day 9 Prompt : a news story

Saturday, November 08, 2014

The Prodigal Son

Blinded by possibilities
he bought two dozen lottery tickets,
spending money on his mother's birth date,
his sister's anniversary date and the day
he first spotted the red convertible
in a used car lot. With a little paint,
new hubcaps, and polish, he imagined
driving along with the wind blowing
and the radio on --clear and loud,
announcing that he had come home



PAD. Day 8. Prompt: blind poem

Friday, November 07, 2014

I Must Have That

I own dozens of pencils, pens, paints
and sketchbooks, yet I follow
the mention of " my favorite pen"
or paint or palette or brand
mentioned by an artist with blind fervor
and desire for just that item.
Perhaps that alone will enable
me to loop to another level
where my lines and color
escape the banality of too ordinary,
or just plain weak-kneed.









PAD. Day 7. Prompt: A Compulsion Poem

Thursday, November 06, 2014

It's How You Say It

It all depends on how you say
happy now--did you mean to infer
that someone finally got his way?
Perhaps life is handing out bonbons
instead of lemons and you ask,
happy now? Maybe the scratch ticket
you bought last night paid more than
what you lost the night before.
Then again it may be thrown out
in anger. Maybe the words roll off
a sugar coated tongue. Perhaps
they are whispered in a lover's ear.

"Happy now?"

Are you in a state of Bliss
at this moment?
Right now?
If not let me change the tone
of my question, the way I stand,
the tilt of my head. Maybe
we need a definition.
Now is so immediate.







PAD Day 6 Prompt: Happy Now poem

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Keep This Shell

Listen to the ocean echoing
a refrain begun long ago
Find specks of sand on
a ribbed surface --a call to
remember beaches, broken shells,
found moon snail shells--sensual
predators feeding on clams
Recall a neckltace made
of beads and shells
strung on dental floss
Inhale the scent of kelp, sea roses, beach pea
Watch dunegrass and black grass
sway to a wind's frenzy
while you fly a sled kite
over the ocean
Keep this shell
It's an amulet holding memories









PAD Day 5. Prompt: Keep This...

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

In the Beginning...

Wonder Woman
shackled by villains,
bound by conventions,
fettered by those who fear
her Amazon strength
strides across the comics
defying taboos







PAD. Prompt: Day 4 A Super Heroine

Monday, November 03, 2014

Childhood

A red, white,and black wool blanket
covered the bed, heavy enough
to keep the wind that crept
through the window from reaching my toes
Itchy when I pulled the blanket
up to conceal my nose
At night I hunkered under it
with a flashlight
reading







PAD Day 3 Prompt: blanket

Sunday, November 02, 2014

A Delicate Task

the cup broke
shattered into shards
that lay scattered
on the kitchen floor
a cupful of memories
on brick patterned linoleum
I collected the pieces
fingering the places
where letters spelled
out words, with a bottle of
glue—guaranteed to hold—
I became the archeologist
fitting each chip into another,
ignoring the empty spots
making due with a basic shape,
a bit lopsided, the handle gone
the words with spaces, unsaid—
what couldn’t fit I swept away











Pad Day 2 Prompt: Together Again

The Metamorphosis




And when they came to Marah they
could not drink its water, because it
was bitter. That is why the place
is called Marah.
Exodus 15:23



Imagine the disappointment. Can anyone blame them for complaining and murmuring against Moses? What were they to drink? No one knew what to expect once they left Egypt. Was this to be the first disillusionment?  Then Moses "called upon" God and God showed him a tree, which "when he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet."

An unquenchable thirst can't be satisfied when drinking bitter water. But not everyone with a thirst has a Moses who has God's ear. Thirst, a metaphor, for whatever is bitter, may burrow in and stay for years. It may turn a deaf ear to petitions and amulets.

How do you explain to someone who thirsts that no one is available to heal the wound? Some people remain mired in unanswered requests. Where is their Moses? I know that some will say that we all must become the voice for those who have no voice or whose voice is raspy from too many requests.

We may learn to live in Marah. Without a Moses an alchemist will do. Bitterness, that tart taste in your mouth, turns into acceptance of what can't be changed --tinged with a regret for what can't be or what is lost.

But space is left for the thirst to turn sweet. For the words of scripture to replace the place of Marah.

" I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..."
Joel 2:25








Saturday, November 01, 2014

Yesterday

They hung out playing Risk,
eating nachos and drinking soda,
planning strategies, courting Lady Luck
One boy after another
eliminated by an Empire builder
Six dwindled down to four
and then to two, until
someone took over the world
They rehashed missed chances,
clever attacks foiled by a bad
roll of the dice, probabilities
not going their way

The next game each boy will try a new gambit,
collect territories,court destiny,
and snack on bags of Doritos and chips.







PAD Challenge Day 1
Prompt: Game Over














Friday, October 31, 2014

Challenges

In 1996 all the door- to -door Encyclopedia Britannica salesmen were laid off. Middle class parents no longer could pay weekly for a twenty-four volume set. My parents bought a set when I began the fifth grade and I recall thinking that I'd start with A and work my way through until I reached the index.

I didn't succeed, but I did develop a love for A to Z challenges as well as number challenges. November is the month of challenges. There's a 5o,ooo word Write a Novel challenge, write a poem a day challenge and photo prompts for each day of November.

Tomorrow is the first day of the PAD challenge and I'm joining.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Mayor for All

Perhaps the greatest compliment anyone can receive is that they cared about all people, were compassionate, and loved what they did. Mayor Menino cared deeply about all the people of Boston, his compassion was all encompassing, and he truly loved being mayor.

Rest in Peace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The White Elephant Departs

Eureka.

After a dozen phone calls and two package pick-ups that didn't happen, I began to believe that our large package might become a permanent fixture. While Macy's and UPS engaged in a tête-à-tête of misunderstandings, I started to conjure up ways to come to grips with the unwanted microwave hidden within its two boxes.

Perhaps I could turn it into a coffee table or a small table for dining.

My daydream was interrupted by the sound of a truck.Someone dropped a package from L.L. Bean at our front door.

A UPS man was retreating back to his truck-- at a fast clip.

" Wait.", I yelled.

" I'm supposed to pick up a package, but they didn't give me the exact address."

" It's right here," I said. And we showed him the behemoth. He grabbed it and ran off, but not before saying, " You got me just in time."

They only have three minutes a delivery. Someday I'll need to find out how that delivery time is tracked.

There's a lesson to learn here. Only buy something you can carry. Simplify. You don't need most of what you think you need. Disorganization is rampant. How does our government operate? And what do I do in less than three minutes?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

" Can I help you?"

We have a white elephant in the living room. A twenty- five pound microwave with a dented door waits patiently for UPS. She's been cooling her heels for three weeks.

Macy's, according to the manager of their service department, contacted UPS and arranged to have them pick up the item. One sticking point is a label that is to be brought by UPS. Without the label the box remains close to the front door.

UPS said that Macy's should provide the label while Macy's thought that the task of getting a label to us belonged to UPS. Twice a pick up time was selected and twice we remained the jilted lovers.

After waiting for several hours we call UPS and ask if we're scheduled. They ask us for a tracking number which we don't have and they can't answer the question.

Again we call Macy's and they are befuddled. But this evening we learned something new. Recently a new manager was assigned to oversee the department and set it on the right track.

Are we caught in a Catch-22? There's a moral here-- somewhere. Am I learning patience?