Saturday, January 30, 2010


Both parents had psychic abilities,
I’ve come to see it runs in my family
this ability now passed on to me
I’ve always seen what will come to be
I see people on the other side to say goodbye
In death I’ll meet family once more -
My sister came in a dream to me the night she slipped away
I saw her sixteen again. Farewell Georgette
Shaking her finger scolding me with scalding anger
Although religious she neglected Jewish mores
turned from temple’s door,
In death, she’s left behind her miseries, her disease
I hear her voice lingers on a sweet breeze
I wait to hear her eternally
once again we’ll meet - our destiny

Thursday, January 28, 2010

recent reading at La Pregunta

Thanks to Marilyn Thomas King for hosting La Pregunta and a kick ass show. Thanks to Dean Washington for videotaping. Thanks Fred Arcoleo, accompanying on guitar.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Life's Work

I don’t want to work another day
Hear people talk behind my back and say
I don’t work as hard as I ought to
I left early - got caught - lied and said I was in the library
after the children left
My work was done
Why should I stay
Bereft by 3 pm each day
driven to exasperation
complaints follow me
I came late I leave early
They tell me talk to Thomas who is 5, a year older than the others in his class. He picked up a chair and threw it somewhere. Luckily it hit no one. I could talk to him till I’m blue in the face.
Thomas needs to be in a special setting I'm betting they want some magic answer
They tell me call his mother get her in here
The mother comes in
cigarette dangling from her lips she says what can I do I have to go to work I have to make money. The espresso with milk she sips matching her own brown color, a drop drips down her chin
Downcast eyes
She patiently repeats I have to go to work, I have a family of 4 to support
she's got to hold down the fort, it's not for sport -
tomorrow she's got to go to court, she says- and that's another day lost
I have to pay my bills, what time can I go to my job
working working I talk about Thomas
She shakes her head - she doesn't know what to do
I pray I cry for me and others
I want to live free - I watch her sip her coffee, a cold winter day
My energy dissipates I anticipate our fate, acclimate to
another day, another school, a 15 year old girl is hearing voices, she’s afraid of someone in her head, a neighborhood Santera
A plethora of voices in her head make her scream
I hold her head to allay her pain told her to imagine a beam of white light, God supreme protecting her
no one else knew what to do
So they brought her to me, grateful they said Friday was their day for me
She held my hand and prayed
using strange erratic and loud routines
I told her she’d be ok, I'd keep the demons at bay
told her the saints she prayed to would help her
teachers and students were scared they were glad I was there
They called EMS tell me
I should take the girl no one knew was psychotic to the hospital
They called her parents
I got in the ambulance with her
They were afraid she’d go ballistic again is why they asked me to go with her.
At the hospital they say she was only calm with me cause I entered her world so perfectly
Helped her hold on for hope, played her band-aid, her nursemaid
There are times when there’s no place to go but inside someone's head
join them inside to guide them, I do it so easily it’s because I too am crazy
I long for the american dream - as we glide downstream in my capable hands
my sensibilities attacked by another breaker wave
It’s hard out here for a social worker

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Poetry of Pounds

My pounds circled me like a shadow of darkness
I wore them like a protective shield
They accompanied me everywhere I turned; I carried them
A labor of self- hate evolving from my prison
Longing to be free from weight and worry
Pounds surrounding and grounding me holding my spirit
Hostage within the layers of fat,
so t’was fate on November 5th
When Mongo insisted we’d enjoy Gay Poetry Night
& I met the love of my life

These pounds were faithfully gained, a labor of distaste which at the time was resentful
I didn’t do it for me – I did it for him but in the end it killed both of us
These pounds were gained over time; it took a decade for me to begin to emerge again
These pounds were made for sitting watching TV and eating,
They weren’t meant to see the world
They weren’t made to write poetry prophetically or prolifically
These pounds were made to enslave and hold captive
They did their job well

Suddenly I was hired for a new job
Recently retired, all the time in the world
The position offered no benefits or pay only love, sex, & inspiration
Would you take that job? I did

Someone saw beneath the layers of fat shielding my spirit
I saw myself in his vision, and began to shed pounds
A different me began to emerge from my shell
I stand before thee and thee and thee and thee
Judge me no more – and go the way of the pounds I discard

© Joy Leftow 2007

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dead Long Ago

All those people? Dead long ago. Most of `em anyway
They ate up all the lead, used so many drugs
Their bodies shot to shit, they’re all dead
Some’s left, see em once in a while
walking down the street,
Standing in the rain, trapped
Stuck on their methadone, loving it, not moving on

Heroin was good in the 60’s, plentiful and cheap,
My friends and acquaintances died from o.d.’s
Me? I never used it. Uhh ... O.K., I tried it once,
You know what they say about birds flock together
I flocked, beats me what for, but I did,
Truth is that flock was better n’ home
What? You want to know if I had a good home?

I thought that flock was better n’ home,
14 years old hanging with the addicts.
So sorry, at 14 it was alchies. Alcoholics.
Yeah, tried that too, didn’t like it none
Having babies for a black man, angry alcoholic
He became a junkie. I saw him not long ago

Asked him when I saw him,
“Why were you so mean?”
“Don’t know,” he said to me,
“Couldn’t hep myself, I guess.”
He tells me, “I’m HIV now, got a hernia so bad
my balls swoll up down to the floor.”
He was a god-damned strong man at 20.
I saw him press 250 pounds. Handsome too,

6 feet tall, 180 pounds, muscular, well built
He had lots of girls. Gave me gonorrhea 30 years ago.
30 years ago I told him about our baby
“Shoe box size,” he said when
I held my hands up to describe
“Coffee color with lots of cream,”
I said about the baby’s skin.
Dead 30 years ago.

In the middle of the night they came, 2 a.m. or so,
Said “Your baby’s gone, you can see him now you want.”
Gone, born 2 days and a half ago,
“You can see him now you want,”
the doctor’s hand resting on my shoulder

I birthed him glimpsing his coffee
colored skin with lots of cream,
They took him away,
never `lowed again another see
“His lungs were half formed,” they said,
“You can see him now you want.”

Begging for 2 days and a half, not allowed.
“You can see him now you want.”
“What for?” I said, “I wanted him alive.”
“Too bad. So sorry. You can see him now you want.
At least let us do an autopsy.
Save some other woman pain like you.”

So Sorry. Trapped in a time warp.
Childhood? What Childhood? Childhood what?
So sorry. Never, ever heard the word.
Can’t imagine what it means.

© 1993 Joy Leftow

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ramblings Of A Dead Poet Revived

I’m your dream that drama queen you wanna be because you’re too damn scared on your own
so you talk about me –
My life shot and framed at every angle, a show and tell story of gory glory
A fit of reality TV evening drama
Me, an item to be discussed while you pine away
dismay pitted against your boring display of ridicule and scorn
a fine young thing wasted by the sideline of fate
a doorstep away
from where I stand
another miserable life invites me in
inciting an indictment in flight with a slight itch on the right side
another spiteful blight, pitiful, truly a fight to recite in the red light district of my mind
be polite do a rewrite be an anchor of light at first sight, sit tight
stay upright, only a bit contrite that my
knight in shining armor is all in my head
I have a legal right so join me in breaking bread maybe
Tempt you to try a
glass of organic Oregon Chardonnay instead
my life can’t be that exciting that you spend your time wondering when I do what I do and how I do it why do you care about my theatre life on the big screen
my life's a Sartre amphithreatre
play and I am the spectre at the center of the fuss
I reminisce I exist
the bliss a swiss- chocolate kiss amiss to a soul kiss
the calypso discussion
I disinvite you to an airtight conclusion

Friday, January 08, 2010

Madonna Likes Kabbalah

Nowadays everyone wants to be a jew; pop stars madonna
it’s popular in comparison to Catholicism Christianity
The biggest thing is
There’s no hell
It gives me sensation stimulation
Lucky me ~ born jewish
no hell
an undying inspiration to my senses – gratification
escape the backlash of hell
death offers indefinable possibilities
we all think this way
why is it this way why why
is it this needle in a haystack
is it a fact Jack
is it sinful to think
we’re part of the same cycle of things here today gone tomorrow
Wouldn’t you rather believe born again
I sing the blues today for cold wars for inner peace overcoming conflicts and prejudices, represent repent longed for - a baleful cynical haze
The crypt of tomorrow laid waste in a haze another fast faze of a circulatory phase
Around the planets
I’m agnostic –
It’s impossible to know there’s a god,
Now I’m atheist
I have no beliefs regarding our demise
Or knowledge that god is or isn’t - if the same god is the god inside each of our soul’s travels
Planting itself like a blossom waiting to bloom
Like a candle in a dark room
I sit here waiting for you to come on home
God’s a self combustion-able, - mutin-able futile activity
Sometimes I I I I
Wonder if I and I I I I
Will be
I I I I wonder the curiousity
The point is when you’re a jew like me you don’t have to worry about hell or the hereafter likely you believe your soul will see your loved ones after
Ooops gots to keep my bases covered
Jews ~ we have no hell we practice kabbalah we try to be our best our very best
and most of all I try to enjoy the beauty of life, I try try try to enjoy
The beauty of life I I I I
Do Do
you you you

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I Am: Part ll

I am the sun, the moon and the stars
I am everybody - daughter of the gods
I am a rainbow of color
jutting through reality
butting heads with jupiter
I am a fantasy of delight
Energy and lightning
all rolled into one

I am your mother, the goddess of time
I am your father, the god of anger and regret
I am your little sister who wants to be Ellie Mcguire
Jewel and Aliyia all rolled into one
I am your brother who longs for daddy
who says he will grow up to be the doctor
daddy always yearned to be
but never had the heart and guts to become
I am all of them yet I am me, I am one

I am your grandmother who guards
the memory of her son when he was free
and dreams that someday soon she will
awaken from this nightmare to find him
beside her where he rested
his head thirty years ago
upon her breast

I am your father your mother
your sister and your brother
your grandpas and grandmas
I am all the people you’ve never met
and have dreamed about
In your dreams we have met
I am them, I am me and I am you
we are all one, one together
not separate from the other

I am this dream you deny
Your closest ally, a sweet goodbye
A quick reply an outcry
Grab the redeye to Shanghai

I chase a moonbeam metamorphosize into a morpheme
in your dream I gleam
like polished silver surfer
I am your most titillating fantasy
I am love
I am who you want me to be

© 2006, written for my Beacon Center Saturday poetry students - grades 2, 3, 5, and 6 - to inspire and teach them how to write a list poem.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


Myriad colors of flame shimmered
all around the walls of my room
This brought back memories of you

How we watched together
these reflections,
Rainbows of colors
Shimmering on my bedroom walls

Chanting praise to the zig-zagged rows
of shimmery sequins on my rainbow dress
Reflecting vibrant lights
in kaleidoscope colors

Shimmering reflections of cut crystal,
Prisms of sun's light reflecting through
my western window I move through the
shimmers, the glimmers of colors,

Reflecting on my pale white skin,
No, not translucently white,
You know there are many colors of white

Getting into here a diatribe of colors.
I'm white you know, but my skin has a pinkish glow.
Yeah, you can see my veins sometimes,
in some places, but not in all places all the time

But lets get back to the reflections of myriad colors
Dancing in kaleidoscope lights across my bedroom walls
Me walking through these colors butt naked
Rainbows of colors reflected across my naked pink

Glowing body in kaleidoscope lights
Red, purple, gold, orange too, even blue and green lights
I feel like a multi colored leopard
Padding around my rainbow spotted room

Think of all these colors in uneven splotches
Reflected in my big bedroom mirrors,
Crystallizing dancing lights
All over my pink glowing body
As I dance to the dancing lights

© 1994