Saturday, March 15, 2014

I Need My Words

Need to see words hand written,
Need words typed in neat clean letters
Words born disappear like a sunrise mist
Gone by midmorning
Daily a fight ensues to restore my words to memory
Words stain my brain like berries stain my fingertips
Faces and names get easier than specific word recall
Lose track of adjectives, verbs, and adverbs
Nouns and verbs stream by my consciousness steamed by battle
Articles circumvent examination, addled
Words flee from my lips
Escaping interjections and prepositions
Frustration when words get away,
Write words down, use pen and microsoft

Pray to revive lost words,
absorption in proper punctuation, grammar,
Avariciously use pen, paper, and computer
Develop vocabulary, learn pronunciation
Ravenously, like a wolf, write words, devour words,
Believe words, hoard words are me,
Words deliver, create lust; rousts self-criticism, spreads similar views,
Words are abused and used
Words create desires; produce peace and love,
Words are seeds; words flower they flourish,
Grow out of control

Write words carefully, choose words 
Ardently respect word power
Words race around my mind
surround me like vagabonds searching warmth and nourishment
Contemplate obscure, little known meanings
Scrutinize each word’s effect
Each word opens spaces, new places
Each word provides sensitivity to pain and pleasure,
Stretches mental capacity
Words read and said exist, disappear like wind at sunset
Words written, never read, disintegrate like carapace

Write words, fear I’ll lose them if I don’t write and say them
Read written words aloud, hear their sounds
Word clouds form above my head like Lil’ Abner
Greedily read words, lap words up from books and cyberspace
Over passing seasons

Words capture a moment in eternity

Monday, March 10, 2014

Missouri Review mentioned me as a great woman writer to read!

Writers are especially sensitive creatures even if we do wear tough armour to protect ourselves. I'm no different than most of us writers in that way. My ego also comes into play on occasion, so recently when I checked to see where I'd been mentioned lately on Google, I was not only flabbergasted, but honored, to be listed in the article below by Alison Balaskovits. Something like this makes all my effort seem worth it. Thank you to the Missouri Review, and to Ms. Balaskovits, for noticing and mentioning me. 

Friday, March 07, 2014

I've Got The Blues For Paper

I’ve got the blues about paper today. I walk around my house examining notes, short stories, papers from high school written in long hand, looking through papers to throw away, thinking about days long gone when we learned to write script.

My mind jumps ahead: future generations where no one will know how to write script. Writing by hand will disappear except for a few who carry on. Handwriting will become a fine transcribed art that no one teaches and that no one knows how to do anymore.

Later, my cabdriver explains how now-a-days, children do their assignments online on the computer so they don’t write anything down at all anymore not like we did back in the day. He said they barely learn print, they type everything on the computer.

Columbia forced me to buy a typewriter in 1978. They said hand written assignments get get lower grades. Hasn’t anyone explained this to you before? I mean I ‘m sorry to break it down to you like this and feel bad no one told you before that at Columbia. Miz. Leftow, you already lost one grade this term by handing in hand-written homework. You would have gotten a B+ but because it was hand written you only are due a C+. Sorry…

When I explained how poor I was, she said, “You’re smart, you’re here at Columbia so you’ll figure out a way to survive.”

Back then all I had was two pairs of jeans a skirt a few blouses and one sweater from the $10 store. I had no money to spend but needed that typewriter. Back then I couldn’t conceive a typewriter had a memory so you wouldn’t have to typewrite the whole page if you made a mistake.

My cabbie ‘s conversation brings me back. He’s telling me how hard it is to get by with four children, two are teenagers. The only way they get by is because his wife lies and says he doesn’t live there so she can get food stamps Medicaid and section 8, he said as he drove his Lincoln Town Car working paying for High Class radio service trying to make a buck. It ain’t easy out here and that rent we pay would cost us 2100 instead of the 900 we pay and in this way we get by he confided.

Four children and us and two cats. I show the vet our Medicaid card he continued and then we don’t pay. Medicaid for cats is good he said. We’re doing the best we can to get by and she works on the side too. My wife’s a certified home health nursing aide and she gets work a few days a week at a hospital up in the Bronx. After they take out the taxes it’s about 50 bucks for a 12-hour day then she got to make sure it don’t get in the way of watching out for our children so thank God she doesn’t work everyday.

It gives her time off to cook and clean house and watch over our teens and younger children. We pay for catholic school – and they have to go to college. There’s no jobs out there you know. We try to get by – but it’s hard to qualify. That’s why she wants to work too. She works off the books. There’s just too many bills to pay. You know growing children need clothes and shoes - those are expensive.

It’s a different world out there. My cabby alerts me that the ride and story have come to an end.
They don’t do things the way they used to. My cabbie is a young man. He’s only 42. His radio comes alive. A voice asks his location in Spanish.

It’s a lot to chew on. I think about all the finagling I did to get by twenty-two years working professionally to help our young – a noble job made harder by the huge bureaucracy I functioned in.

I enter my apartment and look around me again at all the paper I’d been trying to separate earlier into throw away and keep. Notes and each piece of paper seems to have so much meaning I don’t know how to throw them out.

In Washington Heights where I live most of the people survive on a lie because otherwise they’d be too poor to unable to survive, pay their rent, and take care of their children’s needs plus pay medical expenses. In order to qualify for government programs, my cabbie’s wife promises government agencies to sue him for child support if he can be found. He lives with her and pays for the children to attend Catholic School. They lie to get by or go live on the street. Life has become a double whammy, like Yossarian in Catch 22, where no matter what you do, you fight a losing battle.

Uh uh, I worked hard for that money, and can’t get me no, no, no, no – satisfaction!

This story was re-edited & rewritten because the original format was half poetry, half narrative. I tried to make it all fit as one piece. If anyone has read the other piece or cares to search for it, I'd appreciate any comments as to which piece you prefer.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

For Nina Simone

I wish I could say I knew how it feels to be free
I wish I could fly till tired – and like a bird, settle in a tree
I wish I could say my tits are so big because I breastfed too long
Two and a half years pulling stretches tits out
Maybe so big from eating chickens force-fed hormones,
I think my problem is memory rot, because I have trouble focusing

I need a friend to stick with me through thick and thin
Literally, physically, emotionally, mentally, lean and leaner
both metaphorically and literally,
A special friend who will give me what I need
Who will be there when need
When I do deeds that make me feel alone
Who will be there for me as we agreed?
Someone to stand beside me when I succeed
Someone to be near when I fail but tried
Stand there with me while I wish they’d chosen me
But realize when it was time to pick
They didn’t pick me

I stood there under their watchful gaze, hoping,
yet knowing they won’t choose me
I’m not who you think I am,
The one you see with bright smiling gaze, nothing fazes her,
Turns her back fearlessly on hazing, moving in stride
I go it alone day after day
Like I’m in another time zone in the artic zone
I want a friend to see me through thick and thin

So please look the other way
Don’t say what you think you see because you can’t see me
Turning stones with my last breath I cry out friend!
There you are
Stand there beside me
I want a friend to see me through thick and thin
To understand my moans, use me
to help me chase away the blues that plague me –
Chase those blues away with surety like night fades to day –

I want a friend to see me through thick and thin
A friend who can give and take
Take generosity turns
I need a friend to be there when I let go, 
when I can’t hit high notes that sing songs to my heart
Need to play to know better days ahead
When your lips speak lies, I'll hold my head high
I need a friend to heal my blues – chase them away
Help me see sunny days, forget mud slinging out of tune
Songs that have no rhythm or rhyme to my heart of gold
Take this heart of gold and make it mine
I want a friend to see me through thick and thin

Make a shrine to this golden heart of mine

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Poetry, Porno and Chess

Do all while listening to Bach, Maclemore and Jill Scott
Who could ask for anything more than poetic thought and porno
Oooo baby that’s so hot
A challenging chess game
accompanying a good soundtrack
No skin to skin, no one’s emotions to think about
A fantasy in place of human energy
Oooo ahhh uh - huh, that’s the way, uh - huh, I like it
Ponder my next move while analyzing
where my online opponent’s queen goes
Before calling checkmate
Not sure if it’s fate that each day awaits
I take the bait and make the same old moves

Listen to music asleep and awake,
Headphones like body parts,
rids me of my soul aches
Play chess hours on end till finally forget how many
games I’ve played, maybe a hundred and twenty
Listen to hip-hop, rock and roll, soul
Day after day sit on my ass –
Write a few lines of poetry, scroll through porno videos,
Play chess till it comes out my ass
I’m a bit morass, but dig it, I’ve got class

Twenty - four - seven, play this round till I fall out or die
Whichever comes first,
before my next prescribed pill high
It’s my life and I’ll live how I want to
Live how I want to
Do what I want to do
Write poetry, watch wacked out shockingly violent porno
Listen to the Stones and Les Misérables
Contemplate my next strategic move
Poetry, chess and Porno
Life is so – so good!