Tuesday, April 30, 2013


on her last day
she sent a long email
a bubba misa
a life story
in her 42 years she wrote
she had never had so much trouble

a young daughter
an older man
hacked bank accounts
stolen credit cards
a rape
a beating

please don't throw us out
we have nowhere to go
no relatives to take us in
they don't want us
wrote the mother of the fallen princess
telling her tale of woe

the eviction stands we write back
it cannot be altered
it is out of our hands
had we known
things might have been different
we are sorry

she pleads and apologizes
shows remorse
almost garners sympathy
but we remember the bad checks
and the last bubba misa
we are sorry we say again

we collect the back rent
heave a sigh of relief
move on
find someone new
knowing that in six months
there would have been another bubba misa


Early morning
Overcast holiday weekend
One foot in front of the other
Along a familiar path
Ahead two large brown dogs
Pit bulls
No option to run
No place to seek cover
I crouch
Bracing to die
They run towards me
I am ready
I have no stick
Only my wits
And my own big dog at home
I wait
My eyes nearly closed
They leap and bound together
One jumps at me
I nearly fall over
But I notice wagging tails
Flapping tongues
Smiling dog lips
Play play play they say
Off I say
They obey
Back I say
They follow me
I notice an open gate
Come I say
They prance through into the yard beyond
I slam it shut
Hope it's where they live
And walk on

Monday, April 29, 2013


Let me help you with that he said
She hands him her broken sunglasses
He takes them with brown competent hands
Rolls them over
Eyes them seeking the problem

She watches wondering why she didn't fix them herself
I always fix them myself
I can fix them myself
I should fix them myself
I fix everything myself

Her hands ache to take back her glasses
Her competence and skills strain to prevail
But a tiny sense of prescience blocks her instinct
Instead she sits back in her chair
Sips her coffee and epiphanizes

In an instant he hands her sunglasses back
Intact and whole ready to wear again
She places them on her head
And finally knows in that moment
What help and care feel like

Sunday, April 28, 2013


mother gets letters written in yiddish
from her mother faraway in los angeles
a strange scrawl always on blue paper
hebrew script flows right to left
a gentle aleph bet calls out family gossip and stories

father talks with his father in yiddish
seated in overstuffed armchairs
cigar smoke clouds their beards
hoarse and throaty the blacksmith and his son growl
a gruff german tinged with Auschwitz and war

mother and father speak yiddish to each other
their only daughter does not understand
she strains to hear familiar words
to make sense of the hebreic german
slowly she pieces together the guttural sounds

kinder means children
nacht night
geh schlafen go to sleep her mother says
a machaya a pleasure her father says
hund they call the dog

the daughter picks up droplets of yiddishkeit
she strings them around her neck
morsels of songs and stories
she cobbles them into memories
and wears them everyday

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Early morning quiet walk
Up the street
Past the dry fountain begging to gurgle again
Counting cyprus trees leaning against a cobalt sky
Guardians of my path

A wild man suddenly blocks my stride
I need help he says
I cringe taught to expect the worst
I can't I say
You must he says

He beckons to a wooden gate
Each piece of cedar familiar to me
Now shuddering from heavy blows
I found him in the middle of the street the wild man says
I locked him in for his own safety

I have to go I say
The gate flies open
A slight very young black man stands very still before me
But his arms dangle willy-nilly at his sides
He shifts from foot to foot
His eyes circle round and round in their orbits

He must like women the wild man says
He struggled fearfully when I pulled him from traffic
I have to be someplace I say
The young man is quiet yet unaware
Heedless and unmindful

You must stay with him
He is calm now but he knows nothing of the world the wild man says
Sit I say to the young man
He sits on the stoop
What is your name but he is silent
Unknowing and oblivious

I call my husband
I call the police
I look for the wild man but he is gone
I count the seconds
The young man sits

A critically missing person the police said
Wondered away from his mother and his home
Sit I said and he sat
Together we waited
He in his world and I in mine

Then he is gone
Back to safety
I sit on the stoop
A temporary mother to a severely disabled son
A bewildered heroine unable to go anywhere

Friday, April 26, 2013


I shall dye my hair orange she said.
Your hair looks beautiful just as it is he said.
But I will look younger she said.
You are perfect as you are he said.

If we were married you'd drench me in diamonds she said.
More than diamonds he said.
You'd make me giveaway my costume jewelry she said.
I would cover you in emeralds he said.

Come sail away with me down the Danube he said.
I'll still wear jeans and tennis shoes she said.
We will glide past castles and forests on a small river boat he said.
I won't ever want to go home she said.

Are you coming today he said. I shall save half the croissant.
No not today she said. I am eating with the ladies.
Tomorrow then he said.
Yes she said. I'll be there tomorrow.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


a new rule...
placed to govern...
meant to alleviate a problem...
an edict issued....

no hardbacks allowed...
too heavy to hold while reading...
only paperbacks permitted...
a book club bibliophile writhes at the notion...

what constitutes too big...
dare to define it...
a hundred pages...
a thousand...
tome versus primer...

mandate a weight designation...
before the content settles...
after it settles...
magnum opus versus cereal box...

fat unwieldy treatises fall to fat unyielding bookworms...
now skinny great works...
easy to hold...
fast reads...
herald the future