Tuesday, October 30, 2012


With soft eyes,
she quizzed,  
shivered, said:

“Where’s Dad? 
Where’s Ric?
Will you leave me here alone?
Are you all going to leave?
Where’s Peter?
Do you feel all right?
We’re the only ones here.
We need to leave.

Who’s in the attic?
I hear them
Why are they there?
They are there. Why?
The storm’s too big,
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
We’ll all be hurt.
Where’s the cat?
Where’s the dog?

Is Peter outside?
Are you going to leave me?
I can’t see  well.
No! I don’t want to eat.
No! I won’t take a pill.
It’s here, isn’t it?
No! Don’t change the channel.
Where’s Dad?
Is Ric here? 

I can’t lie down.
Will you stay here?
There’s no air
They put those boards
on the windows.
We have no air.
There’s no air in this house.”
Finally she took a pill.
I tucked her in,
and kissed her forehead.

Safe in bed at last,
her face relaxed.
I said,” I love you.
We’ll be fine.”
I rubbed her leg,

shoulder, felt bones.
Tired eyes closing
she whispered to me.
“What did you say, Mom?”
“Thank you. I said thank you.”
And I left the room
lest she see my tears.
Mom was asleep
before the wind
picked up.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


When George Took Me to Greece

Jet-lagged and hung-over, we climbed the rough old road. 
A black boulder jutted onto the path and George said, 
“That's Socrates' Rock." 
I stopped when my lover spoke, startled out of tangled thoughts,
touched the stone, then leaned against it, 
looked up and to the east and gasped.
The Acropolis, just there, undid me.
The setting sun lit the hill
and golden temples floated
above the shadowed slope. 
My back against the ancient
teaching rock, I dissolved.



If you think by your death you have left me alone,  
to pine, to regret, to watch cable tv, you're wrong.

At bedtime I wear a new black lace gown,
and arrange myself to advantage
on sheets finer than any we shared.
I’ve left the back door open. 
I believe I thrum.  I hear 
his step and then we begin.

He attends to that place
below my ears, knows how 
to rub and nip. There is time for my breasts, 
time for him to stoke me, each inch
until my supple back arches, reaches, pleads,
demands his weight. We twist, turn, lift, 
sate, shout, pound pillows, laugh.

Then something, a noise? 
I wake, on my side of our quiet bed,
my short white hair mussed, our gray cat 
stretched along my pale, restless thigh.

The Dice are Not To Blame

Ted swam far from shore with a bar of lead. 
He loved it, you see, until he drowned dead.
Mick had a trick of giving his money
to heartless bosoms that called him honey.
Sharon kept caring for drinkers and dopers
gamblers and cheaters and whiners and mopers.
Benny saw double and never could tell
which one had substance and which was a shell.
Mick, Benny, Sharon, and poor dead Ted
had luck that sucked they frequently said.
I didn’t agree and suggested instead

 that they didn't have to sink 
     they could listen to me,
and let go of their lead 
     when they swam in the sea.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Story from When They Lived on Staten Island: Nonnie and the Garage Monster

Nonnie followed her brother Peter all the way to a house she'd never been to before. Not next door. Far away. Peter said she could come with him. Peter was bigger. All the kids were going. Nonnie walked very fast to keep up, but they got way ahead. Mommy stayed at home. Did Mommy know that Nonnie was going all this way?

All the little kids stopped in front of an old red house with a big porch. Nonnie's much bigger brother, Bobby, was there with his friends. Bobby was in the fourth grade. Peter and Nonnie didn't even go to school yet.

Bobby shouted,"Come on! It's around back of the house. In the garage. Come on!"

Peter turned around and looked for Nonnie. She smiled at him. He looked around at his friends, too. Peter looked worried. Bobby was laughing.

All the kids went with Bobby and the other big boys to the back of the house. There was a garage back there and the door was open. Nonnie's house didn't have a garage. She couldn't see what was in there but she knew it was bad because Peter and his friends yelled and took off running fast.

They were gone! But Bobby was still there. Nonnie looked.

In the big dark of the garage there was a monster in the way back. A monster with only a red and green and yellow head. Just the head and black all around it.  Nonnie screamed and ran to Bobby. He picked her up right away and carried her to the safe front of the monster's house. Then he carried Nonnie all the way home. She cried and cried.

Mommy was mad. Peter had told all about everything.

Bobby got yelled at a lot.  Nonnie didn't want Mommy to stand there yelling at Bobby. She wanted her to hurry up and kill the monster up the street.

"It was only a mask, Mom." Bobby said. "Tommy said his Dad said it came from Africa and was important but his Mom said she didn't want it in the house because it looked too mean so Tommy said his Dad put it up in the garage and we put Billy's flashlight under it and the little kids got scared but it was a joke."

Mommy gave Bobby another piece of her mind, then Bobby got sent to his room. Peter and Nonnie got to make cookies with Mommy. Bobby didn't get any till Mommy cooled off.