Monday, April 28, 2008

elegy letter poem

Dear Peter

Day One
Where was I when you died?
Where was I when you died?
Where was I when you died?
I tape the worn folder instead.
Better to fix—save the old.
I have no pictures of you/us.
The theme today is firsts.
Seems today, it’s always about firsts.
Whatever happened to the lasts?
What was you last?

Day three
Days later and I’m re-obsessed.
Thousands of miles and three years ago,
only now does Chicago hear.
April 18, 2005, three days before Lenny’s birthday.
Does that matter? Make a difference?
Freezing here and smoldering there, regardless.
Who held your hand?
Who wiped your brow and talked nonsense,
to keep/get your mind awake—active—alive?
I read about Las Mariposas instead.

Suffering of others is so much easier.
The unseen—the preferred.
Rush hour traffic builds on Sheridan.
Buses and sirens a welcome diversion.
Lenny’s getting married, it’s why we searched.
He’s lost two father figures in two years.
Lizzie’s left last year.
The unseen is handsome caramel in a cream suit.
The wedding is peaches and cream.
A confection lacking.

Why a death to spark longing?
I must call Jason to understand.
Said he was upset, couldn’t find my number.
Lenny doesn’t believe him, Kim warned him.
He left an apology on my voicemail.
“Please don’t yell at me.”
Three days ago—three years ago.
What is there to say?
The cats are sleeping and the news is on.

Day Fourteen
Unannounced, flaming through the saganaki.
Admission of guilt not anger.
Yet still, I’ve not called Jason.
You think he knows? Of course,
he’s guilty too. We chose life
and forgot, looked away, denied death.
The voices that scream back, hands that reach,
tears that flow without meaning.
Still, I was denied, my selfishness.
No grieving as I grieved a week for Skipper.

How ironic, I fight for prison reform now.
Dismissed your experience, and carried Lenny’s
only to bury the hatchet years later. Blame.
It’s always blame, a respite from the guilt.
Strength, as a noun or a verb, is there a difference?
Strong going in, strong coming out,
regardless of the in between. Is that logical?
Weak coming in, weak going out,
regardless of the in between. This is life?
The cats are sleeping and butterflies are call.

Dates: birth date, wedding date, graduation date,
dates hold such significance yet unnoticed.
The date Chicago heard, was the death date.
January 18, 2008—April 18, 2005.
Just noticed this moment, this day, this hour late,
33 months, 1000 days, how many hours late?
How many significant moments unnoticed?
How many noticed insignificant without a moment?
Count the stars, count the way, number the hairs
and still not have a clue, even when the cats are awake.

Day Eighteen
Today I apply for utility assistance and ask for food.
Things just didn’t turn out the way we planned, did they?
Me retired to the mountains.
You riding your Harley in the mountains.
Kids happy, secure and responsible,
and life grand in the joyous golden years.
I can no longer make a decision and go with it.
I feel you did though, and I think it was an easy one.
Was it? Easy to just say enough? Done? Goodbye?

inspired poetry-jan 2008

inspired by the day

Alaska Heat

August 12, 2007, not the hottest day
But damn close
Pools of sweat gather in areas
Doused with powder. Create
Little balls of goo, clung to pasty skin
Beneath air conditioner ran 10th day straight.
Cats search for warmth, cuddle close
One beside, one above, are pushed away
Grandkids gone after 14-day stretch
Non movement and T.V.=drugs of choice

“Into Alaska” highlights polar bears
Arctic foxes vying for fatty seal.
Transported, dove into white drifts
Meditated on snowcapped mountains
Fished in crystal blue cool water
Transported, relieved of oppressive heat
Transported, desire rose
Alas, cost of living is double and triple
into Alaska.
August 12, 2007, not the hottest day.

No need to verify plane fares--today I have arrived--without leaving.

Poem of the World-May 2007

At Manifest, our student organization, Poetry in the Round, set up a table complete with fortune cookies that held poetry lines. Eat and breathe poetry! Our member, John, decided to have a world poem, where every visitor added a line to create a flow and exchange of poetics. Below, is the wonderful wordsmith John, who came up with the great idea. Hope to have more pics soon.

sunday in the suburbs-August 2006

And I find myself by the water-drawn as always-
Lake Michigan, but not outside my door,
for it is there also, just steps away.
miles north in Wilmette where
peace, quiet, and solitude is the norm-not
chaotic and raucous multitudes as Rogers Park.
Not cultured or diversified either.

Roar of rolling white caps is the predominate sound.
Occasional giggles of children and
the rustle of leaves throughout the abundance of trees.
No mutherfuckers,
no burning scent of weed or
nauseating sour beer;
no Latin drums or African beats or American bumps.
Only multi-colored sails tipping the horizon
and calm serenity.
Even the gulls are screechless.
Mountainous clouds outline the distance
like snowcapped Andes.
Even the parking lot behind is silent.

Wilmette permit required,
I imagine.
I walked in-snuck in
because there was an attendant-
guard was my first word choice-
at the drive gate.
Gate yet-at a park.
Gilson Park.
So I detoured,
nonchalant and discrete,
then cut through the grass with others-
joining in where I didn’t belong yet wanted to be-
so I came. I’ll leave through the gate though
and find answers to all my questions.

found poetry-August 2006

this exercise was interesting, but the real fun came in putting it all together.

Signs of the Times

Distinctive lakefront
As opposed to indistinct
No outlet

The axe soon forgets but
The tree always remembers
And I cannot prevent
It is possible
To die without ever having lived

Read the words

Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
Drunk gets nine months in violin case
Survivor of siamese twins joins parents
Iraqi head seeks arms
Stud tires out
Prostitutes appeal to Pope
Never withhold herpes infection from loved one
Juvenile court to try shooting defendant
Critics say county mental health near collapse
Severed Hand Saved By Peas
Testicles On Sale


writing 7-29-06

write, write and write. this is what a writer's supposed to do. but what to write about? how to get the inspiration? how to gag the internal critic that's constantly babbling, and in my case, blanking all thoughts? here's a suggestion for poetry--found poetry. ha! just write the things that you see in your everyday life, or take lines from somewhere and add you own. i thought this was a fun idea. here's my start:

distinctive lakefront
no outlet
the ax soon forgets
but the tree always remembers

there's more to come but i thought this was a good start. these are just lines that i saw somewhere that jump out at me. the last two a saying posted on Leona's pizza sign down the street.

i'm open for suggestions.

focus for freelancers

with a little of the old hocus, pocus you can focus and poof, those ties are broken. read my article on this-Hocus, Pocus, Focus.

june 1, 2006

posting from

A joke, a worry, a blooming flower
Chirping birds beyond the door
Alone below the ivory tower
Anticipating the so much more.


Is a disease
Osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis,
Tuberculosis, neurosis
Osis, denotes a disease

DI Agnosis

Be cool-don’t worry
My lord
Tissue fibrosis
No, not yet
Possibly just
Fibers of tissues
Gathered together
A party in my breast
Be no
spreken zie deutsch
Be no
German, English, Swahili
Be no malignancy
Yet whatever
There’s still

Di Agnosis.


in getting ready to lead the writing workshop for the Neighborhood Writing Alliance i find myself writing. i'm in the midst of editing a poetry mansucript titled "The Ravings of a Saggitarian Woman-Child" and i've been rewriting quite a few of my old pieces. this morning was "Blinded by the Light."

Blinded by the Light 8-2003

The curtain drawn
Over your eyes
No desire to learn
What's wrong in your own
Fear of the unknown
Hide yourself, your heart
In blatant ignorance
We've known each other thirty years
And it's not suburbia
Yet still so typical.

A sons' best friend - dying
Liver damage by heroin
My sons' friends can't be trusted
Because they're black

Your son kicked h
Replaced with c
But mine is dangerous
Because of prison

They propositioned me
Whose known them since birth
But my sons' disrespectful
In answering their 3 a.m. party invite

Those who back away from
The disease that devours our society
Transparent denial of their own
In perceived disease of others
This is what I write about
This is what I march against
This is the world.

published 5-31-seniors speak out

i conduct creative writing workshops with seniors, some with beginning stages of Alzheimer's, some with physical ailments and some justing aging. yesterday we talked about Memorial Day, what they knew about it, remembered about it and thought about it. we read some Memorial Day poetry and then we wrote. the exercise was for each to give a word they thought of when they heard "Memorial Day." the words they gave were: America, war, military, soldiers, and sadness. i mixed them all up and then asked each to pick one and give a sentence using that word. the following is the wonderful result:

"Ode to Memorial Day: America the Beautiful!"

We honor those truthful and dutiful
Memorial Day
We remember the day the war ended
And all of those who defended
Keep our military safe and sound
Our soldiers and our flags all around
The soldiers are dressed in uniform
To show respect and honor in proper decorum
Memorial Day is a remembering holiday
Celebrated on the 30th of May
We visit cemeteries in sadness
And pray for the end of the madness.