Joy Leftow says her style is “in your face reality” and much of her hard hitting descriptions of the callous urban environment she grew up in -- the addicts, pimps, hookers and hustlers of the inner city -- are exactly that: in your face. TUPELO HONEY is really hardcore. It is a story-poem about a methadone baby: I love him, she said I want him to be mine Even though he’s HIV and surely won’t survive I want him to be mine Love is pain. How tough can you get? KEY TO YOUR HEART is sweet and sentimental ... but not too sweet; it has the faith of the loser in her hardlucky love. It shortstops on the brink of sentimentality but it does reach the heart. This poet know just where to touch you -- and how to touch you -- when she wants to.

-- willard gellis


Insights of Joy Thanks to Wings, online issue July, 2005 for first publishing MENOPAUSE

Spot of Bleach
& Other Poems & Prose

By Joy Leftow

Long after the bouquet of sweet lilac and roses are no longer there for me to know When I no longer exist to have a sense of smell is it the only answer. foremost among these. my mother from whom I inherited the love of literature and learning. that someone else will I thank everyone who ever encouraged me to write. Willard Gellis. and the many poets who have encouraged and inspired me along the way. I have sworn them anonymity but they know who they are. Thanks to Camila for her photo. . I thank my friends who read my work and see themselves there. especially Georgette who taught me reading and writing at age 4. my husband and my son for their faith in my talent. and they’re close to my heart. Thanks to William Jones for helping me lay out text.

20 NEIGHBORS Burnt Sienna Maybe I’ll Just Suicide Out Marriage of Sorts The Furrier and Me In The Shadows Of My Mind My Brother. or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. hired out. 6 p. 10 p. 48 p. 30 p. 16 p. 50 Book design & photos by Joy Leftow . 15 p. 42 copyright © Spot of Bleach and Other Poems and Prose 2005 All rights reserved Except in the United States of America. Feeling Old & Cranky Dead Long Ago Count Your Blessings Sequel to Suicide Childhood Gaze p. 36 p. 38 p. 40 p. 12 p. 47 p. 26 p. 32 p. 7 p. 46 p. POETRY FORMS His Wooden Shack Villanelle Family History Deja Vu Set of 5 Sonnets p. 18 p. this book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise. 2 p. Stinky in Caracas Heaven’s Tree Spot Of Bleach Dad & Me Tupelo Honey p. 8 p. re-sold. 25 p. A Diaspora Publication INSIGHTS Advancing On Satori Mexican Delight Love and Life Interspersed Who’s In Charge Here Anyway Sisterly Love Cool & Sweet.Contents 2005 by Big Foot Press. 28 p. 35 p. be lent.

. 60 p. 59 p. 66 p. 80 A SHORT LOVE STORY Esmerelda’s Gift p. 62 p.. 79 p. 54 p. p. 56 PHILOSOPHY Starlight’s Love That Work That Is So Fine Menopause Yom Kipper Glimmers of Rain Tree Sonnets Daily Rituals For Meditation Being Jewish p.Tea Pantoum I Am . 83 p. 78 p.. 69 p. 71 INSIGHTS ROMANCE Young Old Lady Floodlight Reflection Thinking Of You Key To Your Heart Caverns Dancing Lights Take This Guatemalan Sash . 53 p. 73 p. Twisted p.. 74 p. 75 p. 76 p. 93 MY FIRST LOVE . 70 p. 68 p.

slow. read your sixties words your suffuse charm emanating from your Hobo soul I wanted to possess your poetry your style the 60’s and the 70’s poetry of hope An air of romance a taste of escape A breath of fresh air from a smog filled street the smoke and stink rising slowly like gases from the filthy pavement I was a prisoner of war 2 3 . I’ll say it. I wanted to Be On The Road. I should’a been there But somehow I never went anywhere I cud tell you sometime.ADVANCING ON SATORI Been waiting all night to hear your poetry. I met you. you answered probably just born in tha sixties No. ya said why you never went anywhere You. that scene You were on the bus or off it I should’ve been there with ya’ all back then You were hardly born then. my sanctity my sanity I was a prisoner of fear. I said You’re that beat generation spewin that heat and light Pure energy. with your omnipotent self How would you know anyway? I wondered. I said. it was abuse. scared to go Robbed me of my faith. Did ya really know why I never left home? It was a prison built of fear loneliness emptiness and despair I never had a life A child’s needs unmet never given what I longed for I couldn’t have what wasn’t there Fuck it. And one day I almost took The Electric Kool Aid Acid Test But on that day. a prisoner of war. my glow My inner harmony. my soul. I was absent from life. I could’a been there I was born in ‘50 I shoulda’ been there But somehow I never went anywhere I admit it tho. neglect comes in so many forms eats away your self esteem Made me weak.

ya’ said No thanks.. tallywhacker. But it’s cool. Baby you’ve got heart. I understand it. your lust as you gorged on my scent teasing my libido A test in trust Your tongue flicked against your upper lip What’re ya’ havin’ babe. jibe a stone’s throw away the sun low fives the trees God damn! Your words excite me Sex talk. your eyes implored lust and soul Give me sixties or give me death symbols of peace. like poontang. Your blatantly primitive lust your licentious eyes devouring me Staring at my sagging breasts cruising over my body smoothly. Wow man. search for more no more prisoners of war 4 5 . Go with the flow no looking back no sorrows or regrets resolute to recreate a life renewed reincarnate more chances to fulfil the goal Don’t hesitate Go on! Get on the road Don’t worry if the bus is full Symmetry of faith advancing on satori will get you there explore. Words like book. I never heard it. as though it were highway 59 Resting on my nipples tingling like a jellied door buzzer my fallen butt and orange peel thighs Only served to fuel your lust my allure waved strong snagged by your naked desire.Your words bring back the time . refused the drink Been waitin all night to hear your poem a moment abundant with heat stifling humidity complaints about intensity panties clinging damply Unbearable.. prolonged I want to hear the poem my date languishing in time Your glass passed to my hand Contact. crib.

MEXICAN DELIGHT Simmering sun Suspended at the world’s edge smooth as gilded iridescent silk On la montanas de Isla Mujeres Staring at Mexico’s sun set behind her Like a man behind a woman he sits behind her mainland The sea glistening with day’s last rays flamboyant neon colors slowly sinking from view An immense fluorescent ball Radiant orange. Beseeched by his eyes Absorbing the sun’s ripening glow before mellowing occurs And all is gone LOVE AND LIFE INTERSPERSED A bird flew across the slate gray sky fluttered gently by my sight then suddenly soared into a dive behind lush green velvet vines You’re allowed to say you love me if you do And you don’t have to say it if you do but you can’t say it if you don’t mean it Love and life interspersed The sky is turning a brighter blue Another woman’s watching you Don’t send her any mental messages To further her designs By now it should be obvious who it is you’re really with Awake. scintillating fuchsia like my tunic of cross woven silk We savor the hues with delight feast upon this sight tonight It will never be this again. a silver glowing crescent they appear a fantasy drawn from fountain pen ink Look quickly to the horizon Now... not exactly like this moment in time with each other even if we were together again watching another luminous setting sun . see that same bird hovering 6 7 . waiting on your call a stagnant threat presides Pregnant behind these thoughts maybe it’s just too late no one person can do it all Today I didn’t see the sunrise The sky turned fluorescent blue the moon.

his goals. The cat will starve. Dad pleads. be nagged constantly? Why is Dad still sucked in to her way to be in control? Who’s in charge here anyway!! 8 9 . full of fear that her threats will turn real Dad gets his little boy dressed and off they go to the supermarket to buy dry and wet cat food and the litter that Mommy’s going on about Daddy’s afraid of his Mom’s ill-will He thinks she’s very powerful Thus he ignores his rage to kill Instead he is her doormat her favorite object to abuse Meanwhile Dad takes care of her cat and whatever else she goes on about Call me about something else besides the cat.WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE ANYWAY ? She calls Dad up at ten that night to complain her cat’s not getting fed furthermore. clean the box even though the cat’s at Mom’s house Exasperated. he’s back to Dad’s house But son’s supposed to feed the cat whether he’s there or not and change it’s litter. Talk about our son’s health. Did you know he has a fantasy: to get a gun and shoot you? Who needs to hear this shit. his daily life. Wednesday. his future. Mom yells at Dad he hasn’t eaten. Mom dictates. the litter’s dirty. it will be on our son’s head if the cat gets sick and dies. why he ran away from home that time. Mom has him Sunday eve through Tuesday. and our son should’ve cleaned it before he went running off again to your house! Dad fears she will carry out her threat to ignore the needs of their son’s pet Mom promised their son he could keep the cat from the street and then Mom used it as one more weapon to beat Dad down Dad keeps the boy five days a week.

. she made sure .that you went to Bronx Science even though you didn’t pass the test I was Daddy’s favorite.. but I do Still I forgive you and would rather have a sister than not have one at all Mommy always said you were the smartest Harriet was the prettiest plus she was the actress Mommy told me I had a good heart and that although I was somewhat smart. because we are Jewish. and I assure you it wasn’t for spite 10 11 . the kind of man who fought even when there was no reason anyone could see it was the way he communicated. I told you to call him years ago she says the rift was already too deep Truly I believe she never called Dad because he was a difficult man. I committed a sin against my dead grandfather by changing my name from Joyce to Joy. . dear sister. to keep away from him when he came home you were both very angry because you knew he’d spent the rent money.. now he’ll never rest in peace She said she’s liberal and tolerant but there’s none of that for me She can’t forgive me for not going to synagogue on Sundays and learning to be a good Jew It doesn’t matter that this was over 40 years ago when I was only 6 years old She thinks it’s disgusting I was a pregnant teenager and when I say. and although she’s very proud of me the sound of my voice is an irritant in her life Plus there are litany of reasons she dislikes me. you pulled me behind a closed door later and slapped my face I bet you don’t recall that. and I am named after him (he is Joseph) . I would never amount to much It must’ve been quite a surprise and another reason to hold a grudge that I became more successful than all the rest of you. then when I heard his key in the lock and he opened the door I ran to him and kissed him.through her few influential friends .. I remember the times he didn’t come home because he stayed out all night gambling You and mommy ordered me not to talk to him. where did you learn your tolerance I guess observing religious beliefs is difficult otherwise you’d try harder to forgive me for my sins You’d remember I never had time to be a child Doesn’t it matter that I barely had clothes and my shoes had holes and I was ashamed to go anyplace looking like an unkempt waif Even now you criticize me for being fat at 7 years old and say I blamed everyone except myself I remember you were mommy’s favorite you shared her bed. but don’t you work with young girls she says she can’t endure that from them either and tells me the main issue is that when Dad died she never said goodbye to him She condemns me for the rift between them When I protest. talked I guess it was the way he learned to be Add to that .the fact that he was never happy and lived a life of misery Oh my fair sister.SISTERLY LOVE She told me any contact with me caused her great pain all the past events of my history caused her great distress In spite of the fact that we only spoke by phone twice a year that was way too much.

I ordered.. yelled.COOL AND SWEET. sweet night in Caracas the night Stinky joined our lives Dusk slowly enveloping daylight . greeting me regally His huge brown paws struck my shoulders while he gazed into my eyes with big brown mournful eyes we stood shoulder to shoulder and he made my acquaintance devouring me with his eyes reddish brown fur.No. I moved my leg to step ahead Stinky pounced.. no matter where we go A different elegance from Stinky who greeted me on that street at the end of the alley He was preoccupied with rummaging through huge. STINKY IN CARACAS It was a cool. God . his demeanor remains in all public squares of Venezuela everywhere. My lover stood staring into the wide display plate glass window of the haberdashery at the end of the alley leading to the square Where Bolivar still stands . “Stay Put!” Instantly Stinky slunk back gracefully sinking back on his haunches Once again.That smell 12 13 .. shades of gray remain. That time of day when everything looks ethereal colors disappear. . . long and wavy added to his beastly allure Such staying power in beauty was in contrast to his smell Shocked.. so surreal. bestowing grace on the space around him proudly seated on his high stepping horse Aristocratic and arrogant... landing on my Offending Foot His two front paws stood on my one foot momentarily pinning me down daring me to take one step forward with that One Offending Foot My foot pinned beneath his paws forced me to laugh at the absurdity of this sight and his cleverness in stopping me He was royally just a puppy despite his size and doggy smell which truly was unbearable! “No! Stop!” I protested only because I didn’t want to smell like him He removed his paws from my toes stood up as tall as my five feet four jumped up high and once again put his paws on my shoulders Finally conquering my resistance to smell Overwhelmed by his charm and allure I smoothed his Stinky fur only to hear my loved one’s dismay My sweetheart.. Cye. black trash bags to put together his evening respite When I said “Hi!” he bounded over in two grand leaps.. “Oh No! You haven’t touched him (thus denying reality as he’s prone to) “Oh .

simple in design Long green leaves trimmed with red striving to reach the stars Her spindly limbs conceal her strength She copes with absurd unnurturing environments Growing on a tarred roof in God-forsaken lots full of abandoned cars a weed bursting through cracks in city sidewalks. wet my hands at his fountain which.. really didn’t help that doggy smell at all Ever since that day long ago My wonderful dear husband Has never stopped discussing The most magnificent & clever dog we’d ever met and jousted with that day not too long ago in that alley in Caracas He’ll always say it was I who refused to let him take the best thing in Caracas home in his luggage My sweetheart has driven off reality Of that cool sweet night in Caracas where Stinky joined our lives The Ailanthus tree grows tall and willowy Sturdy in its stance. dragged me to the nearby plaza where I bowed to Bolivar’s authority With his blessing.HEAVEN’S TREE Now. much more This tree is a symbol of our life from her we learn to grow to spread our limbs to conquer our fears We mold our soul to her image bask in her delight together we flourish to prevail against all odds 14 15 ... I’ll have to hold your wrist instead Cye grabbed my wrist gingerly between his thumb and forefinger. gratings she thrives against all odds If you sever her limbs and roots she will only break on through again and again through a weak spot in pavement . any God-forsaken spot The Chinese dubbed her “The Tree of Heaven” since her leaves provide the silkworm’s only food but she is more.. . I must confess.

“You have so much more than I could ever hope for or dream of . to be exact. while my husband coughed bitterly in the room next to mine when she refused to go home Sharon.” “It doesn’t make sense.. Miles of old lives travel within our thin. I’m jealous of you in that dress!” “Why?” I said. you look prettier than I.Y. “Somehow. whose pursuits I told her to reject Sharon. or could even dream existed And I had been around. as cultured as educated as I I can’t figure out why you look prettier than I” Sharon. whose need for company I met at 3 a. A spot of bleach fell on this dress today Still I don’t wish to let it go Perhaps a crocheted flower will cover that bleached out spot I could just throw that old dress out I wish I could my memories that cling like the smell of death And I wonder if that’s how long it takes to let go Why even when we begin anew the old never lets go . down my big legs. A spot of bleach fell on that dress today leaving a white spot in its fuchsia wake That dress reminds me of Sharon who had more than I ever had or ever needed. her rape when she left N.. “I can’t help it. I bought it from the Indian shop down by Columbia University. for Florida and returned to seek my solace I thought she was my friend. as tall.. made of light cotton muslin nicely fitted about my waist a bright fuchsia. even though you’re not as slim. who told her tales of woe about her latest love. two dark knights appearing ahead one reversed. as Anglo.. threadbared own 16 17 . I thought she was my friend even when she said. she less than me But she was more widely traveled in more fortunate circles than me Still.SPOT OF BLEACH This dress is older than my son 5 years older. opaque my body outlined in the sun falling gracefully to my hips. whose cards I read.m.” she responded. her foes.

boxes of cufflinks and tie pins The tie rack is full now with about thirty five of my husband’s ties Cye says he’ll remember Dad always for giving him that much needed tie rack He says I thanked your dad when we buried him. made of etched brass whose view is unclear. . were discarded a rhinestone covered magnifying glass with a burn scar on its spine This is what my dad left behind from his life.. now for mine 18 19 . another pair I use to watch hawks soar outside my window making life into a stage show two fountain pens.. I said that’s good The cufflinks and tie pins lie in a velvet lined. he was very old But he was never happy.. . ... when I shoveled earth on top his casket Yes.MY DAD AND ME I called my father the other day I had forgotten the rift between us and my action was triggered by tired worn habits from days long gone He wasn’t home.. he hadn’t had a good life Just a lot of dreams and memories to carry him along Sorting through what he’s left behind I search for hidden jewels he talked about Diamond and sapphire rings Cash tucked safely in discreet crevices Dad acted like he owned the world Yet in reality he owned a few boxes of buttons a hanger for ties folded away in a broken down suitcase were some wrapped up shirts. no answering machine to pick up his phone I forgot he died two months ago My dad will never laugh or yell again the touch of death. recalcitrant. I’ll never hear his voice again Rethinking the years he lived so long . inlaid wood box now gracing my son’s dresser He wears them now and then or just takes them out to gaze at them I look at all the things I took: Binoculars... so final.

Italian Irish descent from the Northeast Bronx Through sacrifice and dedication JoAnne is now a nurse at Presbyterian Medical Center This is her story bout a methadone baby born addicted on JoAnne’s ward This boy had tupelo honey colored skin. and hazel brown.TUPELO HONEY JoAnne is one tough broad. almond eyes Birth mama’s blond and curly haired A blue eyed Nuyorican Daddy is a dark skinned African Mama named the baby Shonequon The nurses called him “Sweet” Sweet’s a boarder baby who lived on the ward for 2 and a half months BCW tryin to decide what to do with that tiny methadone addicted baby Now me amiga esta sin ninos she has no children e quiere uno mucho she wants one very badly so she fell in love with Sweet talked about him constantly JoAnne said. Sweet is cryin all the time He holds his body rigid his cryin is so fitful Kindled by the pain cause Sweet’s addicted to meth and this is how he sounds eeehhhhhh eeeehhhhhh eeeehhhhhh eeehhhhhh Sweet’s tiny fists are always clenched his spindly arms crossing his scrawny chest This baby can’t relax! He’s got a monkey on his back Sweet’s addicted to meth The Doctor confides he wishes he could keep Sweet tranquilized cause he’s screamin so fretfully eeehhhhhh eeehhhhhh eeehhhhhh JoAnne loves to nurture Sweet She embraces him reverently comforts him with the rhythm of her heart she whispers soothing sounds cajolingly. her voice falls like soft waves caresses tender hollows of his frail anatomy her soft warm breath glides down his velvet neck Sweet responds with purring sounds 20 21 .

This baby’s in a lot of pain he suffers from anxiety You don’t have to hold him 24 and 7. but we know how to get by. but you need to let him see your face smiling. my boarder baby is delayed in his response and yesterday was the first time God graced me with his smile Her eyes rimmed with blurring droplets Dewdrops silhouette I love him. she said I want him to be mine Even though he’s HIV and surely won’t survive I want him to be mine Child Welfare lets his Mama visit she hardly came at all Daddy was there mostly every day but he was always drunk Today they let her come and take my Sweet away Honey.JoAnne’s gentle devotions linger on like a mango blossom’s scent fragrant on a breeze Sweet watches her giddily clinging with his tightly gripped fists Yesterday Sweet smiled for the very first time JoAnne bragged as though he were her own Sweet. She’s carin’ for my other five My oldest girl’s gonna be there too And like I told ya. nino It’s gonna be okay Mama said Grandma said she’s gonna help. JoAnne said. All my kids are born on meth And that’s the way it’s always been. talking into his Sweet’s Mama answered I know mucho more than you do let me tell you somethin’ You don’t know what I been through All my kids are born on meth and that’s the way it’s always been The baby started fussin’ then his spindly arms clenched across his scrawny chest eeehhhhhh eeehhhhh eeehhhhhh Sweet opened up his eyes and focused on JoAnne reaching out his scrawny arms But Mama reached the baby first and took him from his crib Esta te quieto. nino she said as she rocked him dispiritedly to her methadone beat Esta te quieto. 22 23 .

and fuzzy black hair shaved to a shadow on his scalp He’s got great big dark brown eyes the most soulful eyes I’ve ever seen And this boy. carefully folding my hands around his and takes his left hand lightly caressing my arm lovingly. he’s only 4 years old During class when he’s paying no attention.BURNT SIENNA I’m in love with a black boy! He’s got burnt sienna skin with burgundy highlights. he really can’t see what’s going on above the table which is smack up to his chin So I take him on my lap Now he can see it all Now he’s engaged in the lesson Now he tells the teacher the color of each drawn animal naming each by type Now he sees each page turn as the teacher holds up the book moving it to and fro so all of us can see He sits on my lap. I can see he’s just too small. stares trustingly into my soul and he penetrates a window speaking clearly to me “Why this little boy?” a small voice inside my head asks Why I don’t know I only know I love him and can only tell you he lives inside my heart with the many other children I’ve loved 24 25 Neighbors .

Your outfit’s perfect.” Maria says. “but he won’t fuck me. I know.” she says. mad.” she says. “bout me and my man. “Get Lost!” She finally gets him out the bar door.” “She’s just no good. He said he’d be here at five. Otherwise I’ll die. “She’s messing with some other girl’s man.” “Thank you very much. hands on her hips.” “Yes.” I say “You just feel bad cause you’re thinking of your man messing with some other woman. see if he’s at home. I gotta get outta this depression I put on 20 more pounds I can’t seem to shed Maybe I’ll just suicide out” She’s sobbing and she’s crazy. Or maybe I’ll just suicide out” Maria goes in my room. I wanna lose that 20 pounds. coordinated so well. “I need to call him.” 26 27 . “He has a hard on.” I say to her. I gots to be with him right now.MAYBE I’LL JUST SUICIDE OUT Maria tells me.” “Look at those two. “It’s the way Maria’s shaped by nature or fate.” God damn! What a scene! She’s screamin’ at him. you know.” We’re talking just like poetry. home to the waiting bed. I think I’ll have another go. He’s probably with some other woman anyway.” “Maybe I’ll just go for a pedicure. “He’s a chancre sore in my life. “He’s not home yet and it’s half past ten. It’s all poetry you know. He’s drinkin heavy. I’m so upset I sold my gold watch for 5 bucks worth of crack Maybe I’ll just suicide out. Tells her. Almost like a prayer “Write about me. She uses the phone All private like in hope and pain. “playing with their fruits.” she cries.” Peter says. “get my hair blown out straight. That guy with that girl got his hand on the other girl’s butt.

you would agree In spite of their self imposed celibacy existing in the wastelands of mediocrity Nourished by chronic dissatisfaction and occasional knock down.. on the edge of despair waiting for love on the brink of nowhere his x wife sleeps in the room next to his she’s a survivor. narcissistic attitudes Their daughter left home a long time ago gave up waiting for the promised abode when mom moved in to dad’s home claiming she wasn’t staying too long It’s a marriage of sorts. And claims he’s very fond of her She eats his guilt like a gourmet queen And she don’t think she’s being mean He’s promised he’ll never leave her between a stone and a hard rock They are their parents reborn. to put his arms around Someone to see a movie and eat dinner with . drag out fights where they put each other down But he still craves companionship. he’s hurt. . just take his x-wife! 28 29 . a mother.A MARRIAGE OF SORTS He lives with his x wife and he hasn’t got a life He’s lonely. his cover They lived apart for over ten years Symbiosis renewed through dependency and fear He’s scared she’ll die from the breast cancer she survived So he suffers her abuse. he’s blue he doesn’t know what he should do He’s the man without a life who lives With the woman who’s now his x wife And his life collects nothing but strife Disaster breathes down his neck like spastic storm creating wreck He’s imprisoned by guilt tying him to obligations of household drudgery Imprisoned by fear about being alone he wants someone to hold. he told me to ask you Are there any takers here for my friend the man who hasn’t got a life? Or better yet.. drowning in self defeating.. And that’s not all. a friend to share things with Someone to reciprocate Poor man’s worried it’s just too late He tells me he’s lonely.. his x lover. pays all the bills.

I didn’t tell them. sold used and antique He did a booming storage business He asked how he could help me and when I said I came in for the bushy red ear muffs. where did you buy that hat? It was oblong. because it was nearly twenty years ago and although I knew very clearly where I had bought it. so I bought a small ratty old sable stole for 15 dollars and paid 10 dollars more for the ear muffs and at that moment I spied that golden auburn feathered cap and put it on and it was mine It fit so well. and he told me how now-a-days he sold some new furs not so many as years gone by. take a chance to see that crazy old coot again. and deep Everything fur you could imagine coats. to bargain with him..... he offered them for cheap or free if I would only let him touch me. furry things inside that I wanted. I thought about all this and never said it The old man must’ve been in his seventies. put him in his place . bent by time and hunched. It was a small furrier shop on 27th Street near Broadway in the New York furrier’s district The store looked deceptively small from the outside with a plate glass window through which I stared at the display of beautiful. covering only the top of my head in a thick four inch band that curved cylindrically down to my ears Rightly it seemed they should’ve asked. jackets.THE FURRIER AND ME Tuesday I wore that small and pretty feathered hat Kathy and later Judy asked. styled for another age but looked as though it were made for me which even the old man could see. when did you buy that hat. now he traded old for new. re-use it till one of us goes off I thought about that shop often but never went inside again though I wanted to and even passed by occasionally but still I never did go in again Now he’s dead so long ago I’ve lost my chance to ever get those marvelous irreplaceable bargains I’m sure I’ll never see again Now I’m sorry I didn’t go back.let him touch me 30 31 . stoles. and I’m sure the old man who sold it to me is no longer alive anymore .ever . red bushy fox fur ear muffs so I rang the bell resting near the lock on the iron gate He buzzed me in and came out of a metal cage to greet me Over his left shoulder the view opened to show a space .. I know I didn’t answer your question . That store doesn’t even exist today. I never . of all sizes shapes and colors..So in case you’re still wondering . he made an impression on me and helped me realize seventy year old men are as lecherous as young ones. back then Tall and slender. wide open. such as big. He said you can have that for 10 dollars more So I took that hat with me and have worn it specially several times a year That hat is the bargain of my lifetime I’ll use it.big.

and up there they say I’m the most smilingist person you could ever wanna meet I make a lot of friends like that So me and this old lady had a habit of smiling every time we passed each other On this day I walked in pain.IN THE SHADOWS OF MY MIND . dear?” she said. dyed. bent over. A cutting edge of guttural coarse sounds escaped from her throat when she spoke Rosalie was alive and genuine moving in a world of reflected off-beat colors She wavered on the border between blasphemy and refinement quicker than you could wink an eye Rosalie was argumentative yet warm agreeable and loyal She could be deliberately cruel when she chose to be and bitchy when she wanted to be I suspect it had to do with suffering she had known And I do believe she loved me in the shadows of her mind Rosalie is dead now almost 20 years ago She was over 65 when I met her (don’t ask me by how much) They said she died from a stroke which could’ve been caused by her past alcoholism and for all I knew. neat bob all held back by a dark brown net Her clear. deep blue eyes her cool crisp voice. brunette hair cut into a keen. questioning me with true concern 32 33 ... holding my womb “What’s wrong. dark. maybe she still sipped a few I remember the day I first met her I was walking down Broadway near Hillside and all cramped over in pain and misery I looked up and saw her staring at me I had seen her around before and she didn’t know me from a hole in the wall Still every time she saw me she smiled and I’m the kind of person who always smiles at everyone in my neighborhood I’ve been living in the Heights all my life I’m almost ‘shamed to admit this. In the shadows of my mind I love Joy was written in black ink across the dark photo in my hands A black fine scripted line a message in time slipped carefully under the door I examined the photo she stood in the shadows her hand draped casually over the back of her upholstered chair I remember Rosalie well with her short.

her sudden quirks and eccentricities her confessions to what she labeled high class prostitution and past alcoholic history maybe she still sipped a few I figured she needed to dull her sharp senses her gall and quick wit her tender loving ways I’ll remember Rosalie without her photo for she inhabits the shadows of my heart her words forever imprinted I love Joy in the shadows of my mind MY BROTHER.” WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? My family behaves irrationally. I’m mad at you because if you hadn’t told her that I’m ill then she never ever would’ve called at all. he said . he’s glad she called it shows him she’s concerned about him.She took me to her house and treated me with naturopathic methods she had learned at some fancy class She wrapped me tightly from head to foot in a big iced up towel then rolled me securely in a blanket of wool leaving me for two hours to chill out my fever gifting me with the first relief I’d felt in two weeks Now able to stand straight as a result of her remedies That was how I met Rosalie How could I help but love her with her wide open eager smile her passions and her jealousies her quick anger . just like thatshe called.her petty aggravating assaults on any behavior she deemed wrong Rosalie . who now instructs me: “Don’t call me for a long time.. Here I stand before ye heartbroken and weary forgive them being crazy.out of the clear blue sky and he knows I must’ve spoken to Douglas I only called to say happy Thanksgiving he’s angry I told them. yet me eyes still teary 34 35 . it’s two different things. FEELING OLD AND CRANKY Philip said not to call him for several months because he was mad I’d defied his wishes by telling Douglas that he wasn’t well then Douglas told Harriet that Philip is ill Which caused Harriet who was worried about Philip to call him. shunned as criminal tho there be short respite. Still this is my only crazy nutty family in which I never had any choice and just always mostly wanted acceptance Here both past and present. our brother.. You see. t’was mostly false lull.

. I saw him press 250 pounds.” “Too bad. Uhh . At least let us do an autopsy. they’re all dead Some’s left.” the doctor’s hand resting on my shoulder I birthed him glimpsing his coffee colored skin with lots of cream. tried that too.” he said to me. at 14 it was alchies. “You can see him now you want. loving it. Handsome too 6 feet tall. You know what they say about birds flock together I flocked. Said “Your baby’s gone.” I said about the baby’s skin.” Gone. 36 37 . Dead 30 years ago. Childhood? What Childhood? Childhood what? So sorry. Gave me gonorrhea 30 years ago.m. In the middle of the night they came. 14 years old hanging with the addicts.DEAD LONG AGO All those people? Dead long ago. “You can see him now you want. I tried it once. angry alcoholic He became a junkie.D. Can’t imagine what it means. didn’t like it none Having babies for a black man. muscular. “You can see him now you want. So sorry. “Why were you so mean?” “Don’t know. 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. “I’m HIV now. born 2 days and a half ago. I saw him not long ago Asked him when I saw him.” “What for?” I said. O. never `lowed again another see “His lungs were half formed.” He tells me. or so. trapped Stuck on their methadone. not allowed.’s Me? I never used it. “Couldn’t hep myself. got a hernia so bad my balls swoll up down to the floor. Yeah. well built He had lots of girls.” he said when I held my hands up to describe “Coffee color with lots of cream.” they said. Standing in the rain. Trapped in a time warp. Alcoholics. You can see him now you want. 30 years ago I told him about our baby “Shoe box size. My friends and acquaintances died from O. 2 a. but I did. plentiful and cheap. Never... Most of `em anyway They ate up all the lead. not moving on Heroin was good in the 60’s. They took him away.” Begging for 2 days and a half. I guess. Save some other woman pain like you. “I wanted him alive.” He was a god-damned strong man at 20. see em once in a while walking down the street. used so many drugs Their bodies shot to shit. 180 pounds. ever heard the word. you can see him now you want. beats me what for.” So Sorry. So sorry.K.

I’ve got three to take her place But don’t worry. I COULDN’T WIN GENETICALLY Now I’m brokenhearted Renee I loved and would’ve married But she returned to her former lover and implored him to seed her female garden Since then Renee begged me to remain her friend and I did because I didn’t want her to think I wasn’t man enough to do that And to this day I still love her Now.COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS Over the last three years. I’m very lonely for the woman of my dreams 38 39 . I have dominant genes for some recessive disease. the love of my life says she wants to have my babies I had a feeling I never had before: that overwhelming primal urge to shoot my sperm within her loins and watch it swell into a baby but when we tried the seed failed to fertilize And I discovered I was sterile GOD HELP ME. three women tried to steal my sperm one was true. she really loved me she wanted to birth my baby. I agreed cause I loved her The other two said they were on the pill They just lied I’m tellin’ you this cause I know you’re concerned you’re my very best friend and I have to get it off my chest And I’ll tell you right now: I forbid you to put this in a poem. Let me set your mind at ease I can’t be tricked into being a blind progenitor and I mean that both ways I know I should be grateful But none of them excite me And although it’s satisfying. I WAS DESPONDENT EITHER WAY. that although I don’t have it my children will Almost all the men in my family are blinded by this malady It’s a plague that eats away their sight It starts in mid to late thirties they’re stoned blind by fifty So when Renee.

Please go and get some But. .. Now I’ve got another poem: A sequel to suicide. It just came naturally Shit Maria.. 40 41 . I chase her till she catches me. Why are you avoiding me She laughed and said. Bridge But she didn’t succeed in getting out of here And as the years wore on Maria continued more and more to threaten to end her misery And things got worse and worse Until she met Katrina an amalgamated personality of masculine and feminine Maria suddenly changed her tune a flip-side to suicide. I don’t care if you’re a lesbian For me it’s more important not to worry you’ve gone and committed suicide or homicide. Umm . the BIG C.. Umm. Until she threatened suicide Maria claimed she had a vicious tongue She said to me. . it was the most exciting thing I’ve ever done Um. And ever since Trina said she would COMMIT to me I felt like that was all it was about anyway You know.W.COMMITMENT So then I gave her my legendary tongue And Lordy. Lordy. and SO WHAT if it does? My point is .SEQUEL TO SUICIDE It’s difficult to circumspect and/or to hypothesize that life exists beyond our death.. Maria wasn’t THAT concerned!! She just slit her wrists. I mean.. I just have this special skill I can do it the way no one else will and any man who feels my tongue falls helpless to my prowess. you don’t know what that meant to ME. sometimes there is . All that tongue? Well.. . . said she would jump off the G.. maybe even genocide Besides.. took some pills. ready for my kill Since I am a great BELIEVER in therapy I said..... I’ve got a crush on my best friend Katrina. . Umm.. a sequel to suicide Remember Maria whose luck with MEN ran dry? Each man she had abused her verbally and physically Each relationship left her agonized. Ummm. In her forty-second year life became more gay and I mean that literally and figuratively I called Maria this past Tuesday I said..

sleeping away Covered.. Me trying to cover my self with a wash cloth. being forced to watch him 42 43 . Fancy cement gates enclosing gardens Surrounding the ornate bench I climbed those gates and burst my lip on falling. and scraped my knee so badly the scab was at least half an inch thick The other children playing with their many games. longing for . her prejudices. Me wanting to join in.CHILDHOOD GAZE I sit here gazing out my kitchen window I see the mist settling on Manhattan From my sixteenth floor perch I look down upon the tops of trees over a hundred years old I see the Bronx and Fordham Road All the way up Snake Hill to George Washington High School The home where I was raised two blocks down on Audubon Avenue In my minds eye.. Yet feeling its wrong I had my books and hid away.. her feelings Dad. falling because I didn’t know how to follow. .. not knowing how I remember. He’s spent all the money. hit my chin. “Stand here. . appearing home after nights spent away Bearing gifts of candy. I see the cement bench with ornate arms beckoning. sly look at me with beady eyes.. . I visualize the symmetrical courtyard where there were fancy cement miniature columns creating a gate around space where small bushes grew After you climbed the first set of stairs you entered the courtyard where there were two more ornate cement gates columns flanked the stairs behind which there were more tendered bushes There was an entrance to your left and to your right Either way there were bushes surrounded by Fancy cement miniature columns creating a Gate around space where small bushes grew In the center. Me wanting to belong. Her worn dingy housecoats. watching me. her failings.. “Keep away from him. Wondering where it would do the most good.. wanting to belong yet not knowing how. I was ashamed of my family My mother with her grayed and stringy hair. waiting. not understanding. . begging me to scratch his balding head Pretending stimulation would save his hair His entering the bathroom and pulling his huge hard cock from his boxer shorts while I lay bathing His snide. Over my breasts or between my legs Looking and wondering. looking to the rear of the courtyard.” she said to me and placed me with my legs apart driving between them with her bike rubbing my crotch. escape He. Me. wanting to play.” His masturbatory acts on the front couch Where he lay day after day.... promises he never kept Mom and big sis hissing at me. swarthy dark skin and big lips.

war Still. her fears and sensitivities... the morning mist. the road beneath . all alone. another vicious day Prisoner of mommy’s rage. The tops of buildings. in spite of all Here I sit today Gazing through the window of my co-op’s Eastern wall Watching the sunrise. the lock was installed when I reached eleven. afraid. walking around with his shorts cracked open in the front His cock visible. I was eight then. I see me reaching puberty.” I begged them.He. Sisters on their way I feel like a prisoner here Stuck. Poetry Forms 44 45 . I looked like a woman then. looking like a rooted forest tree “Put a lock on the door. I was sexy. wondering Where I’ll go or what I’ll be Brother’s gone long ago. Daddy’s anger and hostility All the hurt and pain centered in bewilderment GOD WHY AM I HERE CAN’T I HAVE ANOTHER FAMILY? Learning took me twice as long Tears stood in my way Tranquility was striven for In the midst of horror. Still am too.

is he happy. it was now clearly a pattern I wish I could help him improve make life a little bit better. the alternative. then again Nevermore quoth the raven But it was just the same as before and more of the same old values which had held him prisoner for decades Indeed. Reviewing his past is strange and doesn’t change his future VILLANELLE I rise and praise the glory of a new day every day I pass consciously on this earth and consider the possibilities. it sat there speaking and reaching out to me I turned to the page inspirationally It was all about how he felt about me Then he realized that I really knew he was upset that I knew that he was still involved in thinking of me So you ask. content? No he’s a certifiable alcoholic lost in dreams of the man he used to be before he got lost in these nightmares that came before dawn became dusk. I consider the possibilities serenity’s power guides me through that day replenishing my feelings of self-worth I rise to praise the glory of a new day and deflect the cost of life we all must pay determined anew reservoir of rebirth I’m left to consider the possibilities not black. Death I rise and praise the glory of a new day even when I’m blue and the day’s hazy where all about my life there seems a dearth of tranquility. not white. just like me. at a wooden table and thinking of wood In the middle of some undetermined location somewhere on half an island in the middle of no-where where we would know anyway I simply picked up the book that sat right there at the wooden table. but shades of gray return to me the gift to see mirth to reconsider again the possibilities I rise to praise the glory I live to see a new day 46 47 .HIS WOODEN SHACK I sat in a wooden shack in a chair of wood. and finality of one of the great equalizers.

I. Then . oh sorrows. long before the day when she lay in the funeral parlor dead. and sat Shiva for her forsaking her. Her family had no tolerance of this. She would turn over in her grave. She did the best she could under her duress. is taboo. She’d question and explore the said misdeed to figure why anyone would behave that way to their sibling.. considered her Dead! My mother suffered so much from her illness and trying to raise us four children. their own blood. had been married before with a son. the youngest am forsaken by two of my sisters. one who just passed on ravaged too. even dialogue on this. Her family disowned her when she married Dad who. please be gone I am the lone survivor.her family came to see her.. . having been ravaged by the cancer which destroyed and took her away. It would cause Mom great pain. although he was Jewish too. their family. 48 49 . an entire flood of them reminding her of the campaign her family led against her when they declared her dead. and such . release memories. who. She’d wonder what could make this occur again. as of yet have not fallen prey to the horrific scourge I live under the fear and the threat of cancerous death and pray to emerge safely through the onslaught and expulsion from family that my mother lived through and wonder why all this must be redone and why.FAMILY HISTORY DEJA VU If Mommy only knew all that occurred. They should have been ashamed to come that day. then divorced.. that now. by the cancer that has overtaken and polluted my family’s gene pool. thus they.. being orthodox.

I have a son We two. PART 2 Mother told me she prayed to her ancestors I believe she was descended from Moors. we’ve already had more than our share She prayed and prayed her days away Through the month of March a-bed she lay when her soul hitched a ride on the full moon Mom returned to me the day I birthed my son begged me forgive her. and nodded slowly in recognition. PART 4 PSYCHIC ABILITIES. “It is foretold. “Go to your father. go somewhere elsewhere. Messiah will come when peace reigns and the universe is one. It lingers on a sweet breeze I wait to hear her eternally When once again we meet. she prayed for them to heal me from my sins. Her scent made my heart sigh. beckoning me I came to him cautiously. there was no time to say Goodbye Death spoke on the spread wings of a passing hawk And Jesus came to warn him about his Dad Still. passed down through the generations 50 51 . he needs you now. Dad said he jumped up and ran to his Dad’s house. How apt. and have to feel guilty ashamed to admit we relate to Jesus mystical currents run in my family as do powerful creative talents and the craziness which accompanies them. . a fellow Jew quoth the bible to me.. Her words. a Jew to know He is the one whom still the Jews await In response to this. was too late to see him. we’re Jews.. Dad said he’d had the same experience When his father passed.” I looked into his young dark Jewish face. Fare thee well In life she’d slipped away from Heaven’s Spirit Store neglected Jewish mores. Jesus came & appeared before Dad.SET OF FIVE SONNETS PSYCHIC ABILITIES. disease I hear her voice. now I‘d understand.” he said lifting his head. In death. Indeed! Jewish. PART 3 Jesus came to me one misty moonlit eve arms sister came. How compelling and ironic! For me. Said goodbye Her breath. Please.” Wisely Jesus chose to come in Chaos. relieve her pain. turned from our Temple’s door. DAD’S ABILITIES. for all she’d done in love. like me? He is the one. PART 1 Both my parents had psychic abilities. Young once more. this runs in my family this ability has now passed on to me For years I have seen what is yet to be People I know who pass on to the other side visit me once more to say goodbye I’ll meet my father and sister again. said. “I am the way. I’ve come to see. Don’t tell anyone . Jesus nodded his head. to vanish. she’s left behind her miseries. It’s our destiny PSYCHIC ABILITIES. Fresh flowers. her pain. turn our misfortunes to joy. looked me in the eye “Come to me.

he was forced to leave school to work as an apprentice in a drug store That was how he became a pharmacist later he was bitter to the core. He played the violin like his father and grandfather before him stroking it for the breath of an angel He played everything by ear and could make his violin bend to every sound he wanted to recreate When Dad was young. he wanted to be a violinist Instead. cause really Dad should’ve been a musician giving life to a violin TEA PANTOUM I sat and drank my tea while the rain continued falling there were folks passing by and time was my companion While the rain continued falling I heard the thunder clap and time was my companion as the sky turned black I heard the thunder clap it rumbled far and roared As the sky turned black Huge gray clouds rolled by It rumbled far and roared I sat and drank my tea Huge gray clouds rolled on as folks kept passing by 52 53 . never learned what it was to express himself freely to enrich his spirit by playing the music he heard in his head In the end. PART 5 My Dad was a music man. he played his violin to obtain relief from and solace for his burden of pitching in to support his family Pity.MORE ON DAD’S ABILITIES.

sobriety. a woman with large sensitivity. to go with the flow I am a woman not easily beaten I have stamina for sure I am a woman who will never give up Who will be eighty and be active sexually. wonder and lust a woman who rarely experiences trust I am a woman who is secure and insecure I know what I have and how to use it but also fear its loss I am a woman who possesses great energy and insight who owns potency as much as any man I’ve ever met I am a woman of great determination. hurt. I am a woman who’s had a hard life.will never give up . if I have another life I will never give up ..never give up I am a woman who works hard for all that I have and all that I’ve lost A survivor. concentrate on my fear. charm. I am a woman who will always do more 54 55 . afraid I’ll bend them to my will they ignore my flexibility. it may continue forever. and proclivity. still growing. abused and neglected I am a woman defined by desire. a lover.. not seeing my ability to metamorphasize. a woman of great lust. initiative and skill Some say I’m opinionated. a mover. angers and fears I am a woman who loves many people who’s chosen profession is proof of love’s power I am a woman who will fight ferociously I am a woman who possesses great power with ability to bestow great love I give to all who have been disavowed. mothering and loving I am a woman who will always be strong. and someone’s mother when threatened in her lair a woman of strong suspicions. a risk taker by choice.I AM . a survivor of strife a woman graced by starlight and the morning star a woman of delight nourished by dreams from afar I am a woman who’s soul has been drained drained and replenished again and again a woman wrenched fiercely from all that I’ve loved who’s had moments of satiety. a winner.

She wants him and not the one she’s with It’s so confusing. then he’d expect me to find love with another like the one before who I liked With whom I was so happy before things got so twisted 56 57 . I get another I should be happy and get what I like If I can’t be with the one I love I should give my love to the man I’m with It’s better to give my love to the man I’m with Than to try to love someone who will twist my heart. is there true love? Or could it be one man as well as another? Who can fill the gap. no one gets who they like Mind is like a monkey. grasping and twisting from one branch to the next. he wants another. A SESTINA OF LOVE Everything always seems to be twisted Nothing is the way we’d expect If I want one man. a strange phenomenon. never where I’d expect It to be especially when it comes to finding love I sometimes wonder. this thing called love The one I get is never who I would expect him to be. Only me and wouldn’t want another just me unless he became mean and twisted Twisting my heart.TWISTED. meet my expectations? Can I meet a love eternal and stay with him forever to an end with no twisting fate? Can he stay with me and like what I do? Or should I expect that he’ll only like What I don’t like? Should I freely give my love Without worrying that our love will twist To hate? Then instead of him I’ll seek another Man who I shall repeat this cycle with until it’s finally over when we least expect I should realize it’s stupid to expect Anything to turn out the way I’d like and in the end be with who I want to be with And the one I love would just love me. first one lover then another He’s not endeared to her. Do you think we ever get what we like? It’s a big mess.

2002 Yesterday on the two month anniversary I planted an evergreen tree on her grave which lies beneath the mark I made to signify the place there’s a purple star on gold There my darling’s body lies forever and now only my love for Starlight remains steady 58 59 . sitting in a bit of sunlight prepared to wait for my return and I said goodbye that Friday morn not knowing it was the last time I’d see her I returned to find her small frail body lying still in the room where I worked She’d came searching for me.STARLIGHT’S LOVE The days slowly turned chill and short during Starlight’s last days on earth She sat on the sill. and struggled to stay close PHILOSOPHY to me and I to her. inhaled a gulp of fresh air. November first. I knew. quivered her nose. her beloved to say a final goodbye before she passed from this world on All Saint’s Day. Starlight walked me slowly to the door. for just a few more days Each day struggling harder than the last to sustain the little bit of life left her snuggling her small bones cozy at my side That day.

two days a week I slaved to nurture my untrained abilities to complete my still life My lover was fascinated by the color. usurping his vision How do you get this effect or that Make a cloud look billowy and soft Train your hand to make an image and still relay your feelings with training. my heart 60 61 . my cherished work of art. the room where the ceiling became a sky with no limit. my grey white clouds.THAT WORK THAT IS SO FINE My painting invested with four months of life oil colors on canvas three feet wide interpreting the artists’ studio The room burnished with earthen colors the ceiling high and wide represented as a clear blue sky with clouds of varying shades from white to grey Using colors to reveal my feelings inspired by my master investigating my strengths through his wisdom. its insides crushed and torn. craft and skill? While I shyly bowed my head. the depth. your mind. my growth in perspective was a triumph for him He was astonished how I used colors to accomplish these effects Four months. that inner space that I can claim is mine Please give me that work that is so fine in which you invested great quantities of self and time I gave him my work of art because I believed he loved me There came the day I stood outside his door found that he had gone away I stood pondering and saw nothing amiss Then suddenly I looked up and saw Atop the lamp post that stood outside his door. the inner space that stretched to meet the cosmos of time Please. my lover begged me Give me that work that is so fine that piece of you. the lamp post protruding through my blue sky. the master declared my work showed great strides. three hours a day.

” People find it depressing because of the significance they attach to it of aging and feelings of helplessness. what is the date of your birth?” And suddenly. I will not be remembered at all. I start to feel sorry for myself. I want to be immortal. Then some time. survive that. ends. all of this changing and entering new stages. anything. please . discomfort. (if he ever has one) and so on. In Latin the term means the cessation of the menses. and pondering that death awaits us all. when do we realize we exist? Do we actually have any awareness of our being before we are born? Whence does this awareness arise? Is it later that this awareness develops. even if it means being like Lestat. because all of life is change. The teen years are the most difficult. 62 63 . instead of dying. all my memories will be wiped out. No! Ayuda me’ por favor. I calculate the time allotted me. I couldn’t recall my birthdate. Menopause looms like a second childhood. The idea of menopause is not depressing. We express ourselves by our most basic feelings and instincts which are interpreted by the adults around us into fear. Clean slate! Jesus. at a certain second in time. that for me . I realize time waits for no one. I am frightened by the realization that one day. Isn’t menopause associated with memory loss? Maybe I’m slowly becoming senile and soon. I clearly recall being around 6 and 7 years old. Immediately. The longer I live the more I long for immortality. The lady on the line from the credit card company asked. God. We begin in this world largely unconscious beings.. when the most important thing is self confidence and acceptance by our peers. once again to face the realization that one day I won’t be here. in as long as it takes to snap our fingers. Surviving change is very simple. Life is one moment of compromises.. or what we loosely translate as “Change of Life. Next we enter the most difficult and scary stage. we watch the passing of time evident in the seasons.. I look around me assessing all I’ve accumulated over the years. and continue longing. happiness and pleasure. Menopause only means change. But I and most of the rest of us. What becomes most depressing is the idea that one day. in the not too distant future. I spend time meditating on reincarnation or an afterlife. The realization sinks in . Oh no. repetitive cycle of compromises. “And for security purposes. We change along with the world around ceases to be. I will cease to be. I said to myself. and we grow from childhood to adults. unable to comprehend language or other subtleties. followed by a continuous. Growing children develop linguistic abilities and then begin to verbalize.I am living on borrowed time. and less by his son. Don’t let me be senile. What if my life and all I’ve accomplished will only be remembered by my son. I won’t remember the most simple things . This ceasing to be is the same as the miracle of birth in reverse.. Once more I am face to face with my own mortality. This stream of thought returns me to my childhood memories and fears. After we are born. Suddenly like a flash. I’d rather believe in anything than the alternative. that in-between time. Does this make my life in vain? How many people can have the fame and the glory? I think harder about what my goals are and where they will lead me. when we experience discomfort and realize that we must depend upon someone to fix it for us? There is a moment in time when we clearly see we exist. our life force leaves us. Just like that. wondering if there’s any way around it. and think about how much I want to accomplish before I die.deeply .MENOPAUSE My entire life has passed before me in the space on one telephone call and it feels as though my life has become a series of metaphors. in the time it takes a drop of water to descend from faucet to sink. I even consider all the knowledge I’ve gained.

on the heaviest day of menstruation. 64 65 . We must remember that what they say only reflects their opinions and values. felt this low ache in my back that traveled to my lower belly. Menopause means change. the seasons of life. most of life’s difficulties seem petty. This may seem morbid yet if we think like this. so now I just seem a bit more warm. So when someone praises or criticizes us. The other may be seen only as an extension of ourselves. because everyone talks about hot flashes in whispered tones. I’m only fifty-five yet death pursues me and lies in wait to envelop me in its shroud. acceptance and determination. or how we want to be seen. the last third of one’s life. we should try to remember how to maintain our inner peace when dealing with stressful situations.a reflection of ourselves. which is clouded by their perception of the world. Some of my friends had to call in sick to work every month during their menses. and especially worrying about pregnancy month to month. and could just get on with it. I’m afraid. At the stage of our lives we call menopause. Think of this when you want to say something mean or when you feel wounded. The most important thing to remember. the vibrant hues exciting my eyes. I’ve begun to see the importance of how I let these things affect my life. even when being morose. While I occasionally. This was the same way I used to feel when I used to listen to other women discuss PMS. Now that that part of my life is over. Perhaps to reconfirm to our selves who we are. whether it’s good or bad. Yet we don’t have to lose our inner peace and balance because of their perceptions of us. in their viewpoint I have done something praiseworthy or something not to their liking. I see a red and yellow fall tree. Although we needn’t be in agreement with their values. well. it will (hopefully) effect the way we behave. we can accept their kind words when praised because we can think that anyone who acted the way we did would be praised. the things we say about ourselves and the things others say about us. we can still make life easier. In our hearts we carry around all the things that concern ourselves in a big bag. they are here again once more. it seemed that I could mostly not pay attention. We’ll have more understanding of the meaning of things if we think of ourselves as a guest here on earth.. How we see others and the meanings this takes on in our lives becomes more clear as we mature. We each seek in the other . It was only yesterday I was a child. Strange isn’t it? Consider your mortality and in comparison. One day I won’t see this anymore. or as undiscovered pieces of a puzzle or as a lost part of ourselves. and I don’t even know what a “hot flash” is. If it felt really bad I’d take a few ibuprofen and wait until I’d get home from work and just put an ice pack or heating pad on. is that change often brings great beauty and wisdom. Even at this point in our lives. we can think. laden with green in spring and summer. We don’t have to be affected by what others say about us. ice like diamonds clinging to a bare branch on a starkly naked tree . I await with trepidation. and now. I don’t miss it at all.. Life is always much shorter than we imagine. It’s curious sometimes. I was always a bit chilly before. to be seen through their eyes. Menopause is the beginning of the ending phase. buildings reflected in myriad colors on the Harlem River or the East River when I drive to work in the morning. something we are in charge of and can make the most of. Think of living on borrowed time in regard to all you hold dear and then you will understand what I feel in about this change in my life and its meaning. Perhaps only to assuage our lonliness in knowledge of who the other is or who we see them to be in relation to ourselves. by our viewpoint and controlling our stress levels. so we can remain calm and enjoy the remainder of our lives. thus one enters a different stage of one’s life. When I was six these same thoughts plagued me as they did again in my early adolescence.I think of DEATH and reflect on all the things I won’t see anymore.

I ask God for forgiveness and I forgive In the name of my mother. Lawrence. day of atonement I give to thee. just like my siblings and parents My son fasts today. and that they’ve done to me. who passed away thirty-five years-so long-ago In the name of my father. day of prayer and fasting. is an easy one to search. who passed away only seven years ago. today. three months. plus me And I think and meditate on today Our day of atonement I think of my son. faith and love 66 67 . he is my blood too. They are living. I find a link to Bronx High School of Science I figure she must’ve been very proud to have been an alumni there Then I think of Harriet and Philip. In the name of my sister. whose name is easily found in any internet search. Georgette. to forgive and be forgiven I do both and strive for purity of thought to act in goodness. I follow suit at his urging We say our prayers separately and meditate alone Yom Kipper. Lawrence Leftow. Frances.or .date of death My father. My mother. yet never with her correct birthday or social . my day of rest to meditate and promise to devote my thought to consciousness of all the deeds I’ve done to others. Frances Greenspan. Georgette Fivush. His social security number correctly designates the dates of his birth and death He alone I find in my search With my sister.YOM KIPPER Yom Kipper. who passed away one year ago.

rotting on the red earthen floor.. A mirror image of reality Woods. I follow through on life’s extensions resulting in awareness of different dimensions I bowed my head and kissed the tree it leaned down and sheltered me Its leaves gently brushed my cheek I took its shade. we had a talk The tree swayed with wind’s caress The sun’s light reflected. . rain changing from a thick wet sheet to a soft and fragrant mist Green. after all. in spite of all. combined reflections of reality Compare life to sitting watching woods its smell so sweet. Is there an end to receive one 68 69 . I may feel alive and free or just as rooted as a tree The tree told me an ancient koan Soft whispers of tales unknown I listened then but could not hear Wind whispered playing tree seer TREES I am a tree receiving light Or just an image of delight I dwell on spiritual elements compounded. Seated safely behind a glass pane window sipping coffee Evening settling. wet and musty with life From still reflected sun shining through the incandescent veneer of rain Diamonds glimmering making brown earth red and dead leaves gold Dead and living. it wasn’t meek This tree and me. magical Bright and dark all at once Leaves soaked and matted. prism’s rainbow Falling gently about us in patterns Life’s round of births and deaths. Scents of mildew fill the air. darkness dropping like a black and heavy velvet curtain on a theatre stage. unsurpassed Followed by a taste of bitter Having both to share TREE SONNETS THE TREE AND ME The tree held out its arms to me I heard it speak its heart to me The tree revealed to me All of which I could not see Although you are you and I am me Still..GLIMMERS OF RAIN A rainy evening. I’m only a tree Three hundred years old I am in my splendor While I look at my heart and search for a mender Now. I remember that God created men well rounded. lush rolling hills wet and soft. do deceive some But one question remains. dead limbs mixed with living.

mates. to help them kill more efficiently. he was amazed to see them. and then. I lay atop my bed and gaze out the window in the mid-afternoon hours. Caught in the dance of life.m.” he said. Now I watch them daily. He said he’d read in a magazine that there was a family of them that live in my neighborhood of Northern Manhattan.” “Oh com’on” I said. and as I watch. “what is there to know. I love the world. It was a privilege and honor to observe them. grants me a moment of peace. primarily pigeons. I am captive to their elegance. Not fickle like humans.. I can count them on one hand No Jewish man has ever wanted me except for some really despicable Jewish male perverts and I’ve never figured out the reason why I’ve always been an outcast among my own people. that you don’t know enough about the culture to be with a Jewish man who gets pleasure from being around other Jews who can understand the language they speak. don’t be a schlemiel. BEING JEWISH The plague of my life has always been I’m not Jewish enough to be Jewish Although over the years I’ve had several Jewish girl friends. They are glorious. probably wider in the female because she is always bigger than the male of her species.” “Oh no I’m not. They have large.. I am enmeshed in prayer without speaking. well suited to their purpose. My moment of tranquility and fulfillment. close to the Harlem River Drive. I watch them dive. I watch the two. laying atop my Three Kings Comforter. “Andy.” “No.” he said.” What can I do? Being an outcast is difficult at best! 70 71 . their beauty. After that. you’re making this up to tease me.” I do wonder what Andy’s going on about My mother was Jewish orthodox and my father was Russian Jew and how much more Jewish can you get than that? The point is. mesmerized by the angle of their descents. gracefully intent upon their task. even my therapist told me “It’s all because you don’t know the difference between a schlemiel and a schlimazel. just like humans. Then he said “Even a Jewish atheist would know-but the gist of it is. I am given great peace as I observe their flight. He said he’d never dreamed he would see them in the flesh. “a schlemiel is someone who is Jewish who doesn’t know how to tie his tie properly and the other is what you said. They soar high and display themselves sideways. they mate for life. I’m still not Jewish enough . to keep them intent on their kill. and I lay here longing for their beauty when the Peregrines have long gone. They descend to catch their prey. one dives in the East. to facilitate their hunting skills. . As they dive. They swoop. A great wave of compassion settles over me. spreading their wings to their full breadth. from about 2 to 4 p. Peregrines stand about a foot and a half tall and feed on mid size birds. uncomplicated by words or sound. about four feet wide.DAILY RITUALS FOR MEDITATION He told me they were Peregrine Falcons and how.” I said to my therapist. they form circles of eights. My watching is a sacred ceremony. Did you know they have a diving velocity of 180 miles an hour? I hold them in my view.. the other. I looked for them frequently. West. “you’re wrong and even Ellen knows the difference. There are two of them. Each moment is precious.. flying outside my 16th floor window. religiously. and continue on in flight. frankly. curved claws which are very powerful. a schlemiel is a jerk and schlimazel means an inept jerk who’s persistently luckless. The Peregrine falcon has a hooked and jagged bill. and I receive great pleasure. Their eyes are keen.

you shan’t? You won’t stay? Don’t then. always. I don’t love you Don’t love me then. loving. but true You won’t love me.where does it go? I’ll give you my heart. not wanting gives me the power The power you have. Let’s agree. You won’t. you give me more of you. not loving . But ya’ won’t leave You’re still here. my power. you give me your soul But never the power. the power of love It’s there! It’s not! Do you really know? Romance 72 73 .YOUNG OLD LADY I’m a young old lady out to steal your heart You give me yours then you can’t have mine I want you to want me as I don’t want you I want you to need me as I won’t need you Don’t you want me to want you? Do ya’ know all my life I’ve been waiting for you? And yeah. I’ll give you less of me. Okay? I want you to fear me as I have feared you On and on we go. I want you to need me as I don’t need you On and on we go. your power It shall not be denied. needing. I know it’s corny and silly. wanting not wanting. you can’t. not needing My wanting. forever in my mind.

golden ball. effortlessly ...... THINKING OF YOU I think of you . or when I shit Even when I brush my teeth I turn out all the lights You’re there in my head All the God-damned time Relentlessly here. the same as before I fight and I lose Probability is it won’t matter what I do It’s all up to you I’m stuck on you You’re stuck on too Keep on moving on We don’t have a choice Bet you don’t think of me the same.. relentlessly. viewed in your entirety You’re like my loves Scintillating while they last Wanting a love to endure not wax and wane like moons Disillusioned by desires for love to burn eternal My love and I bathing in the golden glow of moonbeam cast upon us like a floodlight Lie in her circle of luminesque our bodies still and in repose naked. suspended Dangling.. hot .. following each breath.. like a still life Floodlight reflection cool ... All day.FLOODLIGHT REFLECTION Full moon. white .. nor worse. . At dawn when day breaks When the sun goes down When I first reach consciousness Before I go to sleep There’s no escape You enter my dreams And all my waking activities When I arise to pee.. florescent.. It just goes on. . ears cocked lithe body poised frozen. I worship thee. all ways. 74 75 . yet not here at all There’s no letting go I’m not holding on Doing nothing at all Awake or asleep Doesn’t matter at all You’re just always there Not better. arms and legs intertwined Motionless bodies captured in a circle of stagelight like a fawn caught in flight and suddenly stilled at twilight one leg lifted.

KEY TO YOUR HEART I hold it greedily. this key to your heart Its cold. Pointing their finger.” Mamma said.” they say. “What is that there?” ask my many children.” I say with immense effort “Nah. 76 77 . “To my lover’s heart. sharp and glinting length of steel Weighs heavily yet gently rests in the hollow Between my full and aching breasts I hold this key. It’s mine now.” they say. It went with me when I left! Everything belongs to me Leave nothing idly about longing For hungry hands are everywhere That finely sculptured silver key belonging to years before and now to me . I was surprised you did ask. “There’s no such thing!” It’s mine now. Yet you launch love messages on air waves Reassuring me. “Where is the spare key that lies in this dish beside the door?” The answer was so clearly spoke..” “Go on. It’s mine now.. Hanging on a diamond-cut silvery chain That key sits and gazes at my heart I hold this key. speaking to me in dreams Saying the name of the song I heard yesterday I hold this key.” I answer. “hanging from your neck?” “It’s the key. all giggly and uncomfortable with thought “Home is where your heart is. My heart is where your home is That could be anyplace I am Holding the key to your heart That holds the key to mine I smile in answer For they are lost forever “This key opens my heart.

Stalactites of unstirred desires Only your voice echoes in my ears. in some places. don’t count the ways Send unsigned cards. crystallizing dancing lights All over my pink glowing body As I dance to the dancing lights 78 79 . You know there are many colors of white getting into here a diatribe of colors. terror abounds Eyes blindly groping for the truth Love and terror have their realms Be seated. wearing Hollow. anticipating Save yourself. still. but my skin has a pinkish glow. love and terror. purple. 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. Yeah. the echo of chambers. forget me!” Pinned under the bulk of your intellect Tremors and shockwaves.. not too late Waiting for Stalactites to grow Pining. still No movement here. 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. babe. yet divine. say divine DANCING LIGHTS Myriad colors of flame shimmered all around the walls of my room This brought back memories of you How we watched together these reflections. the glimmers of colors reflecting on my pale white skin No. Repeatedly hallowed in the cavern Without meaning. Rainbows of colors reflected across my naked pink glowing body in kaleidoscope lights Red. wear this ring. you can see my veins sometimes. pale white skin. I’m white you know. ringing. Collapse from the weight of words unsaid Explore the deepest recesses of all mind. yet divine I want to hear. Stalactites do grow Waiting. gold. Reflected in my big bedroom mirrors. Me walking through these colors butt naked. wailing. waiting. it’s yours. wanting.CAVERNS How do you love me. . Prisms of sun’s light reflecting through my western window I move through the shimmers. Do you hear me? The phone in the room next to mine It’s ring is hollow. it’s mine Not mine.. 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. leave unsaid words Enter miseries. orange too. havoc abounds. it’s not too late Terror flails. not translucently white. “Get a life!” Is this the Valentine you expected? Wholesome lovers and commitment “Get a life.

just for you. All these pretty colors are made just for me. down in Guatemala. an orangy gold. Yeah. You took that cloth right outa my hands While I was puttin’ it on my own self You said. “Let me show you how a medieval man would have that done.TAKE THIS GUATEMALAN SASH I SAID I bought this for you all the way from Antigua. this handwoven material I bought all the way from Guatemala is made for this man.” I looked at you and said. I said. “Oh Lord. from Antigua Guatemala. Take this Guatemalan Sash I said I realized it was yours when you took it from my hands And said you’d wear it diagonally crossing your chest Persian style folded into the belt that holds your sword Or maybe just sashed around your waist. I bought it for you but I didn’t know it then. clear red plus blue and green and I’d say. I wouldn’t let anyone buy or take it away from me. “I’m gonna have to give this man that one. Take this Guatemalan Sash I said Then you took that cloth in your hands working it to your cause and I said This man came from Tennessee to meet my Guatemalan cloth To be wrapped in your medieval arms and styled in your Southern sauce ! 80 81 . that’s right. I’d look at this strip of handwoven cloth Handwoven with 3 different purples.” Take this Guatemalan Sash I said I bought that sash almost three years ago And although I parted with most my Guatemalan goods I refused to part with that Guatemalan sash. Didn’t know you existed though you lived right across the street The same way you hail from Tennessee and I suppose that you’re for me Same way this sash is for you.

This was Esmerelda’s vision. when she said this. putting her hand out to stay me as I passed her.ESMERILDA’S GIFT I passed through the reception area where the gathered guests were waiting for me. The “Indios” come in many shades. Me? I’m a warm golden brown even though I too have Indian blood. Over the next few weeks she fasted and the weight melted off her small frame. a hot wave washed through my loins. I was hard. God help me. Esmerelda’s body was robust except for her arms. As much as she could lose color considering she was “Indio”. all of us holding hands. with our son between us. and had dark color to begin with. Her skin has these burnt red tones that make it gleam like the dying embers on a campfire. Naturally I responded and took her hand and held it. still pressing her body against mine. as though she had bitten me there. sosteniendo las manos. “My God! You are the man that appeared in my dream.” Translated. her face suddenly draining of all color. A young woman caught my eye. I need to tell you about this first strange meeting with Esmerelda. Esmerelda weighed two hundred pounds when I met her. We were walking together.” When she said this. “Dios mio!” she gasped in throaty tones. And God as my witness. I know because I’ve spent a few nights around campfires in my time. But I want to describe Esmerelda to you so you can understand why I became infatuated with her. a tremor ran through me and I knew she felt it in her hand. They were spindly and A Short Love Story 82 83 . That log will glow a soft red till daylight comes. Estavamos caminando junto nuestro hijo. Her mouth fell open and she stared at me unabatedly. Comadre. My hand was clasped in hers and she grabbed my eyes as well. “Usted es el hombre que’ aparecio’ en me sueno. She then threw herself into my arms and locked her body against mine.

She’s still waiting for me in Santo Domingo. but I didn’t know that then. Sometimes he would lose his erection. And that was where I met her. that you ask about Caridad. What eventually happened in Mexico was that Esmerelda began to make connections for me. I love her. I believe that had something to do with her weight loss as well and the way that her muscles quickly developed toning was impressive. but I just couldn’t get along with him. Anyway their marriage had gotten to the point where they only had sex a few times a year. And I get along with everyone. He flips his hand like this. They would sit in the cross-legged position. Mostly I lecture on Astrology circuits and sometimes I speak about teachings on the chakras and meditation. you know the type. Esmerelda is married. Gurujevem. but loyal. Three days after this most auspicious meeting I left and Esmerelda followed me. Her arms looked almost as bad as photos taken of victims in concentration camps. honey.k. Esmerelda says he was practicing allowing the semen to travel to his brain. I know it was kind of tough on the family when she dropped everything and just began following me around. We were hopelessly in love. she on top. Yeah. I told her I was practicing celibacy for a while. she tastes just like the sea. I’m good at that too. She’s the mother of my children. sultry. Year before last. two can go for the price of one. and had left him to do a special lecture series set up for me by my favorite master. I had planned to get initiated under Mahammet to increase my connections. I did my best to avoid her because I knew she would get pregnant. I do. Besides. Like entering a dream. Mahammet. I guided a religious trainee around India. I know . She said she was desperate to come. Her husband is kind of effeminate. I was on tour lecturing on astrology and yoga.. and I’ve been around so like they say.. a luminous. she was desperate! That woman rode me for hours. She comes from a very rich family in Merida. Her husband was taking care of the health food store and their children when she came alone to Mexico City to fast. Did I tell you that Caridad is pregnant again? Before I left. the way gay guys act. Usually I don’t have to pay for my own travel because I’m on a spiritual pilgrimage so people are just willing to pay my expenses. deep brown that you could fall into and get high on. But Caridad doesn’t make me experience that wild lust and passion I feel when I’m with Esmerelda. with her legs crossed around his back. One is five and the other one three. She said she got tired of that. Over the next two months. You know what I mean. Sometimes I play tour guide to people with money. Plus my customers and friends get astrology readings. They have two girls. He can’t help it. And entering her is like being in the ocean. I don’t skirmish on the job. she wouldn’t listen. Esmerelda is a doctor of psychology. Not big. Like “go on. I really was practicing heavy duty meditation. as though she were constantly evaluating the taste of everything. They get their money’s worth. But you know her. How much do I make? Enough to survive just from radio and talk shows. but it’s not the same. Without orgasms either. Our fourth one was only eight months old and Caridad took to following me around the house begging me to fuck her. Here! Look at this photo. whatever they want and I have to offer in the way of mind and matter. It’s not that I don’t desire her. They would sit like this. I travel plenty.. Because I always try to do my very best. Her eyes are big and round. I have my own following. He was abused sexually as a child. help with nutrition. lightly rocking to and fro for an hour or so. please. I was traveling with this guru. Like she was in heat. But we couldn’t help it. I give them all they expect and more. Dios mio. I know. Her elbows stuck through her skin and jutted out at sharp angles as though she didn’t have enough meat to cover them.contrasted greatly with her plump figure. Her lips are pouty. Esmerelda melted down to a miserly one hundred fifty pounds. She’s a 84 85 . Esmerelda had this ephemeral quality as though she could float away. I did and she ended up pregnant while I ended up in Mexico with Esmerelda. it’s o. We became inseparable after that.” Just his style.

telling her what effect her tainted reputation would have on their children. (and rightly so). When she comes. . I had visited their home and had met the entire family. tell them her credentials. how soaked the bed sheets are? That’s from her. He demanded she return home immediately. I will tell you later. hers was a marriage in name only. but it helped pay for our travels. There must be a half gallon of that stuff. They didn’t pay any outsiders. she would call a university in Yucatan. to me. yes. He had thought we were only platonic friends. or sharing the same hotel room and things changed. I can see that you’re skeptical. the Indios. I am very much ashamed. even that early on. You know they still have their culture. I do believe we knew each other in another life. and it was like she was bringing shame on them by putting the horns on her man in public. see the wetness. It was definitely karmic. yoga. Like I said. they had to demand she return home.. It was a big mess because she told them all how she felt. the one I mentioned before. And there’s a lot of prestige connected to doing this. then tell about me. He lectured part time at Mexico City University. Mahammet. Look. there’s something else strange about Esmerelda. She had no choice. Then came a crick in the tranquility. Yes. Her dream would not be denied. The pay is never great. she was very unhappy about her weight so her husband agreed that she could go off with the spiritual yogi... her husband and their two girls shared a house with her parents. and even though her family loved me. A very good. . and then they would invite me. she had to follow me. Besides. It was easy for her. Then she met me. at first I couldn’t believe it myself. The shop and cafe were doing quite well. I have to tell you about her children. 86 87 . did I show you this picture? See the haunting glow her face has. What happened was. And when I explained that I had no intention of ever moving to Mexico permanently. The cash flow was kept in the family. I swear Comadre. You know.. This was very convenient for them because her husband is a professor of nutrition. she said she didn’t care. they were crazy about me. our child would legally bear his name and would be his. . They noticed that she had lost weight. That since he was legally the husband. But look.. But she had already passed beyond that point. She was happy and energetic and they attributed it. I have to tell you something else about an error I made. two story house in a well kept area near the outskirts of the city. Oh. the one that I couldn’t get along with. he would fight us any way he could.native. that I was doing a lecture circuit on astrology. She only asked if I objected to dual residency. She decided to let him guide her on a three week fast to lose some weight. She explained that if we have a child. It’s like a rocket shoots out of her and explodes. The two of us could not resist the strength of the forces that brought us together. she thought she might be pregnant by me. it’s as though she were ejaculating like a man. The whole thing turned into a big confrontation. we left again together to return to our rented bungalow on the beach. We went back to her home together. They threw the kids up in her face and tried to reason with her. it’s like a fountain gushing. Comadre. After this big showdown. and the child bears my name legally.. They were so impressed with me. Talk about ejaculation. She can shoot hers further than any man if he weren’t afraid to compete with her. Her husband was very angry when he first discovered we were lovers. but here. The husband said we’re both crazy. Listen. Another words. It’s because of my miscalculation about her profuse wetness. How she had dreamt of me and was in love with me and couldn’t be with her husband anymore. I’m entitled to duel residency. the bed gets so wet. the glow had returned to her face. Ah. Like. and nutrition. I’m trying to tell you. She. which of course was me. I know. We were karmically intertwined. Wait. look at this picture. This lent credibility to their health food store and cafe. They ran the store themselves and sometimes the grandparents helped out. But then her husband started hearing stories about us holding hands.

there was a big cauldron of soup boiling and the two children were throwing a ball. Her husband had been alone in the store that day and had the two children with him.. Of course she has more than me. I bring home loads of sea kelp to help build her up. I made a mistake. I’ll always take care of Caridad. Second degree burns. and the small one. which she couldn’t help because of her attraction to me.Several days later. The repair procedure cost about one hundred American dollars. only pleasure. of course I had no idea. And in no way did she ever signify that I was causing her pain. They were playing by themselves in the kitchen and her husband was serving food out front to the customers in the cafe. It fits her perfect. after we had spent the day at the ocean and had just returned to our beach front room. They sewed her up. . It always feels a little tighter that way. and she was laying on her side. I felt guilty. because of her doctoral status. Anyway. she was crazy about the dress you sent her.. and having a recurrence. Comadre? Ah. Esmerelda decided to call home to check on things and speak to her daughters. I said I did something that I was ashamed of? Oh God. Caridad knows the whole story. And especially since. I was afraid of hurting her again. she is known nationally there. well now we’re back at the point where I said I would tell you about what I mentioned before. Where does it stand now? Well. the three year old? She got burned over two thirds of her body. I couldn’t resist.. No. I’m here to see you before I travel into Mexico. but we were helpless. What a shock! We found out that there had been an accident in the kitchen just minutes before we called. Remember. But I did try my best to be as gentle as I could. Almost by accident she was so wet. I paid Esmerelda back the one hundred dollars. No. After all.. I figured she could handle it. that he did it on purpose? I mean. She didn’t complain. I had her from behind. Anyway. . She’s the mother of my children. Pobrecita. as you know. like she was really into it. Do you think. But that’s not the point. subconsciously? How could he ever have left the children alone in the kitchen throwing a ball around when it’s so dangerous? With a big cauldron of soup? I just don’t know. Caridad knows it’s six months since I’ve seen Esmerelda. By the way. just because she left to be with me. I don’t know how to say this. Well. She was so hot. . when I tried to reinsert myself I didn’t realize at first that I was putting my penis in her anus. I was fucking her up her ass.. I didn’t fuck her immediately in her anus again. but now she’s got all these scars. We were fucking when I slipped out. . I waited till the stitches were dissolved. It’s not like I take advantage.. but she begged me to. that it was hurting her to defecate and her asshole was bleeding. She was quite beautiful. I checked for them. you know. Before I realized it. We went to the nearest hospital emergency room where they examined her and told her that her rectum was torn. psychologically speaking. she’s still anemic. I told you about how wild our sex is? And how she was so wet. She 88 89 . How would I have known? It slipped in there so easy. just like a man. She lives in my house and I make sure they always have enough to eat. Remember. she still loves her children and she missed them. Later I found out that Esmerelda had kept it hidden. Although other women have told me that I’m large. You know. she never complained about my size. I already explained how the liquid just rushes out of her when she’s coming. She accepts it as long as I’m with her at least half the year. she admitted it. in the back of the store in the kitchen. Then we were supposed to avoid sex for two weeks. Finally. so wet the penetration happened by accident. It’s very sad. that it was my fault and I had hurt her. I know she must have felt humiliated.. She was very wet and moaning. Instead she pushed her soft butt against me forcing my penis deeper inside. She was begging me to fuck her two days later. It was embarrassing because everyone knew how it had happened.. The cauldron got knocked over. Esmerelda told me the baby’s due any day now. Whaddaya think. Yeah.

That way I can travel back and forth freely between Santo Domingo and Mexico. She’ll give birth and want to fuck me immediately. I’ll tell her I’m staying a few more days because I’ve got some business. by the time I get to Esmerelda I’ll be healed. That’s why I need to call her and them so they can change the ticket. maybe make a few more dollars. I do expect to claim paternity and get residency there. My penis is so sore. We had a very good time. The End 90 91 . Can I use your phone? I want to tell her that I had to delay my flight to Florida another week. As long as I’m with her and our children half the year. I expect to do a few more astrology readings before I leave. Flaming red hair. After all. Maybe some of your friends would like readings. God. She’s so hot. Of course I want to go. Comadre? That way. rubbed raw. I miss Esmerelda. It was very spiritual. I’ll have two places where I can earn a living. That will help Caridad too. her husband will automatically get it. I can’t wait. green eyes. She understands my situation but she only wants to be friends. that I better hurry up and get there because if the baby is born and I’m not there to claim paternity. Gorgeous. Yesterday I met this beautiful red haired chick. I met her at the American Indian demonstration. Esmerelda said the last time we spoke. Satin skin that’s white. Whaddaya’ think. but with color. I was supposed to leave tomorrow morning. because I’ll be able to send her money. I wouldn’t even be able to penetrate her and she would see how red the head is. Esmerelda would know. I can’t deal with that. Yeah. Afterwards I went to her house with her. I know that’s a weird story but what do you expect? Yes. Some friends of ours have a reservation for me in Florida waiting. which is true.knows we’re in touch. She’s half American Indian. but she says she doesn’t want to know anything more about it. (that was a few weeks ago). But I’m sore right now.

Later. writing has imprinted itself on my soul. This solidified my already instinctual propensity to understand what motivated people. In the early nineties. when I hit the NYC poetry scene. Others say my prose is just on the harder and sharper sides of life. writing is my love. My writing ability is a mitzvah. 92 93 . Since childhood. and the finished products are my offspring. striving for survival. then I share my observations.... I only began to read other post-modernists after I’d been accused of being one. I write about people. who they are. always writing (circa 1980) managed to get into Columbia under the Higher Education Opportunity Program. some folk accused me of being post modernist. and later my Masters in social work.My First Love . and their lifestyles . I’m white Jewish and grew up in Washington Heights. I Joy Leftow. I had to use prose because my poetry was criticized for its lack of form so during my grad-studies I took the opportunity to study writing poetry in form. When I applied for the graduate writing program. got my BA there. I tell it like it is.. some thanked me for my heartfelt style. To top that off. Manhattan. I am the instrument. My style is . Writing has always been a profound experience for me. And about being your face reality combined with a unique perspective due to my background. I come from extremely humble and distressed beginnings combined with a hard lifestyle. and others mimicked me at open venues.

FAIRY TALE TREE A tree with fairy tale arms bent at angles impossibly real each limb left there bare and bereft by winter’s chores lays there naked but for the passing embrace of last season’s storm 94 95 .

On Long Island. Joy also appeared on Public Access show. Asheville Poetry Review.clinical social worker proficient at understanding character. and The Sounds of Poetry on Adelphi Radio at WBAU-FM. Grist on Line (internet). producer and host for her own cable TV series. the Wetlands. in addition to other cable TV shows. and Cornelia Street Cafe. She has been a featured reader at CBGB’s. including. New Press Literary Quarterly. She got her 2nd Masters in creative writing from CCNY in 2001. Poetry Central (Long Island). Joy has been assistant editor for the New Press Literary Quarterly. and has had her poetry published in a variety of literary publications. A 96 97 . and Wings Magazine. Inner Joy. Joy uses these skills when she writes about people. Poetry Magazine of the Lower East Side. she’s appeared at Palmer Vineyards and the Paris Cafe.

98 99 .

It is. sensitive book is for you. author & professor (inside for more) I have long been an advocate of traditional poetry featuring rhyme and meter. -.THADDEUS RUTKOWSKI. it’s totally honest. It’s gritty. then leads us forward to new understanding. Leftow takes us back to the times that altered lives. I am grateful for it. Leftow’s poetry is not this. Joy Leftow recalls incidents and situations that are eye-opening. Leftow speaks of real pain and sorrow. -.JONATHAN LEAF. “Tetched” Joy Leftow breaks the stereotype of what it means to be Jewish and shows the world what it means to be an artist. however a reflection of joy. humorous. “Fried Chicken & Latkes. “My Soul is not For Sale “ Writing from her own experiences and those of her close friends. --VAUGHN T. Arts & Entertainment Editor. and sometimes painful adventure of “Life in the Big Apple. -. And it’s my idea of artistic freedom in and out of forms. Ms. author.” 100 . Ms. if you can deal with true Piscean empathy for the walking wounded of the undergut of the city.Awesome words and imagery. Joy focuses a new light on the wacky. AIKEN.WILLARD GELLIS. I could feel and taste each poem. A One Woman Experience” If you can handle the depth of soul-transforming emotions. direct and heartfelt. author. New York Press In graceful verse. -.RAIN PRYOR. then this hard. uplifting and sometimes profoundly sad. Her essay on “Menopause” is frank and without cant.

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