Tag Archives: poem

my new home the South

I’m a Jew living in the South, now

where people don’t really know anything about Jews

besides the Holocaust

and at least one person quotes bible scripture at the bottom of her emails

I quite like this lady of the emailed bible quotes

she rarely lets me pass her desk without saying “hiya darling.”

i do now know the feeling of what it’s like to be

isolated in the area one lives

I had the urge to go to Temple for the first time ever the other day

I so badly need to see a Jewish nose or two like mine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Never much liked Erykah Badu

until I heard her out of speakers on a Sunday morning

with my wife just eyes

now and then

peering out over a desktop screen

across a granite tabletop at me.

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saturdays at 11:30 AM

I drive to a library on a rough block of my city

where I sit in a large, well-lit room with long, rectangular tables

and wait.

there are Saturdays where no one shows up

and I read or play with my phone or talk to my partner

if he’s around

most of the time we get a few kids who walk in with their mothers

requesting help with homework

which I am glad to oblige

since this is Homework Club, afterall

some of these kids are skinny, some are talkative, some want to be there, some don’t, some are quiet, some are overweight, some are serious, some are funny

some of their mothers drop them off and return later

some sit around and wait

some mothers talk to me

some bring me small gifts once in a while

One mom tells me she dropped out after eight grade

so she can’t help her son with his fifth grade math.

her son who is sitting across from us quietly reading an article about matter and its three states

another tells me she has been in America for a decade

and is embarrassed she hasn’t learned more English.

 

Only once I had a father drop off his two girls.

total jokesters who asked me a million questions every chance they could

in order to get out of doing their homework

one of the girls was named after a pop star.

Two hours later their Dad returned

while he waited for his daughters to pack away their notebooks and pencils

i studied him like he was one of the word problems his daughter just struggled with ten minutes prior

he was about my size

brown hair that roller coastered atop his head

in an endless succession of loops

yellow and black t-shirt

blue jeans

green eyes and thick tufts of hair

above his knuckles

just below where his fingers bent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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struck

When you go to strike me

with your nine-year-old hand

after I tell you to take a break on the bench

because you’re not playing appropriately with another, younger autistic boy

I always expect to feel anger

But I don’t

and I wonder how you did that

to/for me

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Noodling poem

The radio traded places with the GPS.

we were wherever the Mountain Goats felt like taking us

the GPS lady read poetry

by Yusef Komenyakaa

the  windshield wipers carved chunks out of the night

nothing was doing its job

our mouths made trumpet noises

whenever we attempted speech

in the Ford Escape

You turned in long sonic passages

which I punctuated with sad, drawn out notes that took all of my breath

we spoke actual words with actual saxophones

they had supplied us

It was all going to take some getting used to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ouch

Every time they talked

Lori winced off

an invisible cut

(she probably deserved)

But after a while

years?

It would be easier to stop trying

 

 

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my mother takes on the world

My mom and I are walking around her housing complex in Boca Raton
when she starts talking about how she doesn’t like Facebook
how people rant over their problems and disagreements out in public for all to see 
“Who cares?”
when she gets angry enough to explode
She puts all of her rage in a typed profanity-laced note she’ll later delete
Directed at people that piss her off

Hearing this out of her mouth
Makes me think of a forgotten piece of china lifted from its spot in a cupboard
revealing something you’d been looking for for a while.

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getting started poem

I’m not saying anything much 

With this poem

Except that I have a few hours

In which to press letters into this device

Hoping that they’ll lead me somewhere worth going.

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A Long Ago Scent

I recently

bought a new soap

for the shower

that I used for years in my late teens

and into my early twenties

So, of course,

immediately it called to mind

when I was young and unhappy

But not so complacent

When my dreams were dense

I was barely able to carry them around

like the free weights that come at the end of the shelf.

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seeking craigslist muse

I put an ad on craigslist
for a part-time muse
just to see the responses

One man wrote me
Hi, saw your ad for the muse
I have done this sort of thing before
I’m no quack.
You’ll get a good short story, maybe a novella, out of me.

I wrote back
How does it work?

He said we have coffee, and you tell me what you want to write but aren’t writing.
And we just chat like that for an hour so. I find it can sometimes be helpful to hash out ideas during significant activity. So the next time we meet, we might play tennis or something in the park.

He said he’d inspired a novel by this person who had won an award

I said did the book you inspired win the award?

He said, no.

I said, oh, how’d you get into this, anyway?

When I was growing up in Queens, my mother used to write poetry, and she’d ask me for ideas about what she wrote. I’m also an editor for a small press.

I said oh cool, maybe you can publish what I write

He said, let’s wait and see if it’s any good

I said, that’s kinda on you, no?

We agreed to meet.

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