Drug Induced Grandiosity, or Keyboards (Covid Poems)

I am not against pharmacy pills. A new ideology

a little bit sanctimonious, Zen Medica superior

to CVS.  There’s something to be said for CVS

besides two for one nuts.  But this is not a CVS poem

(although CVS Covid Poem might possibly be appropriate now)

My new sleeping pill with the possible side effect

of Unbridled Grandiosity led me to this dream last night:

Mayor de Blasio in an effort to gain some ground

in his male battle with Andrew Cuomo decided to give

every household in New York City a union made keyboard

and we would all learn to play while we were home and the whole

city would decide on a song to play together, maybe every

Friday night.  Change is Gonna Come this week’s song.

Sleep Diaries (Corona Virus Poems)

Yesterday’s Zoom session

imagine that the word Zoom now part of our

everyday vocabulary we’ve never

Zoomed  til now doctor’s appointment

to talk about sleep and she, her face closer

than she would be in her office

she said Tell Me About Your Sleep and in the end

she prescribed a pill and a pill cutter. Take half she said.

Let me know what happens.  Possible side

effects from the paper with pills:

Unusually Grand Ideas.

I took half a pill and woke up

3:41 and thought Oh No I’ll

Never Go Back to Sleep. At 4:45 I did and then

I had dream after dream after dream about so many

people I haven’t seen in years no Grand Ideas not one

and oddly enough although my sleep was,

as always, mixed, I woke

up in spite of All This in spite of sleep

I woke up happy.


Haim from North Carolina (Covid Stories Part 2)


Even though saying the word gym

still seems foreign to me I dislike gyms

all those people who look like hamsters

back and forth and back and forth gym outfits

in particular the whole idea of fitness and wellness  even though

gym is not for me I belong to the JCC. Why is another

subject. One reason is  it’s around the corner

just two blocks from Fairway.  On my tour when

they opened years ago several of the other tourees asked

about the library (would there be one? yes was the answer)

and I thought that if I had to go to a gym this was the one for me.


Mostly I take yoga classes. Sometimes meditation.

For a while I had a trainer.

(a different poem.)


Because JCC stands for Jewish Community Center

and they are an odd kind of congregation this week

they called all their members to ask How

We’re All Doing.


Haim a rabbinical student called me.

He asked how he could help me out and I told him

to tell me a story. It didn’t have to be Talmudic.



OK he said

I was born in a small town in North Carolina.  A very

small town.  I was home schooled and went to UNC

and then Jerusalem.  Back and forth. Jerusalem. North

Carolina. Jerusalem. North Carolina.  And now I’m here

at the Jewish Theological Seminary. I’ll be a rabbi soon.


I liked Haim. Did he know my friend named Jacob

when he was at UNC.?  Jacob was home schooled too.

We were friends Haim said. Not good friends but friends.



Later that day I talked to Jacob. Do you remember Haim

I asked.  Jacob is just 30. He remembers everything.  Haim

he said. Tell me more.  Home schooled. Jerusalem. Becoming

a rabbi now.  Yes said Jacob. I knew him when he was Colin.

That was before he converted.  But I did hear he’s Haim now.





Today is Better Than Yesterday (Corona Virus poem)

Maybe because there’s sun

maybe because Peter told me a good story about Shania Twain

I didn’t know she’s a Country Singer her husband

left her for her best friend then Shania

married the best friend’s husband they say they’re all

happier now maybe because

someone who knows says there will be prison reform

in New York state  and because every single night

more and more people clap for workers about time we clapped

for workers at 7 o’clock we stand on fire escapes

one neighbor sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow for our block

maybe because even though I forgot to do the free Sharon

Salzberg meditation yesterday afternoon I remembered

to listen to the New Sounds podcast and last night

better than the night before too because Scooter the host

of one of my favorite podcasts ever Sleep With Me he guarantees

his stories will put you over the edge into sleep they don’t always

but last night Scooter’s story they have no arc which is

a big advantage if you’re trying to sleep last night his story

worked and today there is sun and we will go to the park

and sit on a bench and read poems




Here in this apartment I have much more time

to think about what I haven’t thought about

maybe ever maybe for years like what ever happened

to two cousins I saw once or twice.  My mother had two siblings

who were in touch but the third,  exotic name Dolly,

maybe I saw her three or four times.  Dolly lived in Minneapolis.

They weren’t estranged. Just distant.  You might want to know

the difference .Distance is not ok but isn’t as bad as estranged.

Dolly had two daughters and last night I tried to find them.  Not yet.

Yesterday my gym, a JCC, had a student rabbi call

to see how I was. Gym as synagogue now.

Haim from North Carolina.  How

can I help he asked.  Tell me about yourself I said

and Haim, young and articulate, explained he was home schooled

in a small town in North Carolina not too far from Greensboro.

He didn’t know why they chose to call him Haim.  After UNC

he went to Jerusalem and that’s where he decided on rabbi.

We talked for a while and I wondered,

if I do find my cousins, what would we say.

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