How to Get More Readers For My Poems


while I was waiting for the C train

going downtown I asked

a woman on the bench

sitting next to me something

I liked about her although

I couldn’t tell you what yesterday

I said Would You Mind Telling Me

What You Think About Poems

and she answered right away:

I Don’t Like Them.

What Do You Want From This?

Yesterday I met with a tiny group

of writers Three of Us different forms

Big Question  What We Wanted

from our words.  Not what we hoped

to say so much Unless You Are an Editorial

Writer With a Clear Message e.g.

I Hope Chesa Boudin Wins SF DA he’s only behind 240 votes (!!)

but a writer writer

who doesn’t know the story even if it’s a memoir

until she has the chance to write  doesn’t know

the sentence certainly doesn’t know the poem

until she sits down somewhere let’s say

a red leather chair with a blue bowl of sliced mangoes

and a yellow notebook  sits on the old couch

facing a tree or a building or even  an alley playing Lyle Lovett’s

Closing Time for inspiration or any Glenn Gould sits

with a good enough pen and some time say an hour or two

that’s all and writes what she doesn’t know writes what

she wants to write absolutely anything at all because being

a writer is only in some ways anyway maybe not

every wayin some ways just about having the chance

just to write.


An Old Friend Came to Dinner


we all sat in the living room and tried to say

what happened since 1977 what really happened

he told us a story about how he was walking

to take the bus uptown First Avenue bus his leg

hurt so much he almost couldn’t go visit his friend

at Sloane Kettering his best friend from kibbutz he did

and later he went to a doctor at Lenox Hill and that doctor

Armenian man from Beirut who’d studied medicine in Israel

that doctor looked at him after they talked for a while

and my old friend started to cry because he didn’t know

what would happen and the Armenian doctor stood up

and came over to him hugged him and said

Don’t Worry You’ll Be OK and somehow he is.



What to Do if You Want to

For reasons of Age I have been reading articles about the microbiome. Many tell you What Not to Do and those suggestions are often Very Odd.  (Don’t Eat Onions.  Don’t Eat Dinner. Don’t Eat Anything Sweet) They are reiterated by Experts on Mark  Hyman’s podcast.  With certainty and sometimes even with charm.  What to Do is a mild small answer.

When you wake up you don’t

have to do anything except drink

whatever it is you like:  coffee with half and half

and one sugar is more than fine.

So is turmeric tea and boiled water with a little lemon.

When you wake up you might want to

read a poem or two, or a story, or even listen

to Morning Joe.  He’s changed a little for the better.

Or a piece of music.  All music is acceptable even

old 60’s songs.  Also Bach and Um Khulsoum.  If today

you do not meditate, do not walk 10,000 steps,

do not take an exercise class, or return your overdue

library book, that’s ok too.  About breakfast you never

have to have a Protein Shake unless you want to.

Almond croissants are always OK.  So are all fruits

especially mangoes because they are orange inside.

When you wake up, you might want to consider

the word up.  Or not.






The Tree Outside The Window

Every once in a while someone writes

asking why I don’t write nature poems ( leaves

on the trees in front of my window  a color

I don’t know: not yellow or green not gold either

some of those) and though I see  leaves

changing the way we all are now from summer to today

although that tree has always been in front of my window

right in front of the conical turret where Margaret Meade

once sat I didn’t see her but I knew that’s where she was

inside although I love that tree not just because it is always

beautiful even in winter undressed still I would prefer if I had the choice

and in these words I do still I would prefer to describe my

old friend Emily Sterling as beautiful as that tree from Richmond

Virginia we were roommates in this apartment in the 70’s when

we found it together and how Emily’s mother a genteelish lady

from the South came to visit and she said You Girls Better Get

Some Curtains Otherwise You’ll Just Sit on That Couch and Stare

Right at That Tree All Day Long and You’ll Never Find a Husband

as if there was a link between the tree and the husband and we decided

that we would never get curtains, husbands or not.

A Poem for Joe Because He Loved Them


He read poems read words

read playbills out loud book flaps even a menu  years after he got dementia

still read poems even on the stage at Brevitas

never went anywhere without a good book

came upstate last summer read a few

of his own poems on the porch carried them in his pocket

he loved with enthusiasm until the end

all his family all his friends his beautiful Annie

and so many good poems

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