the lobby is outside
somewhere before

Larry the President
National Writers Union (UAW)
Marivir beautiful Filipino Mentor
and me woman with a hat
like a duck we went
to Legislative Office Buildings LOB
vast as the famous shopping mall
somewhere in Minnesota joined
hordes of people making requests
to raise the age for people to go to prison
to change the prisons altogether
to change the laws for college tuition
to open up jobs for minority women
we asked policy people in the assembly
in the senate they were old they were young
they were usually eager to listen
except for one Republican assemblyman
who wanted to tell us about the fish he caught
and why that was important he had
stuffed fish on his wall and a picture
of himself with Dennis Miller one woman
told us that her boss was going to be 28
tomorrow New York’s youngest in the assembly
her boss wanted a cake and balloons
it’s legal to spend fifteen dollars
on a cake and balloons
two days visiting people we asked them
for money so we could give free writing classes
so that people could tell their stories
every single person and we could all hear
them our cab driver for instance son of survivors
grew up in Albany projects is 70 now
he has 8 cabs told us where we could get
prime rib dinner for $9 including vegetables
drink and desert why is it important that we
hear everyone’s stories even the assemblyman
who likes to fish how else can we
know what this world is?

Rose, or Don’t Miss This

Rose sits on the right hand side
of the market every single Sunday,
resplendent in purple fur hat, long coat,
smile as wide as the schoolyard.
Many of us are addicted to
the piles of Rose, only six
dollars for clothing that someone else
bought once, someone else wore
to a prom or a first date someone else
thought dark green velvet dress
suitable for many occasions
I do too and on a good week I go
to Rose to excavate and extract
to choose golden boots ten dollars
yesterday to talk to Rose for her
continual advice (You need a new
rain coat Esther everyone does)
One day Little Richard visited Rose
with his entourage. Rose said he comes
twice a year to her warehouse
in the Bronx and fills up a small
yellow bus. When I expressed
amazement Little Richard! Rose said
did you really believe you
were my only customer?

And Yet

It hasn’t easy being back from Southeast Asia. I’m not sure of all the reasons. Some have to do with Jet Lag, the millions of hours it took to return. And then there’s snow. We are trying to put together what we saw with what we know.

And Yet

I love words
so many of them
and yet (I don’t like
the words And Yet
though they seem appropriate)
when it comes time
to saying something
important to describing
a feeling to telling you
what we were looking for
when we were away
what part of ourselves
was lost, and then
what we found
funny to find
yourself somewhere
93 million other
people all strangers
a place you don’t
belong where you don’t know
anyone don’t speak the language
I belong right here
in my familiar room
my bedroom my office painted
color of Dentyne
view of the conical turret
where Margaret Meade worked
And Yet.

PURIM, Sort of

Yesterday I went to the library to write a Purim Poem, and couldn’t do it. I started with a traditional idea (I don’t like Rocky Holidays Revenge Holidays anything where WE win and THEY lose and the whole self righteous thing permeates everything that happens) and I couldn’t say anything without sounding equally self righteous, There aren’t any other QUEEN ESTHER holidays though so I had to write something. Here’s a Purimish poem.

We decided to celebrate
going to see Larry David he is
a Jewish holiday when we came home
(Larry David is Larry David. I am
in the Love Him camp)
Peter turned
on American Idol Detroit
Aretha Franklin Real Queen
hard to imagine anyone
wouldn’t want Aretha.
Maybe real queens
know how to sing.

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