Sunday, December 29, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #200

                                                      SELF PORTRAIT/ Francis Bacon     

THANK YOU , Tess...for all the Magpie Tales


This is me in front of the door,
the one where ghosts hesitate to glide,
and you said that was my portal of passage.

Little did I know.

Remember the day i plunged down the stairs,
and you said what more?
As if you had been hurt, not I?

Don't wish me bad I said,
but you laughed and whispered,
kill you most likely.

What more can befall me,
paintings building up in the corner,
stains bleeding onto the canvas,
sited where pain was lodged.

You want to know 
how much will they pay
for the further torture of your eyes.

I didn't mean for my art to please,
I didn't mean for my life to please.
I should have embraced, "smile please,"
instead of painting hell stinging the canvas,
the snake of Eden slithering out of the tube.

Now you see me with my soul intact,
before you struck your blow,
and couldn't tell that I was smiling.

copyright/all rights reserved/ 2013

Let's have a Happy New Year!!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #199

                                      MADONNA WITH the MILK SOUP/ 1510/ Gerard David

THANK YOU, Magpie Tales...


Virgin, make me your child,
feed me from your cup
so that Spirit's light
pours over me.

Fold my hands
into a plea for harmony.
Pray that the constant storm
hums like a zephyr.

Virgin, stay near
all the children
in the garden.

Teach sinner or not,
your healing poetry.

When time slips
into darkness, Mother,
never search for me
with the voice of mourning.

Seek for me only in joy.

                                     MERRY CHRISTMAS / HAPPY HOLIDAYS

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Monday, December 16, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #198

                                         THE ICE CUTTERS/ 1911/ Natalia Goncharova

THANK YOU, Tess....for Magpie Tales...


I'm so cold without you.
My heart,
no longer a red fist
directing our traffic,
is lying in state.

My quiver is full of shards
that will kill,
if I release them.

Yet I pester to shake loose
from the ice house.

Once again,
waiting for your touch
to thaw my wintry blood.

I'll melt,
into a wave of celebration.

Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Sunday, December 8, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #197

                                            "SEAGULLS" / The Guardian/ Eyewitness

THANK YOU, Tess...still aloft...Magpie Tales


Part of me knows what's real,
pain lets me know.

If this plucking happens
when I'm awake,
my feathers pulled,
I will say stop.

Cry maybe bloody murder.

But in my comfort,
when a feather
is yanked from my wing,
in the midst of it,
I will fly.

Pain is a concept as yet
unborn in my dreams.

A hand reaches
like a shadow,

made of less than matter,
making mischief,
ruffling my feathers.

I'm bleeding
in a Hitchcock chiller,
no pain.

Copyright/ all rights reserved? 2013

Sunday, December 1, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #196

THANK YOU, Tess...Magpie Tales


Either odd or expected, coming face to face with this week's Magpie photo.

I love ravens.  My daughter loves ravens.  We dont know why.  This week's Magpie pic seems to be of my daughter.  The image of her.  Cannot be.  But that raven wing...she might just say yes to that.

So she loved my poem last week.  She always loves my stuff.  We do that for each other.  And she comments.  Thanks, Dori.  She writes a blog for Huff Post.  Doesn't accept comments.  What class!

Last week I ended my Mag #195 with a raven eruption.  My daughter reminded me of the raven that flew down our chimney, years ago, at the ski house.  Once we were posh.

I do that a lot, get ahead of myself, project, predict.  Seems last week's poem, "Privilege", stood at attention, sort of waiting for this weeks picture to arrive.  Nice trick, Tess.  But I wrote that last week.  This is how the poem ended..

                " I'm hoping that my wings
                  will be a Raven's."

I do play a psychic game, coming up with the slightest glimpse of tomorrow.  Still, after all these years.  It's natural.  it just is.  I did it for years.  For fame and fortune.  Shhh.  Short on the fortune part.  Come to think of it, what fame?

Still like it when odd "coincidences" occur.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #195

                          AUTUMN on the RIVER/ 1889/ John Singer Sargent

THANK YOU, Tess...Magpie Tales


Veiled within my swaddling,
I exhale a wish,
seekng a promise
that I become an icon.

I develop my heartbeat,
imagine what rapture I'll feel
when swathed in spendid regalia.

In the offing,
a chrysalis will peel,
thrust me out,
hang me by a thread
as my blood pumps.

I'm hoping that my wings
will be a raven's.

Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

As you can see by my header, my heart belongs to JSS.

Monday, November 18, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #194

THANK YOU, Tess, for Magpie Tales..


I can't imagine that you will actually receive this.  Perhaps you have longevity in you as we do in our family.

By rights, we both could have passed on to our eternal rest by now.  This old woman, reading your letter, little resembles the scarlet tressed girl you just proposed to.

Did anyone know your mind?  I didn't.  We spoke rarely before you left the hospital, poor wounded soul, and yet our tiny flirtation seemed to stir within you a dream of permanence only now uncovered.

Life is so odd, don't you think?  I have sadly survived my sister Anne, who introduced us.  And she the beauty I was sure you fancied.  Yet here am I holding your letter, found neatly folded at the bottom of a faded bundle.

Who unsealed it and then put it aside, for me to never see, until a moment ago, sixty years later?

I led a good life, lost much I loved.  Perhaps similar to yours.  At the end we are all so much alike.  Looking for clues as memory fades.  Was this really me?

I wonder now if you survived the war.  Or gone perhaps these many years.  Maybe my words will just shake up your ghost.

Eyesight faded, I sit daily at the window of my daughter's home, wishing for life to be a dream.  Today it became one.  If you are still willing, I think I will say yes for you to come to call.


Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013


                                      Danseus ajustant sa bretelle, Edgar Degas, 1895/96

THANK Magpie Tales


In the wings,
away from the corps,
whispers to me,
the way,
and the answer.

An invitation
to pose after the dance,
a gossamer tutu,
a promise for fame,
as I step into a grand-plie',

take on an arabesque,
spin a pirouette.

copyright/ all rights resered/ 2013

Sunday, November 3, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #192

                           RESURRECTION REUNION 2 / 1945/ Sir Stanley Spencer

THANK YOU, Tess...Magpie Tales


They say we look alike,
it's the pallor of our cheeks,
the breath we gasp,
when we enter
what is this place?

Is it meditation, sleep,
death, exit,

Which chakra are we jammed at?
I'm heading for the crown,

stop pining away at Plexus.

My lips already flash
a spank of tangerine,
yours, no question
need a lick of color.

How are we alike?

Copright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Sunday, October 27, 2013


                                                        le Jardin/ 1962/ Max Ernst

THANK YOU, TESS...for Magpie Tales...


My resolve cuts a swathe,
thinks it is the wind,

I clutch a handful of detritus,
fools me,
looks like diamonds,
really a shard of glass,
sculpting an edge within me.

The wind stirs again,
a cloud
blows its cheeks
to comic effect.

Is it yesterday,
today, tomorrow?

Same clutch, release, bleed.
Demeter around my neck,
ancient amulet
caresses my skin.

Promises engorge me,
I'm the mother,
I'm a mother,

afraid that dying will end it all.

Copyright/ All rights reserved/ 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #189

                                                             image/ CRILLEB 50

THANK YOU, Tess, at Magpie Tales


Got a minute?
There's one flying by,
looks like a Bird of Paradise,
just sliced itself out
of its speckled haven.

Pure before sin,
living its first minute
as infinity licks it clean.

A free pass,
then life spreads its wings.

Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Monday, September 30, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #188

                                                       PHOTO/ Mark Haley

THANK YOU, Tess, at Magpie Tales...


As soon as the daylight
starts to bleed dry,
before red and blue
turn to purple
and die as grey,
I catch the rim of Venus,
reflect a gleam
that isn't mine to give.

Even as we hide
in the multitude of stars
and blades of grass,
we haggle our gifts again,

because memory says
there is a dawn,
and after seizing
the blessed boon,
I can awaken
as a Phoenix.

Copyright/ All rights reserved/ 2013

Sunday, September 22, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #187

                                              THE MOTH and the LAMP/ Cesar Santos

THANK YOU, Tess, at Magpie Tales...


It's the first singe
that wounds,
an illicit touch,

the pretense
that I will endure
past the ecstatic gasp,
beyond nature's bribe.

spent again.

I keep forgetting
the game,
as if breath
can be heaved in,

in rapture forever.

I stay
to be consumed.

Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #186

THANK YOU, Tess..for Magpie Tales...


You put me on the map
so to speak,

so good at sketching other's lives.

Lover, friend,
life partner,
I'm up to date.

Gave me form and figure,
colored me in with Crayolas,
but you went over the line,
let me bleed
into undisclosed territory.

Lucky me,
critics always ready to comment
with a saving grace.

Many salvaged me,
made me fit their hindsight.

I became a double doppelganger,
mirrors reflected an eternity of me,

but every karmic comeback
left room to be desired.
Still a babe
knocking at the door.

Just let me in.

Copyright/ All rights reserved/ 2013

Monday, September 9, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #185

THANK YOU, Magpie Tales

"Oh waiter, please, I'll have some meat loaf, and some mashed potatoes.  A lot please...and oh yes, ketchup, please.  Thank you, sir."


2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.   Mix ground beef, bread crumbs, egg and seasonings in a large bowl.

Shape into a loaf on shallow baking pan.  Pour ketchup over top.

Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until cooked through.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.  Serves 8.


3 1/2 lbs. Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes.
1/4 lb. sweet butter, cut into small chunks.
1 1/2 cups milk or cream
Salt and pepper to taste.

Cover potatoes with cold water and bring to a boil in a large pot.  Cook until tender, about 40 min., and drain immediately.

Use a potato ricer or electric mixer to mash the potatoes.  Add the butter and half the milk or cream and mix to a smooth puree.  Add more milk or cream if necessary.  Season with salt and pepper.  Serves 10.

You can have this in an hour.  Butter....cream...yes!!  This isn't the Orient Express.

Copyright/ All rights reserved/ 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

MAGPIE...Promt #184

ARTWORK/ Jeanie Tomanek
My inner dove
wakes me from a doze.
I find myself up a tree,
without an answer,
and what we call thought
passes in a flicker,
is waiting to be felled
like kindling.
This tree will fall
by art and aim.
I think to alight from a limb,
and if I land
in the vast
elemental sea,
pray I don't materialize
up the creek.
Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Monday, August 26, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #183

                                            PASSING PLACE/ Steven Kelly

THANK YOU, Tess, at Magpie Tales...


Ready for cloud nine,

instead, barren arid landscape,
not the wrap up I'm expecting.

I'm floating
like a half-formed banshee,
asking veiled spirits
if this is Paradise?

Not a seraph in sight
to bundle me across
the path of good intentions.

Where's the tunnel of light,
or my spirit guide
swanning in the mist,
waiting to take my hand?

I expected
at the very least,
a beckoning angel,
face of a Gothic saint.

Maybe a chorus line
meandering up
the stairway to heaven.

Really disappointed.

Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #181

                                                      Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

THANK YOU Tess, for Magpie Tales...


It will never halt,
this loop of jazz
sheathing my pulse,
my sweat stuck
to your cheek,
a briny recipe
for a singular hunger.

I pull away, glide,
a trickle
bounces off my breast,
enticing a glance
from your smoky eye.

Like a butterfly
just coming loose,
I alight on your rhythm.

Out of the blue
you're across the room,
then back beside me
in a stride.

Who is she?

Copyight/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Letting go, urged to do so by philosophers
of opposing hues.

Don't look back, never embrace your own
dark ages.

Brush the dust off, all that earth and high
heaven could ever measure out.

It's a first-rate saintly mission to keep
plucking those scales from our eyes.

Return attachments to the ocean of cosmic broth.
There in the waiting throng, ready to cool
my fevered brow, I dream my birth.

The heaviness of the burden fell into the
black hole a long time ago.  Sing: life is
but a dream.

All is reflection, a mirror.  Read this backwards,
start in the middle.

The beginning is on the horizon, the end
just slammed shut.  Not the first time.

Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #180

                           DRAWING HANDS/ 1948/ M.C. Escher

THANK YOU, Tess, at Magpie Tales...


All art steals,
doesn't matter
who drew that smile first.

Hold it this way
and I can read Vermeer's mind,
skilled hands reaching into me,
weaving the gift anew.

Pulling a Daumier
from an etch-a-sketch,
perfecting my skill,
sculpting my thumb,
searching my hands,

finding a fingerprint
that proves it's me,
not guilty.

Grace is number one.
Reaching for my life,

Copyright/ All rights reserved/ 2013

Thursday, August 1, 2013


ONLY BECAUSE I seem to be suddenly allergic, am I presenting this recipe to you.
Figs.  Gorgeous figs, never nipped at the roof of my mouth before.  Last night, a bit of a tingle... can allergic reaction be far behind?  Well, yes/ no, but I've been neurotic for too long not to feel a bit of panic, a bit of "what if".  So I do what I usually do, suppress and start walking.  Through my apartment.  Because nothing can happen to me as I trip a light jog.  It's my life, ya know.  Sometimes even magic works.
I live on the Upper Famous Side of New York.  But I live for bargains.  About twenty paces past my front doorman, is one of dozens of fruit and vegetable stands in my neighborhood.  It's definitely like having my own green market, don't even have to cross the street.  Friendly vendor, nowadays all stands seem operated by exceptionally polite young guys from the Middle East.  Who needs the United Nations? 
Bought a box of lovely figs, nestled in a green plastic basket.  Picture perfect. You know the rest.
After the false alarm, didn't die of shock, figured it's best to sort of do a compote.  This AM, cut them in pay attention, this is the recipe:
Small saucepan, put figs in.
Sprinkle with brown sugar,
or honey.  Or both.
Pinch of salt.
Shake some cinnamon, nutmeg.
Small slice of ginger,
couple slices of lemon.
Water to cover.
Cook, for about 20 minutes,
covered, very low heat.
Uncover, cook down to syrup.
Cool. Chill.  Eat.
Vanilla ice cream, why not?
Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Monday, July 29, 2013

MAGPIE...Prompt #179

THANK YOU, Tess, for Magpie Tales...


Taking a deep breath
like a comedian high
on inhaled helium
filling a red balloon,

I'm nesting in
a new-fangled identity.

Changing my voice,
fooled my lover,
kissing a new Spiderman
on the web.

What's the matter
if there is no matter,
Einstein's laughing,
just as lofty as me.

Playing games
with the gravity of it all,
double entendres
all over the place.

I leap frog
over poetic impediments,
craft is empty,

invisible me
steering a skill
full of hot air.

Forgotten all together
the witty driver
of yesterday.
Monday morning,
me, dimly plotting.

Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Thursday, July 18, 2013


HOLDING A PERFECT, RIPE PEACH, right now.  Is there perfection in this world? 

Mother Nature takes care of that.  The bounty of the earth.  Not us..we're here to mess up, spot karma along the way, try to make amends.

But Mother?  At the bottom of all mischief, all temptation.  Be tempted now.  Easily assemble tonight's dessert.  Find a peach as sweet as mine, with real fuzz on it, rosy as a baby's it now, or slice into it...that's right another slice, and another.  Falling into your most precious crystal..the one you drink champs from.  Or the one your grandmother brought over from the old country.

Pour some excellent red wine over the peaches.  They seem to crave it, but not too much...this isn't Sangria.  It's dessert.  So put it on the sideboard.  Go about dinner.  Drink what you wish.  Then get a silver spoon.  Yes, silver and crystal, peaches and wine.  No sugar, no spice, scoop the peaches past your lips, swirl the wine.  Ahhh.....

Here's the ending of a poem that I wrote several years ago.  It's included in a book of poetry, "Two Ghosts"...(aha!)...about a visit to Saint-Paul de Vence.

From "The Peaches of Saint-Paul" :

"A vender's cart,
just wheeled into the shade,
displayed avacados
alongside daisies.

Melons were cut open,
their pale green flesh
too pungent,
summoning a rush of fruit flies.

A dozen peaches
ripened to a dazzling pink.
One glowed with a fever
in my cupped hands.

I brushed its pre-pubescent fuzz
against your cheek.
It became a secret kiss
that no one saw.

But I saved
the first bite
for me."

Copyright/ all rights reserved/ 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


NADEZHDA POPOVA...Dec. 27, 1921/ July 8, 2013
                         World War ll, "Night Witch", in Moscow, age 91.

"I sometimes stare into the blackness and close my eyes", Ms. Popova said in 2010.  "I can still imagine myself as a young girl, up there in my little bomber.  And I ask myself, 'Nadia, how did you do it?"

To the Nazis, they were the Night Witches.  The noise their canvas and plywood planes made had the sound of a witch on a broomstick.  So they said.

This was a compliment to the Russian women who piloted these planes, which previously were crop dusters.  They flew 30,000 missions over four years, dropped 23 tons of bombs on the German invaders of Russia, forcing them back to Berlin. 

The volunteers were mostly young women in their teens and early 20's.  They became legends, but now mostly forgotten.  They flew only at night, had no parachutes or radios.  Because they flew in open cockpits, they could count on frozen faces. If hit, their planes burned like paper.

Nadezhda Popova, one of the first volunteers, was inspired by revenge and patriotism.  Shortly after the Nazis invaded Russia, her brother and father were killed.  She flew 852 missions, and became a deputy commander of what was the 588th Night Bomber Regiment.  When Ms. Popova first volunteered she was turned down, as women were.  But an order was issued in 1941 to deploy three regiments of female pilots. Thus were born the Night Witches.

Their ability caused the Nazis to spread rumors that they were given pills and injections to give them "a feline's perfect vision at night", Ms. Popova said.  "This, of course, was nonsense."

To read more about Nadia, and the Night Witches, refer to "Flying For Her Country: The American and Soviet Women Military Pilots of World War ll. "  by Amy Goodpaster Strebe (2007).

Thanks to The New York Times for info in an article by Douglas Martin.


                            NADIA, standing amidst the "Night Witches".

COPYRIGHT/ All rights reserved/ 2013


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