Wednesday, September 26, 2018


Have you felt…tired lately?
(Boy, have I!)
Are you feeling less productive than normal?
Less creative than you used to be
in your carefree youth?
(Yes! And yes!)
Is your doctor bugging you about your weight?
(All the time!)
Is your cholesterol too high?
What about your blood sugar?  And your blood pressure?
(I’m a walking disaster!)
Tired of taking all those expensive pills?
(There must be another way!)
Are you tired of being the laughing stock
of your friends and colleagues?
(Wait, what?)
Ask your doctor about Platonique!
Be the best you that there can possibly be!
Side effects may include
sudden changes in mood and hairstyle,
dramatic ends to long careers,
ennui, glaucoma,
unexplained disappearances,
criminal tendencies,
interdimensional travel,
abandonment of your loved ones,
and a sudden interest in vintage British motorcycles.
Please contact your doctor immediately
if you experience stabbing pains in your abdomen
or spend an entire paycheck
on inexpensive drug store nail polishes.
Be the ideal you!

Millard Fillmore

We were staying at the Drake Hotel
for our fourteenth anniversary,
which seemed like a romantic idea to me,
but of course, my husband was unimpressed.
He fell asleep watching TV,
but at 3:00 a.m., I was wide awake.
I wandered down the hallway,
barefoot, wearing an old t-shirt and shorts,
searching for a vending machine,
when I encountered Millard Fillmore.
Yes, the President Millard Fillmore,
about whom, I’m sure, you know nothing.
Part of the reason you can’t remember
anything about Millard Fillmore
is that he discovered how to travel through time,
and he keeps changing things accidentally.
Anyway, I ran into Millard Fillmore,
and by way of introduction, he handed me
a bloody Chinese star and told me
there was no time to lose.
There was an old wooden treasure chest,
hidden somewhere in the building,
and we needed to find it
before Sigmund Freud could.
The father of modern psychology
was at one point a close companion of President Fillmore
on his time-traveling journeys
but was now Fillmore’s sworn enemy forever more.
“Be very careful, young lady,” Millard cautioned.
“He can read minds.”
“Wow,” I replied, “I thought that was all symbolic.”
Suddenly, a well-dressed Viennese gentleman
with a closely trimmed white beard
appeared at the end of the corridor.
He was holding a small chest
made of rotting wood in both hands.
“We’re too late!” the President cried in despair.
I threw my Chinese star at the psychoanalyst.
He used the power of transmogrification
to turn it into a large banana,
which fell flaccidly and disappointingly on the floor.
Millard charged bravely at Sigmund,
his former ally, now his nemesis,
but tripped over the limp, bruised banana at his feet,
and anyway, that’s why we call it a Freudian slip.

I Wasn't Looking At the Flower

I wasn’t looking at the flower.
I was staring instead at the loaded gun.
It hadn’t gone off yet,
but Act II was far from over.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Fictional Love Story #11

It was on a Saturday,
before Saturdays even existed,
before civilization, before humans
before apes, before saber-toothed tigers,
before wooly mammoths, before t-rexes
and velociraptors and before the triceratops.
Before jellyfish and eels and trout and sharks,
before snails and slugs and mussels.
Way, way back, at the beginning of the fossil record,
on a Saturday night, a single-celled organism
encountered another.

Millions of years later,
I am waiting alone in a café,
sipping a coffee, no sugar, two creamers.
I check my phone for the fifteenth time,
looking for some kind of explanation,
secretly hoping for a cancellation.
This is the first time we’ve met “in real life,”
as though our previous interactions took place
in some kind of parallel universe
or pink unicorn fantasy world.
Anyway, I am looking for an unremarkable-looking man,
in his forties, proudly holding a hefty silver fish in his profile picture.
And now he’s late.

Back to that Saturday, millions of years ago,
the single-celled organism—let’s call him, “Bob”—
met another single-celled organism—let’s call her “Gladys,”—
somewhere in the middle of a brackish sea.
Bob and Gladys didn’t need each other to reproduce;
they could easily split themselves in half,
as they did on occasion, creating Bob A and Bob B,
and Gladys A and Gladys B,
and went their separate ways,
perhaps being absorbed into some larger amoeba.
But usually some part of Gladys and some part of Bob
stayed together.  They just liked the company,
in their unthinking, single-celled way.
And they were the first living beings on earth
to mate for life, however long that might be,
maybe a few hours or a day or two.

Robert has arrived with apologies.
stuck at work and traffic.
Now I am alarmed
because he’s smiling at me expectantly,
waiting for me to start some kind of conversation.
Fortunately, we can kill some time
with the restaurant business
of browsing menus and ordering food.
And then the food arrives,
and you ask how it is,
and it’s fine, everything’s good.
How was your day?  Good, good.
And then…well, sparks aren’t exactly flying, are they?
But I don’t feel like I need to run screaming out the door.
Robert pulls out his cell phone, oh God.
Stares at it, typing for a bit.
It’s unbelievable, really.
I stare at him, slightly open-mouthed.
Suddenly, I hear a ping on my phone.
It’s a text, from Robert.
He writes, “Is it easier to chat like this?”
“Yes,” I text back, “I think it will be.”
“Oh, that reminds me!” I type.
“My bridezilla cousin emailed me…”
“Tell me all about it,” he wrote.

Travel Acrostic Poems

(A fun poetry exercise...not looking for a prestigious award here)

A fourteen-hour flight, one-way
Unlimited snacks and movies, at least.
Sydney is our first stop
Touring the Opera House, of course, and climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Really, it’s like any other world city, but very, very expensive.
Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast is next
Liability laws must be very different here.
I hold a koala and a Tasmanian devil, feed kangaroos, get kissed by a dingo.
A stuffed version of the Tasmanian devil comes home with me.

Photogenic city, too pretty to be bombed in World War Two.
Rude hotel employees tell you “no vacancy,” despite your reservation.
A beer costs less than a bottle of water.
Get a glimpse of Kafka’s birthplace and a brothel he liked.
Unforgettable trip, except for that night you were drinking absinthe.
Eat a grilled cheese sandwich slathered in mayo while drunk.

Night people are my people
Eating greasy pizza slices at 3:00 a.m.
Walled in by endless skyscrapers
You’ve never seen so many people in one place.
Options are endless, you’ll never be done with this town.
Ride the Metro to the Bronx
Kill some time at the Strand.