Poetry: September Songs

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We have some wonderful new poems from Madlyn Steinhart, Stephanie Sloane, Nicole Freezer Rubens,  Marjorie Levine, and Carol Ostrow.

It’s always something

Tests your vigor and vim
Tests your vinegar
Your power to be good, thoughtful, and kind
Even when gray clouds surround you on the sunniest of days
Even when you wanted to dance in the rain jumping puddles
It’s always something
Sometimes someone
But Debbie and Derek downers get out of the way
Even if it’s always something
~Madlyn Epstein Steinhart, author of Put Your Boots on and Dance in the Rain

Is It a Date?

Consultation with friends

Is it a date

Or just dinner

Between two old friends?

Being picked up at my home

Offers no clues

Neither does the dinner that follows

A glass of wine, Chinese food, conversation

Home again, a request

To taste the vodka I spoke of

Another request, innocent enough, for a hug

The realization that

This past year plus for me

And more for you

We have been deprived

Of the touch of another human being

Another request

Guess what?

Could it be?

It’s a date!

~ Stephanie Sloane, author of Dear Me


On Merrimack Street,

In Lowell, there’s a signpost

That says: Detour.

Maybe he never should have

Taken the other road,

Maybe he should have gone

Back, gone the other way

And stayed on these roads.

The air at the end of these

Roads becomes thick and

Dense and there is fog.

Here, on lonely low bleak cloudy days

There are quiet somber and grey

Places: big old several storied houses

With many front steps and slanted roofs

And lots of windows for eye prints.

The houses on University Avenue

From long ago are comforting with

Stubborn intoxicating attics whispering

Secrets obsessed with what

Was, so returning to this street

Reveals air like a strange pentimento.

Old stores with faded signs, corner

Places that never ever yielded or

Changed and they don’t bend, they

Remain strong, proud, and solid.

If he stayed for more than a short

Time he always heard the swing

Music; drizzling so he could remember.

At night, in dreams, when

The way became lost, he

Soon realized he never left.

All that time, all those years

His eyes were just closed.

The boarded up windows gave

Him reasons to cry.

Now, this is the end of the seductive

Road, his forever destination:

A place that always surfaced

When sad dreams and deep

Longing finally fell away…

And he had to return to this place

Like a traveler who finally uses his

Return trip ticket.


~Marjorie J. Levine, author of Road Trips

Summer in the City

I took the Q train

to Coney Island,

the city’s beach

with orange Park’s Department unbrellas.

It smells like funnel cake

and pollution.

A Starbucks is coming to Surf Avenue.

I take hundreds of photos

on my phone

hoping to capture

a few good enough to post,

knowing I will delete the rest.

I crave a twisted

vanilla chocolate cone

that will quickly drip on my fingers.

I am obligated to find one.

After I frame the Wonder Wheel

from every possible angle

and snap the multicolored gates everywhere,

I shoot the Cyclone.

I wait in the heat

for the roller coaster car

labeled C Y C L O N E

to align just under another

red Cyclone sign.

I put my Vans in my purse

and sink my bare feet

into the city sand.

It is so soft, so fine,

but littered with tiny shell shards.

I listen to pop songs playing

over loudspeakers

hung on a now defunct iconic ride

and inhale someone else’s pot.

Today this is my borrowed beach.

~Nicole Freezer Rubens, author of “The Long Pause and the Short Breathe”

To Change with the Times

Shakespeare said, “all the world is a stage “,

For our modern times, TikTok is the rage,

No more books for our interests to engage,

It’s the internet that entices instead of a page,

I’m a curious girl who loves a good story,

Remember the book, Tuesdays With Moury?

About a lonely old man who outlived every friend,

Stayed wise and aware until his mortal end,

I love turning pages, the feel of a  book,

Perhaps a story of how the earth really shook,

When a protagonist realizes a pretty female took,

His breath away with a sexy sad look,

Remember when we watched films in a movie house,

As hundreds with you were as quiet as a mouse?

The only sounds were crinkling bags of candy,

Today we stay home to watch Netflix and Prime,

We even work from home so much of the time,

I’ve just made up my mind so you will see,

There is a place for all of us to adapt and be,

Old fashioned and modern, a mixture as we,

Decide to adapt or stay on the periphery,

The fact is it’s quite the same quandary,

As I turn again to Shakespeare’s, “ to be or not to be”,

I am a work in progress trying to keep up with change,

It takes so much energy to entirely rearrange,

The old world and the new one to fit my needs,

However, history shows that a little time succeeds,

In adapting all of us to change. But, do I really want it?

That is the question.

~ Carol Ostrow, author of Poems from My Pandemic Pen

Poetry is back in vogue and through The Three Tomatoes Book Publishing we have the honor of publishing books by four poets—Madlyn Epstein Steinhart, Stephanie Sloane, Nicole Freezer Rubens, and Carol Ostrow. Check out their poetry submissions each month.

Poet Laureats

Poetry is back in vogue and through The Three Tomatoes Book Publishing we have the honor of publishing books by four poets—Madlyn Epstein Steinhart, Stephanie Sloane, Nicole Freezer Rubens, and Carol Ostrow. Check out their poetry submissions each month.

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