Poetry: September Songs
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 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
But Debbie and Derek downers get out of the way
Even if it’s always something
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
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
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
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