Friday, September 27, 2013

For my sister who asked me to write a poem

What is hubris?

I used to think all hubris came from jealousy.

Scientists, like literary critics, make toxic chemicals.


A play on words.

Words are prettier than bodies.

Words do not wilt with age.

Words don’t have hormones. Not as far as I know.

Words don’t get cancer.

Words are not impacted by superfund sites.  Not directly.

Do words get sick from Strontium 90 and Roundup Ready?

Do words create naval dumping sites or aquifers?

Do words make 400 parts per million?

What happened to the bees?

Will words bear children when exposed to secret fracking chemicals?

Who will be the last baby?

Who will have the last word?

There is something about car dealerships. Today I bought a black Prius
because I haven't seen a butterfly lately.
Sandy and guns. Oh that too.
The saleswoman told me I should work less and feel less stress.
She said I would make myself sick.
Remain calm. Eat your vegetables.  Go to yoga class.
These are things we say while test driving a new car.
Then she told me she had cervical cancer and they took everything out and this week they found more cancer cells even though there was nothing left inside.
How can you do a pap smear when there is no cervix she asked her doctor.
The lady's eyes were deep brown.
I hugged the lady who sells cars.
I want to hug every body.
I told her there are over 100 superfund sites on Long Island.
She asked, 'what’s a superfund site?'

How do I begin to explain my frustration with words and persistent organic pollutants?

Where is eden?  Please text me the location and I will use my GPS to find my way there.

What is the butterfly effect?

Is it possible to restore words and living things to their rightful places?

Have you found your one rightful place?

Echoing the famous words of a famous poet this poem (if you can call it that)
exhibits hubris.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The People All Said Sit Down, Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat

it wasn't supposed to be any easier on
yom kippur. not easier. as the leader of the republican party's wife sat
in front of me while I sang Pete Seeger's "God's counting on me"
and John Lennon's "imagine" these poisons seeping in my
cells killed by the chemotherapy that saved my life.
yes. breathe. now. stop. again. sigh. buddha.
singing while his girlfriend the man I made this child with
toes pointed inward uncomfortably looked down at
the words on the page of our service. again. start.
my daughter turned 16 this week on the day the towers fell
they say Georgie and Cheney knew before it happened.
now. the first responders ill from the smoke it's in the new
york times so. amen. it must be true.
suburbia smelled of poisonous stench for days.
a new idea. start. here.
i worked in one tower as a waitress at windows on
the world and the engineer high up on the ladder
looked down at me and said "quit this job.
you're breathing poison air.
when they built these towers they sprayed them
with asbestos that blew right over
brooklyn. get out."
the people all said sit down, sit down you're rocking the boat.
serving steak tartare and martinis
to business red faced men. we the lowliest lunch servers
made $300 a week. we had health insurance.
aprons. stockings. buns. hair spray. high heels.
nylon tan scratchy dresses.
asbestos never saved those people in toppling towers.
maybe that's where my cancer came from?
asbestos air and strontium 90 in my baby milk?
DDT for the birds and the bees?
oh silent spring. oh Rachel Carson.
oh yom kippur.  back to the mourning.
misheraberach a prayer for the ill
kol ni dre she plays violin. sixteen now.
i thought about my mom and dad.
i thought about the vanishing honey bees.
i thought about the vanishing ice.
i thought about the men i dated this year
big fat liars. all.
war and monsanto
Rocky Flats.
little veins
port catheters
"the man died in his car
just like that suddenly
from lupus"
or suicide?
what species kills itself?
stop. now.
shma y'israel. adoni elohanu.
  adoni so sorry  for
          what my people have. done.  

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Hello, it's Rosh Hashanah, meaning a new year.

What will you do this New Year?

What do you have to be sorry for and did you apologize to all those whom you might have hurt?

The book of life.

We have a week.

We're about to go to war, for the sake of something. What something?

We will kill to save more lives? To make a point? To show our strength?

I dropped her off tonight and did not go.

Feeling sorry for myself, on the freeway, in the car.  My car.  My car. My car.

My mother the car.

When I realized when something breaks down.

There is no one to call.

Imagine how those children feel in countries where their parents
are bombed.

We only know the fragmentation of the bombs.

It's after effects.

That's America.

No, that's callus and forgetful.

We had 9/11.

But since the civil war in the 19th century, what wars have we
known?  Directly?

Again, callous and forgetful, I will look to orion.  So many American soldiers.

I'm sorry.  It's the week of I'm sorry.  Yom Kippur coming right up.

What do I know?

Our bodies indirectly know.

Through cancer.  Through the street people and the homeless.

Through Agent Orange and Depleted Uranium and Chemical Warfare.

All those test bombs.  oh those.

Do we see them?

A terrible mother,  I am.

Sorry.  Sorry.  Sorry.

Sorry VERY Sorry for bombing your country.

Sorry is no enough.


What else is there?