Stevieslaw: My poem on New Verse News

Big day today. Here is my poem on New Verse News:

Slum Lord

You send the beef
in bowling shirts
and shitkicker boots
every Sunday morning
to collect from the perennial poor
in the claptraps
you own on Stone Avenue.

Rumor has it
the hobbled wretch
who begs at the five and dime
offered lip
instead of money
and they showed him out
through a third floor window.

Dad’s mom lived
on the fourth floor of #720.
A refugee from the shtetl
she was well prepared
to live without heat
or running water,
to navigate the teeter-totter stairs
in the half light of a 40 watt bulb,
to coexist with roaches and rats,
the acrid smell of cabbage,
untended garbage,
and the methodical cruelty
that humans without hope
inflict on one another.

I know you.
You have the health
and building people
in your ample hip pocket
and while you might
hire some people to spit
shine your shoes
and some to break legs,
you spend every Sunday night
counting and recounting
the stack of smalls,
the nickels and dimes—
because for you,
a sumptuous view
of the New York skyline
can never compare
to the heft of a roll
of nickels.

And the link:

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Stevieslaw: Karen’s Joseph Cornell poem

My wife, Karen, has her first pubished poem on The Ekphrastic Review today.  It’s in response to a Joseph Cornell box. The link is above. The poem is here:

Utopia Parkway

Joseph Cornell rode the bus from
3708 Utopia Parkway to Flushing, NY
to pick up the train into Manhattan.
I rode that bus many times
to go to school, to the movies,
to shop, to escape.
Would I have noticed him
amongst the other passengers?
Would he have worn an overcoat, a tie?
Would he have shopping bags
to hold the things he found in the city?
Would his theatre tickets be stuffed in his pockets,
or carefully tucked in a book?
Would he have stared at the floor,
or closed his eyes and dreamed?
Would I have approached him,
if I had known who he was
or picked up something he had dropped
and followed him to return it?
Or, would I have stuffed it in my handbag,
taken it home, and put it
in a box?


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Stevieslaw: Poem—Cancer

My poem, Cancer, is up on The Drabble today. Here is the poem and the link.


“I’m still here”
you whisper,
in a voice as old as anguish,
barely discernible over
the din of the everyday—
scented like Sunday
with the musk
of onion-skinned prayer books
and the lingering
sadness of dusk.



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Stevieslaw: New Poem: Good Night

The link to the issue is above.  Here is the poem.

Good Night

Grandma, fourteen and just arrived from England,
survived the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire,
her left side—sightless and deaf—
scarred from arm to ear.
For 83 years, she was afraid of sleep—
of dreams that swallowed her night.

Grandma liked to say she could see better
than most with perfect vision,
hear enough
to smell horseshit,
knit and sew, cook and bake as well
as those who slept at night.
She taught us all to cook
with gestures and incantations.
Her latkes were legend—
peppery and crisp as chips.

Grandpa often said he worshipped
the ground she walked on
and that she wasn’t so bad either
He wore the grin of a happy man
with a laugh as contagious as good health.

Widowed at 90, we took her in.
My grandson, Paul,
shy and slight—
shadowed her every move.
One night, at bedtime,
they sat together in the old recliner,
swapped whispery stories,
in the hushed and darkening room,
and slept soundly ’til dawn.

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another july.

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Stevieslaw: My poem, Archangel just published by Panoply

Archangel – Steve Deutsch

          This is the end/Beautiful friend/This is the end/My only friend/The end
                                              Jim Morrison—The Doors

We called her Alice
because she could get
anything you want.
Names didn’t matter then—
her parents would not have recognized her, anyway.

Alice lived in that condemned house on Allen Street.
You climbed in through a window on the alley.
I tried to sleep there once,
but the walls moaned
as if the house were alive
All night, I could hear
the newly dead climb the crippled stairs.

A tape of Jim Morrison singing,
“this is the end,” played
so often in that house
you might come to believe he lived there.
And at night, in the dim light,
you had to watch where you stepped
because the trippers, the lovebirds and the junkies
sprawled any which way on the splintered floors.

Alice, a lapsed Catholic,
wore a St. Raphael medallion
and kept a drawer
full of multicolored meds.
I brought a friend there once—
bad trip. She was just a child, really.
Alice tried to bring her down
with barbies and baby talk,
but she never made it
all the way back.

The cops came in force in ’69.
Took a battering ram to the front door,
dragged the hippies out into the sun,
watched as they scattered
like a litter of feral cats.
We found the St. Raphael medallion
in the gutter across from the house,
but we never found Alice.

Here is the link to the issue:

Issue 11, Winter 2018-9, “Untamed” Theme – Including Our First-Ever Contest Winners

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Stevieslaw: Cabin Fever

And once again…

Stevie's Law

Cabin Fever

Smokey, that old gray cat
with the disposition
of my grandma Vlad,
is buried in the backyard
in an old shoe box
meant for high tops.
She lived to seventeen—
a grand old age for cats,
and by the time she passed,
had bitten every man, woman and child
in a four block radius
and driven to extinction
the rodents and the songbirds.

Some of us are not built for life indoors.
For those trekkers on the Appalachian Trail
or up in the mountains of Kathmandu
a day inside is like an itch
they cannot scratch.
Smokey was an outdoor cat
kept in—she leapt once
from a second story window,
rather than face a carpeted hour
by the fire.
She had no fear of winter,
and loved to watch it snow.

Today, as I surveyed
the year’s first snow,
I remembered her ritual.
She’d sit in the front…

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