Stevieslaw: Exceptionalism


Political? Perhaps.


I only managed a single bite,
before I passed it on.
We passed so many things on then–
wine and weed and one another.
I think we thought it noble.

No one knew the name of that exquisite cheese.
Wealthy parents had sent it from France
and the package was as forgotten
as yesterday’s friendships.
But that single taste
stayed with me, it seems,
although in those days,
we had no trouble parting with anything.

I felt it was my taste of the highlife.
A sliver of the very best.
Have you lived the highlife?
Every whim attended
with silence and precision.
We thought in our innocence
that we would change the world.
Perhaps, we have.
But, I thought we’d make it better.

I searched for that odd talisman
while cobbling a life
I seemed barely involved in.
But, I had no name
and my description matched
a hundred different cheeses.
And anyway, why would you care?
Why should anyone ever care?

Posted in gang gang dance, poetry | 6 Comments

Stevieslaw: Card Players at Ekphrastic Review


My poem “The Card Players” is up today at Ekphrastic Review.   Here is the link:

And here is the poem:

The Card Players

Each night, these three—
Nathan, Henri and Charles
make ritual of rummy.
“To pass the time,”
they might offer,
should they so honor your question.
Henri, in beige, so often wins,
the others call him master.
His word is law in all things agricultural.
Poor Albert, skilless,
watches wordlessly,
drawing comfort from his pipe.

I paint and sketch
And daily dream I hear—
“Paul, won’t you play?”
“Yes,” I say in a wink.
My spattered hands somehow
completed by the cards,
I sit with hat drawn deeply down
to hide my thought-filled eyes.
I play with verve and brilliance.
I am gallant in my dream.
But the invitation never comes—
and its lofty cousin, acceptance,
never finds its way to me—
to poor Cézanne,
the master of rejection.


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Stevieslaw: The Joy of Home Ownership

Stevieslaw: The Joy of Home Ownership

We had a candlelight celebration at the house last night. We had a high temperature of -4 this weekend and not a single pipe froze—what a difference a year makes.

We did have a small problem last week when the sewer pipe clogged up again. It does that three or four times a year. Roots from an old maple tree grow into the clay pipes and start the stoppage. It seems strange since we removed the tree about 12 years ago. Ronnie, from Unplug You, was right on it—after just a three day wait. It really makes you think about the joys of indoor plumbing.

The front walk is buckling. Come spring, I need to get someone to dig out the concrete out and repave it. While they’re at it, I might as well replace the clay pipes underneath, although I’ll miss talking to Ronnie.

The windows in the bedroom no longer close completely. Funny, that seemed fine in the spring. And the lighting in the back bathroom is apparently set to flicker. Bulbs—including those that are supposed to last forever, give up the ghost after a day or two.

I’m starting to get concerned about the sinkhole in the yard. It’s growth is definitely accelerating. The side door to the garage is no longer closing and the whole structure has an odd lean. I’m thinking I may be parking in the sinkhole by next summer.

Oh, we repainted the basement—just before the toilets overflowed because the sewer pipe backed up. The good news is we have left-over paint.

The dishwasher went out of warranty and whack this week. It works as long as you wash the dishes first by hand. We bought it about the same time we bought the fridge—which is shedding little plastic parts all over the kitchen floor. The downstairs freezer decided it was a closet.

I got an “only warning” last week for not cleaning the sidewalks sufficiently after the last snowstorm. Next time it snows I suspect they will fine me. It’s only $50. That’s much better than the price tag ($1500) for the water I used after a garden hose (never kinks, never leaks) split open this summer. It was hidden behind some bushes that weren’t suppose to get more than 3 feet high. I didn’t know it was spewing water until I sunk to my knees in the muck that was once my lawn.

I could go on and on, but you’re probably still wondering why we had a candlelight celebration last night.

Powers out.

Posted in gang gang dance, Humor, parody | 9 Comments

Stevieslaw: What Bobby Told Us.

What Bobby Told Us.

There is a school of thought that would have you drink a cold drink in the cold to warm you up, drink a hot drink in the heat to cool you down,  and play some serious blues music when you’re blue to cheer you up. I’ve tried it and I’m not sure I can recommend it, but for various reasons I have been reading up on the truly miserable year that was 1968–Vietnam, the assassinations of King and Kennedy, and the political rebirth of Richard Nixon—I could go on.

I don’t believe my reading has made me feel any better about 2017, but as a reward for my research, I came upon a statement by Bobby Kennedy—a hero for my generation, who was shot down in his prime.  I imagine sending his statement to Washington—to the Trumps and the Ryans of this world and watching their reaction.  Do you think they would  get it?  When I think of what we are missing in America right now, I find the words a perfect summary—so here they are:

“We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in a mere continuation of economic progress, in an endless amassing of worldly goods. We cannot measure national spirit by the Dow Jones Average, nor national achievement by the Gross National Product. For the Gross National Product includes air pollution, and ambulances to clear our highways from carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and jails for the people who break them. The Gross National Product includes the destruction of the redwoods and the death of Lake Superior. It grows with the production of napalm and missiles and nuclear warheads. . . . It includes . . . the broadcasting of television programs which glorify violence to sell goods to our children.

And if the Gross National Product includes all this, there is much that it does not comprehend. It does not allow for the health of our families, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It is indifferent to the decency of our factories and the safety of our streets alike. It does not include the beauty of our poetry, or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials . . . the Gross National Product measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country. It measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile, and it can tell us everything about America—except whether we are proud to be Americans”




Posted in gang gang dance, Humor, parody, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stevieslaw: Revision


Some are irreparable.
It’s as if you snatched them from the bargain bin
at Eddie’s junkyard by the train tracks.
Still, you try the tried and true
Elmer’s glue and duct tape,
shims and string—double knotted.

You ask your friends’ advice.
They gawk and stare
and try to sound hopeful.
They talk of home remedies
vapor rub and sitz baths,
little yellow capsules
that helped their cousin’s cousin
cure one just like yours.

Cannily, you set it aside,
in that hard to reach cupboard in the kitchen,
as if proximity to Campbell’s chicken soup
could cure its commonplaceness,
dispel its warts, heal its wounds,
and make it sing with joy and sorrow.

Too often,
there is nothing for it.
You dress it in all the finery you can find,
pancake on your sister’s makeup,
lipstick and a new do,
and push it out the door.
Gamely, it limps along beside you
trying so terribly hard to smile,
in the judgement of the light of day.

Posted in gang gang dance, Humor, poetry | 4 Comments

The Birth of the Blues

This was to be a short poem cycle. Perhaps, it will get there.


By Stevieslaw

A weathered vine
made taut
through an accident of ice
in the wintry wind.

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Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

warmth on the winter solstice.

Nice. Let kind words abound.

I didn't have my glasses on....

“one kind word can warm three winter months.”

~japanese proverb

painting by: alisa black – ‘a winter’s day’

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Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments