Stevieslaw: A Modest Proposal

A Modest Proposal

 

Two or three of my passwords changed themselves last night as I slept. Apparently, they’re  programmed to do that every December 5th on non-leap years as a security measure. So-called experts may disagree with that conclusion, but what else might have happened?

It’s not really much of a problem. I simply need to request a new password on those sites using the old password that I do not know.  I remember using their recommendation for a strong password which looked very much like a word I said around the dinner table when I was five or six, which led to a painful spanking. Fortunately, I have everything written down on a napkin in magic marker. Unfortunately, I washed the paper napkin by accident last week.  It’s only my email and all my other accounts butI lived for many many years without them, so I will be fine.

My local pharmacy has a remarkable device for old people.  It’s a non-screw lid prescription bottle that allows people of my generation access to their many medicines without the need to stand on a street corner with a sign around their necks begging for help in twisting off caps.  Am I bitter? Perhaps.

My modest proposal is that people over the age of sixty five be assigned one single userid/password for everything.  I suggest the userid be your first name and the password be your last name, but perhaps first initial and last initial might be enough. We need to face the fact that anyone who really wants to break into your account, can.  They break into banks and department store and defense department accounts—if they want to see your latest order from the Montgomery Ward catalogue, they will.

Until my modest proposal gets traction, you may get in touch with me by phone or snail mail.  Or stop by.  I have a tablet and a computer for sale.  Perhaps you can figure out how to turn them on.

 

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New Brooklyn Poem

My poem Bouncers was just published by Muddy River Poetry Review.  Here is the poem:

Bouncers

 

Did you know that New York

surrenders the energy

of its frenetic days

slowly.

You can hear it,

like the faint sigh

of a bicycle tire

with a leaky valve.

At 3 AM it’s done

and the city streets

are unburdened by the buzz

of millions of tethered lives.

 

Tony told me that

soon after we’d reconnected.

 

He was easy enough

to track down,

and we would meet

for coffee on occasion

at the Pink Pony

on Ludlow Street.

Old and Army-thin,

Tony loved to talk

about Brownsville,

the Canarsie Bouncers,

and my brother—

the Warlord.

 

They were a greased-up gang

of Jewish and Italian kids

in combat boots and garrison belts

that headquartered

in his mom’s apartment

over the greengrocer’s.

They hoped for girls and glory

and spent the nights

looking for fights

with the Hispanic and Black gangs

that shared the neighborhood.

My mom said their claim

to fame was that

they never changed their clothes.

 

Tony raced his chopper

up and down Hopkinson Avenue

all hours of the day and night.

One day his Uncle Frank

grabbed him by an ear

and took him to an Army recruiter.

Army life suited him.

Tony told me he’d fought

in Vietnam and every backwater

battle that never made the NY Times.

 

Tony rode his bike

well into his eighties.

He’d take to the streets at 3

and ride ‘til dawn.

He boarded a Greyhound last week

for one last visit with his aging

Army buddies scattered across the country.

He hopes to see

two old Bouncers,

Sal and Artie

in San Diego.

 

He gave me his bike to tend.

Ride it,

he ordered.

At 3 every morning,

I hump the bike

down four flights of stairs

and ride for an hour or so

in the eerie dark

of early morning

absorbing all that freed-up energy

with every breath I take.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Word Poem

My word poem was just published by Eclectica. She if you can guess the words.

Mood

indigo—
“You ain’t never
been blue”
Nina
crooned
as we cruised
the icy ridge
above the town
in my dad’s
fine, finned
Dodge.

Nina was wrong,
you were,
just then,
beyond blue—
staring vacant
at the naked town
as we smoked
and spat
our way down
the rutted road.

You had
just been
expelled
from State High
for riding
a pony
down the hall
and cursing
like a cowhand
might
after a night
of witch’s brew
in a Dodge City saloon.

I grinned
as you shredded
the expulsion paper
with your
hands and teeth—
and said,
“No one expects
that from a girl.”
It was
the last time
I ever
saw you.

I heard
from a friend
that you are
in Seattle
helping wayward
kids
and
that the fire
you carried
in you
has dimmed.

How I wish
I had

nothing at all.
Beyond blue,
that indigo
mood
“Goes stealin’
down
to my shoes.”

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Call for submissions

Poets should have some association with Central Pennsylvania—live here, went to school here, have a cousin here etc.

Dear Poets:

 

It’s time to submit to Centered for the winter issue.  The new editor, Sarah Rafacz, would simply like to see poems related to winter. However, the theme for the issue is “The Gift of Health” and you might want to keep this is mind when submitting.

 

Poems should be no longer than 30 lines. Previously published poems are fine. Please, no more than 2 poems per entry.  I will select 3 poems to send to the Sarah and she will choose the winning entry.  The winning poet receives $50.

 

Feel free to share this submission call with other poets with a connection to the Center Region.

 

Please send me your poems by November 2nd.

 

Regards,

Steve

 

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New Poem: Spendthrift

My poem, Spendthrift, was just published by Flashes of Brilliance. Here is the link:

https://nam01.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.flashesofbrilliance.org%2Fspendthrift-by-steven-deutsch%2F%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR0Lw9ziYOSs78aICWZU_bpbzn-BIadGw_pQeOPKO12iE6PnziqHdAbNgD0%23.XaY-K2BKi71&data=02%7C01%7Csxd2%40psu.edu%7C6794bacf612944f0fcf508d751b9a5cb%7C7cf48d453ddb4389a9c1c115526eb52e%7C0%7C0%7C637067730098298256&sdata=Pt%2BgHdUN3eME7XwXbQfAqXcWztfcS6E40ivf2FasgYw%3D&reserved=0

 

and the poem

Spendthrift

After Max died,
Aunt Sarah spent
her spare time
at the Seminole Casino
near Coconut Creek.

They’d had no children
and she would claim
the slots were more compelling
than the quiz shows on T.V.

It was the early 60’s,
before Florida boomed,
and the half duplex
she owned in Center Village
stood, looking awkward
and embarrassed,
with fifty others
in the middle of the nowhere
that was Hillsboro Boulevard.

Each day she’d sit
with a paper cup of nickels
and feed the one-armed bandits.
She told us she’d hold her breath
while the grapes and lemons spun.
A big strike might yield $50–
the nickels erupting
to dance on the concrete floor.

Behind her back
we called her
the palest Seminole in Florida,
as she never saw the sun.
But we were young then
and hadn’t yet sampled
the fruits of loneliness.

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New Poem: Song

My poem Song is in the current issue of Third Wednesday.  Here is the poem:

Song

“He has no one to blame but himself,”
she murmured,
in the rhythmic cadence of grief—
a patter as old as life on earth.
She sang softly,
yet her voice filled the pale green room
and hung in the acrid air.
We waited
for a surgeon to appear—
his consecrated hands
signing thumbs up,
thumbs down.

“He brought it on himself,”
she sang once more.
They had brought him in at 2 AM
shot twice—
belly and lung—
and rushed him to surgery.

“It’s his own damn fault,”
she crooned in a voice
a cantor would kill for.
It was 8 now
Saturday Services had just begun
at the synagogue down the block—
the old, the young, and the damaged
chanted in an ancient dying tongue
for the world to heal itself.

“No, no,”
she began to chant
just as the door to the operating room
opened with a pneumatic hiss.
The sounds—
alien and human
mixed for a moment
in the pale green anteroom
between life and death.

Here is a link to the magazine’s website:

http://www.thirdwednesdaymagazine.org/

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New Poem Boketto

My poem Boketto was just published by The Remington Review. Here is the poem and a link:

Boketto

Before he left,
Marty said,
“I feel like I’ve been walking on ice.”
That last year, he had picked
up a tremor
and his hand shook
as we sipped whiskey
on the terrace
of his penthouse apartment.
He had a view of both rivers—
it was a very long way from Brooklyn.

My oldest friend
had studied integral equations,
“For planar problems only piecewise smooth,”
he’d say five times fast
when sufficiently drunk,
but had gone on
to manage a hedge fund.
He made more money
in a week
than his dad had
in a year.

But, it was not what he’d hoped for—
two miserable marriages,
an ulcer and that damn tic—
too many things
we could no longer kid about.
Most weekends
Marty took long drives.
“I’m looking for the horizon,”
he’d tell me.
But I never understood.

He left me a key
to his apartment.
Opposite his favorite chair,
he’d hung a wall-sized
photo of the sky.
Empty,
even of clouds—
so blue and empty
it seemed to go on
forever.

https://www.flipsnack.com/Remingtonreview/remington-review-fall-2019.html

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