Coming Soon

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After Covid

My poem, After Covid, is in the current issue of the Phoenix (Pfeiffer University). Here is the poem:

After Covid

I bought my mother a clock
with two fixed hands
and a face that said

And “whatever”
became a catch
phrase we used

A metaphor
for the pandemic years—
locked away and staring
at a clock

that might as well
have made the time up.
Today I listened
to a single

rivulet of water
drip from my front gutter
as my pulse
tried to synch

with the rhythmic
sound of single drops
beating the steps below.
There is a rhythm

to life
that eases our passage.
Those who never find it
we call mad.

Perhaps we are all mad now
scratching around like chickens
to recover a rhythm
that vanished with the virus.

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My poem, Deadline, has just been published by Backchannels. Here is the poem:

Early sun surprises.
Eyes like ground glass
and my hand
asleep on the keyboard.

Remember the summer
before working papers
at your uncle’s
bungalow colony.

The murky lake
and an old woven basket
for a basketball hoop.
Bare chested

days that lasted
for weeks and
cares no more

then a stoved
middle finger.
Ah, for a time machine—
I can’t help

as I shake my hand
and rub my eyes.
Fedex at ten.

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Looking for America

I’m very pleased to have my poem, Looking for America,” in the 2023 print issue of the Clackamas Literary Review. Here is the poem:

Looking for America

Let us be
best friends
one last time—

roll out the old
and take

that trip
we so often
dreamed of

when young.
Head to
the west coast

on those two lane
roads that once
were America.

when we were
America too?

Fill that old
Ford with
chips and beer—

the radio set
to the “Nothing
but Oldies” Station,

loud enough
to remind us
we are still alive.

Swap lies
with the locals
in pubs on Main Street

and sample
the biscuits and bacon
in dozens of mom

and pop diners
in what was once
the heartland—

a thousand dots
on a tattered
gas station map

long ago
and nearly forgotten.

And when
the Ford
throws a rod

in Kansas
or Colorado,
as of course

it must,
we can unfold
the aluminum

lawn chairs
and sit on the berm
to wait for the sunset.

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Steve’s Dad

Charcoal pencil by Karen Deutsch. Found in our attic after 40 years.

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Literary Yard

I have three poems on Literary Yard today.Here are the poems:


We knew back then
you would never
grow old.
Did you?

Today nature threw
a January thaw
as if in rehearsal for spring.
It is a time

to take stock—
kick off your shoes
put up your feet
and let in

the daydreams.
It is the occupation
of those of us
of a certain age.

How would you
have handled
the slowing of age?
Trapped as you

were in a constant
motion. Your arms
and legs tapping,
joints cracking

and your mouth
in constant monologue.
Now and then
someone would

knock you down
just to quiet you.
You had all the traffic
lights for miles around timed.

Stalled at the occasional
red light you’d bristle
like a cat in a cage—
foot on both gas and brake.

‘Til you misjudged
one on Eastern Parkway
and left pieces of metal and glass
scattered for half a city block.


For One Single Yesterday

You ordered steak
and eggs
and a full-bodied
red in that bar

and grill off
the avenue
in the city
that never sleeps.

And the waitress—
pretty in a way
I’d never known
before, made a fuss

over me—understanding
I was under age
and new to life.
Soft jazz

played in the background
and the steak
was a rare wonder.
The wine went

down so easy
that I never took
the trouble to
thank you for it all.

This evening
I had steak
and eggs
and a fine red

at the same grill
you took me to
some fifty years

when the waitress
had me up
and dancing
to something slow

and never –
ending as the sun
set on the city
that never ever sleeps.



It’s just like old times—
the revolving door still needs
a Goliath’s push
and the serpentine coffee bar
built to the slope of the wooden floor
takes most of the room
in its meanderings.

Just like old times—
food so tasteless
I can fool myself
into thinking
my mother
cooked it
fifty years ago.

Like old times—
The waitresses,
too old to age,
still walk the woozy floors
balancing trays
heaped with bacon and burgers,
fries and onion rings.

Old times—
coffee like burnt rags—
remember the jokes
we tried to outdo
each other with—
my brother,
my friend.

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My poem, Doo-wop, is in the Winter 2023 issue of the Remington Review. Here is the poem:


The temperature dropped
twenty degrees last night.

Trees stood full green—
stunned past blushing,

and on the college lawn
hoarfrost replaced

the sunbathers
who walked the ice-

slicked streets
dressed for summer.

On the corner
four young men huddled

and blew on their hands
as a concession to the cold

like that doo-wop group
that graced the corner

of Hopkinson and Lott
winter and summer

and sang of losing
a love they had not

yet known.
The music often found

an aching harmony,
which like that first love,

they would long for
the rest of their lives.

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it’s been a good morning.


We have chosen your manuscript, BROOKLYN, as the winner of the 2022 Sinclair Poetry Prize.

Barbara Bergmann, Editor (she/her)

Evening Street Press & Review
2881 Wright St
Sacramento, CA 95821

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I’ve fallen way behind. This was published in The Evening Street Review a month or so ago.


When we were eight

Eddie and I

would ride our bikes

to Canarsie Pier.

It was before the landfill

in Jamaica Bay

made for reluctant breathing,

and even before we understood

why our older brothers

would steer their girlfriends

there on weekends to watch

the submarine races.

We’d do a little fishing

off the pier,

but the first thing Eddie

always did was wave

to his dad

on the coast of France.

He swore he could

see him waving back.

Eddie never knew

the man—a Marine

who died as the first wave

struggled toward Omaha Beach.

Before that last winter

we would meet

every now and again

and Eddie would

always wave,

as if he felt the same

at 80 as he had at eight.

In fact, he told me once

he could see his dad

more clearly as he aged.

Today, on my way to Kennedy

I dropped off the Parkway

to meet with Eddie Junior

at the pier.

He’s an image

of his dad at 40.

He was waving

when I drove in,

his three kids were waving,

and when I joined them

it seemed the whole

world was waving.

“See your Grandad?”

I asked the brood.

“Yup,” they replied as one.

“Me too,” I thought, as eight year-

old Eddie, clear as a clockface,

waved from that distant shore.

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My poem, Mom, is in Issue 9 of call me [ ]—call me [ when you get home] . U of Alabama Creative Writing. Here is the poem:


lived to 97
on “curl your hair”coffee
and a carton of smokes a week.

She ate eggs with butter
and bacon and bagels
and rye bread smeared

with chicken fat.
The cakes she bought
were so packed

with calories
they bulged
in their boxes.

She’d have thought you
nuts for substituting
yogurt for ice cream.

Mom avoided doctors
having been shown
by her mother

that chicken soup—
with matzoh balls
could cure most anything.

She thought the Olive Garden
the height of luxury
and beamed like the Queen

of Persia
over a plate of spaghetti
and glass of red wine.

A house full of cousins
and a deck of cards
was her idea of heaven.

They’d play penny poker
for hours—weaving mythic
stories through the smoke.

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