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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Stevieslaw: Zippo—new poem

My poem Zippo was just published by Algebra of Owls. Here is the poem:


I was six when
the corner hardware store caught fire.
We were chased from our apartment
by smoke and heat
and the staccato pop of flammables bursting.

I remember the sudden burn
of winter and my mom’s blue lips,
as my dad, muttering and cursing,
tried to coax
the old Packard Eight to life.

The world outside
was ice and ash.
Sirens bawled and
yellow jacketed men
wielded axes like arms
and strained against hoses
struggling to break free.

Mom told me years later
that she had wrapped me in an old fur.
She said it was the coldest night
of the year and only the heat
from the car kept us from frostbite.
Try as I might
I can’t remember that.

I remember I shared the back seat
with my brother –
thirteen and the source of all knowledge –
and that he’d found a cigarette lighter that week
and showed me how to make a fire
of rags and paper,
and that his terrified face
flickered all night in the flamelight.

And the link:


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Stevieslaw: New poem published at Thimble Magazine

My poem, I am the younger brother, was published by Thimble Magazine today.  Here is the poem and the link:

I am the Younger Brother

The envelope arrived today.
You penned
969 for 696
and that simple error
from a math prodigy
Sent the letter drifting homeless
for months.
I wonder if you did it with intention.

The Times published your obituary last month.
you died somewhere exotic—
Chile, wasn’t it—at a mountaintop observatory
where you studied the collision of distant galaxies.
Of Brooklyn, you’d tell
friends and family
“It’s like living in a closet—
most nights,
the sky seems starless.”

In the obit photo,
you looked the same skinny malink
you did at 8,
with your nose crooked, from the time
I caught you with a right cross,
and Mom’s straggly hair
I could not imagine why women
found you irresistible, but they took
to you like bears to a hive.
You never felt the need
to swat a single one of them away.

Was there an award you did not win?
With a mind more at home
on Icarus—whose pale blue blink
takes 9 billion light years to reach us,
than it ever was in the tiny apartment
on Remsen Avenue we called home.

You sent a yellowed clipping
from the Brooklyn Eagle, circa 1959—
with a photo of two young teens,
dressed for fame and fortune
in jackets and ties that were too tight
holding a miniature Tesla Coil.
The headline below touted
“Twins, Age 12, Win Science Fair.”

Just that fragile photo
in an envelope
that might have travelled a million miles,
and for a second I’m forced to sit
as gravity releases me
so I might travel back in time.

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