Sunday, January 25, 2015

One-Year Contract

In keeping with the apartment theme from last week: 

One-Year Contract

Two armoires,
A fireplace,
A stucco kitchen floor,
And an English garden—

What extravagance
In a suburban apartment,

Especially in comparison
To our last cramped place.

We’d have the first floor—
The owner, a lovely
British woman, lived
On the second level.

The downside:
One heating system for both spaces.

The upside:
She left town each weekend.

We signed the one-year contract
In summer, and placed clothing
In the armoires and my desk in the
Corner to write grad class papers.

The first weekend on the patio
Squirrels dropped apples on our heads,

But the dahlias, in every size and hue,
And butterflies brightened our spirits.

The humidity was incessant—
No matter how many times we
Scrubbed, the mushrooms
Returned in bathroom crooks.

Come fall, the wasps marched
Into the living room to die.

Come winter, the fireplace
Released plumes of tar smoke.

We did not control the heat—
She complained it was too hot.
I washed dishes in my winter coat,
Typed papers wearing fingerless gloves.

My breath came out in cloudbursts
In the bedroom ‘til we bought a space heater.

She complained about the electric bill.
We broke our lease two months early.

With a baby on the way,
There was No Way we could stay.
The lovely landlady was in her garden,
Which was  returning to its former glory.

She sighed and said
She didn’t know why tenants stayed only one year….

Monday, January 19, 2015

Our First Apartment

Our First Apartment

700-square feet of bliss
and cockroaches.
We saw two in the tub
The size of guinea pigs.
I marveled and cowered.
You fed them to the turtles,
Until we released our pets at the Bronx Zoo.

The heat cranked
Incessantly in winter,
So we opened the windows
But in summer we snapped them
To shut out noisy drunks,
reeking garbage, filth, 
And potential burglars heard on the news.

We bought that hefty lock
For added protection.
The doorman buzzer
Buzzed just outside our entrance.
The garbage chute
Whooshed outside our kitchen.
And the TV buzzed from another apartment.

We rode our mountain bikes.
And bladed in Central Park,
Just 20 minutes away on the subway.
We found our favorite Chinese takeout,
Favorite Indian joint, best Kosher
Deli, and best-deal fruit stand.
We learned to cook well in our white kitchen.

The day we prepared our
Most ambitious dinner,
You saw the roach scurrying.
While trying to shield if from me,
You cut your thumb.
Blood splattered on our
White walls, and our now ruined gourmet meal.

I brought you to the ER to get stitches.

Those were the days.

This poem is for my husband, Stu. 
Happy Birthday! xo

Thursday, January 1, 2015



Rim my eyes
Red lips
Break up the
Like Siouxsie
And the Banshees.

Tromp in my
Combat boots
Square Park—
Grit and
Weed wafting in the air.

Pass by CBGB.
Once met
Whose nose was
There, moshing.
I wear virgin Dr. Martens.

I’m a suburban-
Punk girl

Sniffing incense
In Time Square,
Buying Bauhaus
In The Village.
Combing clothes at
Second hand shops.

Score cheap food—
Pizza or food truck? 
Skip the
To conserve
Dwindles to coins.

The homeless
In Penn Station.
I stand on the
Stare at the billboard.
Molly Ringwald’s newest.

Isn’t she
Pretty in Pink?

Pictures of Manhattan in the 1970s and 80s:

Happy New Year!