from “Baltimore Girls”

I began my day at an early yoga class, twenty of us on the mat at 8:30 A.M. Leaf raking and filling the lawn bags with garden detritus by 10. Now, the turkey’s in the oven, the vegetables are all trimmed and ready to cook, the pie is cooling on the counter, the table is set, and the men in my small family are downstairs talking about the electoral college and playing with our new kitten.

I’m thankful for many things, but for you reading this blog, I’m thankful for your continued attention your comments, and to many of you–65 so far–a sincere thank you for pre-ordering y poetry chapbook, Baltimore Girls, from Finishing Line Press, due out February 24, 2017. You can pre-order online here,  and be certain of getting your hands on a copy of the collection.

Why pre-ordering is important: Finishing Line, a small poetry publisher, does not pay authors in cash, but in copies. The more pre-orders, the large the press run, and the more copies of the book Finishing Lien will give me in lieu of payment. I’ll be able to sell these at the same price, $13.99, and give the proceeds to Mercy High Baltimore‘s scholarship funds, and Epiphany School Boston, an independent, tuition-free middle school for children of economically-disadvantaged families from Boston neighborhoods.

Fans of the HBO series (2005-2009) The Wire, check out the blurb from Wire teleplay writer and  stalwart Crabtown author, Rafael Alvarez.

Here’s the dedication for the book:

For the Baltimore girls: Chris, Debbie, Francine, and Gay

–and one of the poems to whet your literary appetite:

Nickel Dreams

Along the Fuller Brook path wending
through backyards, there’s no one about
except a few women with
small dogs on leashes. The brook –
not as high as I expected.
The blackened piles of snow
all melted away, roof rakes,
ergonomic shovels, the chemicals
we strewed on sidewalk and porches.
Mere memories of winter.
The sun strains to appear.
It warms the day but I hardly
see my shadow, only faint
suggestions of a shadow, a darkening
across the path.
On a day like this, full of spring’s promise,
I cut jonquils from my mother’s garden
wrapped them in newspaper, a cone
around the butter yellow blooms.
Go to 30th Street Station, Mike said, for the transfer
But watch out if you’re there right at six, when
the hounds are let off their leashes,
dogs in gray flannel suits, carrying
smart leather briefcases. I understood.
He loved to quote Dylan: I don’t want to be
a singer in the rat race choir.
As I rose near my stop on the Paoli local
an old man glanced at my flowers.
I withdrew one and handed it to him,
without a word, hopped off at Haverford.
Mike stood on the platform, his long scarf
artfully draped around his neck,
tweed sport coat festooned
with buttons of Lenin, Freedom Now, Stokely
Carmichael. We walked through the campus,
his arm around my shoulder.
This will be my life, I thought.
His roommates were out. We
skipped dinner, built a fire. We
talked about the war, about Yeats.
When it was late and
we were so hungry we couldn’t stand it
we strolled to the Blue Comet
for cheeseburgers—I  remember
even now how good they tasted.
We strolled the back way to the women’s college
—I‘d set up camp in the guest lounge.
Mike kissed my cheek, handed me a nickel
the Paoli local had flattened into an oval,
Washington’s head all distorted.
I carried it around for years,
that talisman of my life to come.

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