Influenza

 

No more will I poke fun at people who wear surgical masks on public transportation, or those who eschew the hug or handshake of peace at church, preferring the elbow bump, so popular a couple of years ago when flu was rampant.

Remember? Hand sanitizers appeared everywhere–at the public library, at a front pew at my Episcopal church, and in the hallways at the college where I teach. I kept a pump dispenser of Purel on the desk in my faculty office. I washed my hands  so any times a day that it called to mind Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy, the one that my Hamilton Junior High eighth grade teacher, Miss Ruth Magill, made us memorize. Continue reading “Influenza”

I’m “live” today on the Jungle Red Mystery Authors Website!

Please post your questions and comments there about poetry, Walt Whitman, Dylan Thomas, Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson. Shel Silverstein, Allen Ginsberg, Adrienne Rich, Leonard Cohen, Alice Notley, Joyce Kilmer, John Greenleaf Whittier, and more!

Here’s the website url.screen-shot-2017-02-24-at-9-04-43-am

Guest Blogging on Jungle Red, Feb. 25

My pal Hallie Ephron, one of the Jungle Red mystery authors, has invited me to guest blog  on Jungle Red next Friday, February 25.  their tagline: “8 smart and sassy crime fiction writers dish on writing and life. It’s the View–with bodies.”

The Jungle Red website features eight women mystery authors, many of them winners of prestigious awards: the Edgars, Agathas, Anthonys, Neros, and more.

Of course, I won’t be talking/writing about Private investigators,  or who was responsible for that corpse in a mystery novel, but about my poetry–how I came to it, my writing process, where I come up with ideas for the poems.

My poetry collection, Baltimore Girls, is in the works at Finishing Line Press, although the February 24 delivery date has been pushed a few weeks later. Pre-orderers, please be patient–this small literary press in Kentucky is working as fast as it can to get the book to you.

Take a look at the Jungle Red blog now, and again on February 25 when I blog. Its interactive feature allows readers to comment or ask questions of the guest blogger, and I will be checking in all day (and early evening) long to see what you have to say.

Hallie will start us off with her interview with me, and you, readers, can take it from there!

Hope to see you–virtually–on February 25, from 9 AM EST to 9 PM EST! Please come!

 

The Color of Her Volkswagen

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The Color of Her Volkswagen

 

Atlas blue. First Bug I ever saw.
It showed up one day, a shiny little thing
in Miss Kay’s driveway two doors down.
Their old Dodge long gone.
People on our street drove Chevys or Fords,
nobody even knew how to say Volkswagen,
were skeptical about a foreign car, but
Miss Kay packed up picnic basket, playpen, her toddler son,
the baby, her Coppertone oil. There was room
for my sister and me. I rode in the front,
watched Miss Kay shift the gears, her pedicured feet
depressing the gas pedal, working the clutch
like an extension of her body. She tuned
the radio to WFBR, the Four Lads sang
Standin’ on the Corner Watchin’All the Girls.
She didn’t like rock n’ roll.
When we got to the swimming place, an old
quarry now flooded with water, now a club
where you bought a daily membership,
the loudspeaker blasted my kind of music—
repeated every hour. We ate peanut butter sandwiches,
Miss Kay plunged into the water from a dock.
She wore a green bikini, adjusted the top
over her small breasts when she emerged from the water.
I slathered on her suntan oil, bounced the baby.
Around us, teenaged girls mixed iodine and baby oil,
greased up their arms and legs and shoulders,
lit Newports and blew smoke rings.
I longed to be like them. Homeward, the blue VW
rolled up and down country roads back to the city,
steaming streets, dried little lawns.

[Reprinted from Maryland Writer’s Association magazine, Pen-in_Hand, January 2017]

Catherine  Mumford Cave, Miss Kay in this poem,  shuffled off this mortal coil on September 22, 2016.  She was a kind  and inspiring neighbor who shared her talents as a cook, gardener, seamstress, and all around cool adult with the neighborhood kids. She also gave me my first babysitting job. I wrote this poem last winter.

 

The Color of Her Volkswagen

 

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My poem, “The Color of Her Volkswagen,” about an afternoon at Oregon Ridge Swimming “Club,” circa 1960 , appears in the winter issue (page 17) of Pen-in-Hand, the official literary and art publication of the Maryland Writers’ Association. Mad props to Sr. Carol Wheeler, and Sr. August Reilly, RSMs who taught me in Creative English class at Mercy High, Baltimore, and my 21st century poetry mentor, Boston Poet Laureate Emeritus Sam Cornish…
http://marylandwriters.org/…/Newslet…/pen_in_handjan2017.pdf