Friday, June 28, 2013


My answer to the good and bad shocks of life has always been to write about them, maybe years down the road as an experience shaded to fit some character I am writing about. Recently my daughter Jennifer, who battled encephalitis and coma for her very life, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an insidious and incurable systemic disease I have battled for 35 years, more than half my life. Occasionally poetical with words, not at all a poet, this is what emerged about passing things on.

She comes to visit limping across the yard
along uneven areas of grass and gravel,
favoring her stiff knees, twisting left hip
to swing her leg out to avoid bending it,
every ginger step at the corners of her eyes
as wrinkles appearing and smoothing quickly,
stamped like the beating of her heart.

Smiling, raising wrapped hand, greeting
her mother near the small plum tree snowy
in first bloom, hugging, bound hand on
her mother’s back, another hard-earned smile
and allowing her face to be touched, studied.
Turning body with stiff neck, flashing eyes,
quickly a gritty smile, nodding to her father
on the deck, he lifting a beer, remembering.

The porch steps, the onset, tears in big eyes,
pain-rendered with questions, greeting
dying in his throat, his own swollen hands
little help, useless joints, fingertip sparks
transmitting traits and quirks and bumps,
eye and hair color and skin tone to kin,
the family body made manifest, her spirit
fired at times mixing spirits, locked cells
behind brave new faces, love and fear
constant companions, the gravity of living.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Self Salute

In the arena of accomplishments, in the sort of having something accepted for publication vein, tonight and tomorrow and Saturday my words will again be projected from a stage in NYC. If someone had told me years ago (or whenever), “Oh, yeah, you will have a couple of short plays done in New York but you won’t see either of them,” my mouth would have dropped from disappointment and disbelief. But I’m old enough to know things never turn out exactly how you envision them—whether getting published or having something on the boards. But like with any small success, I do take pride in the accomplishment, in the ability to toss off the small potatoes of being able to say, “Oh, yes, I’ve had a couple of plays done in New York.” Never mind that they were short plays and in festivals or however flawed the productions may have been. Let anyone who asks about my playwriting fill in those blanks with ideas of a huge production with dancing chorus boys and girls and the like. Other than some stories published early on, real accomplishments in the writing arena came late for me, late bloomer that I am. Tonight I will have a drink in an unabashed salute to myself. I plan also to tilt the glass toward NYC in a salute to those actors saying my words and the audiences hearing them. Pardon me, but here’s to me, a boy who grew up loving film and music and all things written and who turned out to be a writer.