Category Archives: Poetry


I heard somewhere
that butterflies are
signs from heaven.
Proof that
our deceased
loved ones
are close by.
So, I designedly
not one
but two
butterfly bushes.
One in the
front of my house
to protect
and one in the
back of my house
to behold.
Front and back
to guide
loved ones
to me.

The Secret Sits

Robert Frost’s poem “The Secret Sits” is one of my all-time favorites.

We dance round in a ring and suppose,

But the Secret sits in the middle and knows.

Secret, with a capital S.

It’s a simple couplet; just two lines of poetry that rhyme, but brilliantly speaks volumes to me.

I’m sure it speaks volumes to you as well.

And I’m equally sure that how and why it touches you is entirely different from what Frost’s poem means to me.

Its poetic rhythm is in anapestic trimeter; a rhythmical combination of anapest: (A foot of poetic verse consisting of three syllables) and trimeter: (Three iambic feet within a single line of poetry).



In the middle.

Trading Places

If you try to be me, I’ll try to be you.
Then for each other, we’ll know what to do.

If you look at me through my eyes,
there will be no need to wear my protective disguise.

Because you’ll be able to see that my inner child is in fear.
You’ll be able to see my insecurities quite clear.

You’ll see that I’m not nearly as strong as I appear.
And you’ll see that I feel more and more pain with each passing year.

Then it will be your turn to take off your mask.
And you’ll have no choice but to tell me your true feelings when I ask.

I’ll see that when you want to cry, you scream.
I’ll see that you, like me, are not as tough as you seem.

I’ll see that you’re going over the brink.
You’ll see that I need you to love me much more than you think.

When you look at me reflected in your view.
The picture is distorted by my ego—and yours too.

Look at me without the deep complexes of our past.
Open your heart and relate to me at last.

So let’s open our minds—I’ll become you, and you’ll become me.
And I’m sure we’ll be shocked and saddened by what we both see.

I’ll see that you need significance, and belonging.
You’ll see my dreams for you and my longing.

I’ll see that you are weary of the games we play.
You’ll see that I pray for you to love me and stay.

If I see your pain,
I won’t hurt you again.

If you see why I cry and complain,
you won’t abuse me the same.

And if I am you and you are me,
we can finally end this torture and agree.

To work on improving the relationship
and make it the best it can be.

So we can finally live together
in peace and harmony.

So let’s trade places.

Let’s open our eyes and see
What happens to the two of us

When I become you
and you become me.

International Women’s Day




alpha male













he boasted.

“What can you














A man’s


A man’s













The egg


in wait.


out of




its way











The fierce






is the










































































Brick by Brick

One brick

two bricks

three bricks.


at me.




the other.


after brick

after brick.

All in ABC’s.

Abandoned * abused * accused * afflicted * afraid * aggressive * alarmed * alienated * an-accident * anguished * angry * anxious * apprehensive * argumentative * awful * awkward * bad * banished * banned * belligerent * below-average * berated * betrayed * bitch * bitter * black-sheep * blamed * blocked * boney * bossy * bothersome *brainwashed * break-up * breakdown * bridgeport * broke * broken * broken-hearted * browbeat * bruised * bugs * bullied * burden * burns * burned * can’t  * careless * catastrophe * chaos * cheated-on * cheater * chicken * clingy * clueless * clumsy * cockroaches * cold * combative *competitive * compulsive* conceited * condemned * condescending * conflicted * confused * conned * consumed * contentious * court * coward * crazy * critical * criticized * cruelty * crushed * crybaby * cutoff * cut-out * cynical * damaged * damned * dark * dark-skinned * defective * defensive * defiant * deficient * delicate * delusional * demons * depressed * deprived * deserted * detached * destroyed * destructive * detested * devalued * devastated * devil * different * difficult * disappointed * disappointment * disapproved-of * disbelieved * discarded * disconnected * disgruntled * disgust * disliked * disloyalty * dismal * disobedient * displaced * disposable * disrespected * dissed * distant * distraught * distressed * disturbed * disrespectful * dizzy * dominated * don’t * doomed * doubtful * drained * dreamer *  dreary * drop-out * dropped-off * drunk * dumb * duped * eliminated * elusive * embarrassed * emotional * enabler * engulfed * enraged * entrapped * estranged * evil * exaggerator * exasperated * excluded * excommunicated * failure * fake * fatherless * fat * fear * fearful * feeble * fire * fired * flawed * flee * forgotten * forsaken * fragile * frightened * frigid * foolish * forgettable * from-a-broken-home * frustrated * furious * gawky * ghetto * get lost * goodbye * graceless * greaser * guarded * guilt * guilty * gutter * half-sister * harassed * hard-hearted * harmed * hassled * hated * havoc * heartbreak * heartache *hell * hidden * hindered * hindrance * homely * hopeless * horrible *hungry * huron-street * hurt * hurtful * hyper * hysterical * illegal * illegitimate * immune * imperfect * impossible * imperfect * incapable * incompetent * inconvenient * indifferent * ineffective * inept * inexperienced * inferior *infested * infected *  injured * insecure * insensitive * insignificant * insolent * instigator * insubordinate * intense * in-the-way * intimidating * invader * invisible *isolated * jaded * jealous * jeered * jew-lover * jittery * jumpy * judged * joyless * kept-apart * kept-away * Kept-in * kept-out * kept-quiet * lanky * left-out * let-down * liar *lied-about * lied-to * lonely * loner * lonesome * loser * lost * loud * mad * made-fun-of * malicious * mangled * man-handled * manipulated * marginalized * messed-with * messed-up * misbehaved * miserable * mistake * misunderstood * mixed-up * mocked * mod-martian * molested * money-hungry * mouse-traps * muzzled * naïve * needy * negative * neglected * nervous * never * no * nobody * numb * nuts * objectified * obsessed * only-child * opportunistic * out-of-place * out-of-touch * over-controlled * ambitious * overlooked * overwhelmed * overly-sensitive * overwhelmed * pain * panicky * paranoid * pathetic * persecuted * persistent * pessimistic * pests * petrified * picked-on * plain * played-with * pock-marked * poor * powerless * pressured * problematic * pulled-apart * pulled-back * punished * puppet * pushed * pushed-away * put-down * quiet * questioned * quirky * rage * rambunctious * rats * rattled * reckless * reject * rejected * rejection * restless * reticent * reluctant * repulsed * repulsive * resented * resentful * retaliatory * retard * revengeful * ridiculed * ridiculous * rodents * rogue * rollercoaster * rude * ruined * sacrificed * sad * scape-goat * scared * scaredy-cat * * scarred * scary * scolded * screwed * screwed-over * screwed-up * second-class * self-destructive * sensitive * set-up * shame * shamed * shameful * shipwreck * shouldn’t * shouted-at * shunned * shy * sickly * silly * singled-out * sinner * skeptical * skinny * smothered * snapped-at * step-daughter * stereotyped * stop * stressed * stressed-out * stuck * stuck-up * stupid * sub-par * substandard * suffocated * suicidal * suppressed * suspicious * swarthy * tattle-tale * tense * terrified * terry * theresa-the-greaser * threatened * timid * tormented * troublemaker * ugly * unable * unapologetic * unappreciative * unattractive * uncaring * underestimated * underdog * undermined * underpaid * uneducated * unequal * unforgiving * unfriendly * unhappy * unhealthy * unjust * unlovable * unlucky * unneeded * unlovable *unqualified * unwanted * unwanted-advances * unrealistic * unrelentless *unruly * untalented * untrusting unwelcome * unworthy * upset * used * useless * vermin * victimized * violated * violence * volatile * vulnerable * wary * weak * weary * wedge * weeds * weepy * weird * wicked * wild * won’t * worthless * written-off * written-out * wrong *  zero

Some bricks

broke my



broke my


Then I heard



on TV.

About building

with bricks.


be afraid.

Pick them up.

Each and



Pick them up.

And then


You can

do it.


a firm foundation.

Brick by brick.

But how?

That was my


So many bricks.

Too many


to handle.

And even

If I could.

Pick them all up.

Brick by brick.

What to use.

To build and


Maybe mortar.

Lots and





Let me try.

Able * abide * ability *accept * accomplished * accountable * achieve * adapt * adjust * admired * adore * adored * advocate * affectionate * agile * agreeable * alert * alive * always * amazed * ambition * amen * analytical * angel * appreciated * appreciative * approachable * ariel * aspire * assemble * assent * assert * atone * attract * audacious * aunt * authentic * available * awakened * awed * babies * backbone * balance * barb * beginnings * believing * belonging * beloved * benchmark * blessed * bliss * blossom * bold * boy * brain * bravery * breakthrough * brilliance * builder * buoyant * busy * caleb * calm * can * candor * capability * carefree * careful * caring * celebrate * centered * certainty * chances * change * charity * charm * charmed * cheer * cheered * chief-operating-officer *  child * child-like * choice * chosen * clarity * climb * coequal * cogent * cohesion * comfort * comforting * comfortable * commitment * communicate * community * companion * compassion *  competence * complete * complimentary * composed * conciliatory * concise *   concrete * confidence * connect * consensual * considerate * consideration * consistent * consoling * constructive * content * continuity * contributive * conviction * cooperation * cornerstone * courage * courtesy * creativity * credible * cuddling *  curiosity * cutting-edge * daring * darling *  dauntless * dawn * decency * decisiveness * dedicated * deep * defend * defiant * definitive * deft * deliberate * demonstrative *   dependable * deserving * desired * destined * determined * devoted * dignity * diligence * diverse * doting * dreamer * dreams * durable * dutiful * dynamic * eagerness * earnestness * eloquent * empathy * empowerment * emulate * encouraged * enduring * engaging * enthusiasm * epic * equal * everlasting * example * exceed * excel * excellence *  factual * fair * faithful * family * fearless * feisty * flexibility * focus * forever * forgiveness * freedom * friends * fritzi * funny * future * garden * generosity * gentlemanly * genuine * gianna * giddy * give * glad * god * goodness * grace * graceful * gracious * grandma* grateful * grounded * guided * happy * harmless * harmonious * hazel * healing * healthful * healthy * heartfelt * heaven * hello * hero * honesty * honor * hope * hopeful * hospitality * humanitarian * humility * humor * husband * imagination * impartial * important * impression * impressive * improvement * improvise *  inclusive * indefatigable * independent * indestructible * indispensable * infant * insight * inspiration * interconnected * ipod * jovial * joy * jubilance * just * kindness * kindred * lasting * laugh * lead * leader * lean * learn * legal * legitimate * lenient * life * light * lila * * little man * live * lou * love * loved * loyalty *   lucky * mammy * magic * mate * maternal * melodious * mercy * merit * mindful * miracle * modesty * moral * motivated * moved * mulberry * music * mutuality * newborn * noble * normal * nurturing * objective * open *  open-handed * open-hearted * open-minded * optimist *  organized * original * pam * paradigm * paradise * parent * partner * passion * patience * peace * peacekeeper * permanent * perseverance * persistence * peter * playful * poetic * poise * positivity * possibility * potential * presence * pride * principled * productive * proficient * promising * protected * protector * proud * provider * purpose * quick * quiet * rainbow * real * realistic * reasoned * reasonable * reassured * reborn * reconciled * reliability * relief * resolute * resolve * respect * responsible * responsive * restorative * safe * safety * satisfied * selfless * sensible * sentimental * serene * serenity * settled * simplicity * sincerity * sister * smile * snuggle * soothing * sorry * soulmate * special * stable * strength * substantive * subtle * successful * sunshine * support * survivor * sympathy, symphony *  talent * teamwork * tenderness * teri * thankful * thoughtfulness * tireless * together * tolerance * tome * touching * tough * tranquility * triumph, trusting, trustworthy * truth * truthful * unafraid * unbeaten * unbroken * uncle * unconditional * undefeated * understanding * understood * unflappable * unicorns * unified * unique * unfazed * unlimited * unshakable * unstoppable *  validated * valued * victorious * vivacious * vivid * vocal * vulnerable * warm * welcome * wes * whimsical * whole * wife * wishful * witty * writer * worthy * yes * youthful * zany * zealous * zestful

Lots of mortar.

In ABC’s.




A mighty


To protect

and defend.

Now I’m


and sound.

Fortified against



bricked up






Bless Me Father


Your mother
is a sinner.

And so are you.

Go now
and confess.

The girl
was terrified.

Not sure what
to say.

She just had
First Communion.

But never confessed
any sins.

The confessional
was dark.

And she hated

The dark
was always

The priest
was barely

Bless me father
for I have sinned.

How long since your
last confession
he asked.


What have you
to confess
my child?


Lord please have
on my soul.

The priest

And opened
the curtain
to reveal

She knew him and
he knew her.

He sat the girl
in a pew
and held her hand.

It was still wet
from blessing herself
with the holy water.

Why would you
confess such a thing
my little one?

Because Mother Superior
ordered me
beg for
and repent.

He took her hand
and they walked
to the school.

In silence.

She was in trouble.

Maybe she was supposed
to genuflect when
she came into
the church.

Who would ask a child
to confess such a thing
asked the priest of
the nun.

Her mother is

She pointed at the girl.

And she doesn’t belong here.

Perhaps it is you
who doesn’t belong
here, he fumed.

The mother arrived

Dressed in a yellow
mini dress
and fake pearls.

Her hair in a bee hive
her cheeks a rosy pink.

Her heels high
and her scent lovely.

The nun was dismissive
and merciless.

But the mother
was fierce.


And ready to


This is what you call
my daughter?

You are a sinner,
and so is she
the nun spat out.

The priest gasped.

The mother moved in
for the kill.

And cut the nun to size
with her biting

No mercy.

The nun was quiet
humbled and ashamed.

The mother was triumphant.


The priest was pleased.

He did his best to
hide his smile.

The child trudged back to class
knowing the
would be merciless.

Bless me father


Her cross
her loss
was more than
one person
should ever bear.

First her husband.
Then her son.

Before she left
she promised me
a sign.

But it never came.

Almost to the day
I thought that plane
was going to drop
right out of the sky.

When we landed
I couldn’t wait to
kiss the ground.

Its brilliance
caught my eye.

On one side
the year
he was born.

On the other
a mother
and daughter.


I secured it
with shipping tape
inside her
framed photo.

Years later
I spoke of it
to the child.

He sensed its

He asked to see it.

I took the photo
off the shelf
to show him.

But it was gone.

Just tape.

No sign.

I tried to hide
my sorrow.

But the little one
the sensitive one

We looked
and around
for it.

And then
we looked again.

tightly affixed.

The curious one
asked how.

No answer.

Just grief.

A few
weeks later
his tiny hand
fished around
in his pocket.

Its brilliance
caught my eye.

On one side
E Pluribus Unum.
Out of many

On the other
a smiling mother
holding her child.

I could see
he loved it.

Keep it
I tenderly
told him.

It belongs
in the frame
he gently replied.

And pressed it
into my
trembling hand.

Am I a Poet, but Don’t Know It?

Word Girl
At a dinner party a few months ago, I was asked by a friend if I was a poet. “No,” I quickly and definitively answered.

And then she queried “How do you know?”

I didn’t speak it, but I thought it: Duh, I think I’d know if I was a poet.

I tried to be pithy in my actual response to her: “Maybe I’m a poet and I don’t even know it.” She rolled her eyes and changed the subject.

But her question stuck with me all these months.

I have over the years tried my hand at poetry. Haven’t we all?

But I was never good at rhyming. The perfect timing of rhyme scheming seemed cheesy to me. Now I recognize that not all poems have to rhyme, but they often flow better when they do.

I wrote a Haiku once, but the three-line rule, totaling 17 syllables throughout seemed forced.  And three lines was near impossible for someone like me.

As the self-proclaimed queen of verbiage, the poems I have written over the years have been rather longish. Getting a four-page poem to rhyme and flow would take a fair amount of poetic talent. Or maybe they aren’t poems at all. Maybe they’re super short, short stories.

So here’s my question: Am I a poet?

For those of you who are familiar with my writing style, you know that I can occasionally be sardonically witty.  But for the most part, I am supremely morose. I apologize for that. Sort of.

Anyway, I combed through some of my journals and found this entry I felt compelled to share. It was one long rant of a paragraph, so I chopped it up a bit. Perhaps you too have an ex-friend. Perhaps I am a poet after all.

It’s my birthday today
and I’m not thinking about
how I’m going to spend it.
I’m thinking about
my ex-best friend
and how I wish we were
fourteen again
caring only about
boys and clothes,
and  listening to
Simon and Garfunkel
while we weep over
life-altering happenings.
First kisses and sweet sixteen’s,
pimples, breakups, and proms,
becoming women,
high school graduation
and leaving for college.
I want my teenage years back,
and my grandmother,
and my dog Raleigh.
I want to sleep out in a tent
in my then still best friend’s backyard
and sneak boys into her house
while everyone is asleep.
And I long to hear her mother’s shrill voice,
ordering us to shape up.
I want to giggle with her
and hang out for hours
in her magazine-perfect bedroom.
But her room is gone
and so is our youth,
and her parents.
And our friendship.
And I wonder what we will share next.
What event might break
the silence.
The thought is unnerving
and scary
so I put it out of my mind.
Instead, I remember
the good times
the old times
when we were young and naïve
with flowers in our pigtails.
Kodak color prints
of the two of us
in teeny weeny bikinis,
with our hair in jumbo curlers.
And then engagements,
marriage, pregnancy,
the miracle of birth,
I want to remember
everything, even the
bad times,
because we shared them.
Heartbreak, deceit,
tough love,
health scares,
divorce, remarriage,
rejection, repudiation,
the golden years,
ex-best friends forever.
Girl on a park bench

My Memory of 9/11

September 11 A

I wrote the following short story on January 8, 2002:

New Yorkers are known as pushy, arrogant, loud, and unfriendly. That’s the nice stuff said about us. I say we have our reasons.

First, let’s talk about the crowds in New York. Have you ever seen so many people? The streets are clogged, the restaurants are packed, and the subways and buses are like sardine cans.

Our pushiness is really a survival tactic. In order to get from point A to point B in some reasonable amount of time and in one piece, one needs to be assertive. And when dealing with so many people, we New Yorkers have to stand up for ourselves. Thus the arrogance.

Loud? Well, how else will we be heard? And unfriendly? Maybe we should say hello to every one of the thousands of people we pass daily. As Billy Joel so succinctly put it: New Yorkers are in a “New York state of mind.”

A pathetic creature of habit, I catch the 8:01 Long Island Railroad train every morning. I get on the same car and sit in the same seat. Then at Penn Station,  I take the same E subway car to West 4th Street and get out at the same subway exit. I then walk on the same side of the street for six blocks to my office on lower Broadway. On the way home, I precisely reverse the entire trip.

Every day my round trip, six-block, same-side-of-the-street walk on Broadway went like this:

I would pass a police command station permanently parked outside of Washington Square Park by New York University. In the morning, there was always the same police officer – a graying man in his fifties, bopping up and down to old rock and roll music wafting from his mobile post.

Every day I would get about a half block away from his post and try to guess what music he was playing. Sometimes it was Elvis or The Beach Boys; sometimes it was Frankie Valli singing “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”

On the way home in the evening, I would pass the command post just about the time that the morning and evening officers were changing shifts. The evening officer was in his mid-twenties and his music of choice was Billy Joel and U2.

I got to know their names –Officer Tommy in the morning and Officer Kevin in the evening. Kevin would occasionally play Beatles music and every time he did, I would compliment him on his choice, and tell him how much I liked it. When he started to play more and more Beatles music, Tommy would tease Kevin and say that he was playing Beatle music for “Madam Publisher.”  Kevin would blush and give Tommy a friendly jab on the arm and tell him to “cut it out.”

And then came 9/11.

Following the horrific events of that day, our offices were shut down for a few days. My first day back into the city and back into my routine was a tough one.

After 9/11, my “normal” routine was painfully different, and I wondered if anything would ever be normal again. At the train platform, the commuters looked shell shocked and walked from person to person asking about others they hadn’t seen since the attack. We shared our good and bad news with each other. Who was okay and who was “missing.”

On the E subway, everyone seemed nervous, and we all looked sadly at each other when the conductor made his announcement: “Next stop on the E to World Trade Center is West 4th Street.” When I got off the subway, I walked numbly toward Washington Square Park.

The smell was unbearable, and I panicked at the thought of what it could be. There were flyers everywhere—faces of hundreds of men and women hanging on telephone poles, fences, park benches, trees.

As I approached my half block point from the police station, I heard the faint sound of a Beatles ballad. “I’m looking through you” was playing in the background while people walked in a haunted daze. The flyers were blowing all over the sidewalks and streets and along with everyone else, I carefully avoided stepping on them. Many passersby wore facemasks. It all seemed terribly surreal.

In the distance, I saw Officer Tommy running toward me saying, “Thank God, you’re okay. I haven’t seen you in a while. I thought something happened to you.” And he hugged me incredibly hard. I felt a little awkward so I tried to lighten up the mood. “The Beatles music,” I said to him “It’s so sad. We need your rock and roll music today.”

With his hands on my two shoulders, he looked at me through tears and said “Kevin, the night cop—you know, the kid—he’s missing. He went to the World Trade Center to help that morning and no one has seen him since.”

Then it was my turn to get teary, and with his hands still on my shoulders, we stared in each other’s eyes, slightly embarrassed.

And when the song “Blackbird,” started playing in the background, I began to cry, and we hugged again.

Officer Tommy was crushed. “He was my son’s age,” he said. “I lost so many friends. So many gone, just like that. How do we recover from this?”

I didn’t answer him, but I was fairly sure we would never recover from “this.”

As we embraced each other on the sidewalk, all I could think of was to lie to him and tell him that time heals all wounds.

We were an unlikely pair, the two of us. A police officer from the 6th precinct being comforted by the chief operating officer of an international news magazine.

Every day we would talk for a few minutes on my way to the office. He was going to ground zero most days after his shift to help “bring his brothers home.”

On the way home—at the evening shift, it was always a different officer.

And the evening shift music was gone.

Not even Officer Tommy played music anymore.

One morning Tommy broke down and was trying to hold back his tears.

I told him that I found that keeping a journal was good therapy and that he should try writing everything down.

I assured him, even though it was another lie, that he could get rid of his pain through words. “I’m no writer. I’m a New York City cop,” was his reply.

But he followed my suggestion and began to write. On my way into work some mornings he would give me various things he had written and asked me to check his spelling.   I loved his writing – I felt he had real talent and told him so.

Then one day he too was gone.

At first, I thought maybe he was on vacation. But after a week, I figured he was probably not coming back. And like the evening shift, there was someone different there every day.

I finally stopped one morning and asked the officer on duty what happened to Tommy. “He’s gone. He retired from the force. He couldn’t take the job no more.”

I often wonder why he never gave me a heads up or said goodbye.

Some might say he was a typical New Yorker.

The last time I saw Officer Tommy, he had given me the poem below for me to read.

I never even got the chance to tell him what I thought about it.

HONOR GUARD AT GROUND ZERO – Police Officer Thomas B. – 6th Precinct

Rake gently over our brother’s grave

Speak softly where he sleeps

His soul ascends

His spirit raised

Raised well above these ruins of death

He speaks to us

We stand erect

Amid the numbing breeze of winter’s breath

We salute our brother and raise our palms

Raised well above our breast

Our palms outstretched

We crease our brows, our minds, our hearts

Where underneath our brother lies

In sorrow, we salute him

Honor Guard