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Category Archives: Writing

The Jerry Poems

 

road

Riding Up The Thruway

Riding up the thruway
in the fresh October morning
struck by the splendor
of sun and sky and mountains
we pretended we were driving
to Quebec. Beneath my sweater
my nipples pulsated
with yesterday’s rhythms.
I was a lute
a harpsichord
a joyous screaming horn
wailing for your fingers
and your tongue.

No Miles ever played as sweetly
no Coltrane as intenselysaxophone as you
my fine musician
celebrating passion
upon this throbbing drum.

***********************************

The Same Two Years

“Two years!”
I sob into your shoulder
(your rich round luscious
brown shoulder)
For two years
I cupped delicate dreams
in tentative palms:
an offering.
Take them now,
they are yours tonight
as much as my breasts
and my thighs
for I am afraid
that tomorrow will be
the dawn of anotherladybugheart2
two years.

Finally you speak:
Time flies.

*********************************

Non-Monogamy

Do you compare us?
Do your hands caress
her sculptured thighs
rejoicing in sensation
my padded flesh denies?

Do your lips delight
in tobacco-free kisses?
Does each layer she unfolds
reveal another of my flaws?

You say there’s no
comparison. You lie:
New lovers are always
antidotes to old.

You say we’re each unique
that you love the one you’re withdaisies
but still the question haunts me:
When you compare us, who wins?

****************************

Profile

Your framed profile sits beneath
a bunch of tightly shut anemones.
By the time they blossom
you will lie beside another.

Bloody purples, pinks and reds—
even virgin whites—
will trumpet your
betrayal.

All attempts to hold you
or to leave you have failed.

I watch the tender petals spreadanemones
raining seeds upon your photo.
They open to reveal their centers,
each one brilliantly distinct.

*****************************

I Wanted to Lie In Bed

I wanted to lie in bed and tickle his toes.
He wanted to go out for breakfast.
I wanted to listen to his childhood secrets.
He wanted to hear jazz in the local cafe.
I wanted to read him my poetry.
He wanted to take in a skin flick.
I would have fed him moussaka
had he sat still long enough
rubbed his muscles
with eucalyptus oil
lathered his hair
sculpted his face
with my hands.

Now his absence fills the room
with relief. The air expands.
The horizon of my mind
stretches in the silence like rubber.

He never raised a hand in anger
or even his voice
never asked for commitmentBridal Bouquet
or demanded choices.
He respected my art
fed my cat
was patient in bed
and picked up his socks.
He just never had time
to feel.

********************************

The Last Lap

Swimming towards another shore
I pause to gaze at those behind.
Letting go was never easy
and the pain disguised as pleasure
was seductive.
How I cradled it between my breasts
pretending my yearning sighs
were of contentment.
How I studied our strokes
as we moved through the muck
only to discover
I’d been swimming alone.

Surfacing
I find you bobbing
like a piece of dead woodocean b:w
surrounded by those
who fitfully grasp
your slippery edges.
It is not you I mourn
in crossing
but the loss of kinship
with the drowning.

*****************************

White Lies

He made me feel rooted
and strong as a tree
wrapped my parched bones
in ebony silk
as if we inhabited
some other planet

but it was America
on Earth 1980
and we had been taught
white lies.
Plotting revenge
we came to despise
what we’d loved.

I curse his virtues
celebrate his faults
read books and theories
on racism.
I’ve forgotten how it felt
to sleep in his skin
and the landscape we crossed
unafraid.

heartstitchesbroken

Bibliotherapy: Who Knew?

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A book enters the life of an individual, a deep relation is formed, and the person changes in some significant way as a result of this engagement.  Bibliotherapy deals with how and why this happens, and how this process can be put to use in ways which improve our lives as individuals and as social beings.—from What is Bibliotherapy?

daisies

 

 

The intentional use of reading as a therapeutic method has been around since the 1930’s, perhaps even earlier: the ancient Greeks considered literature psychologically and spiritually powerful and their library doors held signs proclaiming it “a healing place for the soul”.Its basic concept is that reading, like other forms of therapy, can help people resolve complex problems in their lives. After World War II bibliotherapy was used in both general practice and medical care for soldiers with time to fill while recuperating. Bibliotherapeutic groups were also used in psychiatric institutions.

I have to wonder, if it’s so widespread, how come I, a seasoned therapy patient who’s undergone, at various times in my life, talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, bioenergetics, re-evaluation counseling, gestalt, and dance and movement therapy, never even heard the word bibliotherapy? And when I Googled it I found only a few books on the topic. book piles

One book I skimmed, The Novel Cure: From Abandonment to Zestlessness: 751 Books to Cure What Ails You, by Ellen Berthoud and Susan Elderkin, suggests specific books for particular ailments—but I found it superficial and even, in some places, silly. I was stunned that they recommend The Woman in the Dunes by Kobo Abe to help cure agoraphobia. Dunes is the story of a Japanese village whose residents live in houses buried beneath piles of sand that they constantly must sweep their way out of, only to be buried again the next day. It’s an allegory of the futility of life; at least that was my interpretation when I read it as a teenager. I was so disturbed by Dunes that to this day I remember the way I felt reading it some 50 years ago—and the memory still makes me shudder. A cure for agoraphobia? Maybe—but it had a negative effect on me and my growing claustrophobia.

The Guardian UK calls the authors of The Novel Cure “Bibliotherapy’s founders”, according to Robert McCrum, who went to them for his own therapy via literature. Says the Guardian, “Bibliotherapy is the new service offering solace to jaded souls – by revitalising your reading list. We sent six of our writers to find out if it works.” Each writer presented a brief description of a session with one of the practitioners at the “Delightfully Offbeat School of Life” in London, where the service is offered, along with his or her prescribed reading list. The descriptions were amusing, the prescriptions interesting, and I’m sure I’d thoroughly enjoy one of these sessions. Does that make bibliotherapy a valid method of analysis and/or improvement? I have my doubts—and yet, as I said in a guest post for Tolstoy Therapy, I’ve been unwittingly practicing bibliotherapy myself for most of my life, though I didn’t name it.

ladybugheart2I suspect that one reason bibliotherapy isn’t more widely known is that, despite a great deal of anecdotal evidence, very little research has been conducted to prove or disprove its effectiveness. It also seems to be more popular in the UK than in the States. From my interactions on Goodreads with the British, I’m learning this happens a lot: a trend that goes viral in the US might leave the Brits cold, or they go crazy for something new that we’ve barely even looked at.

I’m  following Tolstoy Therapy, the most interesting blog I’ve yet to find on the subject. You don’t have to commit to heavy self-analysis to enjoy reading about PTSD and literature, book reviews and recommendations, theories on why we enjoy reading fiction, and dozens of other relevant subjects. Check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Laika In Lisan: New Book

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Laika in LisanFirst : Immediate and Full Disclosure: I worked with Maron Anrow, this book’s author, editing Laika in Lisan. It’s because I liked the book so much that I’m posting it on my blog as a publicity shot. This is something I’ve never done with a book I’ve worked on: that’s how much I liked it.

Laika in Lisan is classified as “fantasy,” a genre I previously thought meant dungeons and dragons or monsters shooting one another with laser beams up in the sky—but this novel could have taken place in our world, in a repressive country like North Korea; in fact, Lisan is very much like that country, with its citizens forced to worship their leader; all resources diverted to the military and those in power while the workers starve; and extreme isolation from other nations.

My favorite part is the relationship between Laika and Rodya, an anti-government radical she meets in the woods after her journey into the capitol, where she’s been invited as a visiting scholar, is waylaid by violence. Their interactions, dialog, and progression of their relationship are unlike any other I’ve read, and it provides a welcome relief from the intensity of everything else that occurs. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy everything else; this book is replete with the kind of suspense that had me sitting on the edge of my chair the first time I read it, furiously clicking through my Kindle to see what happens next: in other words, it’s a real page turner—or screen clicker.

And now for a moment on my soapbox: Laika in Lisan is one of thousands? millions? of books that are part of the independent publishing movement, growing bigger every day. Some of these books are so crappy they make this movement look lousy, but I’ve found just as many genuinely good books as bad ones in the mix. This movement has the potential to remove the mega-sized publishing corporations as gatekeepers of what reaches the reading public, and to put writers in control of our work. For this to happen, however, indie authors must put as much careful precision into their final products as they would if they were working for a publisher, particularly one who’s paid them an advance. Laika in Lisan is one book, believe me, that’s gotten that kind of precise authorial attention. Climbing off soapbox.

Click over to Amazon and check it out; the book is now available for the Kindle; in a few weeks the print version will be ready. And it’s already garnered two

Maron Anrow

Maron Anrow

reviews, both of them positive!

Oops…I almost forgot to mention that Laika in Lisan is Anrow’s first novel, a fact I include because you’d never guess it’s by someone without more experience. I’m proud to have been a part of this literary endeavor.

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Five Sentence Fiction #3: Florida

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Five Sentence Fiction #3. This week’s prompt is Vacation.

Sun

Florida

For over 20 years I spent one week a year with my mother in Florida, and every day I took a long delicious walk along the Atlantic Ocean. In the evenings she took me out for expensive dinners. Even so, every  morning I’d awaken filled with a sick, sinking feeling inside, except on the day I was going back home. At my mother’s funeral I thought, I never have to come here again, and I haven’t.

Sometimes I miss the ocean.

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Five Sentence Fiction #2

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English: Icon for lists of science fiction authors

Icon for lists of science fiction authors (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really like this 5Sentence Fiction writing. Lillie McFerrin posts a word, and we write whatever comes to mind, using the word or not. I tend to use it, or have both times now. Also, I don’t know how everyone else does it, but I’m writing them pretty fast, off the top of my head. I’m curious as to what emerges.

This week’s word is “whimsical” and here’s my little ditty:

What Was

A whimsical girl in a whimsical tree with whimsical chimes above her. She swings on a tire and throws back her head for the dizzy sensation she loves. Her heart is light and her smile is gay; she’s young and she lives for today. The sun is out and the sky is blue and it’s only 1952. Smog has not yet smothered the planet.

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