The Dying of the Light

My friend Steve Deutsch has a fine new poem in Borfski Press Magazine.  Please visit his blog and leave comments for him there.

We found my mother
on the third floor
of a hospital
that should have been shuttered
in the 80’s.
The lights were dim
and the walls and halls
so covered in filth
it seemed they
had absorbed the misery
of the past 30 years
and the anguish would no longer
wash away.

It wasn’t hard to find mom.
She screamed “Help me”
every couple of minutes.
We heard her from the elevator
above the endless beeping
and the garbled sounds
from the PA system.
The fact that we
were now with her
did not alleviate her need to scream.
Nor did reasoning.

She had fallen again
and broken her tailbone.
She was 95 and failing
and I was the good son—
the one who answered the call
at 2 AM,
booked the 1000 mile trips
and tried to find a place
where she could end her days
in comfort.
It was rewarding in an exhausting way.
Finding, unexpectedly,
I was the one to be counted on.

But, listen,
there is just so much
we can do for one another.
There are limits to prerogatives
of blood.
We practice love,
not magic
and when,
in a moment of lucidity
she stared at my face—
a face she had known
my whole life,
and said,
“I’m dying,”
“Save me.”
I was again
as helpless
as the infant
she had held
to her breast.

– Steven Deutsch
First published in Borfski Press Magazine 
Photo source

Stevieslaw: My poem “Studio in the Asylum” was published in The Ekphrastic Review today

Speaking of ekphrasis, here’s one from my friend Steve Deutsch. He has written a series of ekphrastic poems from the point of view of the artist, taking into account the era and their particular situation. Steve’s always right on point, whether he’s writing poetry or political satire. Take a look at his other posts for the satire part.

Stevie's Law

Studio in the Asylum (find the poem at Ekphrastic.net)
Dear Theo:

I am surrounded here
by the painter’s commonplace,
the half- filled canvases
that dot the ochre walls and
those ornaments of still-lifes—
the vases and jars standing
to attention on the sill,
empty of color and purpose.
I feel a tension, as if
a single dazzling orange
would shatter the calm
forever.

I have finished “Studio in the Asylum.”
It is a soothing depiction,
like a setting for a prayer.
Yet, I might well have named the piece
“The window in the wall”–
that brightness that separates
the therapeutic room
from the glory of the garden
and the grounds.
Soon, now
I shall make my way outside.
to paint the olive landscapes
and pasteled huts
and to color
the stars of the night sky.

Yours: Vincent

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National Poetry Month

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I’ll share my favorite poems — the ones I return to and always find something new.  I hope you enjoy them too.

The first is by my friend Steve Deutsch who writes a satirical political blog that’s worth a look.  This poem originally appeared in Weatherings, an anthology produced by Future Cycle Press on homelessness, aging, and our planet.

Flotilla

You left behind.
one half a jelly donut,
stale as last Wednesday;
some clothing, moth-eaten,
mildewed; two shoes,
one black, one brown,
with newsprint for the soles.
You left behind a paper sack
of winter warmth, and poetry
by Whitman, Poe and Crane,
well-fingered and browned in age.

You walked into the river
and left behind four dollars
and eighteen cents, which I
have spent on coffee
and a banana nut muffin,
that crumbled in its freshness.

Your poetry; penned
in your perfect prep school hand,
was stuffed inside two newish socks
atop the brown and laceless shoe.
It is unnervingly good,
but I can use the socks.
I crumpled your words in their freshness,
and set them to sail upon the river,
page by remarkable page.

Steve Deutsch