Monday, June 27, 2022


I flick them off a forearm

or a thigh, squish them

under heel or thumb

the black ones 

small and large alike

one time saw a critter

crawling across

white kitchen tile

vigorous and struggling

under the broken body weight

of his dried up comrade

and felt nearly awestruck

by his valiant efforts

to carry his brother

to safety

as I crushed them both

under my toes;

the traps in the corner

are insufficient

and the man fixing

my front porch shows me

how over years

the destructive devils

have chewed through

the thick joists 

supporting the deck

reduced them to sawdust

it’s an unwinnable war

he says smiling -

carpentry is his sideline

most days he plays 

double bass for the 

city philharmonic and 

on weekends 

directs a church choir

I don't know where

he finds time for woodwork

but he needs 

the extra cash

and it 'keeps me sane' he says

in steady measured tones

between buzzsaw screams

(he wears ear protection

goggles and gloves)

I holler at him 

aren't you worried

about severing a finger

it could happen

in a split second

of inattention 

the mind does tend to wander

life is filled with risks

he answers offhandedly

and I say to myself

he's right

he’s a good guy

I think

I'll let him live.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Father's Day

We Jews don't celebrate it

because the Bible says

as number 5

on its top 10 list 

honour thy father...

so in theory every day 

should be father's day

but of course 

we fall short

so I'm all for a reminder

once a year 

and I have to admit

I enjoyed 

the special breakfast -

Pillsbury cinammon rolls

hot from the oven

frosted with gooey icing

and fresh strawberries

cut into shapes and arranged 

on the plate to say

"We love you dad"

in sweet red

plus my daughters 

let me explain

to them the meaning 

of my favourite

Bruce Springsteen song

which they know well

because I blasted it

every morning for years

on the way to school

about the confusions of love

using a carnival metaphor

a house of mirrors

'showing us both in 5D'

and I asked them if

after all they've witnessed

in our home

they still believed in marriage

and to my astonishment

they said yes because 

when the ride was over

mother and I 

always laughed.

Father's Day Portrait by Tamar Black-Rotchin


Wednesday, June 8, 2022


It never really occurs to you

until it's unavoidable

that desks 

in an elementary school classroom

are lined up in rows

like ducks 

at a shooting gallery.

Monday, June 6, 2022

Pink Elephant

She told me

she was dying

said it was so sad

no words no poem

could express

how it felt

and of course

my mind conjured

words because that’s 

what always happens

it's all I have

like when you say

try not to imagine

a pink elephant

and of course - 

and then she said

if I could I’d come back

as a cat

and I’d lie around 

all day and do nothing

because life is too hard

too sad

and cats don’t care

and as she spoke

my mind

was taken up 

by a pink elephant

and what they say 

about elephants

and writing a poem

no room there

for dying

or goodbye

or anything like


Mostly Alone

I can be

mostly alone

if I want

it’s up to me

that’s how I know

I have nothing

no, less than nothing

to complain about

we live 

in the most privileged

society in the most

privileged time 


has ever known

because we have

the choice

to be alone

if we want

and nothing is sadder

than feeling alone.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

The Answer

I wanted one

believed there was one 

hoped there was one,

prayed for one, and

when it came,

it was not

what I hoped for

prayed for



and so

I kept praying




and told myself

well, that's life

we hope

we pray 

we believe.