Sunday, February 15, 2015

not exactly wonderland



not exactly wonderland

second apartment, a
rocky, rebound relationship—
left the beat of the city
to the middle-of-nowhere-special.

our eat-me sized furniture
loomed over drink-me sized spaces.
narrow strip of carpeted
kitchen invited takeout delivery.

shackled to the second
bedroom—my  office prison
for scholarly pursuits—
with ample room for self-doubt.

three children and a baby
below served as regular alarm clock.
yard bug zapper droned
throughout suburban summer nights.

the only reprieves from
steady silence of study and stress.
long island isolation—
living three disparate identities.

with husband often working,
the drink-me sized second-floor apartment
seemed super-size-me large
that first, endless year of grad school.

at least there was cable.  



http://magpietales.blogspot.com/2015/02/mag-258.html



Sunday, January 25, 2015

One-Year Contract



In keeping with the apartment theme from last week: 


One-Year Contract

Two armoires,
A fireplace,
A stucco kitchen floor,
And an English garden—

What extravagance
In a suburban apartment,

Especially in comparison
To our last cramped place.

We’d have the first floor—
The owner, a lovely
British woman, lived
On the second level.

The downside:
One heating system for both spaces.

The upside:
She left town each weekend.

We signed the one-year contract
In summer, and placed clothing
In the armoires and my desk in the
Corner to write grad class papers.

The first weekend on the patio
Squirrels dropped apples on our heads,

But the dahlias, in every size and hue,
And butterflies brightened our spirits.

The humidity was incessant—
No matter how many times we
Scrubbed, the mushrooms
Returned in bathroom crooks.

Come fall, the wasps marched
Into the living room to die.

Come winter, the fireplace
Released plumes of tar smoke.

We did not control the heat—
She complained it was too hot.
I washed dishes in my winter coat,
Typed papers wearing fingerless gloves.

My breath came out in cloudbursts
In the bedroom ‘til we bought a space heater.

She complained about the electric bill.
We broke our lease two months early.

With a baby on the way,
There was No Way we could stay.
The lovely landlady was in her garden,
Which was  returning to its former glory.

She sighed and said
She didn’t know why tenants stayed only one year….





Monday, January 19, 2015

Our First Apartment



Our First Apartment

700-square feet of bliss
and cockroaches.
We saw two in the tub
The size of guinea pigs.
I marveled and cowered.
You fed them to the turtles,
Until we released our pets at the Bronx Zoo.

The heat cranked
Incessantly in winter,
So we opened the windows
But in summer we snapped them
To shut out noisy drunks,
reeking garbage, filth, 
And potential burglars heard on the news.

We bought that hefty lock
For added protection.
The doorman buzzer
Buzzed just outside our entrance.
The garbage chute
Whooshed outside our kitchen.
And the TV buzzed from another apartment.

We rode our mountain bikes.
And bladed in Central Park,
Just 20 minutes away on the subway.
We found our favorite Chinese takeout,
Favorite Indian joint, best Kosher
Deli, and best-deal fruit stand.
We learned to cook well in our white kitchen.

The day we prepared our
Most ambitious dinner,
You saw the roach scurrying.
While trying to shield if from me,
You cut your thumb.
Blood splattered on our
White walls, and our now ruined gourmet meal.

I brought you to the ER to get stitches.

Those were the days.



This poem is for my husband, Stu. 
Happy Birthday! xo


Thursday, January 1, 2015

1986















1986

Rim my eyes
Coal.
Red lips
Break up the
Black.
Like Siouxsie
And the Banshees.

Tromp in my
Combat boots
To
Washington
Square Park—
Grit and
Weed wafting in the air.

Pass by CBGB.
Once met
Someone
Whose nose was
Broken
There, moshing.
I wear virgin Dr. Martens.

I’m a suburban-
Punk girl

Sniffing incense
In Time Square,
Buying Bauhaus
Records
In The Village.
Combing clothes at
Second hand shops.

Score cheap food—
Pizza or food truck? 
Skip the
Subway
To conserve
Cash.
Dwindles to coins.

The homeless
Scream
In Penn Station.
I stand on the
Platform.
Stare at the billboard.
Molly Ringwald’s newest.

Isn’t she
Pretty in Pink?















Pictures of Manhattan in the 1970s and 80s:





Happy New Year!
xo,
Theresa

Monday, December 15, 2014

Lip-Lock




Lip-Lock

You and I
We—
Intertwined
In a knot

Bound in a
Web
Of our own
Invention

The spider
Spins—
Instinctive
Purposeful

Our random
Acts—
Fraying but
Still raveled

Still we weave
Our
History
In coarse twine

In your kiss—
Limbs
Intertwined—
I'm undone




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Snowstorm

Brace yourself... winter's coming....



Three Haiku

brittle land yields as
onslaught descends wrath upon
capacious spaces

those left living brace
b'neath squall’s relentless torment
Retreat, Surrender

dreary sky deceives
tomorrow, rime world rebirths
under sundrenched blue


- Theresa Milstein




Sunday, November 16, 2014

Collision




Collision

After a
newsworthy
Head-on
Collision
The number of
Head-on
Collisions

Spikes

Who are these
Copycat
Suicidal-
Homicidal
Drivers?
Like them--
I know.

My corpse won’t tell.



- Theresa Milstein