“Beating a Dead Horse” contains my childhood memories of life on the streets of New York City and Jersey City during the Great Depression. The focus is on the ubiquitous presence of working horses (as well as a flock of goats) within the city in that era. The ways people made a living include the organ grinder with his monkey, the fruit and vegetable vendors with their horse-drawn wagons, and the man who collected old clothes to re-sell them. This was an exceedingly stressful era for adults, but we kids were unaware of this; we thought everything was normal.
The following poems map what isolation does to a human in our epoch of extreme interrelation, blurring the hot mirage of conjured reality with events from a diminished ambit into a sort of emotional impressionism. Loneliness alone, loneliness in company. The clinging to memory. The double consciousness of looking inside and out. Visions swinging between fear and wonder.
The process of aging is frequently coupled with fear — the changing landscape of our bodies, the deterioration of mind, and the unknowability of death can lead to states of acceptance, terror, or rage, depending on the individual. How do our relationships with our family members change as we watch them age in front of our eyes?
These poems explore the destructive power of humans against each other, both en masse and individually, by our own, human-created systems of government. The limits of such destruction seem to know no bounds. Who will try to stop it? Can it be stopped? The poems in this selection explore the extent of human’s institutionalized inhumanity toward man, questions whether such
destruction can be stopped, and demands to know whether justice exists.
All human beings are in a state of flux and transition, whether it be with belief, faith, sex, sexual orientation, identity, memories, relationships, or a physical state. How we see ourselves and others isn’t always clear. Navigating the day-to-day vicissitudes of life is at the heart of the human condition. And on top of that, even more is unexpected than expected, dredging the soul through something out of the blue and demanding resolve, which is also part of the human condition.
These are sections from a longish prose poem titled “House of India,” a meditation on an Indian restaurant, one of its waitresses, and one of its regulars. Regarding the human condition, the writing explores how cultures (and individuals) get dressed up in the fantasies of those they depend on for survival.
How do the spaces we inhabit often represent our internal struggles? In many ways, the condition of my kitchen mirrored the condition of my life for almost twenty-five years. The lens of my marriage and relationship with my ex-husband had clouded the view of my life and I began to act accordingly. At some point I began to realize it was not my kitchen, but me that was feeling “ugly” inside. In the end, beyond a little “window dressing,” my kitchen never really changed. I had changed.
Finding strength, self, and voice through the turmoil of bitterly divorced parents and an emotionally abusive misogynistic father, I discover who I am and who I want to be. This essay begins the exploration of my journey, learning to become whomever I needed to be in order to appease those around me. This piece talks about me learning to find my voice and stand up for myself.
“The Place Between” is a speculative piece about death and moving on. It follows an unnamed protagonist who, after a tragic accident, must make the choice between holding on to his old life with all its pain and pleasures or letting go, even if it means losing his memories. The story examines the fear of death and the unknown as well as the importance of memory. It also looks at the pain and complexities present in parent-child relationships. Most importantly, it is a story about what it means to be alive and what we must leave behind when we die.