“If” by Roz Levine

 

If Marsha hadn’t wanted to find a new love
If she hadn’t wanted to go it alone
To the Young Democratic Party meeting
If she hadn’t asked me to simmer down
With so many romances on high flame in my life
If you hadn’t been at the entryway
Sweet smiling at all the beautiful ladies
If I hadn’t been wearing the cranberry sweater set
Made of cashmere so soft to the fingers
If I hadn’t curled my black Veronica Lake locks
Brushed them a hundred times to high shine
If I hadn’t silly smiled at you when you called me Florence
And I said my name was Rosalind
If we hadn’t laughed at how funny that was
How you thought it was so cool
To watch me sign my name
And you read my chicken scrawl all wrong
And we roared ourselves into a bowl of howls
If you hadn’t looked so hot and handsome
In that beautiful fitting gray sharkskin suit
If your body hadn’t been so lean and mean
If you hadn’t found me at City College
Twenty-four hours after we’d met
If your kisses hadn’t been so delicious
If your tongue hadn’t brought me to hot, hot, hot
If you hadn’t smelled so damn good
Looked so mighty damn fine
Acted so utterly damn charming
If you hadn’t worn an ascot
On our first date together
If you hadn’t said you loved me
Ten days after we met in Manhattan
If you hadn’t asked me to marry you
If we hadn’t married eleven weeks later
If we hadn’t honey combed two terrific daughters
And two awesome grand daughters
If you hadn’t filled my life with adventure
Encouraging me to yes, yes, yes
When I wanted to nip and tuck
All our seams to no, no, no
If we hadn’t survived heart disease
Cancers, diabetes, chronic pains
Surgery after surgery after surgery
If you hadn’t said write, write, write
You’re a writer, by god, you are
If Marsha hadn’t sweet talked me
To attend that political soiree
How would I have savored so much joy
The forty-six years we’ve been together?

Roz Levine

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010

“Because” by Roz Levine

 

 

Because I’ve lived
Decades past
The initial countdown
When at sixteen
A ruptured appendix
Brought me to death’s door
Because I’ve lived
Years past the first cancer
When at thirty-seven
Lymphoma lived
Amidst inguinal cells
Because I’ve lived
Years past
Cancer number two
When a breast chunk
Was sliced and diced
From this body flesh
Because I‘ve lived
Through years of pain
Endured twelve surgeries
Survived to sixty-eight
Breathed long enough
To hear grandma
I love you words
Because of this plate
Piled high with gratitude
I say thank you
For every sunrise
For each rainbow
For the birds’ songs
For the flower blooms
For all the love
Because
Because
Because
I am so glad
To be alive

Roz Levine

“Rainbow Moment” Foto

By L. K. Thayer

© 2010

 

“Survival Stew” by Roz Levine

 

I chew on survival stew
Gobble everything on my plate
Gulp down hearty chunks
To my bone marrow
I chewed up lymphoma
Swallowed breast cancer
Chomped on a ruptured appendix
Sipped on blood soup
After a great slip and fall
I chew on survival stew
Stuff this body on gratitude
For every sunburst
And cloud storm
For rain drops on splish splash
Against rooftop shingles
I stuff this body on gratitude
For granddaughters’ hugs
For husband’s kisses
For lifelong friendships
On bird of paradise bloom
I stuff this body to overflow
Savor every sweet morsel
Of every little bit on my plate

Roz Levine

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010

“She Left A Burial Note” by Roz Levine

With cardinal colored nails
She tip tapped her burial note
How she wanted to go out just fine
Frothed in finery fit for a female
Of the sex and twist persuasion
How her hair had to be colored
With number 5G
No more
No less
30 minutes of color
Not
One
Minute
Longer
She clicked out that note
How her lips needed Max Oom pah pah
And her eyes, the shadow of purple
Tinged with lilac below the brow line
Don’t forget to tweeze those stray hairs
Please, please, please
She wanted the polka dot g string panties
Under her Spanx hold ins
Beneath the purple passion velvet suit
Over the flesh
That would never more rise
With mother of god orgasms
And don’t forget the wonder bra
The one in flame the world red
It had to hold jiggle free boobs
In the tight oak coffin for eternity.
For Christ’s sake
If they find these remnants
In a hundred years
In five hundred years
In the next millennium
They’d feast their eyes
On some kind of a woman
Who roared to the end
Took the wild with her
To her final earth home.

Roz Levine

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010

“$55.00 Parking Ticket” by Roz Levine

"Gulp, Gulp, Gulp!!"

Beware of $55.00 traffic tickets
They’ll break the bank
If your funds are down low
They can bring on bull rage
Raise your pressure
Cause hyperventilation
Introduce sweat bullets
On your forehead and armpits
Brings forth curses and foul mutter
About authorities and officers
Rules and regulations
With your breath
On gulp gulp gulp
With your stomach
On a roller coaster ride
With your head
Ripe for an explosion
Beware of chalk lines
On car tires at curbsides
But calm down, my friend
You don’t have cancer
You don’t have AIDS
You don’t have MS
It’s just a traffic ticket
Not a fucked up life.

Roz Levine

Photo by L. K. Thayer

© 2010

“The Hidden Picture” by Roz Levine

I hid my face like a turtle

Scrunching facial features
Deep into my collar bone
Turning my head from view
When daddy dropped me
At Queens College
When I scurried from his white truck
When I prayed no one I knew
No one who knew me
No one who could gossip
Rumor mills of my life
Would see the truth
How I arrived
At this university
Of higher learning
In a truck driven by my father.
Bye Sis, dad would say
Have a good day
You too, dad
I’d mumble
Too selfish and stupid
To get the facts, ma’am
That he had a back breaking
Ball busting day ahead of him
With ten hours of hard work
Lifting heavy packages
Loading boxes and goods
Driving in New York’s snarled traffic.
Then
I was too young and unaware
To understand the concept of family
How a loving dad got up early
To drive me to school
How he’d arrive home
To have supper with us
Kiss my mom
Kiss me and my brother
Kiss us with his dirty hands
With his grease stained work clothes
Kiss us so we’d know
He’d be there for us
Always
Dirty clothes
Dirty hands
Dirty truck
All of him
Would always be there
No matter what he drove
No matter what he carried in this life.

Roz Levine

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 2010

“America, Once So Beautiful” by Roz Levine

Photo by L. K. Thayer

Spill

As in who spilled the beans

Spill

As in don’t cry over spilt milk

Spill

As in blood spilled across the land

And the blood spilled

Dripped cells of DNA

Of doubt and derision

Of death and destruction

As America

Once so beautiful

Flamed flesh to fire

And cities burned

And cities turned to ash

And cities turned to dust

And the spill of life

Turned to a thrill song

In bones of young ones

Sent to do deeds, so dirty

Young ones harvesting hatred

With brains depressed

Growing trauma buds

Where once love did bloom

But the hallow and hate

Harvested fetid rosebuds

Strewn across the land

Splayed over hard stone

Words inscribed

He was only 20

Our son

Our boy

He was only 20

When he spilled his blood

For folly’s sake

For Bush/Cheney lies

He was only 20

When he burned to ash

In his Hummer

On desert sands

He was only 20

Our son

Our boy

When he turned to nothing but

For America, once so beautiful

Roz Levine

© 2010

“Love Lost In The River Bank” by Roz Levine


She dreamed memories
Of such love lost
In that river bank
How it had flourished
Once
In pacific waters
With flesh against flesh
Creating a frisson
Of two firebirds
Flaunting nakedness
Along muddy banks
Where tongues licked
To bright light
Under moon slivers
Where they entered
An inner sanctum
Of the skin
Of the other
Of the one
Reaching heights
For holy roller words
To springboard them
To such passion burn
With love hickeys
Imbedded in skin cells
Only climate change
Channeled novel ways
To disgorge those knots
Tossed bodies to tree trunks
Dried out
Aerated
Ruined by a wash out
With no water
To wave them
On the dry
Of such land
Where their bones
Cleansed and white
No longer touched
Not even the fingertips
After such sweet love

Roz Levine

Photo by VC Ferry

© 2010

“And So She Bled” by Roz Levine

Her sentence
Life with hard labor
Trudging in snow banks
Toiling under sun blisters
Saving leaf particles
Her papyrus
Scrawled below moon dark
With her woman’s blood
Fingered herself for words
Dug deep in genital tissue
For survival sounds
Her path to freedom
All she needed
Some blood
A few leaves
Her words
Each month
Creating new life
Where walking dead
Spine curled from hard labor
Paid a perilous price
For their speak out

Roz Levine

Photo by VC Ferry

© 2010