” PONZI SAUCE over Steamed Vegetables” by MC Lubow

I woke up steaming mad, sick and tired of my gastric juices being in distress,
sick and tired of starting a lovely sunny California day with
acid rain, the sour sauce burning up my insides from tum tum to sore
red throat, making it hurtful to talk, even to close friends. Yes, I’m sick and tired of being mad at myself, for my confusion, my
exhaustion, my emotional paralysis when it comes to sorting numbers, dividing up coins, and custom sofas, art, and fine china that once graced our holiday table.
I can divide all right, but I never wanted to be a number, or spend time
in check books, researching how I spent every dime and nickel in 2010, and coughing up dry facts, under penalty of perjury,
when my only crime is helping my family, I cop to that.
Like Hello…I am no diff than
folks everywhere who pray their loved ones have safe shelter, not live helter-skelter, on the sharp edge of poverty with its debilitating depressing aggressive dark pit of despair, with only starch in their shrinking pantry, instead of starch in their uniforms, for they have been injured, disabled, unable to work at their calling.

So I call myself on myself again and again…Hello…Am I a mad woman to not recognize the signs that my quarter century marriage was on a nickel and dime collision course with my dream recipe of lovability, stability, compatibility.
Was my fate to be that declarations of love would be replaced by court mandated Declarations of Income and Expense ? Man, oh man…

I came to the castle on the green tree hill. I sought refuge in cookbooks of sauces, while he cooked the books of our shared accounts and shredded financial records into spaghetti. At book club my gal friends shared gourmet tips. I came to grips
with the kitchen graters, whisks and sauce pots at TJ Maxx. I peeled off
layers of burnt potato skin denial and put my sweet meats on the back burner…
of our old Jenn-air. I sought fresh air along the sea paths of my soul. Is the air
we breath, tho petrol polluted, still free?

I churned away, my insides gurgling like a neglected garden hose…realizing
I was being spurned by the man I had pledged to love til kingdom come..I
looked in my vanity mirror. Wide eyed and wild, I stared, saw in the newly mined furrows of my face, that I could not mask my raw feelings.
I was and am furious, delirious, seriously
mad, mad, mad at my hub, a numbers whiz, who kinged himself, and whose favorite activity is being in his counting house, where he collects coins of every metal. I put my foot to the pedal of my chariot he now claims is his.

I am mad at the guy who had charmed me, disarmed me, but now alarms me. I thought of Savonarola and the Bonfire of the Vanities. I realized my days with my hubby were numbered. I couldn’t chance him burning my books. I was mad enough from getting myself into his Ponzi Sauce. Mad at Madoff and other Mad Men for their disregard regarding others. Mad at Madoff and other sociopaths for their seedy paths, despicable descent from a pyramid of trust to an obscene pyramid scheme. Madoff’s fall into the dead sea of greed, preying on human frailties of uncertain self esteem, those wanting into a Billionares’ club, the club where one could make out like a bandit, the stealth club that accepted Jews of wealth, where greed was no longer latent in their taste buds, but on their tongues, who shmoozed they had found the holy
Grail where one could not loose, the best
way to invest, earn high interest, but keep the deal close to one’s chest.

So I am not one for that club, but I do desire a life of modest comfort,
of returned love, of kindness. Call me crazy, if you must…I do not seek to be a bag of a lady hiding out on a secret street with The L. A. Times for a tent.
When I had a full pantry, I shared it.
Now that my share is being stolen from me, I cannot share what I do not have. This puts me in a pickle. turns me inside out, like a Frida Kahlo painting of my internal distress. So I try to tuck my guts back in; try to trust my gut more. I ask for clarity. I study body language. Read lips.
I hang out in bookstores and libraries,
instead of boutiques I once explored.
I will soon open the covers of my new cooking life story storybook,
wondering what mysteries, adventures and passions may be revealed. I pray for a page turner.

When I make Ponzu Sauce and steam veggies for my supper tonight, I’ll steam
broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, asparagus and garlic
in a collapsible steamer, but I will no longer collapse.
I will squeeze fresh lime and lemon juice,
but I will no longer be squeezed dry.
I will sprinkle my digits with delight, and I will not poke his voodoo eyes out.
I will stir in some nice rice vinegar and low sodium soy sauce. A little aqua, from the Owens Valley, if true be told. (My DWP bill is out of sight.)
I will shred a half knob of fresh ginger and a scallion, thrown in for dash,
but I will not throw in my monogrammed towel.
I will ride my own white stallion to the table and allow myself a Mona Lisa smile as
I gaze out the window and reflect on my survival.

MC Lubow

© 2011

“Laughter” by Stephen John Kalinich

Laughter is an unwritten poem
A child’s first touch of joy.
A smile within a wounded world.
Certainly the world has grown too serious
We need laughter
to bring us
closer to each other.
Laughter as a voice against our sorrow
Laughter as a voice against our heartache
Laughter as a voice of hope
That carries us into other hearts.
Laughter as the appreciation
of simple childhood days
When all the earth
lay before us
Like an open road
Echoes of laughter
From the winter’s wind
of our youth
We need laughter in our world
If we are to survive.

Stephen John Kalinich

“Our Gang” Artwork

L. K. Thayer’s Foto Fetish

© 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

“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

“Heir To The Throne” by Julie Dolcemaschio

I mourn your loss as you search for peace
You’re alone now, digging deep for home
And I am left wondering how I will survive being alone

Do you know I am here, waiting for you to free yourself
Dreading the moment
Yet wanting it for you like a mother wants pink cakes and prom dates for her child

I will know it the moment you set yourself free
And that is when I will beg for another minute, another hour
Another 46 years

How will I tell my children what an extraordinary woman their grandmother was
When it is only daughters who are privileged to know
How will I retell the stories that made me what I became

A reflection of you

You are in their eyes now
In their smiles
In their laughter

And I will never know another one like you

So rare is a person who touches so many

And I cannot imagine surviving your loss

I am heir to the throne

And I am not ready

Julie Dolcemaschio

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“Indurated” by The Dark Lord

The stone pillars
Defying the passage of time
Stand tall and proud
The sun kissed warmth radiating
A sense of endurance
A saga of untold events
Etched in stone
The very wierd, quiet melodrama
Yet serene and camouflaged
A testimony of omnipresence
Of survival and longevity
And of timeless wisdom

Deriving from the strength within…

The Dark Lord

All Rights Reserved

© 2010