Fruit for Thought…

fruit-of-life

Fruit of life – by Frida Kahlo

 

BEWARE OF THOSE

Beware of those who are bitter,
For they will never allow you
To enjoy your fruit.

Beware of those who criticize you
When you deserve some praise for an achievement,
For they secretly desire to be worshiped.

Beware of those who are needy or stingy,
For they would rather sting you
Than give you anything.

Beware of those who are always hungry,
For they will feed you to the wolves
Just to get paid.

Beware of those who speak negatively
About everything and everybody,
For a negative person will never say
A positive thing about you.

Beware of those who are bored
And not passionate about life,
For they will bore you with reasons
For not living.

Beware of those who are too focused with
Polishing and beautifying their outer shells,
For they lack true substance to understand
That genuine beauty is in the heart
That resides inside.

Beware of those who step in the path of your dreams,
For they only dream to have the ability
To take half your steps.

Beware of those who steer you away
From your heart’s true happiness,
For it would make them happy to see you
Steer yourself next to them,
Sitting with both your hearts bitter.

Those who are critical don’t like being criticized,
And those who are insensitive have a deficiency in their senses.

And finally,
Beware of those who tell you to BEWARE.
They are too aware of everything –
And live alone, scared.”

Poetry by Suzy Kassem
― Suzy KassemRise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

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Anne Sexton

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(self portrait)

“Death’s a sad bone; bruised, you’d say,

and yet she waits for me, year after year, 

to so delicately undo an old wound, 

to empty my breath from its bad prison.

Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet, 

raging at the fruit a pumped-up moon, 

leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss,

leaving the page of the book carelessly open, 

something unsaid, the phone off the hook 

and the love whatever it was, an infection.”

Eve Brandstein

Between Jacob & Benjamin

Between Jacob and Benjamin

In the kitchen in the middle of the night

between two bedrooms

my son sleeps in one, my father in the other

while my concern moves between

his limp & his lunch

his repetitions & his why

his criticism & his acceptance

his love & his love.

These two men eighty years apart

& me in the middle

between answers still asking questions

wanting to be understood & getting told what to do

telling my son its time to go & being told I shouldn’t by my father.

In the middle of the night in the kitchen

I peel an apple

watching 4 AM traffic 21 floors below Queens Boulevard

so far away from my home in California

& my birth in Eastern Europe

the end of his story

the beginning of his

worried awake by some haunting

or something I haven’t done

being in the middle of everything

the night

the passage

the place between these two men.

I eat the apple bit by bit

without a sound the traffic slips

into the middle of summer

I hear him stir & him snore

& watch the morning amber press against the cobalt

finally feeling the sleep I need

ready for surrender

I leave the last of skin and seeds

on the table in the kitchen

between parent & child.

– Eve Brandstein

Maryrose Smyth

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Salad Days

#

Poof, and it’s all gone,

falling,

breaded,

in an egg mixture with seasonings

— lips thrown onto brown paper,

hot beast smiles we grab and eat,

exoskeletons detached from their flesh bellies,

moon shadows and French kissed souls snapped from their God given rights,

All the world loves a parade, a good meal, found money,

Oh, but to behold that face!

#

It was September and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

A time before things changed forever and life asserted it’s irrevocables,

became opposite day everyday.

How I hate that Pat told us the future that day, said he planned to die early and leave a pretty corpse.

How I hate that we just sat on the deck of our uncle’s boat nodding,

laughing,

drinking,

sunning ourselves between mile markers,

spent time talking about bee shadows messing up our tans,

liar, liar, pants on fire,

how I hate how funny became ‘un,’

how glad never regained her running momentum,

how time, just left out the side door,

after first hanging a forever picture in my mind,

then gone,

slipping out the side door.

#

Paul told me, “Had a friend named ‘Congo’ once

— a man who lost both legs in the war to end all wars,

still made himself do leg lifts after his morning coffee everyday,

lifted what wasn’t there,

hundred-fifty times,

each side,

every day.

Phantoms,”

looking at me so I’d get it,

“The hardest, too much compromise, I guess.”

#

A new client texts me, “Things will happen quickly, shift’s coming.  Things long forgotten will be remembered.

No doubt it’s the Lord’s doing.”

I send her a text, let her know she can count on me, let her know where the Christian right can go now that I’m working my new shoe job at Bloomie’s,

I text her bold, “’COME. Well-stocked 4 end times:

50-off Jesus sandals and Armageddon boots.”

#

Mid-April, I ask my gardener,

“Can I ask you to move the wood by the oak we just took down?”

Straw hat tipped back of his head, Frito greasy,

only hat ever owned, him standing with feet apart taking the agaves out real slow.

Sun, that time of day, hot, you know the one,

 then I ask,

“Would it be too weird to ask for you to take down the Christmas lights?”

#

The narcissus did not bloom this year.

All over town, pale tissue fists raised on green lawns,

gardens too — white, yellow, orange.

Our house?

Green stems,

nothing but stems.

The hundred or so I planted last Christmas with money my mother-in-law sent me,

nothing but green stems.

All over town, fists on lawns,

— white, yellow, orange, pale fists on lawns, gardens too

Me?

Green stems, stems, stems,

no fruit,

no flowers. 

Just stems.

#

August sun, a bitter hag, even the mountains turned their backs when the great outdoors became an oven last week of April. 

August, every month of the year. 

The city, a lean factory, temps tipping past the century mark.

No a/c units, no fans left to purchase in big box stores,

the work of pushing cumulus and wind gone to where manufacture’s cheap.

Permanent summer, shade, not coming back.

#

I’m chillin’ shaking hash night and day ‘til I get my street cred back,

you know, get some reserves in the bank.

Get me sweet cheeks? 

Times tough, somes got more doubt than down for fill, more druther than they can handle,

SUV wheels stuck on some coulda shouldas woulda hill grinding hope to a halt. 

Tell you this much, raising kids like raising opossums —

doubt – the same – can’t cage what’s rabid, stir-crazy,

thems, moody mother suckers,

first things first, first coax the heart, then the mind, cross my heart,

the money will follow.

– Maryrose Smyth

Peggy Dobreer

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(Peggy believes “Figs ARE the flushest fruit and Tango is

absolutely necessary.”) 

“Scarlet Billows Start to Spread”

 I grew up learning to eat properly

at the Brown Derby, the Duck

Press, and the Pacific Dining Car.

We always sat next to the dance

floor, the sound of the kitchen un-

pleasing to father’s ear. Likewise

there was a wrong angle looking

into a mouth on a tv commercial

that made him cringe. I learned

how skin could crawl from my father.

 

I grew up singing lounge music,

making up for Daddy’s infractions

at the Palladium after the war. He

wanted to dance himself to death,

but mother never broke a sweat.

 

I grew up with Duke and Josie at Dino’s

on the strip. I drank Shirley Temples

with my three perfect sisters in patent

leather shoes, crinoline itching elbows,

grosgrain waist bands cinching our

smiles into place.

 

I grew up fearing Duke’s lizard grin,

frozen in time between verses of

Sukey Tawdry, and Miss Lotte Lenya,

I was always waiting between sets

for the shark to bite, with his huh huh

pearly teeth big. Look out old 

Macky’s back in town.

– Peggy Dobreer

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

 

*The title of this poem and italics at the end are originally from “Die Moritat von Mackie Messer”, a song composed by Kurt Weill with lyrics by Bertolt Brecht for Mack the Knife.

 

L.K. Thayer

Whores Don’t Kiss

I used to live off Sunset & Formosa
in Hollywood
for a few years
I don’t know
it could’ve been longer
it could’ve been shorter
I don’t keep track
of time too well
down the street was and still is
The 7th Veil Strip Joint
back in the day when you saw
10 to 12 hookers on every corner
doing intimate things with men
without getting intimate
I would walk down to my favorite
neighborhood bar
and always play
“Tell It Like It Is” by Aaron Neville
on the juke
I’d have my song lyrics on me
have a few drinks
and start singing them
a capella in anyone’s ear
I had the songs
and the songs had me
I wrote them after a break up
after a nervous breakdown
after all, it was better than
empty sex in an alley way
in the back of anywhere
(of course, I made sure I fit some of that in too)
I miss the ladies on the corner
it gave this town more depth
more soul without the heart
in this town where fame is
the drug of choice
wondering how to get it
how to score it
how to become
a household name
like Ajax or Swiffer or Rice-a-Roni
this town is like a giant melon baller
that keeps scooping out your guts
to make an ambrosia salad
for the masses to snack on
eat it while it’s
fresh, it gets old fast
and you have to toss it out
like whores turning tricks
for their pimps
we all have to answer to somebody
somebody’s always calling the shots
but you can’t give it all away
you’ve got to keep your cards
close
and they will fuck you
but just remember

whores don’t kiss

L.K. Thayer

© 2011

Photo by LadyHawk

To order “Whore’s Don’t Kiss” on Amazon.

 

Alicia Young

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she is beautiful
.
.
sometimes
a waitress has the power
to break your heart
with her kindness

this morning
there is an 80-year-old
bringing me coffee
with the same
watch yourself it’s hot care
a grandmother would

one of her legs is longer than the other
she has a special lifted shoe
and walks with a limp

i see lines deepen around her eyes
with every step
she is in pain

she has sons who don’t call

she makes me want to sit her down
and wait on her
ask her lilting southern voice
where she was
when we killed martin and each kennedy

after my bagel disappeared
i left her a twenty on the table
though i can’t afford to
pondering that no one deserves this at age 80

the word expatriate
forms a bitter lump in my throat

settling up at the cashier stand
i tell the flippant manager
with the microphone
strapped all dip-shitted to his head
of the excellent service i received

she comes from the back as fast as her
feet are willing waving the currency
saying urgently

ma’am,
did you mean to leave this?

my mouth responds through a smile

if i could
it would be a thousand more

she is beautiful
when she’s speechless

© aayoung2013

Her book “Hell On Heels…”