Batting Clean-Up


So the kids came through on my subtle hint and had Santa Bezos deliver a copy of “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” this weekend.  It’s a charming little tome about getting clear (and clean) in your life so loved-ones won’t have to spend all their energy cleaning up after you when you leave this plane.  My father, the inscrutable Boris, always talks about leaving the Earth “debt-free,”  and I take that to mean he’s not going to leave much to clean up either.   Thanks in advance, Pops.

So I got (gently) pumped to start my death cleaning.  (BTW — you don’t have to be imminently facing mortality to start cleaning.  Although I’m in good health, you never know when that proverbial bus is going to come out of nowhere.)  And one of the first things I found was from a previous death-cleaning of my beloved mother-in-law’s house.  In the photo for this post I used it to cheerfully shroud my book.  Anybody care to venture a guess as to the purpose of this pink zippered mesh sack?

I’ll give you three choices:

A.  Shower caddy to contain all those multi-colored shower poufs.

B.  Make-up shroud to keep your “face” intact when you need to pull a garment on over your head.

C.  A cover to keep the dust off your beloved Hummel figurines.  … that you collect and curate with a sort of maniacal zeal thinking they will be worth enough to finance your grandchildren’s college tuition.

Thanks Mom.

Short Fiction

Lost Lens

I married a girl with the most beautiful eyes but the worst vision.  That’s obvious when you look at us together and she tells you I’m her “dream-boat” without irony.  But she’s like that.  We’ve been a couple for so long now that I when I remember my childhood she’s there alongside my siblings and I know that can’t be true, can it?

She wears thick glasses now but she used to wear those hard contacts that would sometimes pop out unexpectedly.  We’d freeze and slowly drop to our knees to softly pat the ground to find the lost lens, sometimes laughing and sometimes cursing.    That’s pretty funny to think about now.  We’re frozen upright, in the sense that we are standing, but we’re supported by canes, walkers and grand-kids.  As far as dropping to our knees, we pray (while standing up) that won’t happen today.

But in my mind we’re not old, not old at all.  She still laughs at my jokes and I try to grab her hand whenever she’s near me.  And when we lie down at night side by side we don’t need walkers or glasses to hold each other tight and feel the breaths and beats of  this steady, sturdy love.


creative non-fiction, Short Fiction

Interior Reality Star

It’s the Homemaker’s interior landscape, the house.  The Sahara of the carpeted public living spaces is dry and barren — no kids allowed.  But the kitchen is the pumping, quivering, juicy heart.  It alternates between hot and cold, furious work and rest as the sun rises and sets each day.  It’s her command center and the war room for bill triage and high-level negotiations of every stripe.   The bedrooms each hold their secrets, but the kitchen is the village square of her life.

If you’re fortunate enough to be invited to the inner sanctum after the school bus leaves but before the vacuum comes out and the coffee’s still hot, you’ll be invited to pick out a mug from the family cabinet, not the china cabinet.  Oh, don’t worry about judgement, that’s already been dispatched.  You know where the milk and sugar are, too, so help yourself.  Match your mood or make a statement, sit and bitch or just sit and sip.  You’re the lucky guest of the interior reality star.



Is There Ever A Good Time?

Too much distraction 
Lurks everywhere. On screens, 
In my ear, tiny and tinny
Because I still wear those little rubber buds.  

I don't write enough
Because scrolling is addictive. 
FOMO over-rides imagination until
It's time to do something, like make dinner.  

Now push aside dinner's dirty dishes
Grab a notebook and a pen. 
Sit right there among the clutter 
And let your own thoughts ascend.
creative non-fiction

Gilbert Seeking Gene from PS 77

From today’s New York Daily News,  August 23, 217.  This was on the editorial page as part of the letters to the editor section.   I’m categorizing it as “creative non-fiction” because it’s both a story and a truth.  It made me cry and remember being a kid in the 1960’s.
Short Fiction

Her Old Tee Shirt

Old ShirtHe toppled them out of the closet, a heap of old tee shirts from 5K races, college events and concerts from their collective past.  This one had caused an argument because she used it for work.  She argued that Bruce sang about working men and women.  She wore it to paint the family room, a bathroom or two and some old deck furniture.  He thought concert tee shirts should be kept pristine, folded and preserved.  Some day they might be worth something.  It was a fond memory of a good night from their past and now it was decorated with parts of her real life, too.  Colors from the spaces and things she made new with just her imagination and a coat of paint.

He stuffed all the other shirts into a black garbage bag like old rags, but he kept this one. Despite the paint splatters it was soft and smelled a little metallic ~  just as she did.



Pulling Away

It’s calming, it’s cooling, it’s bracing, it’s gritty, it’s the same, it’s different every time it pulls away,

and it makes me realize that I am, too.  ocean-feet-1-2