A Poem for Fall . . . and two free books

Dear Readers,

Happy Fall!  To celebrate, I’m giving away digital versions of two of my children’s books this weekend (Oct. 24 & 25) . . .

Yogabets: An Acrobatic Alphabet

Cover 1200 dpi YOGA single pp for CS - 9 22 15_Page_01
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=yogabets
&

One Charming Cat (Un Chat Charmant).

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B016B0F6PG?keywords=one%20charming%20cat&qid=1445615776&ref_=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

I’d love to know what you think of them!

For Richer or Poorer

A spare red ring
can mean
many things—
from a bedbug bite
to a life-saving buoy,
from the hatband
mark on an old
man’s head
to the salty rose
of a child’s
mouth,
from the
first full chomp
of a ripe red
fruit
to the mulberry
groove on
a widow’s hand—
yes, a deep
red ring can
mean many
things.

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Review of The Girl on the Train

Review of The Girl on the Train

The Girl on the Train has much to recommend it, not least of which is its best- seller status. But I wonder about the recent flurry of “Girl” books, starting with Gillian Flynn’s truly admirable Gone Girl.

I loved GG. It was slick, interesting, surprising. Good plot (excellent plot, actually. I remember thinking you’d have to be a mastermind to plot something as complicated as this.), well-drawn characters, plausible motivations (the minor exception being Nick Dunne’s final dubitable decision).

But then along came Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on a Train, followed shortly by Renne Knight’s Disclaimer, another in kind (though one lacking the eponymous “Girl” title).

Let’s take GT. Similar in style to Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train is told from multiple points of view—four, in fact: three women and one man, all of whom, sounded alike. This was my first problem with the book, which, in the end, had a decent plot. But when all of a novel’s characters sound the same, it’s difficult to distinguish one from another, a cardinal rule in novel-writing being that each character have its own “voice.” So I had trouble navigating GT because I could never be quite sure who was speaking (unless I went back to the chapter heads to double-check), which greatly disrupted the flow of the narrative.

A second confusing issue was the time frame. Like GG and so many other contemporary novels (reaching back as far as Michael Cunningham’s The Hours—which was excellent and warranted the shifts in time—as well as Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife and Sara Gruen’s Like Water for Elephants, for example) GT moves forward and back in time, a technique which has become less ‘novel’ than de rigueur. So de rigueur, in fact, it’s become tiresome, mainly because it’s difficult to follow.

A lifelong reader, I propose a return to the days of straightforward narrative—unless different time periods are truly warranted by the story. Let the story stand on its own merit. Let the characters absorb us. Let their voices seduce us. Let go of the gimmickry of multiple points of view and shifts in time—or at least use them judiciously. Currently they’re so over-used as to become parodies of themselves, serving no other purpose than to confuse the reader—which, sadly, seems to be the sole point of many of the Gone Girl clones.

Rainy Day Blues

Two weeks of rain have come and gone–hurrah!

My head is wet,
my nose is cold,
my feet are
lumps of clay.
A chill wind’s blown
the starlight out
and chased
the moon away.
Fog steeps me
like a bag
of tea
in drizzle, dew
and mist—
so I lift
me up and
squeeze me out
and plunk myself back
in the house.

Loose-y Toothy

Dear Readers,

Two recent trips to the dentist have reminded me of a common childhood experience–losing teeth.

So, in tribute to my dentist, and to children—everywhere—who’ve ever lost a tooth (or will lose one soon), I give you . . .

Loose-y Toothy

My tooth is loose,
my gum is sore.
I just can’t take it
anymore.

A wiggle left,
a jiggle right,
I’ll get it out
in one more bite—

But . . . suddenly . . .
I’M  FULL OF DREAD:
my wiggle-finger’s
turning red!

I think it’s blood,
but I’m not sure—
until I see it
on the floor.

My gore has turned
the carpet brown.
I grab a towel
and swab it round.

But what a mess
is on that rug—
morsels, crumbs,
a million bugs!

That’s when I find—
to my surprise—
MY BABY TOOTH
among the fries.

Goodbye, Summer!

Dear Readers,

Sorry I’ve been away. This has been a busy summer, and I’ve been devoting my energy to One Charming Cat (January 2016).

But here’s my question for the day . . . what is the value of light verse?

In the meantime, here’s one last nod to summer . . .

Swimmin’ Pool

Swimmin’ pool, swimmin’ pool
I’m your local swimmin’ fool.
See your sparkle, see your blue
ain’t nothing comin’ ’tween me ’n you.

Swimmin’ pool, swimmin’ pool,
hot dogs, June bugs, summer school.
Feel your water, feel your ice—
Ooooooh—don’t that feel nice!

Summertime, Part II

IMG_1387
from Blueberry Moon

Dear Readers,

I’ve written dozens of poems over the years—but they’re all mixed up! So, starting today, I’ve vowed to organize them.

But how? Long to short? Winter to summer? Happy to sad?

Well, it’s summer (and this is short), so . . .

SUMMERTIME

Rain and thunder
snow and ice
I think summer’s
twice as nice.

Summertime: Beachballs, Bathing Suits & Frilly Nails

IMG_1353

Fergus

A fungus lives
inside my
foot–
he says
his name
is Fergus.

He’s rude
he’s crude—
I hate this dude!
But, worst of all,
he will not move!
And when I
try to rout
him out,
he rears
his itchy head
and says:
“I’d vacate
in a minute,
Sir,
if I could
find
new shelter.
But I’ve
no other
place to
hide.
So stay
I must,
and swelter!”

My voice
grows shrill,
my tone is
short,
I cannot
keep
from screaming:
“My toe shack’s
packed,
my nooks
are booked,
my feet
are raw
and blistery.
So please
get out—
don’t make me shout—
I’m sick
of all your
witchery!”

“Don’t kid
yourself,”
he answers,
“your foot’s
no Grand Hotel—
it’s pink,
it stinks,
it sweats
and swells.
In summertime
it’s hot as h_ll.”

Oh, how I hate
this loathsome
lout.
How much
I want
to
oust him!
But nothing
works—
not soap
or steam
or gel
or cream.
A knife would
do the trick,
of course,
but at
too great
a cost:
because without
my dear, sweet feet
(no matter how infected),
I would not know
which way to turn—
and I would be
forever lost.