• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Like It Was Written In My Soul from Me to You


I always felt defective as a poet in that I wasn’t a free spirit. I had a savings account since I was twelve. I pay all my bills in full and on time. I’m punctual. I’m judgmental. I prefer a schedule to spontaneity. I don’t want to stop and smell the flowers, run barefoot through a field, and please don’t your hands over my eyes and tell me you have a surprise. I don’t like to try new things. I don’t like to travel. I’ve never dyed my hair pink, blue or green. No piercings. I keep a miniature pharmacy in my pocketbook.

Are you defective?



14 Responses

  1. You need an editor! No joke!

  2. Lordy, aren’t we all. A lot of what you don’t care for, I don’t either. I haven’t had someone put their hands over my eyes in ages, but the idea of it right now gives me the willies.

    I (unintentionally) had burgundy hair once. I have “regular” piercings, as in my ears, right there on the lobes. No tattoos. Yep, very mainstream and average, I’m afraid.

  3. I swore that when I turned a “certain age” I was going to have AARP tattooed on my ass. Never happened. Defective? He’ll, I’m a failure.

  4. “Are you defective?”

    Yes, I am defective. I am a defector from perfection, in this that, and the other way. The pharmacy called to remind me, in a gentle and friendly automated voice, that it’s time for me to refill my prescriptions. Yes, that’s plural, though I remain singular as ever I was, a singularity from which no attention escapes its event horizon. So friendly, my pharmacy. I’ve likewise never decoratively pierced myself, nor dyed my hair, though it has found a way to slowly dye itself grayer over time. Time is the greatest dyer of all, and a killer, too, with a mean reputation and formidable grip. Don’t put your hands over my eyes, I will break your fingers. Traveling I like, arriving not so much. I ran barefoot through a field of clover and stepped on a bee, which stung me, as bees will do when provoked (or stepped on). I have smelled the flowers but how often should I stick my nose in some other living being’s sex organs? I have allergies, anyway. And I always pay my bills on time, I’m cowed that way. I have a daily schedule which functions as a compass always pointing to the place I’ll never reach, which includes the place where I am a person who writes poetry which, by my own ever-harsh judgment, is worth a damn. So I stick to prose, and it sticks to me, like a stain that no amount of hot water and bleach will remove.

    • Dude, you just fuckin’ rocked it. As much as I often love to wish you an emporer with his new clothes sort of embarrassment for being who you are, and I’ve bought both of your books, you deserve a fucking amen for this splurge. God bless you, Tetman. And I’m sorry if that sounded insulting. That was the last thing on my mind.

  5. Where do I begin? For now, know that a poet in my circle of acquaintances sees me as her newest project: suggestions on how to re-create me into someone else are quite worrisome. I had no idea I am seen as so flawed.

    • No, not flawed, darling. It’s just that any one who knows you can see the magic that you do not, and it frustrates people, poets and non-poets alike, and we just want you to take credit for being the amazing, accomphlished, creative, and sexy person you are. XXOO

  6. I wandered lonely as a…well, you know the rest. Lonely is the operative word here… not that I’m lonely, just prefer to be alone. Does one have to be a free spirit to be a poet, floating over vales? Please. Aren’t we all boxed in somehow, some way? Multiple ways? Here’s my list: I’m easily distracted, lazy, fearful, disorganized, non-confrontational. I’ve become complacent – and that’s a dirty word. No piercings, no tatoos. Occasional glass of wine. I’m so normal I’m beginning to bore myself.
    Gimme imperfection.

  7. Don’t fall for the poet myth!! I am defective. I’m obsessed and dedicated to this writing shit, but I have not been writing.

  8. I kind of am defective, at least I used to think I was. Then I took an online personality test and read the book Quiet and discovered that less than 1% of the global population is like me. After that, I relaxed into my uber introverted self. Yes, i can be fun and hold my own socially but it’s just so exhausting. Tats & piercings aside, I’d rather have money in the bank and a room of my own.

  9. SO defective. Now I’m watching Black Lightening on Netflix and eating cheese and crackers every night. Writing, once a week at most. My muse went by the way of the vegetables.

  10. Apparently. Always on time. Hate going barefoot and won’t do it unless I’m in My house or at the pool, and then only when I’m getting in the water. I try not be judgmental because my judgements usually come with punishment fantasies and I think that’s a little more than judgmental. No tattoos. I think they’re silly and for some reason I read somewhere that it shows a lack of an inner life but I don’t even know what that means and doubt I ever did but it sounded smart. I no longer care about my appearance. We started going to the public pool for exercise and I looked at myself in the mirror on the way to the pool from the shower and in the past I would have been horrified by my bulging beer baby about to break flabby over my swim trunks, and ran back to the car, but I just shrugged my shoulders and went swimming. When I was getting out a couple of the girls from the high school swim team were watching me and they laughed and said he’s so fat! I just smiled back and thought just you wait, brats. Just you wait. I didn’t really care. I felt no shame. My wife once in a while will sneak up on me and kiss me on the head. I bristle like a porcupine and she gets miffed I didn’t enjoy her affection. Just don’t fucking sneak up on me. I might be defective but it feels like irritated mostly. Thanks, Betsy! That’s about the cutest piggy bank I’ve ever seen.

  11. The parameters of structure make for superior art – it’s the boundary pushing that cuts the glass. Systems engineers made a scientific field of utility maximization under constraint, which is essentially the same thing, except they get paid six figures for it without much pressure to perform. If the art of writing gets too easy and the writer gets too pampered, she lays in bed sobbing and produces nothing of worth. Your cravings for a self-created, predictable lifestyle and pharmacological support likely made you a far better poet.

  12. The GLORIOUS thing about being human is that we’re all just as screwed up as the next person down the line. The even more gloriouser thing is that we can (or, at least, should) take the time to help the person on either side of us to recognize some valid truth that can help them in their lives. I’ve got a master’s degree in psychology. I always tell folks that I have great trouble caring for people (For an example, look up “R Lee Ermey Geico commercial therapist sarge” on YouTube). But… BUT… I am bound to love the person (who is different from “all people”) who is in front of me, or off to the side of me, or behind me (But not that asshole in traffic. He’s the reason I have trouble dealing with people, at large.) I would have made a terrible sociologist.

    Sometimes, though, I AM that asshole in traffic, bringing forth every single property of assholishness that can make even the biggest asshole blush with shame (or maybe envy).

    There’s nothing wrong with being wrong, though. Ask Kathryn Schulz about being wrong. Better yet, look up her TED talk.

    Socially, I dig, and scratch, and probe at the most inappropriate times and places. I’ll leave that up to the reader to imagine what I’m talkin’ about. It always makes life more interesting… even if I am left with absolutely no friends at the end of my life. I still have my pet raven, Loki. I’m not sure that he’s ever really liked me to begin with. I do get quite a few ideas from him, though.

    Perfection, as most view it today, means to be some sort of heavenly being, without fault, wrinkle, or blemish. The thing is, the word “perfect,” if one were to look into it, simply means mature, complete or whole. Some are more than others, but those others who recognize their own shortcomings are ever greater than those who appear mature but deny their own foolish mistakes that remain hidden from the world.

    What’s the thought? The more one truly knows, the more one knows they know very little.

    We’re all a little gimpy in some aspect of life. I just wish I weren’t so much, in so many different ways. Sometimes, I can’t see the forest for the trees.

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