Barn Storming

I love talking to the strangers you meet on road trips. Why merely nod and walk past people when you can learn the story of all the stops along the way? Fred (not a Baldwin, he wants you to know) is an elderly bookseller at Baldwin’s Book Barn. He added up our selections on a piece of scrap paper. He subtracted a number when a change of mind occurred. Fred told us about offers people make to buy the six acres of land housing the living quarters, the barn, and property. The bids are rejected when the buyer won’t promise to keep the old, spacious barn as a bookstore.

I swear I would not change a thing. Does Fred come with the bookstore? I hope so. Throw in the beautiful, old books, the winged-back reading chairs, the barn’s original creaky staircases, and its secret doors leading to secret spaces.

Write down that sale, Fred. I’ll take it.

A Torch Song for MahJong

I loved that sound of the tiles clicking as the ladies spread them around. Once you have that sound in your head, you can’t forget it.

My mom played once a week. Come hell or coffee and cake.

It was a Tuesday night. 1970-something. The ladies were coming. My brother and sister and I were banished to the living room while mom set up the game for the girls.

Tragedy struck. Mom fell off the kitchen chair changing the bulb in the light fixture over the table. She crashed to the ground. Thump Whomp Thump. Plates and glasses tumbled to the floor. Broken glass cut a deep gash into her thigh. Blood flowed and clumped like a soggy bowl of hot matzoh ball soup. Our dad was not yet home. I was watching HAPPY DAYS on TV and I did not want to be bothered. Eventually my brother and sister and I went in the kitchen to see what was going on.

The blood was not a pretty sight, so we knew something bad happened. We had to help her up off the ground and clean her off. We had no idea what to do.

Mom did.

She insisted she had to get back to preparing for the night’s mahjong game. Blood and all.

Thank g-d Dad came home soon and knew this was not a simple cut. He took her to a nearby emergency room. Many hours and many stitches later, they came home.

I have no idea how we cancelled the game for Mom. But I know she was feeling guilt because… Jewish. <g>

And her motto was always: The Game Must Go On!
I never learned to play. Talk about guilt.

All of the ladies of my mother’s game are gone.
Remembrances of things past? Yes yes.
Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust.
Talk about a bam and a crack! To the heart. To the heart.


No exaggeration. I am at my desk. Working on a poem.
A dizzying formation of dark dots speed by.
100 blackbirds flew into the trees and onto branches outside my window.
They landed in groups. Choreographed, as if directed to swoop in at the signal.
I grabbed my phone to take a photo. I could not believe what I saw.
No one would believe this sight.
I opened the camera.
I had them.
Did they hear me? Did they know I wanted to seize the moment?
100 birds lifted off in unity
and they were gone.

Was it a mirage?
Poems hold the words at my command.
Real life is out of my control.

And because art imitates life,
I hit send, allowing these words to take flight
from my fingers to the screen
when my cable connection hit a wall
and I thought my words were lost in air,
seeking a place to land.


I thought they were gone,
feeling relieved when the connection was restored,
the black words still here, shocking me by their presence.
It is all so unexpected,
like birds in a warm winter, here because why bother head for the south,
flitting from tree to tree, with no idea
what the hell is going on.

Originally from Brooklyn

If ever I become a Jeopardy contestant, I am self-identifying as “Pamela from Brooklyn. The original Brooklyn.”

Long before it was discovered by the cool crowd, I was there.
Not bragging. I didn’t know it was the place to be until I left to live life elsewhere.

How cool can it feel to say I come from Avenue Z and Ocean Parkway?
Long Island is nothing to boast about.

I could go home again but to what? People I’ve never met?
Get out of our apartment.
We made it cool. Not you.

Breaking Bread! Breaking News!

It’s a book! It’s poetry! It’s my poem in THINGS WE EAT! Happy Book Birthday, to poets from A to Z!

Look, Ma. I made it. Two of my favorite things, hand in hand: Eating bagels. Writing poetry. (Okay. Third thing: Getting published.) <g> Let it B. Let it Be. Let it be a BAGEL.

It’s a holey, holy, happy holiday here. Celebrate with me.

THINGS WE EAT is here. Ring the bells.

Published! Picturesque! A picnic of delicious delights!

The latest anthology from gifted and glorious mentors and editors Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong is now available. Feed your mind with poetry. For young readers. And for you.


Please visit to bring this book to your table. All profits go to the IBBY CHILDREN IN CRISIS fund.


Here’s my BAGEL poem selected for the anthology. (I am in excellent company.)

What a perfect and happy ending.

Bagels are my bread and butter in life.

Eat! Repeat! Enjoy. ()

Spring Awakening

All I wanted to do was go outside to get the mail.

Walking down the driveway, holding my pants higher to avoid touching leftover puddles from yesterday’s rain, two messengers appeared, announcing the immediate changes of the winter season.

Life in the time of Covid has been an endless hibernation. I cannot remember the last time I was outside for more than the essentials. I have not heard sounds of non-human life in so long. Anything foreign to my ears is like hearing an old song for the first time in years.

So what a startling sound it was as I tiptoped down to the mailbox. Birds swooshed over my head, screeching with abandon. It was like their internal alarm clocks set off and no one was hitting the snooze button.

I pulled the mail out of the box. I patted my hand all the way in to make sure I had it all.

Before my hand came out, I let out a little oooh. A huge brown bunny with a palm-sized cottontail raced past me into the front lawn bushes.

Look! Up in the sky and in the snow!

It’s a bird. It’s a bunny. (No planes.)

Knock knock. Who’s there?

It’s Spring! Sort of. Almost. Getting there. Maybe. ;>