Too hot for hospice

sexy glovesat seventy-one
I’ve given up sin
so off go the
scanties to
thrift shop’s back bin

I scarcely recall
the donning or doffing
or even the reason
for all that put offing

the lights
were they dim
or were they full on
in deference to him

did he smile
all the while
I just can’t remember
was it love
or just lust
I hope it was tender

will they lay out the lace
in a prominent place
or throw it away
and leave not a trace of those
memories magic
and outcomes so tragic

but rules are the rules
knick-knacks are proper
but unmentionable
get tossed in the hopper





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Longtime therapist Dr. Charlene “Charlie” Pederson admits that her fixation with college sweetheart Danny Shapiro has reached the unsettling stage of obsession.  Jolted by turning fifty and struggling with a condescending husband, Charlie crafts a harebrained scheme to find Danny and recapture his heart.  Her delight at reuniting  with her old flame soon turns to indignation when he accuses her of stalking him. Danny’s fears about being stalked are well-founded.

Degrees New Front CoverCharlie plays on her professional expertise about stalking to worm her way back into Danny’s life…all the while jeopardizing her marriage, tarnishing her reputation, and alienating her best friend.  After her darkest secret is revealed, Charlie plunges into unfamiliar depths of pain and mortal danger and must rely on every psychological trick in her book to survive. DEGREES OF OBSESSION will take you on a riveting journey from risky infatuation to personal fulfillment and forgiveness.

Keeping my fingers crossed…

Paperback cover finalTHE AMERICAN LIBRARY IN PARIS is pleased to confirm your nomination of MOTHER TONGUE for the 2015 Book Award.

We are in receipt of all requirements – nomination form, nomination fee, and 5 copies of your book. These have now been passed to the screening committee.

The longlist will be announced in mid-June 2015 and the shortlist in mid-July. The winner will be announced October 2015.The Book Award jury for 2015, drawn from the Writers Council of the American Library in Paris, is: Laura Furman (chair), novelist, professor at the University of Texas, and editor of the O. Henry Prize Stories series since 2002; Lily Tuck, novelist and biographer; and Fredrik Logevall, professor of international relations at Cornell University and the first winner of THE AMERICAN LIBRARY IN PARIS BOOK AWARD for “Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam”

Thank you for your submission,
The American Library in Paris
10, rue du Général Camou
75007 Paris | France
t:   +33

A symphony of lonely hearts on Valentine’s Day

Lonely-heart-miss-you-3D-wide-300x250A Symphony of Lonely Hearts

Now is the only time.
Right now I am creating a state of mind,
a joyful moment
to carry me into the next hour,
travel with me though the morning,
thread its way into the afternoon,
trickle down to tomorrow,
and spill over into next month, next year
to color all the days of my life.

I always fantasized that that joyful moment
that turns into a contented hour
and becomes an afternoon of delight
could only come if my hand were held,
my face caressed,
my yearnings satisfied
by a man—a mythic prince.

But my prince is not here right now.
He is not present in this Valentine moment of mine.
He is off smiling that charming, little-boy smile,
the one with the dimples and the heavy-lidded longing,
for someone else.
He is placing a perfect rose on her pillow,
or so I imagine.

I could as easily imagine
that he is asleep at this moment,
or lost in the shadow of a frown.
Perhaps his jaw is clenched in anger,
his lower lip quivering with grief.
Yes…he could be sharing a blissful moment
with the woman he loves.
But they could just as easily be sitting apart,
hearts aching,
in a dark place edged with uncertainty.

Will our paths ever cross again?
Will we need or desire each other if that moment comes?
Silly questions that beg to be left unanswered.

I have only now,
only this Valentine moment of mine.
What shall I do with my moment on this red-letter day?
I will breathe in my solitary pain.
I will breathe in the pain of all those who find themselves alone this day.
I will breathe in the corroding poison of lost dreams—mine, theirs.
I will breathe out a measure of loving kindness,

That soft breath out will soothe me
and flow in endless ripples
to comfort all the solitary souls.
Could a moment in a lover’s embrace,
With its uncertainty, its impermanence,
ever produce such a melody,
such a true and clear harmony,
as the symphony of a thousand lonely hearts
connected by a single breath out?

They make up…Excerpt from MOTHER TONGUE

french colonial villaLeaving a tense encounter at the house with the oblique staircase in the wilds of Niolo, Antoine pulls up to an seemingly out-of-place and dilapidated French colonial villa, its crumbling walls stitched together with ivy. At the end of a bizarre dinner prepared by their enigmatic host and having had a few whiskeys, Liz turns flirtatious.

whiskey fire

I wanted to stay away from the sensitive areas, at least for now. With the whiskey diminishing my resolve, I tossed out a flirtatious remark. “So, confess, Antoine, is that when you developed your passion for American women?”

Scafani shifted in his chair and faced me head on. He reached and tucked an errant strand of hair behind my ear. “Passion?”

The clatter of broken pottery and muffled shrieks from the kitchen interrupted the moment. “Those poor girls,” I said, downing the last of my third glass of whiskey.

incenseWith the meal was finished, I suggested we head back to Corte. As we walked back down the darkened hallway, Scafani reached again for my arm and tucked it under his. The front room was now filled with the pungent odor of sandalwood. He put his hand on my shoulder and turned me toward him. I paused a fraction of a second and then slid one hand around the back of his neck and pressed the other against his chest. Whether it was the whiskey or his obvious charm, I returned his eagerness as our kisses moved from tender to hot.

“Would you like to go upstairs?” he asked.

I jerked back to reality. “What!”

“If you really want to go back, we will. Just so you know, this is the only hotel in twenty kilometers.”

A laugh came from deep within my belly. “Do you bring all your women here?”

“Only the American ones.”

I allowed Scafani to take my hand and lead me through a door concealed in the room’s paneling. He guided me playfully up the steep staircase hidden behind, flicking his tongue over the nape of my neck on each riser.

“One bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling and I’m out of here,” I said, envisioning a shabby room with dingy sheets. pulled me through the first open door at the top of the landing. I let out a soft whistle when I saw a mosquito-netted four-poster bed and three squat candles aglow on the dresser. “Spontaneous combustion?”

Scafani shushed me with a single finger to my lips.