Oct/Nov 2014 Poetry

Two Poems

by Ruth D. Handel

Artwork by Susan Klebanoff

Artwork by Susan Klebanoff

Self Storage

Store it yourself, the sign means. My aunts stored their furniture when they moved from the large apartment in the Bronx to a one-room-plus-kitchen-nook on Broadway to be near their mother in the nursing home and two or three times a year they'd get on the subway to visit the mahogany dining room table and the living room's brocaded couch and chairs, and the spare beds, chests of drawers, bookcases, lamps. The rest of the family laughed, but William James would have understood. Things one owns are part of the self (see The Principles of Psychology, 1890, vol.1) although James went on rather extravagantly to say that "a man's (sic) self is the sum total of all that he can call his" including clothes, house, wife, children, ancestors, lands, horses, yacht, bank account, even, let's say, a toaster. Self storage. Pile your self up in the windowless space that you've leased for a time. Store away the self. Self kept, held onto, but stored away. The sick do that, when they've lost hope or are too weak to care. They store themselves away, become self sufficient, unavailable behind their eyes. Oh, the impulse to shake them. Where are you! What are you feeling! We are angry that they don't seem sad to leave us. Commercial signage: The Chase Bank Where Your Money Is Safe but I've been banking on you to hold onto me.


Searching for Metaphor

The moon is moving away from the earth at the rate of one half inch a year. The wild turkey on the sidewalk in front of the MRI center doesn't appear to know it. Neither does the young policeman with line and loop approaching the bird gingerly. King of the sidewalk, haughty and ugly, meleagris gallopavo avoids him in leisurely mincing steps as traffic backs up on the roadway and motorists gape at the man and bird ballet although some will be late for work or important appointments possibly at the very same medical center now blocked by fugitive wildlife. Furthermore, these motorists do not appear to know that back at their homes in the suburbs flocks of wild turkeys are gathering to peck at the tires of the neighborhood's Hyundais, Grand Cherokees and Alfa Romeos, their forced migration from vanishing woodland signaling exotic appetites or more likely pique. Who can blame them? Still they've nasty tempers. Meanwhile, the policeman inches forward, the turkey inches closer to the MRI door and due to the earth's rotation, the moon is moving away from the earth one half inch a year.


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