Friday, March 3, 2017

Toula Merkouris, Carl "Papa" Palmer, Karen O'Leary, and Angelee Deodhar

Walking around outside reminds me that it's not quite spring yet, but we are getting closer and closer!  Since this semester has been a busy one, making this blog-zine a weekly event, I am going to post the work of three poets tonight.

The first is Canadian poet Toula Merkouris whose poem "Walking Amongst Time" received an honorable mention in our Thelma's Prize contest (Winter 2015/6).  Since last year, Toula has written a children's book, Darla Dilly Don't Be Silly.  This book should be out any day.

Pigtails, Pinafores, and Pumps

I can remember sitting in the auditorium listening to the MAN speak about life
the road less travelled
and choice.

I can still feel humming in my chest
the vibrations of a train approaching the station
the wind caressing the loose tendrils of my hair
picking up speed, the sound thunders in my ears
whipping my hair in every direction until
my tightly woven plaits hang free
finally, the frenzy subsides and
I can see two ribbons lying at my feet.

I can remember thinking of the sound curtains make as they swish together over the stage
like an owl swooping through midnight's embrace
with a mouse's tail dangling from its tightly clenched talons
a veritable feast
Looking down I can still see one perfectly formed drop of blood
staining the front of my crisp white button-down shirt
dreams lying like collateral damage on the side of a highway
don't worry!
perfectly camouflageable by the ruffles of my pinafore
The weight of expectations worn
with a wink and a smile and a thank you ma'am
Let's talk about glass ceilings
and butterfly wings beating against Mason jars.

I can remember seeing multihued stars exploding like DISNEY fireworks from behind
rubbing the sleep out of the corner of my eye
using the palm of my hand, none too gently
the shock of midday sun on alabaster skin
I try to stand
like a colt with legs splayed out beneath it
in four different directions.
Numbness: its expiration date is long past.
I take a deep breath,
Thank you transplant surgeon
Did you know the Doctor blew up the lungs of the very lovely lady who signed her card in exactly the right place before
stapling them shut?

Now I can go on my way to the honey tree
with long legs striding along confidently
a barely perceptible shock of crimson seen from the underside of my brand new Louboutin shoes
The hot sun at my back
I look down
See how I tower over the shadow lying in front of me?
Do you see the barely perceptible yellow chalk outline around the contours of my distorted form?
I see it
it doesn't matter which way I turn
it doesn't matter how much it rains;
Like when my daughter thought it would be a good idea to use permanent marker to play connect the dots on my bedroom wall. Such a lovely pattern.
I jump and click my heels together
Looking for a way home.

Next is Carl "Papa" Palmer with "Mommy's Dance."  

Mommy’s Dance

Watching her in the kitchen
as she does dishes at the sink
oldies playing loud on the radio

Kate Smith White Cliffs of Dover
Patti Page Tennessee Waltz
Doris Day Whatever Will Be Will Be

She sings smiles into her sponge microphone
How Much Is That Doggie In The Window
dressed in her bibbed apron evening gown
swaying with her dashing dishtowel partner

Sashaying the linoleum ballroom floor
to big band music Glenn Miller playing
back ground for At Last with Etta James

Twirls while opening drawers cabinet doors
wipes the cupboard counter crooning
Yes Sir That’s my Baby by Count Basie

Gives a deep curtsy to her damp string mop
soft shoes to Bye Bye Blackbird exits stage
right to that place in my heart for Mommy

Carl "Papa" Palmer of Old Mill Road in Ridgeway, VA now lives in University Place, WA. He is retired military, retired FAA and now just plain retired without wristwatch or alarm clock. Carl, president of The Tacoma Writers Club, is a Pushcart Prize and Micro Award nominee.      MOTTO: Long Weekends Forever

I'll conclude with Karen O'Leary's poem enhanced by Angelee Deodhar's visual.  This is the URL for the image

Tonight I'll play some of the songs that Carl "Papa" Palmer mentions.

Here is Etta James' version of "At Last":

Or you may prefer the Glenn Miller Orchestra's version:

Do you know Patti Page's "Tennessee Waltz"?

She also sang "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?"

I'll finish with "Yes, Sir, That's My Baby" by Count Basie.  Oscar Peterson is on piano.


  1. The sponge microphone is a wonderful domestic touch. My poem to Jean:" The Voice in the Machine " goes like this:


    As a child I used to sing: Be My Love
    as though I was Mario Lanza –
    hiding behind the living room sofa
    to serenade my parents in my childish tenor;
    And with my kisses set you burning
    straining for the highest notes, trying
    to be true to the voice of the master or
    whoever else would listen that I adore.

    All the while the Capitol Dome on the lael
    kept spinning around in the background
    with a purple sky I wanted to fly around in
    until I was too dizzy for love of the record
    machine in my voice to turn it off; and it
    kept spinning like the wheel of fortune until
    I knew eternally—that you will be my love!

    1. I love the line, AS A CHILD I USED TO SING, Michael.
      Love to you and Jean.

  2. Carl Palmer Nailed It Again.!!!!

  3. Carl Palmer is definitely a GREAT country writer.

  4. Dear Marianne,

    What a beautiful publication of my joint effort with Angelee! Thank you so much. You are such a beacon in the poetry community. Wishing you the best always.


  5. Dear Marianne,dear Karen,thank you ,love and light,angelee

    1. Dear Angelee,

      Thank you for this beautiful display of my poem. So good to share this issue with Carl and you.

      Blessings always,

  6. Beautiful and evocative poetry characterized by appreciation, memory, analogy, sound and emotion.

    1. Dear Ndaba,

      Thank you for your kind words. Marianne's blend of three friends was a joy to see. I appreciate your ongoing encouragement, my friend.

      Blessings always,

  7. I enjoyed these offerings very much.

    1. Dear Peggy,

      Thank you so much, my friend. You are such a beacon in the poetry community.

      Best wishes and blessings,

  8. Applause to all three poets above! Indeed, a delightful variety. Now let me go listen to some of those oldies!

    1. Dear Paul,

      Thank you so much, my friend. Marianne's journal is a joy to be a part of.

      Blessings always,

    2. Thank you, Paul, so nice of you to comment.

  9. Applause to all three poets above! Indeed, a delightful variety. Now let me go listen to some of those oldies!

  10. I am honored and blessed to be a part. Thank you, thank you.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree Carl. May you continue to find the joy in your gift of words.