Thursday, December 22, 2016

Tangled Tree Lights

Mimi and Mona wish you a holiday better than your dreams; a holiday filled with peace, good will, and hope; a holiday filled with a firelight that gleams; a holiday filled with the joy and love of your family; a holiday overflowing with holiday spirit, good food, and laughter. And when this holiday is done, we hope you live happily until the next one!


It took hours before I found the box
Of the many strings of lights for the tree;
After climbing the ladder in my sox
and reaching the attic venturously,

I crossed the chilly floor in stocking feet.
Passed the trunks, the crib, old furniture,
Passed the sled, memories now bittersweet,
And paintings in oils, pastels, and watercolor,

To the large, corrugated box. It sat on top
Of the highest of the built-in storage shelves.
It’s the box I got from our closed bookshop,
The box covered with inked Santa elves.

I opened and climbed the small, 3-step ladder,
Blew away the cobwebs and got my surprise
When the dust blew all over my hair. In a blur,
I saw my reflection and began to fantasize

I was covered with white hair and a full beard,
Dressed in a red suit and shiny, black boots.
My reflection from the window was bleared;
So was my mind. There were no absolutes.

It wasn’t that jolly elf I thought I saw.
I laughed and took down the box stored on high.
Dear reader, don’t think me too bourgeois
But I wished I bought lights, thus gave a sigh.

Dragging the heavy box of Christmas tree lights
across the attic floor, down the wooden slats,
And into the family room, turned on the lights,
And what to my eyes should appear? Doormats!

“Arrg! Where are the lights?” I asked myself.
Went to the kitchen, opened some wine,
Drank one, no two glasses, returned to the shelf,
And saw, on a box on the floor, the TREE LITES sign.

My laugh sounded merry, so I laughed again,
Dragged another box downstairs, poured
Another glass or four, and gave a broad grin
Because the lights were all tangled that I procured.

Now on my third bottle and wound in the lights,
I rolled to the wrapped presents and stood like a tree.
I swear by the fluttering wings, an angel alights;
When she kissed my forehead, I lit up with glee.

Mimi Wolske
All Rights Reserved

(photograph by B. Rosen)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Career Man And The Artist

The first tangos had no written lyrics. Sometimes some were improvised in the spur of the moment. Dame la lata is the first tango song with written lyrics. At the end of the poem is Dame la lata, music only.

© The Career Man And The Artist
Mimi Wolske
All Rights Reserved

At the end of the nineteenth century
He wanted to take her to Buenos Aires
She said no, Montevideo
They settled for the border
Between Argentina and Uruguay
Where they could learn to tango
To the sweet sounds of the violin,
The driving flamenco guitar, and
The strange, mournful wail
Of the bandoneon

Each night was a different, shady,
Dockside dive where they watched
The mating dance between
Barmaids and their customers,
Where the entertainment was the
Violence and illicit sex and the
Lower classes on both sides of the border
Before the clubs were raided by police

He learned every move from the barmaids
She learned to step and side-step the customers
Together they danced
Separately they returned to California
He grew a mustache, married, and
Died after forty years working in a bank
She studied painting, showed
Her work in galleries, and lives forever