Things I Cannot Do

I cannot say what was my motive in writing this, believing all the time that I was through with talk of amputation. And then I saw and heard a splendid performance on TV and as one does in moments of exuberance, even while sitting in one’s living room, I was moved to euphoric applause. The result? No sound, just blunt and muffled ache.

Things I Cannot Do* (see bottom note)

I can no longer play a chord.
Cannot applaud,
Stand on my head,
(Joints stiffening, weak and one-sided).
Unattainable: the open can or zipped up pants
The coffee cup that’s minus handles.

Cannot roll up a left sleeve,
The right hand being less effective…
Buttoned blouses flatten me
Daunting, wearying and taunting me
While I, one-handed, work to fill
A much-too-narrow buttonhole.

Every day the list goes, growing
Markedly, perceptibly, unreasonably.
Turning up when breaching laws
An ordinary man ignores:

Reaching, stretching… temperatures:
The hot, the cold,
The simple, slippery things to hold:
All those courses now on hold
Until some bright, prostheticist
Comes up with some adroit device;
New, useful for this jazz pianist.

With not a soul to sue,
The things I can and cannot do
Continue to run neck and neck,
Tied for first place, stroking,
Karma, nature, God’s good grace,
The ever racing Time
Take trophies back to each their homes.

* August 3, 2020 will be one year since I collapsed with sepsis and had 7 fingers amputated.

Things I Cannot Do 7.30.2020 Nature Of & In Reality; Circling Round Experience; Pure Nakedness II; Arlene Nover Corwin

The Goal

This was sparked off by watching a documentary last night on Leonard Cohen & Marianne both of whom I knew wall when I lived in Hydra.

The Goal

There are those who can’t
And those who can
Become what’s called ‘a family man’.
Those who must live solitary.
Those who must have friends a-plenty:
Women, chums, amusements, sex;
Many current, many -ex.

There are those who roam the earth
Without a faith,
Looking, looking, never finding,..
Never binding self to one:
Finding none.

Those who run and those who search;
World-weary urchins*
Existentially un-gladdened, burdened,
Mightily or slightly saddened.

No one thing that’s best for all,
No inner voice, choice, norm of form;
Then, waking one day to a call,
It settles all.

Rising, falling with a grin,
Settling in to nature’s cycles,
Sizing up the grand delusion,
Each day’s challenging illusion.

Inner joy reflecting off a shining face
Now well defined and more refined,
They help without a conscious motive,
Simply by a way of living.

In order to find inner peace,
“Know yourself”, said Socrates.
Where under decrease hides increase
Which then in turn feeds happiness –
The ultimate in goals that please.

The happiness infectiousness,
Is virus kissed and truly blessed.
Conclusion from this authoress:
“They’re not all baddies I would guess.”

A Reference to Noel Coward’s song “World-Weary” (1928)
The Goal 2.29.2020 Circling Round Experience; Arlene Nover Corwin

Found On Backs Of Envelopes

Found On Backs of Envelopes

Talent helps, but at the end
A chain of forces gives intent
Its form whose links
Are luck and karma,
Perseverance as its armour.

Pushing doggedly against the odds:
Time’s cycles, ups and downs,
Fenced in or pushing back or at
Rejection, vanity, the blocks
Of dailyness-es, laziness-es,
Each a hindrance stealing time.
Yet talent is the ground
Fed by the virtues which turn destinies around.

I’ve had this scrap since twenty four: two thousand four,
Which means it’s been
A household tenant fourteen years,
(I date my scribblings),
Its poetic siblings coming after
Several thousand crafted rhymes.

A lesson here somewhere:
Save bits of paper,
Be they toilet, pamphlet, poster, letter…
Keep each ballpoint you collect –
Guidelines you will not regret
But laud, applaud one day
When someone reads the stuff you’ve had to say
And says “Hurray”!
All from not tossing out the scrap
Or throwing crap away!

Found On Backs Of Envelopes 12.17.2018/revised7.27.2020 A Sense Of The Ridiculous II; The Processes: Creativity, Thinking, Meditative II; Arlene Nover Corwin

Do More Research

This is a long one! But it’s an answer. Yes?

Do More Research

“Do more research!”
That’s what I told my doctor
When he said, “I have no answer”,
I responded, “Do research!”
To which he answered,
Nether jokingly nor mocking me.
“I’ve got all these patients… masses… “

I said, “Then it’s up to you to do some more!
It helps the rich, it helps the poor.
If I am helped, it will help all,
The big, the small.”
He’d put me on the spot.
He said, “Perhaps you’s like to change your doc?”
It shocked, of course.
My only course was to reply,
-Oh me, oh my! Of course I don’t!
And then I left.

Reliant on a Google font,
On Wiki- this, or Wiki- that!
My only course, of course,
Was to search on my own.
Research my illness up and down,
A clown in search of a solution.

If I may, a not-too-nice person
Offering advice to a profession,
Indispensable to all and each,
Not besmirching and/or preaching,
I say this: Do more research!

We, but wretches without knowledge,
You, eight stretched out years at college!
With your know-how, you know how to fetch the facts.
So act! We’re waiting for a salve
To work on our finite behalf.
March straight right to the books you have,
And do research. It’s us you save!

You and we are all betrothed.
Do not leave us in the lurch.
It’s in your oath.
You with all your education.
Medicine, its limitation.
Do more research!

Do More Research 7.27.2020 Our Times, Our Culture II; Circling Round Experience; Arlene Nover Corwin

Ideas Are Always There

Ideas Are Always There

In the bubbling babble, clamber, scramble
For ascendancy and clarity,
Ideas of every kind
Are forming pictures, wishes, plans and fancies,
Goals and targets; theories.
In the chaos of the mind,
Suppressed, surpassed you find
Surprises ne’er expected.

For those who write,
Who claim a ‘writer’s block’
I say “Knock, knock!”
Ideas are there.
You cannot stop ‘em.

There to joke with, poke around, soak up
Trusting in instinct without fear,
This writer does declare
You can, whenever, fix things later.

Writing is not made of marble, though
I have a feeling Michelangelo
Could do it, ideas flowing, never ending,
Sending signals of association
And creation
To the hands which held hammer or pen.

So, friend,
When you awake, have breakfasted,
Be sure your ideation-mind is interested.
And here’s the thing:
Pure and simple interesting!

Ideas Are Always There 7.26.2020 The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative II; Circling Round Experience; Arlene Nover Corwin

Annie Ross

I’m sending this out to my jazz musician and jazz loving friends. It’s not a finished product by any means, but a spontaneous tribute to Annie Ross, who died yesterday.

Annie Ross

The loss of Annie Ross
Is loss indeed.
I was a teen in ’53.
Mom owned along with Slim Gaillard
The first jazz club in all Long Island.

There stood a Juke Box.
On the box
Were Hendricks, Lambert, Annie Ross!

There was I, a blossoming young, singing teen,
Young, listening, music major;
There were they, two hims and her,
Scatting kings and scatting queen.

Oh, how I learned!
How much I earned
From Lambert, Hendricks, Annie Ross!
They were my boss!
Not mom, not Slim,
Not Chet or Stan or Mulligan.
No, it was them!

And Annie!
Ultimately forming me
With E above high C.
Her ‘Twisted’, ‘Doodlin’, ‘Airegin’.

Lambert died (too, too,i too early)
John became a valued friend.
But Annie, who I never met
Whose influence I’d later get,
Has met her end.
And I regret not meeting her
And telling her how great
She was.
Annie Ross!
I hope it’s not too late to say it
To her listening spirit.

Annie Ross 7.23.2020 Vaguely About Music Ii; Circling round Experience; Arlene Nover Corwin


You’re welcome to share this usually ignored truth with the world. And for those spiritually oriented people who think I’ve left out ‘soul – even soul has to take a body before it can function. Otherwise, it’s just up there somewhere in the skies.


Everybody is a body:
Underneath it all, a body total.
Big or small, broad and ample,
Slight, but never trivial,
Arrival on this planet
Nothing short of miracle;

We’re meant to love it, but without
The pride of vanity,
For we know, vanities
Are valueless,
The body, paradoxically,
A transiency;
One could just say,
A moment’s instability.

We’re born to care
And not be fooled by armpit hair,
Boob and cheek.
Soon or late all parts are weakened.

Tooled to grow, unroll, unfold:
It is a body, after all.
A million, zillion cells
That only ever wish us well.
Dimply, pimply, faintly smelly.
When each jolly quirk is tallied,
Everybody but a body.

Torsos weak and torsos strong
See us through the whole lifelong;
All of you and all of me.
This solely one and only body.

Body 7.22.2020 Circling Round Nature II; Nature Of & In Reality; Circling Round Experience; Arlene Nover Corwin

A Reader Commented

A Reader Commented

“it can get repetitious
When you write about the brain.
The same refrain again, again.”
I answered:
“Variations on a theme, that’s all it is.
Not repetitious, but delicious.”

With so many things that need attention.
Variations in an endless fund,
The emphasis on fun and essence…
But just now I am in body mode,
Brain unfolding
Undercurrents sensed and flowing
In a stream of consciousness
That feel almost blessed
Because I don’t know where they’re coming from,
Not really.

What I do know is, there is a train:
Ideas starting in the brain
And through the hand,
Their end a piece of paper,
As if life was cutting some sweet caper,
In the art of understanding.

A Reader Commented 7.20.2020 The Processes: Creative,Thinking, Mediative II; Arlene Nover Corwin



I thought for years t’was no such thing,
Believing in the ongoing of everything.
I now believe quite differently.
Fast or slow, the mind in Now.
Testing my discovery.

Details count, perhaps the most.
Every detail is its moment.
Thoughtful practice – years, perhaps.
It all becomes a lapse-less care
Combined with skilled improvisation.

Like the movement in a symphony,
The stanza in a poem:
Complete within itself,
Each segment but a leading
To the next and next
Until the text and form
Feel finished, polished: done.

To do it is the privilege,
To carry on the duty
To reach it is the satisfaction.
(perfectio; the Latin for completion.)

Perfect 7.19.2020 The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Mediative II; Definitely Didactic II; Circling Round Experience; Arlene Nover Corwin

Old Is Old

Old Is Old

One phenomenon weighs me down:
Humans killing humans –
It a thing that never ages,
Being at the top of sinful wages.

Ebb and tide does not die out,
But we too soon glide from this planet
When we ought to all live out our days
Until the very final phase
Of nature’s meaning
As was meant in Eden.

Oblivion, as Shakespeare says,
Arrives anon. In any case,
Soon or late, fate has its voice,
The thing we call free choice erased.

Old is old.
We cannot scold the unpreventable,
Determined and unshakeable,
Regimented by laws born
In every momentary bubble.

Old is simply to observe.
Old is simply to accept.
The script all tightly written.

Old Is Old 5.24.2020/7.18.2020 Birth, Death & In Between III; Circling Round Aging; Circling Round Wrinkles; Nature Of & In Reality; Circling Round Experience; Arlene Nover Corwin

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