Although it may look as if I’m carrying on a one-woman campaign, writing poetry about amputation as I occasionally do, I just want to say that as a recent amputee, having gotten a mysterious sepsis (blood poisoning) and going from a ten fingered person to a three whole, three half fingered person, certain situations that I find myself in set off quirky observations which, as a poet I simply cannot resist setting to meter and rhyme.  


To those of you who’ve never known
An amputee of any sort –
A few bones short,
Shampooing is, well, interesting,
Challenging, to say the least!
The warming bath with bended knees
The bottle squeezed, the soaping in,
The tender skin on scalp and crown,
Just sitting down!
Each step to get those darned hairs clean.

It takes awhile to go that mile,
But afterwards it’s worth it;
A warming and uplifting gift,
The escapade engaging brain:
A training on a very basic yogic plane.

Shampooing 11.20.2020 A Sense Of the Ridiculous II;

It’sYour Decision

 It’s Your Decision

It’s your decision, right or wrong.
You go along without dimensions of an understanding,
Ever standing under instinct.
Moment’s instinct driven by and based in sync-
With genes, upbringing, circumstance:
All of these the dance of life
That will forever lead and follow.

Your decision, every moment.
Your voice, your choice,
You the instrument but not the cause.
Who knows what the sources are?
“It’s in the stars”, as often said.
And yet, what’s in your head
Is there,
The leader/seer,
Atmosphere and backdrop notwithstanding.

It’s your decision, yes and no.
You can decide to let it go
If time is wrong or intuition’s song
Is sensing that the time is wrong.
Impulse in life’s small complexities

Is the will free as a bird – or burden?
You decide!

It’s Your Decision 11.29.2020 Nature in & Of Reality; Arlene Nover Corwin

Worth The Reading Time

 Worth The Reading Time

Much of what one reads about
Is love ignited, unrequited…
Plight, excite, delight: all adjectives that end in -ite,
Narratives that never land;
Unfulfilled and ne’er full-ended.
Searching for someone to love;
Searching for the one true love.

For those inclined to love Divine –
The kind of love a union
With the One its aim and function;
That suffices as the gold; the mine
Of all the gemstones in the world.

Tomes we seek, themes that speak
Of higher things than lips and lust,
That never tire or expire,
But encrusted with a gem unchanging
Are worth the reading time forever.

Worth the Reading Time 11.28.2020 The Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative II; Circling Round Experience; Circling Round Eros; Love Relationships II; Arlene Nover Corwin

What Takes Time (when fingers have been amputated)

         What Takes Time

(when fingers have been amputated)

Buttoning and chopping onions.
(you don’t button onions, natch!)
Throwing balls and playing catch;
Diverse actions needing oneness:
Three note chord, arpeggio
(If, of course you’ve played piano)
Wiping bum with just a thumb,
Zipping up,
Applying make-up.
Writing with a pen or pencil,
Lifting any large utensil;
Twists of wrists, techniques and muscles
While you’re rustling something up –
Things take time. You learn to cope,
And so,
You learn to take things slowly,
Much more slowly than you used to
When you ab- and mis-used time
By buzzing, cruising ‘round
Quite inexcusably.

Now focussed and enthused,
A strange new way infused,
The will to live renewed,
Things viewed as ordinary now extraordinary.
What takes time with digit gone
May have more than one compensation.
We shall see in years to come.

What Takes Time 11.24..2020 Birth, Death & In Between III; Pure Nakedness II; Arlene Nover Corwin

Eva, Eva

     Eva, Eva

Eva, Eva,
Who it feels we’ve known forever!
Just a girl
Who loved to whirl around in high heeled shoes,
Choosing music that amused
Her sensitive, artistic soul.

Energy one seldom sees,
Making everything she does
A breeze.
Eva, Eva, clever Eva!

Generosity of time and service.
Not the least bit nervous
About taking on new projects.
She projects the finest and the funniest
With fräkisar.

With you as friend one feels secure:
Vis á vis dear Eleanor.
Du svävar utan vingar!
Eva, Eva,
Have a happy, HAPPY BIRTHDAY
With our love that flies your way!
Eva, Eva 11. 25.2020 Birthday Book; Arlene Nover Corwin

The World’s Best Lovers

The World’s Best Lovers

Musing on a thing I know,
A thing I know a thing about,
The trick is not to mention names.
Think: name unknown – the names anon.
The traits are what illuminate;
When it becomes an education:
Theory to academic and didactic;
Not the least bit pornographic
(even graphic, for that matter.)

Mr X climbs into bed with Ms XY.
No sly ardor but good will,
They lie quite still.
A good beginning and an intro.
No big ego runs the show.
Start is slow, no expectations.
With no goal, the bod’ awakens.
One is passive, one is not.

Cool and hot, yin and yang,
One receiver, one with spring.
This can vary in the doing,
Cupid’s arrows, sightless, blind,
Innocence and eros blend.
The tactile governs.
Thigh to thigh, hand on hand,
Eye to eye, and, and, and…and

A motion, whispered groan;
Skin on skin, the moans begin.
Step by step and far from finished,
Visual, olfactory, the beating heart,
The swelling heat, the two best lovers taking part,
A start, an end, two friends united in
Spontaneous combustion
(which they say cannot be found,
but silent causes can resound.)
In any case, all ceased and feasted,
Lovers rise. A second breakfast.
Lovers who have had the most –
Juice and oatmeal, buttered toast…

The World’s Best Lovers 11.21.2020 Circling Round Eros; Circling Round Experience; Arlene Nover Corwin

A simply wonderful article by Marc Myers re: me, Arlene Corwin, Dusty Springfield, Blossom Dearie…

One of my favorite Blossom Dearie albums is That’s Just The Way I Want to Be. Recorded in London in early 1970 for the European Fontana label, the album features all hip, pop originals, most of which you’ve never heard before. Blossom is impossibly vulnerable and delicate on the record. Nestled among the album’s gems is my favorite Blossom Dearie song—Dusty Springfield. Last week, I was emailing with singer  and poet Arlene Corwin in Sweden, and it turns out she knows a thing or two about this song’s creation. [Photo above of Arlene Corwin courtesy of Arlene Corwin]Let Arlene tell it:
“Jim Council, Blossom’s co-writer on Dusty Springfield and a handful of other songs on Blossom’s album That’s Just The Way I Want to Be, was my third husband. We married in 1964 in Lebanon, of all places. When I divorced Robin Palmer, I met James in New York around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. He had been teaching in a public school at the time but was fired. He had decided to read in the library during a so-called atomic-bomb drill in which the children were told to hide under their desks—as if that could save them or anyone else.”When Jim made his decision, the principal immediately rang the Board of Education, which ordered him fired. The Teacher’s Union came out in support of him and, in an instant, Jim Council was a celebrity. Newspaper headlines and mass gatherings sprang up demanding that he be reinstated. That’s when I met him. There was even a lawsuit filed by the Teacher’s Union. They lost, thanks to a clause in the teachers contract denying them the right to refuse an official order, or something like that.
“Jim and I were married for 18 years. During this period, we lived mostly in Oxford, England. Before living there, we lived in Chico, California; Paris; Hydra, Greece, as neighbors of Leonard Cohen and Marianne Ihlen; Lebanon and, finally, England. Jim was an art historian and antiquarian bookseller reputedly working on his doctorate. Which he never finished. I sang—performing at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London in 1972—and taught yoga. [Photo above of Arlene Corwin]
“Blossom Dearie (above) and I had been friends since 1954. Whenever she came to London to play at Ronnie Scott’s, she stayed at Shirley Bassey’s London apartment. When she visited with Jim and me in Oxford, we all boated on the River Cherwell and she drank champagne. At the time, in the late 1960s, Blossom had these tunes that were lyric-less. God only knows why I, a songwriter for real, didn’t offer to write a lyric with her. But Jim, an academic, not very musical but filled with confidence, did.
“Well, with enormous patience, Blossom (above) worked bar by bar with Jim and out came these wonderful songs: Hey John, (about John Lennon, with whom there was mutual admiration; Sweet Surprise, I Like London in the Rain, I Know the Moon and Dusty Springfield.
“I was there the entire time they worked on Dusty and other songs. It’s possible they also worked on them when Blossom (above) stayed with us in Oxford. Jim never met Dusty, nor did I. As for Blossom and Dusty, we’ll never know, of course. What I do know is that Blossom was an admirer of Dusty, as was everyone. She was superb!”Jim and I parted in 1984 when I traveled to Sweden to sing at a Stockholm hotel. There, I met Kent Anderson, fell deeply in love and left Jim, whose last words as he stood on the sidewalk as I drove away were, ‘Come back soon.’ That was 36 years ago. Jim stayed in Oxford, teaching art history at the overseas University of Maryland, married again and died in 2010 at age 81.
“I heard Dusty Springfield during its development. I have original copies of most of their collaborations. Funny, I’ve hardly ever used the songs while performing. Maybe I thought I’d never do them justice. Blossom was the master.
“I’m not sure how Norma Tanega came to be credited as a third writer on Dusty Springfield. Norma was an American folk and pop singer-songwriter and a painter, and, of course, Dusty Springfield’s romantic partner. I do know that all the lyrics were Jim’s. Perhaps that’s the only way they could gain permission to use Dusty’s name as a song lyric. I don’t know. [Photo above of Dusty Springfield and Norma Tanega]The personnel on the album: Blossom Dearie (vcl,p) accompanied by Ian Carr (flhrn), Kenny Wheeler (tp), Ray Warleigh (fl), Harold McNair (ts,fl), Jeff Clyne and Daryl Runswick (b), Spike Wells (d), the Hooray String Section (strings), the Ladybirds (vcl), Brian Gascoigne (arr,cond) and the rest unknown. The album is a delightful toy chest of lovely melodies and clever lyrics. Dearie, clearly, was smitten with London and England of the era when the country was transitioning between the traditional old and the colorful, youthful new.Blossom Dearie died in 2009; Dusty Springfield died in 1999; and Norma Tanega in 2019.JazzWax note: Back in 2018, Arlene knocked me out by writing and sending me a touching poem in tribute to JazzWax. Go here.JazzWax tracks: You’ll find Blossom Dearie’s That’s Just The Way I Want to Be here (the first 12 tracks).JazzWax clip: Here’s Blossom Dearie singing Dusty SpringfieldDusty SpringfieldBonus: Here’s Blossom Dearie in Paris in 1965 singing and playing I Wish You Love And here’s Dusty Springfield singing the same song in 1967… Here’s Norma Tanega singing Walkin’ My Cat Named Dog And here’s Arlene singing I Remember You       Related StoriesTV Duets from the 1960s • Email to a friend • View comments • 
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Rhyme/meter girl, that’s what I am.
No special gambit in my plan.
Perhaps the meter’s in my head,
Incomprehensible to those who read,
Well, tough! I cannot dwarf the need.
The inner ear just hears it.
Musician too,
Writing from an inner camera, as I do.
Rhyme penchant – chant, cant
Non-sensical or intellectual,
Its pleasured high is oh, so actual,

Why would someone take the time
To write in meter, write in rhyme,
Shape on paper tidbits entering the literary?
Every poet minus, plus
Has some kind of a genius.
What kind of call…why write at all?
Writing is not fighting, it’s exploring,
Learning more within
From references without.
Stimulation of the highest sort;
A sport, perhaps.
Technique and skill with criticising,
Sizing up, refining word, defining order.

Was not poet. Now I am.
The metered rhyme, the aging face
Has given something like a grace,
A grazing grace which feeds on honesty and peace.
Though fears and doubts still hang about,
There is a will to simple thought ,
Abstract conjecture made concrete.
Teeny, tiny, tidbits sweet.

Tidbits 11.19.2020 Processes: Creative, Thinking, Meditative II; Arlene Nover Corwin

A New Awakening

I woke this morning, watched my morning TV, ate breakfast, and outcame this: having been worked on 3-4- hours; refined, more clearly defined, even as I write for sending.

 A New Awakening

For me, each day’s become
A new awakening.
I don’t remember yesterday,
(that, almost literally).
Each day I feel a newly born
Who hasn’t had a day before;
For him or her,
Each day’s events, the weekly sequence that lacks reference:
Wholly fresh and unprocessed.
No programmed habits in the way,

The learned unnecessary.
Every breakfast, lunch and dinner
Informing and a finding
With the force of creativity
Touched by serotonin, dopamine
And filled with oxytocin, which means
Happiness, and with that -ness invention.

Ageing has its benefits.
The days untied, untried,
Duties less a press;
To the better in the dwindling senses, subtle changes;
Fun in what was obligation:
Cooking, laundry, scrubbing, dusting –
All the ordinary musts amusing,
Yesteryear’s mad fusses fusing!
An awakening!
A new sense-action and a prize
Of unadulterated size!

A New Awakening 11.17.2020 Circling Round Ageing; Pure Nakedness II; Circling Round Experience; Arlene Nover Corwin

The Things We Take For Granted (added to)

The Things We Take For Granted

The tastes and that we taste,
The smell and that we smell.
The sight and sights themselves;
The fact of silence, how it feels.
And touch?
Is velvet like our bristly toothbrush?
How asleep we are
Though eyes are open.
Who is it, that real person
Inside you?
And who is you?

The Things We Take for Granted 11.15.2020 A Sense Of The Ridiculous II; Arlene Nover Corwin

Note: I could have called this “Some Things We Take For Granted”, for I well understand the limitless extent of what we do not think about or notice. But as one who has lost the sense of taste and smell, who has had fingers amputated due to sepsis, I know and am beginning to deeply understand the before and after of what it means to ‘take for granted’.

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