terça-feira, 10 de maio de 2022

The Hidden Costs of Careless Living (new WIP)

 (A Portuguese version is currently  no forninho...)

The Hidden Costs of Careless Living


People are like that.

They just don’t listen

until it’s too late ,

trusting in faith or fate,

ignoring all the signs and the signals -

the summers growing hotter,

the water drying up in the reservoirs,

a cancer growing deep in the belly

or the bowels.  In fact,  it all starts

early on,  like  filho, leve o guardachuva,

watch the way you stack those dishes,

“ pode  beber  mas aí não dirija 

and goes on, fattened by life’s crescendos

of bad investments, confusion, or seduction

 in a world of catchy phrases and grownups who

         could know better,  like

“Don’t vote for that monster!”







Sometimes you ignore the same old advice

you’ve given yourself each morning

at breakfast:  take it easy, girl,

don’t deposit your trust in just any old fool,

     não vá com tanta sede ao pote, 

better stop at the flashing yellow,

open a window     but not the whole

            damn door.

It flies in your face then,

the time you’ve wasted

driving 30 per hour on that old bumpy road

or speeding head on down the wrong expressway

and missing the exit ramp again

            and again and again.


But sometimes you get a second chance.

You can undo a few nights, go back to the tape,

re-record your voice.  A bad day can turn lucky.

You might even garner an extra second.  Like me,

I forgot the pen and paper, but can always

stop to record this poem

at the next red light



terça-feira, 3 de maio de 2022

Philosophers and wolves (work in progress).


Just starting to practice with new forms and formats.  Hope you like it!

terça-feira, 12 de abril de 2022

Aviator Barbie (work in progress!)


When Erica Jong wrote Fear of Flying, 

Grandmother Barbie, then only 14,

took the title literally.  Grandma was

 already a toughie, and determined

not to end up like all those fifties housewives

at least not the ones in commercials who never climbed

      out of their aprons,

who ran off shrieking when little grey mice popped up

 in the kitchen at midnight

-        suddenly forgetting how to pick up a broom  -

or who toted the boys from game to game   but

never dreamt of learning to pitch.  When this Barbie

assured her best friend Ken she was ready to meet

whatever the challenge, his elder brother – he’d flown

fighter planes over Mekong Delta,   crawled home

to live out his days on the streets of Oakland -

said that girls who wanted to fly could serve coffee or tea

on TWA or Panam, land an executive hubby

or at least a half-decent pension plan.  

Grandma got so pissed that  she stomped off

 swearing she’d show those old boys

 - and the new ones too -

never to underestimate a girl who was born

 in 1959.   Not made of plastic, she’d

step down off the shelves after store hours,

 always waiting to first hear the clatter

 when the last employee pulled down the folding  gate,

and switched off the lights.  Steady with a flashlight, 

she’d sit till morning, studying flight manuals and the history 

of aviation, obsessing  over lives like Amelia’s and Bessie’s

or the novel she was currently reading. 

It was about Marx’s bastard daughter

who becomes a pilot, vanishing

into the fogs of a world that reneged on any

real revolution.  There were other stories too

and legends like one about a Mexican lady

who escaped the dungeon by flying

 out the window of her cell.  But my grandma

 Barbie, being no sorceress, concluded

she’d have to fight the system with

its own tools.   When she realized she’d

better not wait for the southern states to ok

the ERA, she decided once again

to take matters into her own hands.

She’d pull on her overalls, sneak

   out onto the airfields

while the others were still stone drunk

 or snoring, flying her planes

to some off-the-map island.  There were

 no h-bombs in hiding, nor tourists

tucked happily away in the brilliant steel belly

 of her dream machine, as she headed out

 into the deep of a night

where no Club Med and no World War III 

could ever be possible.


Poem & image:  






segunda-feira, 21 de março de 2022

Another mother's son (work in progress)

(The anti-war theme comes back to me again and again, as I watch films, read novels or follow the news. Yes, human beings have a hard time learning from the past, and the powers that be are blinded by an insane logic that they are not willing to break with.  So here we go, again...)



Privilege of the women and children, to carve their way to

the border, through snowbanks or alongside the cars stopped out

along the freezing highways. They trudge on, too tired and hungry

to let the memory of home blaze a hole through their hearts. Some

have left behind husbands, fathers, or sons of sixteen still

meant to be carrying schoolbooks, sneaking first kisses

behind broken-down sheds,   or under the yielding windows of

abandoned warehouses.   


In the springtime,  tearful mothers

will be gathering flowers.



The walls have come down, so we see right straight through,

to hallways, to stairwells, to busted wiring,

 the apocalyptic version of an architect’s model:  

inner workings, the plan,  guts to reveal.

Before our very eyes,  an interrupted logic –

 that which was once the tender or lively nest where

a family gathered, where neighbors broke bread, where

one spouse was tired and the other, wanting, 

 where siblings bickered over whose turn it was

 to do the dishes.

Now, a reporter carves her way through the rubble:

this here was a bicycle, that, a dashboard,

 and there, in a pile,  lies a broken camera,

a bullet-riddled backpack

one half of a helmet.


In the springtime, tearful sisters

will be gathering flowers.




a couple heads out onto the road.  they head for the border

with no baggage but a little mutt with the name of a girlchild

  bundled into a shawl, curled  into the arms of the young man, almost

a boy. his girlfriend tells us: the soldiers came knocking three times.

each time they told us, you keep your mouths shut, don’t tell we were here,

pointing their guns to her temples, pushing him to the ground, mortifying

the elders, making off with the last loaf of  bread.


In the springtime, tearful brothers

will be gathering flowers.




sometimes bad news travels quickly.  but it can – also - not come, or drag along

on its own wretched time, crawling on its belly like a wounded puppy

or lost at sea like a message in a bottle.   airwaves interrupted.  telegraph  down.

in tenuous silence. you might also open the wrong letter, or take the wrong phone call. 

or stubbornly insist that void is nothing more than a sputtering battery.

a heart gone missing can sometimes return.


in the springtime,  tearful mothers will be gathering flowers.


© 2022miriam adelman

sexta-feira, 18 de março de 2022

Horse Fever Barbie

 [Continuing on the Barbie poem vein, this one resulting from a challenge my sister and I invented together]

Though born into 50s Amerika

Barbie never really liked fashion dolls.

She preferred her Friend Flicka or

the Breyer herd, their dappled hindquarters

and molded manes, her debt to plastic coming

in Paint and Appaloosa, and something

she could buy with her petty cash

from babysitting.  Even the neighbors’ kids  

were usually good, munching her popcorn and

liking her stories, though she  

sometimes had a hard time

 making the human characters



When her mom tried to drag her to Gimbel’s

for shopping, this Barbie went bananas, 

recalcitrance born of odd preference for

trotting the paths of the park with her

sheepdog.  She was willing to give up the

department store luncheon, opting instead

for the corner drugstore, the lime cokes

       and catchup-doused fries

 served by savvy waitresses who

 were already into tattoos and bad attitudes.

For years she forewent the cute dresses and pumps, or

 the hippie frocks, or the fish-net stockings and

psychedelic miniskirts she was kind of

         starting to like.

Although not trying to make a statement,  

she despised wasting time on the picky details,

or worrying about nails on a trip to the barn

where real horses nibbled on her hair, warmed

her shoulders with their breath, pressed velvety

muzzles against her cheeks.


When Barbie started to grow real boobs her

friend Steffi’s dad said  beware of riding.  You could

pop your cherry on an old mare and then no real Stallone would ever

give you more than a temporary canter. And there was the doctor who

thought himself privy to her secrets, prying for details

on equitation and its orgasms

Poem & image:  Miriam Adelman.



quinta-feira, 17 de março de 2022

Barbie on the Creation of Ken/ Barbie Fala sobre a Criação do Ken





Back from the war in my revenge

dress, I’ve come to kill love. Alexa—


bring me the axe. I’ll carve the idealized man

out of living stone: chemically happy, dumb


as hair. A man in motion

is most important. To the femur—


make it long so he’ll walk right

out my life. Give the arms strength


to beat me black & blue. I’ll make a fast

machine so I don’t have to compete with anyone


but myself. There should be no voice box—

the inner world only teeth shattering dreams.


I’ll fasten eyes to get lost in,

to crawl inside.   The pull of his lower nerve


will stop time. It is here

the true site of human bloom.


Alexa—turn on the gas.

Alexa—strike the match. Behold:


the temple in man. I walk home

through his hypostyle halls. I touch his skin.


I see wonderful things.

I see the end of the world.



De volta da guerra nos meus vestes

de vingança, venho para matar o amor.  Alexa -


me traga o machado. Vou esculpir de pedra viva

o homem idealizado: quimicamente feliz, estúpido


como cabelo.  Um homem em movimento

isso é o mais importante. O fêmur –


faça-o muito longo para que vá embora

da minha vida.  Dê aos braços a força


para me espancar até ficar toda roxa. Farei uma máquina

veloz para não ter que competir com ninguém


além de mim mesma.  Não deverá haver caixa de voz –

o mundo interior é apenas sonhos que estilhaçam os dentes.


Vou lhe colocar olhos para perder-se,

para  arrastar-se dentro. O puxão do seu nervo inferior


fará o tempo parar. Eis aqui

o verdadeiro lugar do desabrochar humano.


Alexa – ligue o gás.

Alexa - incenda o fósforo.  Contemple:


o templo no homem.  Volto para casa

através de seus corredores hipostilos. Toco na sua pele.


Vejo  coisas incríveis.

Vejo o fim do mundo.



Versão:  Miriam Adelman

terça-feira, 15 de fevereiro de 2022

Late poems/ Poemas tardios - Margaret Atwood


These are late poems.

Most poems are  late

of course: too late

like a letter sent by a sailor

that arrives after he’s drowned


Too late to be of help, such letters,

and late poems are similar.

They arrive as if through water.


Whatever it was has happened:

the battle, the sunny day, the moonlit

slipping into lust, the farewell kiss.  The poem

washes ashore like flotsam.


Or late, as in late for supper:

all the words cold or eaten.

Scoundrel, plight and vanquished,

or linger, bide, awhile,

forsaken, wept, forlorn.

Love and joy, even:  thrice-gnawed songs.

Rusted spells. Worn choruses.


It’s late, it´s very late;

too late for dancing.

Still, sing what you can.

Turn up the light:  sing on,

Sing:  On.


Estes são poemas tardios.

Quase todos os poemas chegam tarde

é  claro:  tarde demais

como cartas enviadas por um marinheiro

que chegam após seu afogamento


Tarde demais para nos ajudar, essas cartas

e os poemas tardios são parecidos.

Chegam como se através da água.


O que aconteceu já era:

a batalha,  o dia ensolarado, o luar

que se transforma em lascívia, o beijo

de despedida.  O poema

encalha na praia como destroços.


Ou tarde, como perder o jantar:

todas as palavras já frias ou consumidas.

Canalha, desgraça, vencido

ou permanecer, aguardar, mais um tempinho,

abandonado, chorado, desolado.

Amor e alegria, ainda:  palavras triplamente roídas.

Feitiços enferrujados.  Coros gastos.


É tarde, muito tarde;

tarde demais para dançar.

Mas, cante o que você puder.

Aumente a luz:  vá, cante.

Cante:  .

Versão:  Miriam Adelman

Grata ao amigo Benedito Costa pelas sugestões!!!

The Hidden Costs of Careless Living (new WIP)

 (A Portuguese version is currently  no forninho... ) The Hidden Costs of Careless Living   People are like that. They just don’t list...