All poems previously published.
(final stanza of) ITSY GIRLS, first published in
Out of Line; also appears in Time and Other Details.
Copyright © Paula Friedman 2006. All
We put away to save the paper Torah.
The golden reindeers antlers, itsy girl, are lost.
We put away the paper houses of Japan,
make a museum of the
footless tiny frozen shoes.
There are photographs of big-eyed starving
in the ghetto of Warsaw, in the caves above
in Harlem, over Islamabad
(and they all look like Anne Frank).
The golden retrievals of history. Take my
The golden paper of dust.
Excerpt from GOING HOMEA REUNION POEM
Copyright © Paula Friedman 1998. All
See there where the litter, heaped cardboard and
surrounds that worn door;
this was the emergency door,
old slit where one February night
we went in together to come out alone.
This was the door to the hospital once
where babies were born .
First published in Verseweavers 2005 (anthology
of 2005 OSPA winners); appears in Time and Other Details
Copyright © Paula Friedman 2005. All rights reserved.
You wouldn't rent to us.
They cry, they bring in all their friends
you wouldn't rent to a single mother and infant
they mess the walls /
and you, partying below late (was
retaliation for the baby's cries?)
petitioning the landlord'
cause that baby's always howling!
You too, Welfare,
you, too busy,
you, later, boss who kept
your re-entry clerical way past daycare closing
and you, school system, making Fed bucks forcing
highstrung kiddies into special treatment
to learn/ nothing,
nothing, only how
to act institutionalized.
And you (you know who), shouting your
toddler into silence
a home, refusing to ruin your body with tranqs
but pushing codeine syrup
so the coughing 2-year-old
might sleep (let you sleep) through the night
though it never worked
come take your medicine
you/ people, landlords, structure,
there where you don't
note the grown-up baby forever on his meds.
by the rear exit
don't think so)
Copyright © Paula Friedman 2010. All rights reserved.
I have a particular intolerance
for being lied to, or talked down to,
on health matters. I do not care to
accept my place gal's out of date)
here at your table-or pushed off it.
I have things to do yet; if you find
it uncool, whacky, one of those
old women's paranoic things
(and uppity, and out of place,
should the lady think
not to keep still, not to go chat
over there with other Female Elders
on soft distant chairs, to not step
to the end of the line,
still asked to sacrificeno, told,
persuaded, forced to choose
to die now, cause
Youre all dried up
and downright useless
for a humpin, Frailie (sides,
we just bought healthcare stock)
no, do not lie to me
and do not ask again I go
by that rear-exit line
quietly, effecting policy,
your I got mine
your Now go die.
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