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Nat Lipstadt Mar 2018

Dear New Poet:

Then I'm your man,
your very own
Northern star
one of a
3 legged stool,
upon which all,
we enthroned poets,
the world-over,
do rule

the honor you
bequeath me  
to be,
a first follower,
your very own
first responder,
cannot be

this case,
this birth,
novice revival,
heart transplant,
makes it
the greatest
to be the first,
the quencher
of your thirst
so long in the parching,
the throat burnt by a
desert sojourn
of a now ended,
forty years

so come to me!

message me
a message,
find me a find,
your poem so fine,
I here now vow,
our embrace will
ne’er be broken

give me this
let us together
be terrific,
raise our glasses,
arms entwined
toasting you  
all that mind and 
breast of yours,
bursting full of 
the full release of, 
bringing longer life
to us both

I am a father.
I am a grandfather.
I am a First Follower.
I am a First Responder,
for all who need a leg up,
so step upon my heart,
the first step upon a ladder
with no top, no end ensighted

my legs are as old as time, but,
measure me not by the rings and 
the metered scales of gray hair aging,
shock of white, a cain mark, wizard-wizened

but by the muscles
of my deep affection,
the solemnity of this,
my irrevocable promise

the blessing
we both earn and make
when you write,
while we wait
in quiet attendance -
for all your good works,
your kept promises

Blessed are You Lord our God,  Ruler of the Universe
who has given us life, sustained us until now, allowing
the reader and the writer, to reach, meet, embrace and
greet this day, this new born poem, with hallelujahs,
love to chat & encourage new poets
Nat Lipstadt Sep 2013
If it cannot in ten words be said,
It cannot.
Nat Lipstadt Oct 2013
Ask Peter Pan!

Lives of make believe,
Pretty **** good!
Nat Lipstadt Jun 2015

(This one is for me)

The hardest thing to do,
being strong,

for everyone else
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2019
a love poem, of new & old,
why I am the summer-man!^

summer is winding down,
sky’s multi blues freezer safe stored in ziplock see thru bags,
marked and named by hue, the where and the when,
so when the eyes finally fail, when the squinting don’t help,
when the good things those good blues aroused,
poems, lush and morning thanks for being alive come-not-at-all,
quite the opposite, these cold blues
may help, to recall why it was worth breathing

summer is winding down,
so am I, the synchrony no accident, time,
the Pharmacy kitchen calendar
claiming another victim, willing or not,
those cars and the blue eyed models,
are now but blurred wishes and hopes, even these words, spoken,
not finger scribed, for the keyboard a
jumbled jungle of alpha-numerical
of confusion hellish and
my sons don’t come to clean up my pathetic messes, sending
their little children, beloved concubines of my heart

the daytime watcher, spanglish her native lingo,
tho single words she’s pretty good at too, but that don’t help much;
the grands, toddlers to pre-teens, the eldest a womanly eight,
tries but soon frustration bored, slips away quiet like
replacing her with her two year old sister, who knows her alphabet
which ain’t an exactly a help, but her five pencils stored^ nearby,
tagged with her name, awaiting her poems, her one true legacy

try to imagine her as a grandmother, farseeing the day when she
occupied this too too hard to-get-out-of-by-myself “easy” chair,
making rhymes with her next-next generational  descendants,
faint remembering the silliness sorcery that I secreted in her brain;

zingo, bingo, lingo
tango, ginkgo, jingo,
** ** oh no, oh no!

ashes, gray hairy poppy is a silly,
when he is not a grumpy,
old man all fall down!

which she acts out with giggles galore,
adding a teacup embellishment,
a creme fraiche pearly teeth smile topping,
the day watcher agrees, verrry verrry funny,
but time to me *** and take a needed morning *****

no poppy! no poppy! no poppy!
no nap, no ***, no *****!
thinking the call out is for her,
stomping her feet in an alternating rhythm and rhymes

I, happy poppy, ecstatics drooling out,
foreseeing the rhyme is strong in her,
get wheeled away crinkled and crackling,

zingo, bingo, lingo
tango, ginkgo, jingo
** ** oh no, oh no!

ashes gray hairy poppy is a silly,
when he is not a grumpy,
old man all fall down!

a new genre me of gibberish summertime love poems
Nat Lipstadt Jun 2020
(lost 13% of my baby)

the littlest one turned three in May,
haven’t seen her in the flesh since March,
parents inform, all gone,
they’ll be disappearing
to another state,
all of July, gonzo.

I say
go forth safely, that’s great.

redefining social distancing.

measured not in feet,
or even by Sara B.’s
borrowed ‘many the miles,’
but in longer specificities:

weeks and months,
parts of years,
parts of lives,
March, April,
May, June,
now July.

five months.

counted them on one hand,
many times,
at 3:00am
cause I could not believe
the summing of my subtraction

somehow disappeared,
from our calendars
these monthly ** markings,
months wiped clean permanently.

did a quick calculation.
we’ve lost 13% of her
entire life,
can’t be regained.

her first:
big girl bed,
playing first video game,  
another birthday party,
candles extinguished by
a single big girl blowing,
dancing, dancing, and more,
driving her scooter in the apartment,
like only a mad woman can,
(stuffed animal riding the handlebars,)
blowing pretend Zooming belly kisses
on her button,
hiding neath the dining room table,
her laughing uproariously,
with never a “stop poppy.”

a specific amount,
a poem irretrievable,
a blood loss, that
can’t be transfused,
plasma irreplaceable,
containing antibodies
to a specific virus
Sorrow Unique-19

it got nothing
to do with that new forehead
furrow, that slow-suddenly appeared.


“just, these are the days...”^
^Van Morrison “These Are the Days

These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there's only future
There's only here, there's only now...

These are the days now that we must savor
And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
You've got to hold them in your heart.
Nat Lipstadt Mar 2014
poems in ye old inbox,
genteel knocking,
whispering thru stolid front door
love me a little lot,
little lot, love me?

this is not mere work product,
collegial-laid upon me for gentle shared, for pre-review,
Nottingham Forest arrowed, bow shaped
pithy comments,

these are the holy-of-the-holies
prayers, wry observations, nature collations,
me and thee adorations, heart rendering
screams of need,
these are the moments in your life
raw-roughened gifted or threaded smooth cursed,
but tendered unto my caring.

(an aside:
perhaps you understand better now
why woman-in-the-moon imagery,
red bowed, grapefruit tasting hearts,
all the lovelies, word shape shifts a/k/a
language delights!
but time-using, confusingly confuses,
and has been erased from my own poetry frame)

gnawing doubt me routs,
god gave me humans,
and gave them speech,
to bring me
closer to him
thru them.

somewhere in those 1431 essays of labor,
dashed off, handcrafted, pithy or poor,
just might be the one
justification for my opening my eyes
this poetry someday Sunday sun-day.

put the cofe on
(saving letters, saving time,
deleting unnecessary e's
from my life till when I am dying on
all-on-that desperate
e-n-ee-dy day).

loaded my shotgun heart with
loves and likes,
yellow thunderbolt bullets firing,
and considered yourself
I'm a-coming over,
shoes on the cofe table,
breaking taboo's
gonna read 1431
and when dining done,

gonna pay attention to my muse,
my woman, cause she is the
original e,
that provides the raw materials,
in ye old nat-box,
that lets me love ever one of them,
she is the e
in me

and me will be in you,
starting now.
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2019
To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.

Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought.

The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.

The only cure for vanity is laughter, and the only fault that is laughable is vanity.

The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.

Religion is to mysticism what popularization is to science.

Spirit borrows from matter the perceptions on which it feeds and restores them to matter in the form of movements which it has stamped with its own freedom.

There is no greater joy than that of feeling oneself a creator. The triumph of life is expressed by creation.

Laughter is the corrective force which prevents us from becoming cranks.

Intelligence is the faculty of making artificial objects, especially tools to make tools.

**** sapiens, the only creature endowed with reason, is also the only creature to pin its existence on things unreasonable.

The present contains nothing more than the past, and what is found in the effect was already in the cause.

It seems that laughter needs an echo.

To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly.

When we make the cerebral state the beginning of an action, and in no sense the condition of a perception, we place the perceived images of things outside the image of our body, and thus replace perception within the things themselves.

The motive power of democracy is love.

Read more at:
4/3 /2019 8:55am
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2013
there is not a sexist bone in my body.
not a one.

there is not a bone
in my body entire,
that it's marrow,
but just tinged,
more singed,
nay, more, more,
burnt and burning
****** desire.

****** desire is a concerto
of the
five sense organs:
vision, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

my body performs Halley's Fifth.
my woman listens carefully.
"She had never heard that symphony before, but she knew that it was written by Richard Halley. She recognized the violence and the magnificent intensity. She recognize the style of the theme; it was a clear, complex melody--at a time when no one wrote melody any longer."
- Atlas Shrugged, Part I, Chapter I
Written on the bus home, just now, that being sort of an apology.
First of a series of three; look for 2 x 3, and, 3 x 3.
Nat Lipstadt May 2017

Every summer, I relearn a new language.
Every winter, it departs for warmer climes,
Its charms and naked arms,
Its own alphabet,
Clean forget.

Multi-lingual in the summer's peculiar
One language, one aleph bet,
With a mega-millions of dialects,
Know them all, cold,
know them all, hot.

I speak Woman.

Summer is soft, shapely, sweet,
Clean, bare, lush in a sparse way,
And Woman is spoken thusly.

There are no harsh sounds,
Guttural exclamations, nein!

I speak Woman.

There is no ugly in the summer.
Ugly being an ugly word.  
It cannot exist in an atmosphere of
Sun, greenery, sand, carefree days,
vacations, no school, no ways
Is there ugliness in any woman of the summer?

You could take this writ many places.
Most of them wrong,
So sputtering sexist l, politically incorrect or other labeling words,
Makes you ugly and wrong.

Could not give a good *******,
In the summer of 2013, (2017)
There should be no ugly, no prejudice.

In any summer,,
There should be no ugly, no prejudice at all.

Long past my primal,
I still speak Woman
With almost perfect fluency,
Au naturel,
Naturellement, à la française.

Gym clothes, denim short shorts, yoga pants gone mad,
A-line skirts swishing in the breeze, uncovered shoulders rhyming,
High, god, so high the heels,
Flats clip clopping, flips flip flopping,
Stilettos making love craters,
all over my heart,
like a surgeon doing good work.

It is the bare arms and the fluorescent,
mint stripe hints of
Summer Cleavage, the short skirts,
Body hugging one piece fabrics,
stretching from here to down there
That do not hint.

The shoulder strap of the underthings,
Asking, commanding me to
Wonder where these paths lead...

Even the light shoulder wrap,
Casual over bare shoulders slung,
A late night elegance that mocks me,
Like gift wrapping over a
Smile demure, a teasing blindfold...

All these say:

Write us poetry in our very own tongue of

Will oblige.

I curve with curve of the *****,
Invert geometry of the S arc of the waist,
Mystifying, how it is the designed place
For my hands to grasp, never failing...never letting me fall

The crayola musical colors of flesh variations,
Boggle the senses...
How can
Tan and pale,
Dark and Light
Have so many
Symphonic variations?

Adagio, slow and leisurely, a pas de deux
For two eyes, following ******* by eyes sparkling,
Timpani crashing heart and thunderous pulse quickening,
Violin heart crying out, joyous wailing need and desire sparking.

Just as Byron wrote:

"Music arose with its voluptuous swell,"

Yes, swell, a voluptuous sea swell.


My eloquence is a poor instrument to portray my

Early May man glorious loves life,
Late July, sadder man,
Knowing the summer foliage colors will soon, fall-fade,
Come August, my vocabulary, already diminishing.

Never forget how to say in the language of Woman, this:

Without you,
I am nothing,
With you,
I am more than everything.

Tho I can no longer say it well,
It is is still true and
Beyond belief.

My one true language of love
In a world gone mad,
Every woman, every summer, each one of you teach the world,
How to speak of beauty so beautifully.

August 2013 ~ July 2016 ~ May 2017
writ August 2013, edited and reposted 2016, 2017
Nat Lipstadt Oct 2017

This is not a poem.  This is about a poem.

Poems require words.  This poem does not require words.

This poem requires memories' muscles.
This poem requires what is called colloquially love.

Learn that what we share here is not poetry.

Your poetic senses that produce the words that mark you present
are but surgical tools to extract, release the whole and the parts of you that help shape that single sense borning in your chest that defines you at any particular moment.

Quæ est mater Laureat.

She is the Mother Laureate.

She is the boundary you must learn to cross to be more than a re-arranger of letters and alphabets, but a translator of the human essence and fill our veins with the a sense of awe and wonder felt when we read each other and think aloud,
"yes, exactly, that was and is precisely what I was feeling."

She is the glue that keeps us sticking here, sticking together, each of us sticking to it.  

You do not know her?  
No worries, she will find you when you least expect it, perhaps
when you need it.

This is not a poem.  This is a human who's a poem.

Understand the difference and then you may begin a journey
that has no destination other than weaving the connective tissue that makes us anticipating excited when we log on.

Happy Birthday Mother Poet Laureate!

I do not think I can write a better not poem for you.  
Forgive me then, if going toward, I repost this every
October 24th as long as the chemical composition of
blood, God, spirit, logos or reason runs free within,  
exiting as words encased in tears that formulate into
human poetry.


P.S.There are 800 poems here with Sally in the title, and least 700  are about Sally B.   If you like, please  feel to free to add yours, old or new.
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
a sensory perception,
an intended message,
which the eyes of my inbox
check-mark as opened, read and
very well received

sometimes we say things
we didn't mean to say,
but 99% of the time,
we meant it, even if
it just happened to be
something we were wearing,
something tight, short and flirty,
we put on in a hurry,
without thinking

Nat Lipstadt Apr 2015
21 hours ago
received the message below,
from a fellow poet, here,
now somewhat, more disappeared,
resting in the shady quietude of
Elliot's servers

a mere 21 hours ago,
a thunderbolt telegram
of virtual dots and dashes,
well received

whose name
you have forgotten,
even if you knew it back when
I shan't knowingly now reveal...

perhaps if you were
one of the
multiyear variates,  
still here, still seeking
to the
equations of the
human formulation,
one of the veterans of the
early word wars,
when the line between fellow poet
and human being was full of
invitational openings,
tween those dots and dashes,
we all eagerly entered those places,
crossing over into
those human openings,
making poets into friends,
if you webbed here back then,
you may have known her too...

21 hours ago -

"there's a reason
I got to know you,
even though that might
sound silly.
In a way,
you saved me
two summers ago..."

this message,
teaches me to remember
the power of words
be careful what you
you just might save a

didn't not ken, well enough
the pressurized curve of her bend,
though read all her private journals,
her thesis academic,
her private ascetic analysis
and poems that milked & masked
the angst of a life
really real hard

tried anyway,
two years of messages

could not feign
the pain
unintentionally recovered
while looking for
clues to myself,
this purported savior

all I recall is
a woman near her ends
woman near no means
but knowing the meaning of
the power drink meaning of
"just going on"
that was dug deep in between,
and how we traded poems
for each other,
and I called her,


but from now on and within,
when I see a message
time stamped
21 hours ago
I'll be
better ready
for the
explosions of myself
21 hours ago
"However long I don't talk - for whatever stupid reason I never have the courage to talk to others when I am lost in my life-- I still think of you and I hope you know that. I still think there's a reason I got to know you, even though that might sound silly. In a way you saved me two summers ago..."
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
"All the cokes are the same
and all cokes are good"

"Everybody looks alike and acts alike,
and we're getting more and more that way."*

Andy Warhol
you read and
you are not read

the numbers,
add up or they don't

I will never write a

here and there
an authentic voice,
amidst all the
mass produced in "The Factory"

I get it, Andy,
I hate Coke,
I hate cheap and easy writings,
the most assuredly not,
real thing

I will never give them what they want,
only what they don't want
to hear

Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
from the musky mist
of anonymous readers,
all takers of low repute,
stopper-by's on a voyage of
self pleasuring

I give you my pain,
my infrequent joy,
my five sensory historical compilation
of voyeuring into
a multi-felled, a multi-celled

and u can't lift a finger
to acknowledge
your presence

here is my rule of opposable thumbs,
Mary Elizabeth,
read not the last line,
read not the last chapter
like a novel,
a cheap way,
a teenage way to
decide what to read

if you read a poem all the way thru,
top to bottom,
if it holds you enough to make you
go thru
the whole of a body of art,
if you hated it or loved it,
or just sniff indiff

the mere fact that it held you
the mere fact that you held it,
means that in some manner
you liked it, or it captured
your lazy eye

so don't be a lazy ****,
click the like button,
you are just a john or a *****

did you like that last line?
2:48 am
cleaning out my files
Nat Lipstadt Mar 2016
for vicki who loves this poem for the best reason ever: just does...
read a thousand love stories,
pause, rest awhile,
read ten thousand more,
and then deny equality.

If you ask for no more than you can give,
you ask for not enough

love is imbalance not an equation,
with a single solution

love has both constants and variable factors

so you write of tribulations and tributes
so you write of lamentations and liftings

you think you are on the same page
but do we not all read at different paces?

one of you is solid, one is dotted and dashed
one of you is straight, one is bent, forever curving

when you think you are
in balance
in the same place
in syncopation

perhaps you are for a moment
a calculus of one point on a trajectory

and you say I can only ask for what I give
and am given
and no more,
you have miscalculated

this flux
when the old terrain is flayed flat
but thru the windshield you see the
plateau ends, the geography unknown,

when you see unknown
when you seek the unknown
when you give from places you did not know
you had to give from
when you kiss a hand
for  twenty minutes more than than the one minute you intended
when you give more than is asked
when you ask for more than you can you think you can give
the imbalance that  is the only concert
the imbalance that is the the only constant

how do I know this?

what are my credentials?

you are not a teenage girl,
what matters of what you know, recall of these matters?

I am who I am
a diversity of man and manner;
I am past prime and in decline
but this I know
for having failed ten thousand poem times
you must ask for more than one can give

but that's not fair!

silly one, still wretched confused,
even after one hundred thousand poem times

you must ask of
more than you can give
and ask no less
demand no less

a body in emotion is not a body in rest
when the imbalance is too great or insufficient

then you write a poem
look in the mirror that cannot lie
and move
move off

  begin to ask
to whom may I give myself
more than is asked.
then you have finally asked
the correct solution to the
unsolvable equation
Ask for more than you can give
was added to HP on
Feb 8, 2014
Nat Lipstadt Jul 2015
the second hardest thing
you'll ever do?

successfully concluded


The hardest thing to do?

for everyone else.
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2013

There is this way, she
puts on her silk robe
over her negligee.

In the mirror, watching,
each hand grasps
one edge of the robe.

She opens the robe
full and wide,
as if the robe was the
frame of a painting,
the painting,
her silken-clad body.

Then quickly, speedily,
pulls one side
tight over her body,
pauses for hesitation,
for inspection,
and quick again,
pulls the other side,
tight too.

She slides the covered arm
out from underneath the robe,
and with one hand only,
the robe is kept closed,
closed tight by one hand,
but not tied.

She performs
this pantomime,
this invitation,
her pirouette
many times a day,
especially when
I am watching
her watching herself
in the mirror.

For my hand is the
key, the unlocking device,
that not only pulls open,
but pulls apart the robe,
as she truly desired.

My two hands
slide from her waist,
to the back of her thighs,
and I lift her up,
up against the wall.

She spears her arms wide,
first out, then up,
suddenly leaning forward
sliding down and I catch her,
burying her face in my neck,
holding her under her arms
we dance  to a place
where there is no space,

where there is no space
between our bodies,
between our selves.

Our pas de deux
is our solo.
See the video of the show that inspired this:

Second in a series, hence 2 x 3
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
what need we know,
what laws to posit,
mission clear
but still us,
we remain a wee unclarified,
the theoretical, lacking,

so today,
all scientists, all visionaries,
all literature professors,
critics and ******,
today, only positing,
in order to
establish the tenets of
The General Theory
of Poetary Genius

once proofed and proved,
the theory capable,
discerned and predictable,
the foretold course
motion foretold of a
planetary body,
a special singular star,
a peculiar one,
plot not its course,
but it's discourse,
the emanating waves
of words arriving, self translating
in any and all languages,
but for all,
in their native tongue

The first element,
chiefest law of them all
is to pose the problem differently,
so that answers come from
a planetary poetic perspective radical,
enabling any old genius to see it
as no one has seen it before, till now

We mortal Joes,
ponderous weigh,
inexplicable unsolvable ordinary,
what is love?

The Poet Genius declares:
it knowable, it's real,
its solution a matter of a matter,
among two planes it coexists,
though in three dimensions...
what is love co-exists
in space and time at the
subatomic level
and moreover,
who gives a ****?

The second element,

(To be continued)
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
don't be so formal!
I put my pants on every day,
over my head,
just like everybody else,
just like a {you,man}

it helps me see better,
two pants legs,
one for each eye

it narrows the focus,
makes you care
where you tread,
where you t-read,
so when you write poetry,
you write
more slowly,
put one foot
or one eye,
before the next,
so you don't post
***** like this
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
A few of you
have seen my face

One of you
has kissed my cheek

so ***
you can now see me
in full frontal ******

I am the ruggedly handsome
who as usual
is on the floor looking for
something to hug
beside the *****
the new banner photo up with a real recent pic
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
What haunts you, where is that poem?**

You have been
Nat Lipstadt Oct 2013
363 poems in my inbox.
That's poems, many.
Me happy
And I try to read them all, the chiefest source of my
Nat Lipstadt Sep 2013
Six Straight

The old cowboys of  TV fame,
Were straight shooters,
Who carried six shooters,
Sometimes two.

When I grow up,
I want be a  six straight cowboy too,
Six straight hours of sleep,
Or dem bad poems all dressed in black,
they're a gonna shoot me, holy dead.

The youniverse is getting smaller

The you-in-verse is getting smaller,
My poems, shorter,
Hemingwayesque, see!
Why use two words,

Warmer, too,
Somehow tho global heat
Ain't reached my woman's
Hands or feet.

When you touch my GPS,
It stands ready, at attention,
Always opens up with a prayer,
Directions to Home,
Like I said,
The you-in-verse is getting smaller.

Lend Me a Tune**

Wish I knew how to
Compose some love lyrics,
But can't carry a tune,
It seems that the music
Must always comes first.

So with conceit and disbelief,
Wrote words and shot 'em into space,
Hoping they'd pass thru galaxies,
Maybe a comet tail,
Find a Songster who will strum them
Into perfect, into complete.

I ain't unhappy that all I got
Was the lesser gift of
Humming words to myself,
Ain't dissatisfied, but wish they
Could be ratified, by the music
Of a voice reading them to me
Or fingers tapping, happening them
Upon the ivories upon my chest,
The chest that needs exploration.

So let's make some music
Finish these lyrics jointly,
When all finito, pointedly
Take our co-sing-song,
Dance to it with our bodies
Sing words the whole night long,
And please baby,
Don't tell me to shut up so you can sleep....
Midnight poems analyzed.  1).  Should carry some kind of disclaimer like at the end of a commercial, when they give you 60 seconds of warnings to your health spoken  in 20 seconds 2) inevitably end up with a carnal conclusion 3) probably should leave in the auto corrections that are so funny that you make that sniggering, piglike snorting-laughing noise that annoyingly weakens(?) your "next door" neighbors!j
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2013
Unconsciously conscious,*
her skirt too short.
tugging it down pointlessly,
every second minute,
like a regular breathe,
all the eyes in the room
rode it up,
and rode the tugging
down too.

that she was pretty,
pleasure for the eyes,
was not the question.

no longer young pretty, but
fulsome, knowing, more,
knowledgable in her place,
secure in her thirties.

or so I thought.

an Anne Fontaine blouse,
silk and collar cut angled,
Italian leather skirt from Barney's,
and legs that were not
just shapely,
but pouted comely,
come love me, I am lovely.

or so I thought.

the skirt, a leather glisten,
seams so thin, almost invisible
to the eye,
like the lines nearest
her eyes,
but all lost,
because all
only saw,

the tugging.

I ponder it,
the meaning,
of the tugging,
consciously unconscious.

was she tugging herself
back inside older younger dreams,
back to where she once unconsciously belonged,
or forward to this moment where she was conscious,
a line crossed, and needy to be tugged back behind it.

my eyes did not depart from her thighs
for she was tugging me as well,
in two directions, into a place
where questions tugged at me,
and I too, consciously unconscious
that I no longer belonged where I belonged,

or so I thought.
3rd in a series; see 1 x 3 and 2 x 3.
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2018
3 X 5 index card poems

3 smallish poems in five minutes

honey can I make you something to eat?

no babe, you know I hate to see you cooking, frying
standing over pots and stirring sauces
trying to brush
wisps of bangs from your eyes
  while wearing kitchen mitts

What I would prefer is something leftover,
reheated served with a smiling grin from my ear
to wayover down under there,
next to you

old words are better than than new ones

hey, hi! how you doing, old friend?

“yo, out of the hospital feeling so much better;
had some kind of ‘itis’ which they cured with an ‘yisis’!”

glad to hear; impressed by all those new big scientific words;
frankly preferred your old ones,  that were rediscovered and
reoriented in new ways in your poems verses;

never better cause to hear from a man
whose optimism has yet to meet a
that he can’t best,

heals all our wounds


if you told me

that I could spend three successive rainy days in almost all silence, perfectly contented by myself,
i’d said you crazy,

isn’t that true babe?
Nat Lipstadt Nov 2013
5:00am and folding laundry

when the inspiration tank is yellow lit,
and E stands for more than empty,
but evacuation,
try this remedy,
a first generation family secret!

fold the laundry.
all kinds.
his n' hers,
blacks n' whites
really clean and

and the kind that never get clean,
no matter how much d e t e r-g e n t
you use, how oft you wash 'em...


1. fold only when wearing t- shirt, tank top, briefs (optional)
2. put on Pandora 60's rock n ' roll (folk rock - highly recommend Runaround Sue by Dion and the Belmonts, The Wedding Song, The House of the Rising Sun)
3. dance, shake, improve your moves when nobody's looking
3a. control yourself, if you must sing, at the top of your lungs is not acceptable.
If alone skip, skip to no. 5
4. every third piece give a sniff, get high on
fresh starts, clean notions, the idea that all can be washed away
4a. Every third piece of hers give an extra sniff,
so you can know why love keeps you alive
5. if you have to sing, then only loud is acceptable
(***** the others, you're doing the folding, they're sleep-dreaming)
6. drink lots of water
7. have pen + paper handy cause ain't no doubt
the poet puppet muse masters gonna smack you down
when folding sheets alone.
8. finish the write and post it ASAP
9. always leave the single socks on top of the dryer,
a prayer to the laundry gods for the
safe return of their better halves
10. finish
11. If done correctly, you need to shower (wash hair!)
12, around 6:00am, all scrubbed and clean,
fold yourself back into her arms. Snuggle, spoon.
13. when she mumbles you smell clean, you reply,
                                  "been folding laundry, writing poetry,
                                   and the clean smell done fell on me"
14. if alone, despair not, read this poem and know we are together
15. believe this day is full of possibilities,
write me a poem, put the load right on me

there are stains that cannot be removed,
deterred by this gent, and his a-gents,
they are history, treat'em with respect
and not more

every poem must end,
so when the folding is done,

*the day ahead is full of possibilities
like the pleasured reinvigorating of my clothes,
once happy soiled, no happy cleansed,
so I possess an excuse, a reason,
a rationale for living
to fold laundry again!
I have no idea where these crazies come from.
"But it's sad and it's sweet
And I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man's clothes"
Maestro Bill Joel

For Harriet Tecumsah Watt

Nat Lipstadt Jul 2018
~for granddaughter Wendy on her first birthday~

mailman delivers a
a small bubble wrapped envelope,
an internet purchase made a long sometime ago  
accompanied by an enjoyable, self-served and self-serving,
"you're a good fella"
          pat on the back        

a spurting act of the what-the-heck,
trigger pulling, self-pleasuring,
donating a few bucks to saving poetry,
****** in by a suckers click bait

sent money to the
   keepers of poems;   
they even give something
in return.

sensible pencils.  

a non-rational purchase;
@ $6 dollars per leaded squib,
a wooden helping kiss rife with possibilities

all for a goodly cause
preservation band society poetic

this one-and-done impulse many weeks ago, 
followed by an immediacy forgeting,
then, an eye stabbing,
a widening wow weeks later
upon receipt
of an unexpected 5 pencil's all poems poetry reciting!

5 pencils. No. 2’s,
on each a phrase,
a poet's name and their singular words parsed
(see the notes).

paired passages from five poets,
deemed and distinguished to be
what's more apropos than a dangerous  instrument of a
loaded leaded pencil,
that can be used to add to the  
Ever Expanding Universe of Verbal Liturgy
("and I helped")
once briefly dusted off the top of closeted dreamy days,
my notions of acclaim gone, silly gone,
my only marks now are erasures,
tiny rubber sheddings on paper
that's my marker,
a minus mark of deletion.

may yet come the day,
one will one gather up the
many survivors,
poem fauns, all my orphans,
give them to the
Wendy baby,

she to metamorphose those
baby squeaks and  giggles,
weighty weightless poem noises,
clapping, waving, delighted and delighting, kiss-throwing videos and that milk covered face,
into her own living words

all these noises that makes even non-poets
smile ear to ear unabashedly,
nodding in delight agreement
to her own non verbal
original poems
one day a little girl
will stumble on five pencils,
mixed in within fifteen hundred poems not particularly well hid,
between worthless insurance policies and other artifacts,
memoirs and pointless depositions,
hid between her older sister and brother's
crayoned keepsakes

  with pointed newly sharpened pencils
the very same,
his Wendy,
might add
to the grandpere's poem collection with
pencils begging to be used,
for they are generationally and genetically,
pre-poetically enabled,
weighting the old memories
with new ballast and new balance,
from new verbal babies
all of her own.
What happens to a dream deferred?  Langston Hughes
Won't you celebrate with me? Lucille Clifton
Do I dare disturb the universe?  T.S. Eliot
I'm Nobody! Who are you? Emily Dickinson
Where can the crying heart graze? Naomi Shibab Nye
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2016
~took a walk in the city today,
and this happened in the O'Henry traditional way~

the blind man crossing E. 15th,
does not look, nor does he care,
all foes on-coming,
come hither, he dares

his light is red,
yet his cane extended,
he click clacks steadily ahead,
unaware and unbeknownst,
his new step by step sidekick,
Sheriff Natty,
is writing an air poem to a
taxi driver with his
shotgun *******,
a NY gesture of
welcoming *******...

a green light means passage
is a taxi's right,
but my left shoe firm
attached to his bumper,
plus multiple looks mine,
any of which could ****,
his argumentation poses
do somewhat chill...

the sheriff of the city, his motto,
sic transit finger gloria


among the sadder sights
of city life
is contrast...

the dark-only coolness
of an Irish bar,
on a bright spring day
when life and love
is bud sprouting
while old white men,
on single soiled solitary stools,
their colored cheeks green
from the reflection of
TV emerald diamond fields,
sipping many pre-game $3
Guinness draughts

around the second inning,
they switch, onto
boilermakers to make
the languid afternoon stretch on,
this I know for sure,
for in the large gilded mirror
behind the bar,
see the barkeep's back asking me,
"what will it be for you
this fine spring day?"


next to the bar, in the corner market,
an old man's hands tremble in an old man's way,
in a way I only know thru his testimony,
as he does his daily self-feeding,
his wallet removed, fumbling for two
single soiled solitary one dollar bills.

the shopkeeper's fingers
beat the counter impatiently,
the old man's beer brown bagged,
transport ready, though the old one
rather be next door,
the extra Dollar saved causes
a last minute delay, shaky fingers,
asking for an extra purchase,
a small can of dog food please,
so he can watch the game at home
and share the same meal
with the man's real and best,
and only true spring weather friend


the mayor proclaimed as a matter of
public safety, public decorum,
a pack of three or more woman
wearing all black Lululemon athletic wear,
were now banned from being outside after nightfall

later this night, in Carl Schurz Park,
many vamp(ire) voices were heard
singing the lyrics to
"i want to do bad things to you,"
but they staked him only
to a free color reeducation


these takes I witnessed,
all or some,
these tales I took
some or all,
from beneath my skin,
where city streets grit
injected beneath my skin
came with the title,
City Boy,
and honored me
with its O'Henry life and lore,
and the vision to believe what is
in my bloodstream
just another true tale of life in
published her 4/14/14
Nat Lipstadt May 2014

just google it plain,
see it in Wikipedia,
just that number


every number an association.
this one magical, mysterious,
and born to this,
my tradition.

613 commandments in the law

but today I come to speak of but one commandment.
first among a peculiar

not listed amidst the
thou shalls,
thou shall not,
of which,
many have I transgressed,
many have I blessed.

******* the heels on my fast first
anniversary conclusional,
noticed that I had now

a young man,
from across the oceans,
from New Delhi,
honored me thus,
what a delight,
how easily these god and man-made
geographical boundaries crossed,
my spirits raised.

how I detest that word.

I could no more lead than follow.

let us be neutral observers,
let us be recognized sharers,
let us be hand holders,
let us be mutual lovers,
let us be but friends.

root out this
servile attitudinal,
sacrilege word.

I do not celebrate this irony,
but oh yes, oh yes,
I do I understand this election
as a commandment,
a sacred obligation,
not of my asking,
but of my anointing.

The first and foremost poetic law.

write to
levitate and elevate
the human spirit

all the rest is naught.
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2013
613 poems in my inbox.
Will read them all,
Each and every, will be
Unwrapped and refolded.

When I am done,
there will lovely be
613 more.

God needed six days to create the world.

For the love of poetry,
I will do it in all in one,
For I owe it to you,
For trusting me with thoughts most
Sabbath Sacred...

August 30th 2013
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2013
Sixty Eight years of age
and he texts her puppy love
msgs six time a day,
in between phone calls.

long ago lovers,
high school, I think,
Facebook stumbled upon,
and the inky surprise,
that they have relearned to be,
a new shade of
a true blue tint of
the word,

mushy is the heart that goes
soft to hard to soft,
soft by innocence, then
Pharaoh hardened by life, then,
softened by reflection,
mushyed by wisdom,
that came costly.

when relearning
the side effects of
discovering the words
that were left unsaid,
or even better,

spoke this time with
better understanding,
greater appreciation.

Now so better
After Aging Aching
in an oak cask
of finally, filly fully
fermented love.

I don't need inspiration
to clap for you,
but your confidence un-betrayed,
name omitted,
as one grandfather tips his hat to another,
all he can smiling say,

romantic rediscovery at 68,
I suspect is even better than the
first fumbled go around.
For he who knows that I borrowed his words....shhh...
Nat Lipstadt Sep 2013

Sleep my children, you, not forgot.

Lured you here under false pretenses
What matters six or ten or
Nine eleven,
When each word enervates the midnite senses.

Through chance or fate,
You, selected on that date,
Thy names inscribed,
A select few, a chosen tribe.

In a megalopolis,
Where hurry and rush,
The hallmarks of the populace,
A city oft condemned as heartless,
Your place, your alphabet unique,
Permanently preserved.

Rest easy then,
Tho our names will be dust and forgot,
You individually, collectively,
Will be remembered eons on.

No need to economize,
Tears, the numbers of words,
Draw some comfort, tho minimized,
Your names, this day, all recalled,
Thus I bless you,
As you bless us,
**Sleep my children, you, not forgot.
The day will come inevitable,
When thy names be spoke,
By those who witnessed or knew you not,
Like victims of another holocaust,
Sleep my children, you, not forgot.
Nat Lipstadt Sep 2013
The poem was inspired by a particular photo of the WT C, and after that by my first visit to the 9/11 Memorial.  On the day of 9/11, I was working about a diagonal mile away, and from our windows, we could see people jumping to their death.

Open sky annulled
to bordered lines of
uptown edges,
worldview momentarily
forcibly redefined by
memories of buildings and sadder days,
recollections of pillars of biblical smoke rising

A photograph
makes me look up,
and sit down historically,
need to catch a breath,
to rest mentally,
upon a storied small bridge's steps,
that I well recall,
a disappeared street stoop.
all were rubble then and once
upon that day.

Wear, tear, and older eyes distill perspective,
but the hardy heart is hardly stilled
by the recognizable gray upon
bon vivant gray reflective surfaces of
memories of buildings and sadder days

So today, on a reborn street,
I rest upon reconstituted speckled curbstone,
the city's lowered down ledges,
the city's lowered down-town boundaries,
constantly redrawn, but
nonetheless, always rebuilt from their own
regenerated stony compost,
and the NY passersby doesn't even notice
a man, head in hands,
silently weeping, thinking that:

We throw away so much we should have kept.
We keep so much we should have thrown away.

Lose keepsakes, but keep our mysterious sadnesses
locked away in compartments that open only to
benedictions uttered in ancient tongues.

Make your own list,
be your own curator,
catalogue visions of sophomoric triumphs,
museum mile pile
those early poetic drafts,
be unafraid of memories
raw and ungentrified,
overlaid, buried underneath
postmortem of dust-piles of senior critiques

Finally went downtown to see
where the blessed water falls
into catacomb pits that once
were the foundations
of buildings that ruled the cityscape,
downtown anchors
for a modern city that exists
only because it was built on
million year old granite bedrock

Stone monuments are stolid, discrete.
Memories are of grayed, frayed edge consistency.
Negatives resurrected that survive digitally,
all blend synthetically, layer upon layer,
essence distilled in a single,
black and white photograph
that serves to
disturb complacency,  
awaken stilled pain,
reflections suppressed,
are restored
Written August 2013
Nat Lipstadt Jun 2014
the irises have passed,
their existence, entirety,
a three week, 21 day, gun salute,
to which I was witness to but an
abbreviated four short generational

the Kabbalist among us say Kaddish,
and a-Buddhist chants so-be-it,
both celebrating the brevity cycle
of natural things, both notating,
that death makes room for more

ugly yelloe'd and black now,
these irises are now
misfits on a breezy,
dancing summer lawn

today, shriveled and misshapen,
they compare and contrast
on a normative, glorious,
June Sunday that
picturesque presents
the living and the deceased,
side by side

all comrades,
all summer sundries
on a dancing grass blanket
half-graveyard battlefield,
the half-heaven

oft I have writ of the beach detritus,
the shells, the sun burnt *****,
a recycled funeral rectory where
no one utters prayers for the
no longer alive historical artifacts

what has this to do
with that human construct,
artifice of memory,
a string on the finger
of the mind,
a pausation, a man-made creation
to momentarily recall another of
nature's cycle -
your children

Have children.
Am a father.
Had a father in my youthful days.

this is a boy scout qualification medal,
marker of me as Expert,
permitting me to commentary
with gravitas, now that I’ve graduated
to grandfather status,
I enjoy superstar freedom
to opine inanely on such matters

of my father have I writ,
of my sons, those remain unseen,

likely neither will mark these day
with a telephone call
or an all-I-got-was-this-lousy-t shirt
gift of gall

I say that's ok for what else is there,
certainly not an unthinking, dismissive

it saddens me some for sure,
but it makes judge myself as human being
on a gradation of one to none

but more than this internal reflection,
I ponder this hallmark'd day,
as life cycle point notarized,
in verse and rhyme,
for that is what I do best

for before,
many father's day
in the priory passed,
most unrecallable,
just another ceremonial checkmark,
habitually acquitted,
but somewhere
in a drawer of shirts,
in a home I store stuff in,
I do believe, there are some cards
from decades past,
that prove nothing,
other than life goes on,
and we best capture
what we can, as best we can...
with small, objet d'art of sorts

Perhaps one will call after all...
in any event,
to honor the dead,
to mark the existing,
the bannered ship's bell rung,
its sonorous sound,
notable and onerous,
fades as well

but man and animal,
plant and tree,
a living fraternal sorority,
who all look over my shoulder
as I compose on
that Adirondack chair you
by now, we’ll acquainted

they know,
for whom the bell tolls this day,
and why as well,
as we all pause and contemplate
where we are on this day,
on our own overlapping cycles
nowadays I get a ten second video of a happy father’s day wish
Nat Lipstadt Oct 2015
A Birthday Poem for Sally B:


the principal thing about principles,
like the concept of time,
that in time, with time,
they come to reflect our
immutable essence's own best reflection,
come only, round or square
come only, too little too late
come, too much too soon

so the simpler, the better,
so the matter
of what really matters
needs capture in some
capsulated summary form,
a daily vitamin for the soul

so I thank you for
the gift
of your birthday,
the anibersaryo of a day of naissance,
this one solo, kakaiba,
among the many,
a present presented to the world

*so on this particular day,
we must thank you
for the wonder of wonder
that justifies existence,
for what truly matters

cannot be created or destroyed,

and your matter, mass,
your presence's  Grace upon this earth,
graces the hearts of thousands,
today and forevermore

this is what matters and
can never be recreated,
can never be destroyed...

Oct. 24, 2015
6:24 am
dispatched from NYC
Oct 6, 2013      October 20, 2013
The Banyan Tree (A Tribute to Sally)
I am a man, grandfather to four.
Adherent to the same religion,

Breathing through mine eyes,
Exhaling carbon words,
That with time and pressure become
Poems, verbal musical notes upon life.

Each motion, from tiny to grand,
A capsule of expression,
That if examined under microscope,
Familial DNA, interconnected tissue,
Discovered, tho logic says,  
Time and distance render impossible.

But this is a diamond
This is a writ to be slipped
Upon the finger, the heart, the essence,
Of the only Banyan tree I have hugged.

This poem but a fig,
In the cracks of kindness,
The crevices of caring,
It has slow germinated.

You dear, Sally,
My host,
A building upon I can lean,
When wearied spirits uproot
My surficial composure.

Your seeds carried from east to west,
By a fig wasp, a bird unknown,
An ocean voyager, of indisputable vision, strength.

This seeded messenger, word carrier,
Supplanted in me, and your pupils,
Whose very names breathe poems,
in others too, like me and Atu,
Seeds to become new roots, but you,
Our Host official and forever
Planter of trees of loving kindness.

You already know with love and affection,
I call you Grandma Sally,
And when you ask, beseech,
I cannot refuse.

Together we will will banish the sad,
Acknowledge we, that life's ocean,
A mixture of many, even sad, a necessity.

But I promise that will turn it into
Something simple, something good.
For you have asked and I answer you
Right here right now - your wish,
My objective, deep rooted like you,
Like an old banyan tree,
Your roots spread far, spread wide.

So some eve, when to the beach, to the sky
You glance, smile, no matter what, troubles dispersed,
For the reflection of you, seeds, full fledged trees now,
Bending skywards, in search of your rays of expression,
Your maternal wisdom rooted, spread so wide, globally,
All over this Earth, is visible from your
Beloved Philippines.

In her own words..

I am a widow,
with five remarkable granddaughters....
all beautiful, intelligent girls.
It is such a waste not to write....
each morning that unfolds is filled
with things to write about....
the people, the birds,
the trees, the wind,
the seas,
everything we set our eyes on,
they are all
poetry in motion.
Life itself is poetry,
I always have pen and paper within reach.
My past experiences are a
never-ending source
of ideas and words for my poems....
I shall write until time permits me,
"til there's breath within me."
A banyan (also banian) is a fig that starts its life as an epiphyte (a plant growing on another plant) when its seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices on a host tree (or on structures like buildings and bridges). "Banyan" often refers specifically to the Indian banyan or Ficus benghalensis, the national tree of India,[1] though the term has been generalized to include all figs that share a characteristic life cycle...
Like other fig species (which includes the common edible fig Ficus carica), banyans have unique fruit structures and are dependent on fig wasps for reproduction. The seeds of banyans are dispersed by fruit-eating birds. The seeds germinate and send down roots towards the ground.

The leaves of the banyan tree are large, leathery, glossy green and elliptical in shape. Like most fig-trees, the leaf bud is covered by two large scales. As the leaf develops the scales fall. Young leaves have an attractive reddish tinge.[6]

Older banyan trees are characterized by their aerial prop roots that grow into thick woody trunks which, with age, can become indistinguishable from the main trunk. The original support tree can sometimes die, so that the banyan becomes a "columnar tree" with a hollow central core. Old trees can spread out laterally using these prop roots to cover a wide area.
Nat Lipstadt Mar 2018
~for Leonard Cohe, Glen Campbell and me, a single trilogy~

1:32am come down these words in a medusa message,
“about hymn, my priest Leonard (hymn/him)”
and instant recognition-recollection face slap,
this is poem that
I have written
I will have to write
I have already started and left incompleted.
about hymn/him/Leonard, but
the medusa threads need knitting knotting now,
tying up, now not later, waiter,
when the spirit’s in the throat,
or gotta ya by the throat,
no difference

It’s just turning Thursday (had to check)
and just this past maddening Monday,
was in a NYC dive (performance space) on West 46th,
all the way over tween 8th ‘n 9th,
on the tzitzit fringes,
of the Theater District,
where the small clubs all sit cheeky to jowl,
where they squeeze ya in, sitting *** cheek to cheek,
and wheeee,
knee to knee,
at a table big enough for two drinks and a check,
a stage so small it’s an in invitation to off fall,
to hear an entertainer sing an eclectic selection of songs
sure enough LC, hymn/him, quiet slips in, with a
“natty where ya been?” hint hint,
a burning violin  

as if I needed a hint hint from hymn/him,
“hey, hey, by the way, your house’s on fire” reminder
someone wants a trilogy plus one

“Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin,
dance me through the panic till I'm gathered safely in”


of course,
the Hallelujah served up first, this course arrives with drinks and the salsa chips, just in case, I wasn’t fully aware of hymn/him
stalking me, something that happens after midnight regular like,
asking for atonement, and leaving tidbits of unpushed hymns,
now that the sown snow clears  
and the gates of heaven are open for admitting admonition and
up&down come verses on a borrowed Jacob ladder,
steps of ephemeral downy soft violin phrases

ok now I can begin,
as this stage is set with a drum+ cymbal flourish ta da!

na, chill, kids,
almost done, you can’t handle all that needs saying,
but this one needs some fixing, finishing touché touches

should you see a man on the subway,
embellished bya yellow star and carrying a burning violin,
asking strangers if they can spare a dime of inspiration,
so he can worn his way into heaven,
don’t be afraid, for it’s now a duet,
*** with Glen, singing,

”don't be concerned it will not harm you
It's only me pursuing something I'm not sure of
across my dreams with nets of wonder”

yeah.  burning violin.  fiddler on the subway.  after midnight. pursuing something.  through the panic.
touching a burning bush but the fingers unsinged. unhinged. gotta be a poem in there somewhere. and perchance, a ladder to s
some sleep.
see, the end.  

2:31am nyc march 8th
yeah, yeah, true story, as most of them are...
Nat Lipstadt Feb 2016

Executive Mansion,
Washington, December 23, 1862.

Dear *****

It is with deep grief that I learn of the death of your kind and brave Father; and, especially, that it is affecting your young heart beyond what is common in such cases. In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once. The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer, and holier sort than you have known before.

Please present my kind regards to your afflicted mother.

Your sincere friend

A Common Bond of Grief

Harold Holzer

Feb. 12, 2016 4:24 p.m. ET
“We can not escape history,” Abraham Lincoln warned in his annual message to Congress on Dec. 1, 1862. Just four days later, as if to prove Lincoln’s point, an obscure Union cavalry commander lost his life battling a nighttime ambush deep behind Confederate lines at Coffeeville, Miss. The remote dust-up at which Lt. Col. William McCullough died heroically earned scant notice in Washington—except from the president himself.

Years before, as a circuit-riding lawyer, Lincoln had come to know McCullough and his family when the Bloomington, Ill., resident served as sheriff, and then as clerk of the county court. The two men had much in common. Both had served in their state militia during the Black Hawk War. Each married a woman named Mary. Both became Republicans. And each lost young children to disease.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Lincoln had allowed his old friend to volunteer, though, at 50, the white-haired McCullough was ancient by military standards, lacked vision in one eye, and had lost his right arm to a thresher. Now Lincoln learned that, outnumbered at Coffeeville, McCullough had clenched the reins of his horse between his teeth and galloped along his lines, saber raised in his remaining hand, rallying his men to fight.

No doubt already remorseful, Lincoln became especially concerned when mutual friends reported that the hero’s 22-year-old daughter Mary Frances—known as “*****”—was grieving with alarming intensity. The “afflicted” young woman had shut herself off in her room, refusing to eat, “pacing the floor in violent grief, or sitting in lethargic silence.” Her family feared “for her consequences.”

Lincoln was no stranger to the fragile tipping point between grief and insanity. The loss of his beloved 11-year-old son Willie earlier in 1862 still haunted his dreams. His wife’s hysterical mourning had triggered a breakdown. Earlier in his life, Lincoln had grown so despondent over the death of his New Salem, Ill., sweetheart Ann Rutledge that neighbors ordered him “locked up” to “prevent derangement or suicide.”

Informed in mid-December of ***** McCullough’s “broken hearted” state, Lincoln intervened with one of the mere handful of personal condolence letters he wrote to honor war heroes and assuage their survivors. That he penned it just days after a morale-crushing Union defeat at Fredericksburg, and only days before he had to decide, amid intense pressure, whether to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, makes Lincoln’s achingly tender composition especially remarkable. The “McCullough Letter” deserves its reputation as one of the greatest condolence letters ever written, even if it remains little-known—a tour de force in a genre that arguably required more literary dexterity and delicate persuasiveness than even a great orator’s most demanding public speech.

“In this sad world of ours,” Lincoln counseled, “sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it.” Here, with rare candor, Lincoln was reopening a painful old wound of his own: the loss of his beloved mother, who had suffered a horrible death before his eyes when Abe was only 9. Promising “some alleviation of your present distress,” Lincoln knowingly walks ***** through a multistep recovery program, from overwhelming sorrow to the “perfect relief” that would come only with time. “You are sure to be happy again,” he promised her. “The memory of your dear Father, instead of an agony, will yet be a sad sweet feeling in your heart, of a purer, and holier sort than you have known before.”

The original one-page, 166-word letter took a long journey to full public disclosure. In the 1950s, the reprinted text appeared in “The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln,” but the original remained in McCullough family hands. Music executive Carl Haverlin acquired it in the ’60s for a then-record $60,000. Fortunately, it was ultimately acquired in 1997 (for $400,000) by public-spirited manuscript collector Benjamin Shapell. While the treasure now resides in the private Shapell Manuscript Foundation archive, its owner has generously made it available for public exhibition (most recently at the Library of Congress and the Morgan Library). Best of all, the scanned manuscript also lives online (, where it can be rewardingly inspected in vivid close-up. Neatly penned in Lincoln’s legible hand on blue-lined Executive Mansion letterhead, still creased where it was folded twice to fit into a White House envelope, it appears nearly as crisp today as the moment ***** McCullough first opened it.

Lincoln signed his condolence message to *****, “your sincere friend,” and to many of the loyal thousands who lost fathers, brothers and sons fighting for the Union, the consoler-in-chief must have seemed so. But where ***** McCullough was concerned, one senses a closer, more unique connection: the bond between two soul mates who mourned inconsolably, suffered deeply, and needed desperately to recover in order to live—and, in Lincoln’s case, to lead.

In time, the once-irreconcilable ***** re-entered the world as well. Surely inspired by Lincoln, she recovered enough to overcome yet another staggering loss: A young soldier she fancied died in action, too. Eventually she married his brother and long endured. ***** kept the president’s condolence letter in her possession until the day she died, at the age of four score years.
Nat Lipstadt Feb 2015
this is a very important poem to me,
about me, and how Obama slurred my people. and never apologized


there are mornings when I wake up
in my nativity,
in my born/bred,
these struggling to be happy,
United States,
strangely hebrew-speaking,
Jamaican coffee
tallying up
what I am,
who I am,
commanded to be,
on this Earth

the labels that the
outward-looking apply,
the tags,
that you have caused
yourself to be defined,
been staked
to your claim,
in infamy and in fame,
that you have
by action and indeed,

have allow
to be presented
as entries on your
global entry passport,
with visas from the
lows and highs,
places where
your have sinned and saved,
all the acts accumulated,
and those,
in pain,
you have been a witness to

word titles that
tinge and suffuse,
summation of my presentation,
sampler of words
father, poet,
a for-real
community organizer,
and of course,
bien sûr,

the quality of all these life's papers,
which I grade myself,
the harshest marker
of all

once a young man,
safely away in college,
under the fresh-air freedom of the
university's in loco parentis,
in the early years
spent quantifying oneself

nearly fifty years ago,
now he,
revealed and recalled
his college typed-letter,
lately uncovered amidst his,
recently passed mother's papers

"Don't know what kind of
I will be, but be assured,
that I will be a
all my life"

so here I am doing my post-sabbath,
top of the week,
right it down,
qualifying myself,
coffee enraged engaged,
a new Sunday tally

taking all my terms,
what was prior, first,
is no longer

decades decay,
events sway,
simple words change me, stain me

nearing on five decades later,
when this
son of speakers,
son of humanists and 
son of
son of proud
rewrites his list

today I write/substitute,
a new order,
a tag gladly taken,
a marker given,
some what in pride,
some in shame too,
first and foremost,
à la manière d'Lincoln
I am
of, by and for

"a bunch of folks in a deli"

proud member of them
that so identify,
for they are among those
that shall not perish from the Earth

bunch of folks in a deli,
I claim as
mine own,
as they would
have claimed me

no subtly professed,
a diminishment intended,
and now
an honorific taken,
Medal of Honor provoked and embraced,
proudly inscribed,
visible on my forehead,
in the black ink of mourning,
a Presidential Cain Citation,
a tattoo of letters,
not numbers,
now moves up to
head of the list,
I am
now and forever,
a member of that corps
(appreciate that double entendre)
I am
Je suis

*"a bunch of folks in a deli"
Just google that phrase

Obama’s slur
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2013
I do not lack for intimacy, real and touching.
Perhaps, so blessed, I reach out to those in need
To those semi-known, but never met, never realized.

Perhaps, so disfigured by experience,
Compelled, self-commanded, self-anointed,
I venture to parts and people unknown,
With all that I have, my only possession,
Words of comfort, which is my trademarked craft,
And my true purpose... Here on earth.

But when entreaties refused, misunderstood,
Rejected, I am stunned by the hurt, the rejection,
Which makes one tired in ways that

How allowed, who gave me permission
To increase my vulnerability to one more, only
Imagined, only Internet real...
This foolish tirade, in words, my stock and trade,
The only way to expiate my grief
For caring,

I Am that I Am

My instincts good, I will continue.
Disregard the brain, regard only the

To Be Who I Be.
August 2013
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
don't fall for their tales,
their trapping words
intended to capture all manner of
literary loving girls...
while they, these mopoets^ are perfectly content
to keep on looking
"for the perfect one..."
to write about,
the greatest love affair in all of

but only after getting first
a close dose of,
a teeming taste of<

He tells them that
after the first date,
he'll go home thinking:

"I could drink a case of you"*

but usually but a glass,
at most,
a bottle, a month,
a satisfactory suffice,
and it's onto the next write

that's why the FBI labelled him,
a dangerous serial poet,
his mot
to be trusted,
not, no,!

Ah men! Ah poets!
somebody should pass a law....

meanwhile it is nearing six she likes to say, she picked me out of a lineup, and
fingered me instantly(as-a-bad boy!)

^Mopoets = male only poets
Nat Lipstadt Nov 2013
July 2011

The arrogance of creation,
the need for accumulation,
tis a satisfaction that
new is a justification,
for anything
requiring us
to believe that:

I am worth this,
this is a thing
I deserve.  

This is mine,
I am more than human,
I am special.  

In Texas
the oilmen put their initials
upon the sides of a sleeve,
so when rolled up,
you'd still know that this man,
his name, these wells,
his landscaping tombstones,
are his labored gain
upon fruited plain.

All hail my work product,
its insights are worth money,
I know someone approves,    
cause my garage parking
ticket was validated.

We labor for sustenance,
labor for validity, in order
to collect, shed, replace,
accumulate ego,
glory or gain.

Some labor to survive.
This knowledge creates,
within a great sadness,
a hallowed, hollowed ache
that hurts, but does not
explain soully, this poem.  

Pins in a map, mark battle lines.  
Midnight tally, where are the
pins to be put at the
close of business this day?
Is this even the correct map?

I am so blessed in so many ways,
but compulsed by needs
I can't define,
to write this,

Part manifesto, part preamble,
part poem, part bill of rights.  
part green eggs and ham,
a scrambled product of
clotted plots, shower songs,  
salt and peppered by a
conscience that rambles on,
cause it
just don't speak the language of the day,
so moderne, it is called,

**shut up!
An oldie,  absent new insights...
Nat Lipstadt Jan 2015
weary of mothers and friends
losing their children,
before their time,
weary of failing
to achieve reconciliation
with whatever one nominates
the force that regulates,
fate, Name-Your-God,
deity of your choice,
nature, laws of physics,
the "whatever"
that controls, interferes,
that you think to believe
wills these event's occurrence

cessation of formalities,
one sided truce
signed and delivered,
unafraid to call this
what it is,
**** and damning fate,
for no god
could be so cruel...

If only there was a
Dislike button
for life and the poems
wrenched from death

at 5:00 am
this thought is my
sole inhabitant

once again,
nature's bosses distort,
another friend's grief
asks, cajoles me
to betray my/thy belief

banish it or me,
for we both cannot be
under the one roof,
of this limited mind,
where flailing
never good enough,
to express my
sorrowed rage
also see part one, so to speak
meet me
where the broad teary rivers
both empty and fill the oceans,
takers and givers,
swapping sorrowful fluids constant,
these loyal thieves,
from the sky, robbing a soul's moisture
selling what isn't hisn't
back to the soil

for this is the human condition,
the foaming eddys where
life becomes words becomes life,
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2013
As you may know, I continue to collaborate with other poets here, most frequently with Helen.  Below is a poem of hers that I have edited and reworked, her original notes to me are contained in the notes section below.  So if you like it, tell Helen. If you "choke" on it, tell the editor. That's why they pay us the big bucks! So, send me your scraps yearning to be free...

I am choking
on words.

chest clogged,
throat seized,
as I await to deplane,
when I will perforce,
speak these words,
but for now, held in a
prison garb of my own design.

organs can be donated,
the broken heart,
the shattered liver,
the kidney failing,
eyes for the blind,
lungs for the breathless.

the human psyche
is not replaceable.

I need a mind of titanium,
will gladly settle for either the
Tin-man's heart, or
Cowardly Lion's courage,
both, too much too hope for...

but they are not sold at the airport shops.

perhaps my unseen editor
will accompany me,
hand firmly on my writing elbow,
guiding, refining, selecting
les mot parfait...

How come?
How come everything
inside a body can be replaced
so artfully, artificially
except words inside a broken mind?

I cannot get these words out,
who can transplant a soul?
Limbs recoverable
an Arm, a Leg
Titanium, strength
a missing part replaced

Organs can be donated
The broken heart
The shattered liver
The kidney failing
Eyes for the blind
Lungs for the breathless
Every part of the human psyche
is replaceable

Except for the words
trying to exit
from a chest that is frozen
from a throat that is clogged
from section 38C Row B
where they sit, waiting to deplane

How come? How come everything
inside a body can be replaced
so artfully, artificially
except words inside broken minds?
Trapped like birds with broken wings?
Are all parts that are replaceable
externally, more important
then what's dying internally?
Not just inside our skin, but inside our soul?

I think about that a lot because I'm choked!
Helen   10 hours ago
Nat Lipstadt Feb 2015
a stumble, a tongue slip,
a body in bed facing away,
an unintended provocation
commences a collaboration

just another unrequited disaster,
marks me as a lowly private
in the disarmed ranks of
mutilated souls composing,
while decomposing,
sad love poems,
as if the world
needed another...

a turn away needs a turn to,
a cul-de-sac rejection
needs a turnabout,
a traffic circle pointless,
with one exit only,
road signed,
"exit to a  collaboration of provocation"

thanks and thanks

a day together normative,
now marked by a
stinger singed in the early morn.
a physical no thanks,
her passing lane left turn signal

me too passing into this,
a disgorged rejection that
is to become this realized collaboration.

*only I wrote it and you
did not
read it
just provoked its creation,
our sad collaboration
Point counterpoint; wrote

and immediately came the opposed in opposition instigated by a stray dog thought
Nat Lipstadt Apr 2014
Central Park transformed,
a natural stadium
of tourists, strollers,
drunk on:

spring beer Buds,
buds of forsythia

maps upside down,
smiles right-side up

they don't even notice,
'walk on by,'

the white shirted, black suited  
unicorn playing the accordion

or the

imitating Charlie Chaplin,
playing both her instrument and
her hula hoop,

ah Central Park,
your air is like
a first cup of spring,
a first morning coffee,
a fresh breath of
a special new,
if you know
how to
just be,
in NYC
Just another true tale of life in Manhattan...come walk with us...
Nat Lipstadt May 2014
for V,
who commissioned me,
Dared Me,
sometime ago
to write a ***** poem

You know V?

The one poet who wrote:

         The anxious tide within my head
           was put there by the moon,
           the ocean too, its waves of blue,
           respond to what she says

          The moon is alive and effeminate,
            pulls on us, pushes on us,
            at least on us who call her mother,
            and though she shines her sweet shine
            her soul is as cold and indifferent as
            the belly of a black hole,
            and we will war with her influence
            all the days of our life.

well compared to that,
writing something shat
should be

well I'm sorta sure
something can be
found easy enough
to fill the bill,
such a command
inherent demands
careful consideration,
a ***** poem,
not easy to come by,
every fiber resistant,
but you judge,
as you always do

Option #1

What makes a good poem?

what makes me so
succumbed to my own surety,
my bold audacity to dare judge
is simple rooted:

slapped and gasped,
verbal issuance of ooh's and aah's
from eyes, my utter everything,
teared and torn, cleansed and aroused,
into a poetry world,
this my one my house of worship,
my real religion

when I read good works,
like those of the moon's misbegotten,
Mr. V,

then I am grounded,
kneed in the groin of the head,
and I thank god really,
for gifting me the body
prepared and ready
to say I love those
who love words
with ready ease
and let this be my
simplest, cleanest, beloved
tribute poem ever I writ,
my claim to a
PhD in poetry criticism

Option #2

I am mad
cause I am sad
my roller coaster ride brain
is all ****** up

don't  know why I am sad.
it might be better
by sharing how I am feeling

in between
texting my friends
and ***** yes!
gonna post those texts
as my next terrific poem
call it
and gonna give it
to my
English Teqcher
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2016
quite recently, I received an extraordinary complimentary message to one of my poems, from a comrade in arms, dare I call him friend, that cored, scored me.  I post it below.  Not from braggadocio, or vanity, venal poetry sins.  But, it could not stand orphaned,
unrequited and unreciprocated,
for that would be a sin of even greater magnitude,



this poem begins unique,
am struggling with a problem previously
unknown, never before even
close encountered

how do I commence?

poet wonders repeatedly,
a tune on the not-so-natty brain,
set on the machine's "repeat"setting,
this problematical for de minimus - 25 hour day,
this scribbler, this constant nibbler
on the Graham crackers life bestows,
befuddled muddled

this is never an issue,
it's the windup, the shutdown,
knowing when enough is enough,
that is the sorest point of his
elongated, can't shut up skill set

it cannot stand, it cannot just hang,
it needs a rabbinical wise,
responsible responsum,
a simple
thank you
holy, holy, holy

these words, an almost wet smackdown,
catch me exposed, crossing Sixth Avenue,
against oncoming traffic (naturally),
while on cell phone bad boy,
doing his three R's,#
reading, writing & errrrr, deleting,
(yeah, yeah, I know, I know)
amidst my multiplicity of incoming artillery shells of
automobiles and messages,
this one,
seizing me up, me like a screeching,
near dying engine, broke from being oil-less,
nearly dropping my two large
20 oz. McDonald's coffees which easy
could flood this four lane

you want to write like this,
are you mad, man?

all I ever es-say is what I see,
throwing in a rhyme or two,
a pinch of a fancy word to impress the
hoi polloi, and plenty salty sweet
to provocate a sensory ah ha

sir, why write like me,
when you pen this?

"yet all of this could
just as easily be,
the sum of two,
grateful hearts in equal parts,
the beat of two in rhythm thrum,
march in time upon one drum"

which pretty much says
what needs saying
all in one perfect stanza humming

but this note, is so far,
way deficient,
a mockery of what the situation requires and is deserving,
so multiple lovely muses redirect me
back to my email,
where I find this waiting,
in repose, this prose,

A compliment is a complement—
this I know, just as the clock
will always strike midnight
and history repeats. This is how
I can wake up the next morning
and love the world again.

blossoming notion, this is but a complement,
where the line dotted allows free passage
from reader to poet, from poet to poet,
permitting the peaking reciprocity of completion,
and this complement
I accept, unashamedly, profoundly
for this is my 1/1,
for to make a whole, we still require
numerator, denominator,
of equal value

on this basis,
and this basis alone,
I accept your words

when prowling scowling late at night,
or early sun rising, old bones enthroned
in my Adirondack dis-comforter,
will come a-sneaking, a-peaking,
nobody-around-real quiet like,
for another look-see at this kookery,
in my solitary poet's by-the-bay nookery,

the thought comes,
maybe it's time to lay that pen down,
the Israelites have crossed that Red Sea,
dry and on their way to a land of promises,
when sure enough my coffee mug
spills onto an ant hill hard by the beach,
and oops, soiling the soil,
the Lesser Antillean inhabitants making an unholy ruckus,
and oops, ther goes another rubber plant, high hopes, poem aborning,^^^

but sir, be advised,
your excess foolishness is warming,
but we cannot without each other,
march to one drum,
our steps surely mismatched,
it is the reciprocity of
complementary numerical worthies that unites the fractions of us
into a singletary winter pea,
a whole of us,
in order to
"let us love the world again"
yes, a true 'story'
#reading, writing and 'rithmetic
"some time back
this notion became clear to me.
have wanted to say it since;
this, your words, the perfect segue.

i have come to love
the style of your writing,
so much so as to adopt it,
as my own, though perhaps
in my own tone, voice, and
life experience.

much of how i write today,
I attribute to your influence...
no kidding, no hyperbole,
no gush, no mush, just truth.

whomever taught or influenced you
is to be admired most,
for in the style
i see most encapsulated by yours
is a conveyance that goes
well beyond words,
well beyond mere ideas...
it incorporates heart and emotion,
and more so,
the heart behind the heart,
in a way rather uncommon
to most poetry."^

S. Reimer
^^ "On Being Told I Look Like FLOTUS, New Year’s Eve Party 2014"
by January Gill O’Neil


Nat Lipstadt Mar 2014
Everything in quotations marks and italics was written by TS Eliot.

eyes knowing glossy men,
sheer women, creatures,
not all artists, but artists,
always thus,
centrifugal, simple

from their core,
emanate, resonate,
expand the exterior
with interior precision sculpting

to the interior delve,
via brush or limb,
pen or music,
the exposition, the exploration,
the reconstruction of composing
one's self, creation and destruction
of your own myths

movement of arms and legs,
sparseness of simplicity
subsidiaries of centricity,
tributaries of complexity,
oriented to their locality

the simple purpose of inhalation,
to exhale, after transformation,
the calculus of thought into emotion:

"the tongues of flame are in-folded
into the crowned knot of fire and
the fire and rose are one"

the dancers hear the music:

"so deeply that it is not heard at all,
but you are the music
while the music lasts."

**”Quick now, here, now always –
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well"
"Immature poets borrow, mature poets steal." T.S. Eliot (1888 - 1965)

Inspired this evening by the Martha Graham Company, the words and wisdom of TS Eliot, from whom she took inspiration in her choreography of modern dance
Nat Lipstadt Aug 2013
August 20th, 2011

Pink and white hothouse lilies
parfume the atmosphere
of our summer retreat,
the shelter upon our island redoubt.

Their scent, a scentry,
posted to guard against
the oranges and reds,
the piano notes of fall,
the ivory whites of winter,
the iconic colors of the
seasons of responsibilities.

Lock the doors.

Preserves of
oranges, peach and lemon,
summer fruits,
preserve my calm!

Mingle well
with the other summer's fruited sweets,
cherries, black berries, caramel,
all, ally thyself with salt air
and do thy fragrant work!

Ferry away, banish,
the wardens of the
workweek jail, like only
summer garden colors
and sun-rays can.    

Still yourself,
be calmed, becalmed,
there is no breeze,
tis but mid-August
and the grill still awaits
your further command.

Long days and humid nights
bid you drink red rosés,
and summer lemoncellos,
chilled to accompany
the sweet summer corn
covered in salty butter.
drink the jus of the
summer sea's bounty,
saltwater berries, seasonal delights.

But you know better.

Stepping outside,
you are tree felled,
senses red alerted
by hints, whiffs
of the odor of change,
a piano refrain.

Acorns in August?

Can't be, won't allow it,
that slight chill, dispatch it,
won't let go yet of
sun tanned lotion notions,  
and legalized
summer laziness.  

Beneath my flip~flops,
acorn shells irritatingly crunch,
uninvited guests,
they are the peas I feel
under the mattress and bed,
contaminating my head,
while I lay  cloaked beneath,
my summer weight comforter.

Too late.

Back to school flyers
litter the driveway and infest
the Sunday papers.
I am defeated,
my senses tingle,
at the sight of these
changeover secretions.  

Sap of the maples is acoming,
the Paul Revere warning
of Redcoated leaves soon to
invade my bay's sandy shores.

Come my friends,
be courageous
and of good faith.

One more time, unto the breach!
One more time, unto the beach!

Tho our armor of golden tan
will of necessity rust red by cold bitters,
the summer of our poetry,
recorded, will forever live.

Even tho summer's demise
draws near, its death most glorious and not in vain,
when we lay spent and slain
after our approaching defeat,
apres the Battle of
Labor Day,
We still have our body,
Our poems, summer crafted,
The cello and the piano
Reminding those few left to listen.
mid august suicidal
August 12, 2017

to the facts:
suicidal thoughts come as regular as a
teenager pimple

weekends summer sun burns the skin,
the inner gloom,
so that I just make from the
Monday to Friday bookends
of grey cloud doom, barely opened eyes

the acorns peas under the bed's mattress,
my summer-brain pod irritants
freshly arrived, fully ensconced,
antibiotic resistant sob's,  
the colored newsprint of hateful
back to school flyers still haunt and clog
the sinking sunking sinking
waste disposal

the newest indignity,
the emails proclaiming
end-of-summer better hurry
drink up those three cases of pink rose wine
down in the chilling basement

not a bad idea in *** actuality

nothing kills like suicide and
nothing kills suicidal thoughts
like a three week drunk
starting now

the truth burden just got harder;
Adagio for Strings, Opus 11,
whispers stay the hand

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