Skip to content

McGraw & Telushkin – Nov.13

Carol McGraw and Dvorah Telushkin traded art and words. Carol shared this piece, “Ghosts in the Attic,” with Dvorah:

Carol McGraw, Ghosts in the Attic, 2012, acrylic and charcoal on paper, 30 x 22 inchesIn response, Dvorah wrote this poem:

Ghosts in the Attic

You call them
Ghosts in the Attic
As I sleep.

At
First
They were owls
Guarding my dreams.
And downstairs
My husband sits
Rocking
Into Oblivion.

It is not
He
They are trying to protect.
It is not for
He
They have hovered
Here
In our earthly realm
To pay dues
On old promises.

It is only
Me.
For me they linger
There.
For me they sent
Flourescent green
Tiny baby grasshoppers
That fall with a
Delicate Thud
On my laptop screen.

For me they linger.
The promise.
A promise
Made in
Our brief
Lifetime
As poets
And
Storytellers.
You promised
To edit
Every word.
To fend off
All my
Blatant
Mistakes.

And now
You wait
Behind
Your Yiddish typewriter.

Like an imp or
A hobgoblin
From your stories.

You have become an
Other- worldly Creature.
Unseen
But felt!
You push things off the bookshelves.
You inhabit
The wall.
You toss notes onto my carpet.
And while stumbling,
I am reminded of your love.

Benign
And eternal.
You sit with two co-horts.
Is it Roger and Dorotea?
Is that who you brought?
To be the literary
Team? To publish to edit?
You lured them
From the next world
To help me.

“What do I have but time?”
You ask.
You say, ‘What do you mean, up there?’
When I say you are sitting ‘up there.’
“Do you think I am an old man, that I need a stepladder?’
You have not lost your razor sharp wit.

Oh! My eternal ghosts.
You will not let me abandon my novel.
You said abandoning one’s characters
Is like throwing the kittens
Into the Hudson!

It must have been
You
Who
Whispered into my ear
To bring up
The novel
From the
Basement.

It was You
Who sent Martha
To inform me
How to begin
Again.

You will
Not rest
Until this
Novel glistens.
“Vee vill polish it until it vill shine!”
You used to say!

And when I
Awaken
From my sleep,
I see that there
Will be no choice.

We will
All Four
Become bewitched again by Destiny.
And we will
Continue
Together
On our
Cosmic literary
Journey.

* * * *

Dvorah shared this poem with Carol:

Irene

The Rabbis tell us
When a righteous person dies,
They stand under
A canopy of Diamonds and Rubies.

I can see you standing there
Waving to me
Like a young girl.

Happy. Carefree, like a spoiled adolescent.
Irene.
This must have been your soul
Before the camps.

Before the nipples were frozen from your breasts.
Before they buried you alive in Buchenwald.
In a pit of dead bodies.
Before your sister died in your arms.

This was your soul before New York
Impoverished you.
Before your husband bound himself up
In the sorrow of the war.
Weeping at night so you could not sleep.

This was your soul.

A joyful young girl.
Bursting with joie de vivre

This was your soul.

Before the loss of your second husband
Led to the degradation of poverty
Once again.
The degradation of your nobility of spirit
You had to babysit
For the livelihood.
You had to babysit and by doing
So,
You sanctified the lives of many children,
The lives of my children.

You became the crown grandmother.
The mother to the motherless.
You played the role.
You baked the cookies
The Hungarian Goulash.
Fried the meatballs and hamburgers with onions.

And now you returned.

At night, when I close my eyes,
I don’t see the dying woman,
Bold emaciated cheeks.
Yellow wax skin.

I don’t see the
Brave soldier who lay for six weeks.
Blessing every spoonful of water.

I don’t see that
Faded warrior.

I see you.
The young girl at the top of a faraway hill.
Jumping, bouncing, waving
Beneath an ethereal jeweled archway.
Standing under a
Canopy of
Diamonds and Rubies.

In response, Carol made this painting, “Afterlife”:

McGraw, Carol, The Afterlife 1

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s