I live with my extended family, son, daughter, and grandsons in La Mirada, CA.. My poems have been published in Pearl, Chiron Review, several Silver Birch Press's anthologies, and Your Daily Poem. I attend Donna Hilbert's poetry workshopin Long Beach, and I also participate in a weekly fiction writing workshop. My poetry book, Why I Miss New Jersey, and my coming-of-age novel, Chances Are:A Jersey Girl Comes of Age are available at Amazon.
Dance with the Dolly
I stand barefoot in my pj’s,
wet hair trickling
on my shoulders.
Dad is knotting his tie.
I smell his Old Spice.
When he picks me up,
his baritone voice belts out,
I’m going to dance with the dolly
with the hole in the stocking.
I giggle, “Swing me around
His huge arms hold me close
as we circle the kitchen,
then he carries me
to my top bunk bed.
Through my bedroom door,
I see him reach
for his brown fedora
as he closes the door
behind him off to
dance by the light of the moon.
-Jerkumstances, chapbook, by Pearl Editions, 2003
His Night Life
We should have saved the 8 x 10 glossy
of Dad posing with his friend Joe,
Sammy Davis Jr., Al Martino,
and Sophie Tucker at a night club
in Cuba just before the revolution.
The last time I saw the picture,
it was stapled to the wall
behind his tool bench in the basement.
It is one of the few times,
he’d posed without his fedora,
revealing his bald head.
With his big smile and warm handshake,
I imagine him sending a round of drinks
to their table, then asking
if they’d pose for the photograph.
Another time, at the Copa, he engaged
Bob Hope in conversation because
he noticed him trying to place
where he had known him,
and my dad jokingly bet Hope
his diamond watch
that he wouldn’t remember.
He had caddied for him in l939,
thirty years before.
In our family album, there are hardly
any shots of my father,
but I recall my favorite picture of him.
He’s standing with his friend, Puggie,
who’d just got back from the service.
They’re leaning against the bar,
holding their shot glasses high in the air.
He looks happy. His face illuminated
in the darkness of the cabaret.
-Jerkumstances, chapbook, by Pearl Editions, 2003.
My powerful father lay in a coma
I remembered when he said,
“I was never baptized.”
I thought then,
someday, when you’re an old man,
somehow, we’ll get you baptized.
I rushed home and called
my Bible prayer leader
“I can baptize my father,
can’t I ?”
I put some water in a small bottle,
and placed it in my purse.
At his bedside, I opened the vial,
wet my fingers, and made
The sign of the cross
on his bald head.
I said, “I baptize you
in the name of the Father,
Son and Holy Spirit.”
I was afraid he’d open his eyes
and say, “What the hell are you doing?”
Just to be certain the baptism took,
I did it a second time.
-Baptism, Chiron Review, 1996
Dad on my Mind
I view Scent of a Woman
at least a dozen times
I’m attracted to the movie
because Al Pacino’s
New York tough guy accent
and the timbre of his voice
remind me of my father.
The tough portrayal
is similar to Dad.
for no good reason,
at Chris O’Donnell,
calling him “Idiot,”
and I hear my father,
who was short on patience,
and quick to scream.
At the end of the movie,
when Pacino shows up
on the platform
to defend O’Donnell
using both profanity
I see my father.
I remember how
he stood up
to the crooks in the union,
fighting for the underdog.
-Dad on My Mind, Chiron Review, 2008
An Elegy for Dad
Rising while we were still asleep
you put your heavy boots on
and left to work the oil fields
fitting iron pipe,
while your hands froze
under the cold, New Jersey sky.
When we awoke we ate oatmeal,
put on our warm clothes,
and hurried to school.
Afterward, we played Hide‘n Seek,
Hopscotch, or rode around
on our shiny, Schwinn bikes.
Still you were not home from work.
On humid, summer weekends,
you dropped us off at the Arcola Pool
out in the suburbs, where we splashed,
swam and cooled off
under the spray of the huge fountain
while you returned to sweat,
over the never-ending repair
to our old house
often pouring yourself some Jim Beam
in your iced coffee to keep you going.
As you hammered and sawed
to improve our lives,
did you ever wonder if it was worth
Did our little gifts of Old Spice and ties
really show you
how much we cared?
-Why I Miss New Jersey, Everhart Press, 2013
©2016 Barbara Eknoian