A Poem – “Writing Poems”

For several years I wrote only plays. Then I dabbled in screenplays. Two mini-memoirs have been completed. Then I started looking for a new area to explore. And I found it. I’m thoroughly enjoying my online short story writing course. It’s been a challenge; one that I enjoy to no end.

But, towards the end of the course the school snuck in a module about poetry. I didn’t sign up for that. I have no talent for writing it. I don’t even like to read it unless it rhymes.

Still, I wanted to try my hand at writing one poem and that’ll be the end. I can say I’ve done it. So, here it is.

“Writing Poems”

Take your time

Don’t force a rhyme.

Just write your poem

Then, then, uh, then, um

Writing poems could be

Called a curse.

Writing poems

Is the worse.

Oh my shit

I forced a rhyme.

Kiss my ass

It ain’t a crime.

I shoulda used worst

But then I needed cursed

Kiss my ass

This poem’s my first.

Now my scheme’s a mess

And I must confess

I hate writing poems

Cuz, cuz, uh, cuz, um

Too much time I’ve spent

This is the ent.

Just a Minute, Please – Notification

Only five more episodes of Just a Minute, Please. Well, only five more that I will record and post here. The reason? Nobody listens to them. I’ve recorded 95 episodes and have less than 600 listens on Castbox. That’s less than six per episode. Many have zero listens.

My two most popular episodes were the ones where I said I was thinking about having a dog and then when I decided not to do so. Since, I have no episodes planned about pets, my listenership will stay close to nothing.

I’m not complaining, because as I mentioned in episode 1, I create for me. I began recording the episodes at the request of a student. I haven’t run out of ideas, just out a desire to share when (essentially) nobody cares.

I’ll continue to post short stories as I write them, short films as I make them and plays as I produce them. This means that posting going forward will happen infrequently.

“Getting Back in the Game” – A Short Play

CAST

RICHIE: 61, but young looking and a few pounds overweight. He’s retired.

RENEE: 60, attractive, fit and also retired.

Place

Richie’s apartment

Time

2015

1.

(Lights up on living room. There’s a sofa, an arm chair, a couple of end tables, shelving with a few books and a CD player. Two big floor pillows. There’s a 1970’s era tapestry hanging on a wall.)

RICHIE plays some popular music from the 60’s or 70’s. He checks his hair in the face of his cell phone [anything but a mirror].  He plumps the floor pillows, lights some incense and other last minute touch ups.  

There is a knock on the door. RICHIE primps one last time, walks to the door and opens it.)

RICHIE

Hey.

(Richie walks to the sofa and sits.)

RENEE

Really?

RICHIE

What?

RENEE

You don’t know?

(Richie walks to the door.)

RICHIE

(waving his arm)  Have a seat. Come on.

(Renee enters and stands at the door. Richie walks back to the sofa a sits.)

RENEE

I’m wearing a coat.

RICHIE

Yeah, looks great on you. Is it new?

2.

RENEE

Dick.

RICHIE

I’m Richie now. Sounds younger, don’t you think?

RENEE

Oh, brother. Well, okay, Ri-chie, get over here and take my coat.

RICHIE

For her I would, but for you…it’s not like we don’t know each other.

RENEE

You’re wasting my time. Bye…Dick.

(Renee walks out the door.)

RICHIE

Come on, Renee, you’re not serious.

(Renee closes the door.)

You are. (Loudly) Ok, ok, knock again. I’ll do the coat thing. (5 second wait) So, knock already.

(No knock. Richie hurries to the door and opens it.)

(talking down the hall)  Renee. Stop. Come back. Please.

RENEE

Last chance, buster. Let’s start over.

RICHIE

Ah, you do still love me.

RENEE

Still the jokester.

RICHIE

My best characteristic. So nice to see you, Renee. You look lovely. May I take

your coat?

RENEE

Yes.

(Richie tosses it on a chair. Renee sighs.)

3.

RICHIE

Wanna drink? Beer? Shot of tequila?

RENEE

Wine?

RICHIE

Uh…

RENEE

Women like wine.

RICHIE

I don’t think this one does. She’s a little on the wild side.

RENEE

I’ll take a beer and then you can tell me about her.

(Richie takes a beer from a cooler on the floor next to the sofa and hands it to Renee.)

RENEE

A cooler?

RICHIE

Saves walking to the kitchen.

RENEE

Yeah, those ten feet could be fatal. And the can, classy.

RICHIE

Won’t break if dropped.

RENEE

You plan on getting that wasted?

RICHIE

No, of course not. But in the throes of passion, a flailing arm might…never

mind.

RENEE

Why did you call me? I mean, you could have called a boatload of women. Why me?

4.

RICHIE

From what I’ve seen you’re pretty active in the dating arena.

RENEE

And you know that how?

RICHIE

Facebook.

RENEE

I unfriended you years ago.

RICHIE

Yeah, I know.

RENEE

So, you don’t know what I’ve been up to.

RICHIE

Not exactly true. I’m still friends with your sister and she gave me her password.

RENEE

I’ll kill the witch.

RICHIE

You should be honored that I chose you. I respect your expertise in all things love.

RENEE

So, tell me more about this lady who’ll launch you into the throes of passion.

RICHIE

It’s not important. This is supposed to be a practice date so I can sharpen my skills.

RENEE

I need to know so I can decide if you’re making the right decisions. I need to be her, Dick.

RICHIE

That’s my job. I know, bad joke. Listen, Renee, I called you because I want, need your help. In the ten years we’ve been divorced, I haven’t been on a single date. I might be a tad rusty and getting back in the game is scary, frankly. Damn scary. So, help me with technique, what to say and all that, but who I’m dating is my business. I don’t ask about your personal life.

5.

RENEE

You don’t ask about anything. The last time you called me was seven years ago. And that was to get my sister’s number so you could date her.

RICHIE

Explore the possibility only. I didn’t follow through.

RENEE

Only because the boyfriend you didn’t know she had, threatened to kick your ass.

RICHIE

(throwing a couple of air punches) So not true. Anyway, maybe I didn’t call because I respected your privacy.

RENEE

I could’ve moved to Jamaica for all you knew.

RICHIE

No way. You hate the beach.

RENEE

Whatever, but the way I see it, you need me more than I need you, In fact, I’ve shown that I don’t need you at all. So, if you want my advice we play by my rules.

Capiche?

RICHIE

Damn you. Ok.

RENEE

Wow, she must be something for you to give in so quickly. What is she, young or loaded?

RICHIE

Not rich.

RENEE

How young?

RICHIE

Young-ish.

RENEE

Forty?

6.

RICHIE

Someday.

RENEE

Thirty?

RICHIE

Age is just a number.

RENEE

Under thirty? Do you have a death wish?

RICHIE

What?

RENEE

Let’s see. Two heart attacks, a double bypass and a pacemaker. And that was before we divorced.

RICHIE

I’m aware of that, but I figure it means I’ve had a complete overhaul, and since I’ve been stress free and dateless for ten years, I’m still as good as new. (beat)  Gonna help me or not?

RENEE

God knows you need it.

RICHIE

Coolio. Where should we start?

RENEE

How about your attire?

RICHIE

Groovy, right? A real American outfit. I’m trying to show her some of our culture. She hasn’t been here very long.

RENEE

Tie-dyed t-shirt, flares; along with the tapestry and incense, all you’re missing is the Grateful Dead music.

RICHIE

It’s the next CD.

7.

RENEE

What, no 8-track?

RICHIE

Well, actually, it is the next 8-track.

RENEE

She won’t have a clue what you’re trying to do.

RICHIE

I’ll explain it. Besides, I don’t have a clue about today’s music or art. And you know the 70’s was the best decade of the 20th Century in so many ways.

RENEE

That it was. We reaped all the benefits of the sexual revolution and no AIDS to worry about.

RICHIE

Ah, to go back, if only for a while. Whatya say we get comfortable?

RENEE

That’s not why I’m here.

RICHIE

I meant sit down.

RENEE

Oh.

(Richie sits on a pillow on the floor. He motions for Renee to join him.)

Will you be able to get up?

RICHIE

I’ll have you know I can lift myself up without grabbing on to anything.

RENEE

That I would love to see.

(Richie tries to rise. Failing he tries again.)

RICHIE

Just a little out of practice. This time I’ll get it for sure.

(One more fail. Renee sits on a pillow.)

8.

RENEE

That’s  ok, gramps. I’ll help you up if you need it. (beat) This room makes me feel like 1974 all over again, except for my wrinkles, saggy boobs and arthritis.

RICHIE

Nonsense. You look great. You haven’t changed at all in ten years.

RENEE

That redeems you for throwing my coat on the chair. Remember the party we had the day we got back from winter break senior year?

RICHIE

Do I? Best impromptu party ever. Randy brought a bottle of Seagram’s 7 back with him; I had a quart of Smirnoff. And within twenty minutes of calling you and Amy, our apartment was bursting at the seams.

RENEE

Amy got so drunk she spent half the party topless.

RICHIE

Randy was so mad. Every time he tried to put her shirt on, she threatened to take off her pants.

RENEE

She was very proud of her boobs.

RICHIE

I’ll bet today they’re somewhere south of her bellybutton.  She had 5 kids, right?

RENEE

Six. And she never wore a bra.

RICHIE

Thankfully, you never had to worry about that. Did I tell you how great you look?

(Richie tries to put his arm around Renee, but she pushes him back.)

RENEE

I’m here to help you move forward, not rekindle the past.

RICHIE

You’re right. Sorry.

9.

(Richie takes another beer from the cooler.)

RENEE

Ahem.

(Richie gives one to Renee.)

RENEE

So, what did you cook? Chef Boyardee?

RICHIE

Something more Americana.

RENEE

Hot dogs?

RICHIE

I thought about them, but went with a real classic. TV dinners. Wanna guess dessert?

RENEE

Chocolate pudding?

RICHIE

Good guess, but I wanted to class it up a bit.

RENEE

Hmmm. Let me think a minute.  Ah, got it. Cheesecake.

RICHIE

(singing)  Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee. (speaking) Hope you’re hungry. I’ll go preheat the oven.

RENEE

Really, Dick, er, Richie, don’t go to any bother.

RICHIE

You don’t know what you’re missing. Ok, hang on.

(Richie exits and returns with a plate of Ritz crackers and Cheese Whiz.)

Appetizers. Nice touch, right?

RENEE

Do you really think this will impress your date? Does she have a name?

10.

RICHIE

Mai. M-A-I. It’s different, you have to admit that.

RENEE

Yes, Mai is not a common name.

RICHIE

I meant the food.

RENEE

True, but different isn’t always effective.

RICHIE

It’ll be fine. I’m sure of it.

RENEE

How do you know?

(Richie opens a small decorative box that sits on an end table and takes out a joint.)

You’re kidding.

RICHIE

It’s what snagged you.

RENEE

Did not.

RICHIE

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

RENEE

Ok, yes, I was a big pot head, but it’s not why you “snagged me.”

RICHIE

No? What was it, then?

RENEE

Let’s stay on topic. You said she hasn’t been here long. You mean in Milwaukee?

RICHIE

Uh, right, new to town.

RENEE

Where’s she from?

11.

RICHIE

Out east.

RENEE

New England?

RICHIE

A little further east than that.

RENEE

Oh, lord, don’t tell me. Thailand?

RICHIE

No way. Cambodia.

RENEE

So, you’re one of them, now? You’ve really reached rock bottom, Richie.

RICHIE

Have not. First of all, I didn’t move to or vacation in Cambodia with the

expressed reason of finding a young girlfriend or bride. Second, I may be old enough to do that, but not desperate enough. And third, I was looking for a volunteer opportunity, so I teach IT at the community center down the block. That’s where we met. Satisfied?

RENEE

Impressed, actually. You were always more hedonist than philanthropist.

RICHIE

People evolve.

RENEE

Sounds like it.

RICHIE

It’s a lot of fun. You should come with me. You could tutor high school kids in math.

RENEE

I’m really not in the market for a boyfriend, Richie, and I prefer them to be over eighteen.

RICHIE

How do you spend your time? (beat) If you don’t mind me asking.

RENEE

I keep busy. Relatively.

12.

RICHIE

Ooh, sounds exciting. I also deliver meals on wheels, and read to residents of St. Ann’s. Some of them can’t see so good to read or hear audio books.

RENEE

Ok, who are you and where’s the real Dick?

RICHIE

I know. I ask that myself every so often. I’ve totally morphed into a caregiver.  When I retired a few years ago, I had no plan. Just wanted to enjoy myself. I was never a big traveler, as you know, and I think golf and fishing are boring, so I was hanging out at bars. Problem was, the happy hours were starting earlier and my waistline was creeping perilously close to forty. I knew I wouldn’t see seventy unless changes were made. That’s when I began volunteering. And working out.

RENEE

You look like a thirty-four.

RICHIE

Thanks, but it’s thirty-six. Don’t want to get too thin. Gotta give the ladies a little something to hold on to.

RENEE

Well, you definitely have a little something.

RICHIE

Are you talking about—ok, time for you to leave.

RENEE

You don’t know what I was talking about.

(Richie jumps up, pulls Renee up, too, and pushes her towards the door.)

RENEE

What the hell are you doing, Dick?

RICHIE

Good-bye. Thanks for your advice. Have a good life.

RENEE

Are you—

13.

(Richie forces Renee out of the apartment and closes the door.

(from the hall)  –serious?

(Renee dials her cell phone. Richie’s phone rings.)

RICHIE

Hello?

RENEE

Open the door.

RICHIE

Apologize.

RENEE

For what?

RICHIE

For the shot you just gave me.

RENEE

That wasn’t a shot.

RICHIE

Definitely a shot.

RENEE

You want a shot? A real shot? I’ll give you a real shot.

RICHIE

You’re the queen of shots. No more shots. Just an apology.

RENEE

(Softly)  Oh, brother. The male ego. (normal voice) You were always more than

I could handle, you porn dude.

RICHIE

A little sincerity would be nice.

RENEE

Take it or leave it.

14.

RICHIE

I’ll take it.

RENEE

Then open the damn door.

(Richie opens the door and Renee enters.)

You are such a baby. You may be emotionally younger than that child you want to date.

RICHIE

I simply have a sensitive nature.

RENEE

Do you think she’ll be able to put up with your quirky, overly sensitive nature?

RICHIE

In time.

RENEE

You’re no spring chicken.

(Richie sits on the floor and lights a joint.)

RICHIE

Join me? (beat) One for old-time’s sake?

RENEE

Let’s stay on topic. Do you have any more questions about your prom date?

RICHIE

This is really good stuff (shit, if allowed).

RENEE

I know what you’re up to.

RICHIE

You do.

RENEE

Yes, I do. You know what used to happen every time I got high.

RICHIE

I remember very clearly. (tapping the pillow next to him) So, have a seat,

Rennie, and see if we can recreate some of that magic.

15.

RENEE

I’ll smoke, but no magic.

(Richie hands her the joint and she takes a hit. Then another. Richie uses the remote to find a 70’s song on the stereo. Something by “Yes.”

RICHIE

Better slow down. This ain’t 1975 weed.

RENEE

No lie. This is killer. Turkey.

RICHIE

What about it.

RENEE

Her TV dinner. With mashed potatoes, gravy and peas. And an apple turnover in the corner.

RICHIE

Bingo.

RENEE

And for Mister Meat-eater, Salisbury steak.

RICHIE

One hundred percent pure beef.

RENEE

And sawdust shavings. Do they even make Salisbury steak anymore?

RICHIE

I have no idea.

RENEE

That’s what I thought. I’ll bet there isn’t even a girl.

RICHIE

You think not?

RENEE

I not think. I mean, I think not.

16.

RICHIE

It’s possible.

(They each hit the joint again.)

RENEE

Do you want to know?

RICHIE

Know what?

RENEE

How you snagged me?

RICHIE

You want to tell me after all these years?

RENEE

Yup. Chicken.

RICHIE

Chicken.

RENEE

Burnt chicken.

RICHIE

Oh my god. Really?

RENEE

You were cooking me dinner, but the music, the wine, the timing…

RICHIE

Our first time.

RENEE

And even when you smelled the chicken burning, you didn’t stop. I had a feeling then that we had something special going.

RICHIE

Magic.

17.

(Renee moves to the pillow and sits close to Richie. Richie clicks off the stereo and plays a song on his phone. It’s “Do you Believe [in Magic]?” by The Lovin’ Spoonful.)

RENEE

There’s no girl.

(They sing the song. Lights down.)

THE END