Friday, December 24, 2010

Poem: Black Swan

Black Swan

(Inspired by and “written with” the aid of Natalie Portman’s brilliance)

I lost myself in you

Consumed by the purity

Purity held, lost, convinced of

Who are you

Who am I

The sheltering womb consumed

Fragile lies unreachable dreams

Devouring the mind, spirit and whole

I lost me in you

In me

In this

As I reach

And grasp

Hold for all to see what I’ve attained

But what is real

But what is me

What is this

And I die

Wrapped in the blood of

Perfection’s duplicity

Copyright SGW 2010

Note: Who/what devours Nina? Is it the controlling, slightly demented mother? Is it her own innocence at war with the hunger of her just out of her grasp/within reach dream? Is it something inside her too in opposition with itself to live after it is discovered?

Note: I wrote this with uncontrolled passion. It was completed instantly. I was left exhausted and needing to re-find myself upon completing this piece.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Poem: Festivus


Many have Christmas for holiday cheer
And Jews with Menorahs hold Hanukkah dear
The rest of us empty of our own special day
Until Frank Costanza, non-conformed, led the way
Festivus, Festivus, the day he devised
Four major pieces, you should be so advised
A Festivus Pole stands erect, unadorned
“Tinsel distracts me,” as Frank has since warned
Airing of Grievances would begin dinner plans
The disappointment in loved ones is heard by demands
“I’ve got a lot of problems with you people,” Frank’d angrily spit
And all ‘round the table, “Now you will hear about it!”
Then holiday supper does, of course, have its role
Feats of Strength are required for the night to be whole
If Festivus strikes you as especially clever
Make checks to “The Human Fund,” a “Money for People” endeavor

Copyright SGW 2009

Friday, December 17, 2010

Poem: Contemplation


Out in the whispers of wishful relent
Soothed by the seasons in offered consent
Seeds of forgiveness will open the heart
Fog falls to tinker with unconscious part
Keep at a distance until left all alone
No call to reason’d forever atone
Sit with me, linger and hold tight my hand
Love knows its limits as drops of the sand

Copyright SGW 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Poem: Whirl


Upon reflection
Thoughts run circles around me
And I am dizzy

Copyright SGW 2008

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Molly Venter: Love Me Like You Mean It

When listening to Molly Venter's "Love Me Like You Mean It," one is taken by the passion of a woman who is clearly "all in." Whether it is in loving, self-evaluation or simply life's dance, Molly Venter conveys her pursuit of life with unquenchable fire. Wear gloves when handling "Love Me Like You Mean It," because it is hot to the touch.

I came across Molly Venter in her new role as the third member of the Appalachia/Bluegrass trio Red Molly, who I have followed from their inception. Rather than discussing Ms. Venter's fit (perfect) within the trio, I will save those words for their hopefully next CD release.

Molly Venter's alluringly, sensual voice grips the listener immediately and never lets go. Have no fear; you will want nothing but to stick around.

Venter opens with "Shaky Ground," an introspective springboard to what is to come. Venter is clearly giving thought to who she is and might become. We can all relate, but few dig so deep and honestly as "I've been stepping on landmines and running straight into things. Now I am broken down, I am broken up, and there's no one to save me."

But maybe there is.

In "Happier Now," Ms. Venter's self-effacement - "My lips are thing/My legs are not so thin" - serves as a path to acceptance of self. I will save myself by being who I am ... and that is all right.

Molly Venter cuts straight to the heart often here. On "Love Me Like You Mean It" she is "not holding back" with her love and expects the same in return. This longing is further reflected in the impassioned desire of "Playing For Keeps." Venter always does.

And Ms. Venter is willing to laugh at her love tribulations, too. In "Tonight," she is tripping over herself, defensive and unsure. While she sings, "You like giving me hell just to see me react," one thing is guaranteed - react, she will. Could someone with such fire not do so?

In "Good Mother" and "Playing For Keeps," Venter puts forth need, fragility and longing. She is a mixture of strengthened confidence and scarred and struggling traveler. As she says on "Real Anymore," "I am this body, but I'm not. I am a walking paradox."

Yes, Molly, perhaps you are. But when Molly Venter sings and speaks to us, we are grateful for each contradiction. "Love Me Like You Mean It" is something to be thankful for, too. A great collection of songs will take you down a path of emotional passion few artists can match.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Poem: Lakeside


Down near the water where the world slips away
Beside whispering cattails ‘neath the sunny-sky’d day
Ducks on the current gently swim in their row
Frog in the tall grass with his trumpeted blow
As I lie on the dock, feel a nature’s cool breeze
From within all my core I’m completely at ease
Deer on the meadow lightly nibble the green
Bear and her cubs walk along down the stream
Eyes drift to clouds that are puffy and soft
Hawk smoothly glides on the winds blown aloft
Hear the sweet water of the timeless, drawn lake
I will lie in this spot for as long as I’ll take

Copyright SGW 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

Poem: Tea


The voice of the teabagger is a voice often loud
With the signs of misspelling and the racism proud
Don’t know the issues that they’re too fool to learn
They will storm and unravel all that’s good by a turn
Strings pulled by wealthy; the big business elite
To “take back the guvmint” is the goal they would meet

For who needs tax fairness
Or Wall Street contained
And healthcare for all
Righteous goals since obtained
A mess of their making
Economic decay
Depression averted
Yet they ask a replay

An undercurrent of hatred cannot mask true intent
The far right wing mantra of a fearful relent
“Take back our country “ truly translates the pitch
Yet it’s not to what’s better, but rather white, Christian, rich
The worst of our nation with a small-minded vision
They feed on unknowing’s misinforming, revision
Of destructive contempt for any leaders who’d think
The teabagger movement wears Republican stink

Copyright SGW 2010

Friday, September 24, 2010

Testicular Cancer, PSA Exams, Prostate Biopses and other fun and games

So, I went into Sloan Kettering yesterday for my yearly post-testicular cancer check which involves a chest x-ray, blood work and testicle grab, and all is fine for another year there (11 1/2 years now). However, I have taken PSA's for a while and it was 1.3 in 2008, 1.56 in 2009 and 2.3 this month. I was concerned with the degree of increase, so I figured since I was seeing the best in the field anyway, why not have it checked?

My doctor sends in one of his underlings first. Needless to say, when I told him about the PSA's, I got the highly dreaded prostate exam. He said all seemed ok, but he called in the main doctor, Dr. Sheinfeld. Dr. Sheinfeld also gave me the prostate exam ( I felt like I had cheated on the first guy) and said everything felt normal. He said PSA's can rise for a million reasons and we could check the levels again in a few months or, while I was there anyway, I could get it biopsed and than not have the unknowns.

I agreed, so bring on Dr. Sandha, who performs prostate biopsies at MSK. I went into the room where the procedure is done and got ready. Step 1 was an ultrasound of my prostate by a technician, which is even more unpleasant than the prostate exam. That lasts about 5 minutes (Or what felt like a week to me!). Then Dr. Sandha comes in and injects me, yes in there, too, with Lidocaine to numb the area. There is a slight burn and pinch, but no big deal. After waiting about 5 to 10 minutes, still laying completely exposed as to hind quarters mind you, he comes back in and has a device that injects you and removes a sample of the prostate - about 15 times!!! Oh, and the sound and feeling is sort of like a stapler (though not that painful). I asked if he was stapling me shut!

Needless to say, far too many things were being jammed up my ass, especially since I am not a fan of having ANYTHING jammed up my ass!! I want a tattoo now, yes, on my ass, that says, "Exit Only."

After I peed, I was allowed to leave. I had to wear a pad, though, as there could be some bleeding. At this point, fortunately, there has been no blood in my urine, and only minimal, and expected, blood from the rear exit, which stopped by the next morning. I am on Cipro to avoid infections, which also will allow me to open any letters with anthrax.

The bummer is I have to wait a week to find out if I now have prostate cancer!! Didn't I fill my cancer quota already!? Hopefully, the PSA's went up for some unknown reason. Even a good biopsy, though, will likely have me getting PSA's more frequently to monitor it.

Nothing like the cancer specter hanging over your head for a week ... while you bleed out of your ass and wear women's liners.

Oh, and I should note that Dr. Sandha and his staff were fantastic. They were professional, thorough and minimized any pain. It also goes without saying that I trust Dr. Sheinfeld completely and have full faith in how he treats me as a patient.

Update: Today is Tuesday, September 28, 2010, and the doctors both called from MSK with the good news - no cancer. I will continue to monitor my PSA's, but am glad to hear the positive report.

Some interesting additional observations:
1. I do not know if it was the distraction of bleeding for a few days, the high cure rate for prostate cancer, a strong positive attitude now from years of hard experiences, or complete faith in great doctors, Sandha and Sheinfeld, but I was never panicked during this process. There was a relative calm that I would be ok no matter what and could deal with things. It is nice to know I have more inner strength than I had realized.

2. I want to re-iterate what fantastic doctors both Dr. Sheinfeld and Dr. Sandha are. I joked a lot about the biopsy above, and it was hardly a fun time, but Dr. Sandha did a remarkable job. It seems as though there are no complications for starters. Also, while aspects of the procedure were uncomfortable, it was not painful. The stapler stuff mentioned above was more a pressure combined with a creepy sound than anything else. No one should fear the procedure if done by a doctor as good as Dr. Sandha.

As for Dr. Sheinfeld, I can honestly say that I have 100% faith in the man. I trust his judgment, skill and knowledge, and I believe that was a major factor in my remaining calm throughout this process. I knew he would be taking care of me. Both Dr. Sheinfeld and Dr. Bosl, who I originally dealt with, are also great doctors because they talk to you like you are a human, in fact, like you are their friend. This goes a long way!! There are a lot of doctors, I am speaking to you William Kohlberg, who could learn quite a bit from the bedside manners of Drs. Sheinfeld and Bosl.

3. One of the things you cannot do have a prostate biopsy is have sex for two weeks. My thought on that was that it was nice to have an excuse for a change. :-)

4. I posted this entire story, as well as the other three cancer-related postings you can view down the right-hand column for a reason. I hope others read these stories and gain some solace, understanding, knowledge, and, also, appreciation for the necessity of taking care of yourself, seeing doctors when something is wrong and not pretending there is nothing wrong when something is. Here I have posted on this website about testicles, anal bleeding, prostate biopsies, and so forth, so throw the stigmas out the window, would you!? Talk openly about stuff, don't be afraid and get or be well.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Poem: Trek


Where the clothing of expectation illy fit
An outcast self-made
I can walk alone
And do

Seem as society’s freak
Dancing to the drumbeat of the land’s rhythms
I will risk all to find all
And do

This is me
This is us
I am home
I am free

In the freedom comes understanding
And home is not so far away
Or confining now

As death takes me
Vision clears to fulfillment and peace
I can close these eyes having lived
And do

Copyright SGW 2010

Footnote: Inspired by John Krakauer’s book “Into the Wild” and Chris McCandless’s journey to life. This author would note that the poem should not be misconstrued as a calling to anyone to put their life at risk in the way that McCandless did. There are better ways to grow, learn and experience. Careful consideration, caution and wise steps are recommended.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

George Wirth: The Last Good Kiss

I’ve just finished “reading” fourteen novellas in the last couple of hours. That would be – I have listened to George Wirth’s “The Last Good Kiss” from beginning to end for the first time. Surely, anyone who has fallen into a Wirth song knows that each one is a soft chair, reading light and cherished book containing stories that take the mind to distant and imagined sanctuaries.

Wirth’s second full-length album, following “The Lights of Brigantine,” is another instant classic. His music is like that heavenly piece of land that we wish we could share with a million others, yet we are equally happy to keep this warm place somewhat hidden and reserved for those who will truly appreciate what we have here.

“The Last Good Kiss” is a compilation of Wirth’s observations of life’s struggles, tales and loves. From his dark tome to Asbury Park, “Memorial Drive,” to his subtle love song hidden behind images of Jesus Christ walking on water, “Weight of Sin,” Wirth takes us down long and winding paths that lose time and place as we turn each wonderful page.

On this effort, Wirth has brought some talented friends along for the weaving of his webs. We are graced by the fiddle of Amanda Shires (“The Last Good Kiss” and “In Your Arms”), the dobros of Abbie Gardner (Make You My Home – backing vocals, too) and Jim McCarthy (“Dreamland”) , Gardner again on lap steel (“Power Lines”), and the elusive Janey Todd (writer and co-vocals on “Dreamland). What is most interesting about these contributions comes from the sense that what each artist has brought to the songs has always been there. Each accompaniment is reserved, harmonious and comfortable in its place, as if walking side by side perfectly with Wirth’s guitar and lyrics.

“The Last Good Kiss” is also graced with some of the best songwriter found this side of Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. Wirth’s aforementioned “Weight of Sin” and Todd’s “Dreamland” stand up to anything the two legends could pen. The aching “The Last Good Kiss,” the conflicted “Water on Water” and the photogenic “Easter” are other extraordinary examples of writing brilliance.

George Wirth is an artistic magician. With the help of some incredibly talented people, he has crafted an album that is required for anyone who wants to say they have the best music on their shelves. I would say more, but I am going to sit quietly and listen some more now.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Poem: Ghost


The ghost pulls at heart strings

Laughing its shivering laugh

Then, in escape, a scent lingers

Of a haunting possibility

The ghost chooses pain and abuse

The ghost would bask in his nothing

Nothing more than emptied soullessness

And I sit marveling at all she might be …

With me

Copyright SGW 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Poem: Creation


In completed lines
A poem is granted life
Of glorified form

Copyright SGW 2008

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

George Steinbrenner - A More Accurate Portrayal

George Steinbrenner died the other day. I would offer my condolences to his family if I knew them. I did not wish him the illnesses he apparently endured the last 5 to 7 years of his life and I did not wish him death.

As an owner, you would have to call his tenure a success from a winning point of view because how many owners can say they won 7 world championships? He could also be credited for his aggressive pursuit of free agents such as Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Goose Gossage. However, the 1977 and 1978 championships were also a product of Steinbrenner allowing Gabe Paul to do his job a bit more than GM's would be allowed later on. Paul brought in guys like Chris Chambliss, Willie Randolph and Ed Figueroa, and he refused to trade Ron Guidry.

The championships of the late 90's were, to a degree, a product of a more disengaged approach by Steinbrenner, the result of his only recently being reinstated by Fay Vincent from a suspension. That somewhat hands off approach allowed Gene Michael to build around Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, etc..., Who knows how many of them would have been traded away during Steinbrenner tantrums, which happened regularly during the 80's and early 90's, when Steinbrenner was most involved in the team, and the team was mostly an over-priced, under-achieving mess. It would be easy to say that had Steinbrenner not been suspended for his shenanigans with Howie Spira, the 4 titles from 1996 to 2000 might never have happened.

But someone could look at my comments on Steinbrenner and say, "Well, Scott, you hate the Yankees, so you are just jealous." Forgetting the fact, that MOST Yankees fans wanted Steinbrenner gone from the early eighties through the mid nineties, I will tell you why I am bothered by all this ridiculous aggrandizement of George Steinbrenner. As a boss he was an abuser and a bully. No, he was not a "tough boss." He tortured his employees and was cruel and, yes, an abuser. Read Bill Madden's "Steinbrenner," or today's NY Times piece by Dave Anderson, and you will see what I mean.

I worked for an abusive prick for a long time, and my health suffered tremendously. This hits close to home for me. I don't give a shit that Steinbrenner was mean to millionaire ballplayers. But he was a bastard to the regular people working in the offices and I can only imagine how much physical and emotional damage he did to countless people over the years.

So, Yankees fans can revel in the titles of 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009. You deserve to do so. But, you give a guy too much credit considering had he had his way, you likely would not have had many of those championships. And, worse, despite a fairly sizable amount of charitable activity in his life, nothing makes up for being a serial abuser of your employees and anyone else you had power over. Trust me; I've been there.

My sympathies to the Steinbrenner family for their loss. But the rest of us should stop pretending George Steinbrenner was much more than he was.

Poem: LeBron Can Suck It

LeBron Can Suck It

Egomaniacal narcissist

“I am the King”

“I am the King”

“Kiss my ring”

“And I will toy with your hearts”

Playing a sad game

A need for endless adulation

Non-stop self-congratulation

Not enough to have it all

But all the more

Ignore NYC

And MJ’s long shadow

And walk away from Cleveland

Where just being Cleveland is hard enough

All for the coward’s stacked deck

“The Brand” got covered in mud

And D Wade’s still the stud

LeBron can suck it

Copyright SGW 2010

Friday, June 4, 2010

Poem: Honeysuckle


Sweet scented honeysuckle
Alluring and alive
With effervescent charm
You captivate
Invading the senses
With dreams of timeless imaginings
Breathe in
Breathe in
Such beautiful fragrance
Breathe in
Breathe in
Permeating to my core

Copyright SGW 2010

Monday, May 17, 2010

Poem: The Hope And The Glory

The Hope And The Glory

Long since abandoned the masquerade dance

What men holding power ever meant to advance

Written-word pages of doctrinaire thought

Ritualized worship as divinity bought

Yet Israel and Jewish as a compound of time

God’s weary people with a truth they’d define

An essence identity by a light of the soul

Through suffering hatred of an unending toll

The Macabee princes who have stood ‘gainst the wall

No longer the timid of indignity’s call

Imperfections abounding by unsettling choice

Extremisms flourish in a far too right voice

And religion’s illusion grown apart from God’s word

Devoutness as pretence to round up the herd

Yet still admiration for the self-made great land

Israel as Zion since arisen from sand

These children of Israel are heroically bold

With a secular bonding the connection takes hold

Copyright SGW 2010

Commentary: I have rarely felt the need to have extensive remarks attached to a poem. However, this piece feels different. First, I should mention that this poem is based on the two Herman Wouk books, “The Hope” and “The Glory.” They have inspired me deeply with a desire to visit Israel.

They have also made me feel a need to distinguish between following Judaism as a religion and being Jewish as a people apart from organized religion. And that is what a large part of this poem’s message is. Early on, it speaks to the falseness of organized religion; the man-made creation used to formalize thought and action, which I feel is a device of those in power to control those who are not.

The poem then goes on to speak to the amazing accomplishments of the people of Israel – forming a nation surrounded by those that would destroy them after barely surviving the cauldron of NAZI-ism, creating a vibrant and lively society and economy from a desert wasteland and building a military that could protect all that they have given rise to.

The poem mentions Israel’s failings, too. The “unsettling choice” is the short-sighted and wrongheaded decision to build settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem that will be hard to dismantle and undo. Much of the difficulty lies in my original theme of religion’s extremism. These settlements, more than anything else that Israel controls, are an obstacle to Middle East peace. They have also damaged the moral rightness of Israel’s cause and position.

Without the settlements, there would be no legitimate claim that Israel in any way is the obstructing factor to peace. Taken out of the equation, the reasons for a lack of peace in the Middle East are all on the shoulders of the Arab nations. Their unwillingness to recognize Israel’s right to exist and of giving ground on military assurances to provide for that right, their stubborn resistance to removing the Hamas/Hezbollah presence, their promotion of an unreasonable right of return (that will need to be exchanged for financial compensation that Arab nations should be major contributors to), and the despotic rulers of their own countries with no exceptions are far more the cause of the circumstances in the Middle East than any Israeli positions.

In summation, this poem expresses love of Israel, despite its flaws, and a bond with the Israeli people that I feel as someone born a Jew. It hints at my previously versed views on organized religion, but with a belief that religion’s failings can be separated from a nationalist’s pro-Israeli sentiments.