A Meal Divided Does Not Stand

Each post thanksgiving morning

we reach for GERD meds

for, knowing overeating’s warnings,

our stomach overrules our head.

Our bodies are certainly not meant

to such highly caloric density.

So why is good judgment lent

to this overindulged propensity?

We have been taught from the cradle

the hallmark of  holidays are bounteous food,

and since food is Thanksgiving’s ladle,

“stuffing” it in is right and good.

But guts, not used to culinary monsoon,

will complain  in acute bilious state!

So out comes the pharmacy boon:

acid reducers’ to equilibrate stomach quakes.

And, when meds cure, come around noon,

we will perk up and forage for yummy dishes,

forgetting the discomfort of early morning hours

in the delight of second day annual wishes.

For who can resist the culinary power

that intensified leftovers to the palate make?

Only the monsoon will be a gentle shower

and dinner, a light noshing date.

I have post Thanksgiving Hangover.  The bloated feeling the someone has mistakenly thought I was a turkey and stuffed me until I am  overflowing; the uncontrolled regurgitation of last night’s  repast;  the acidic, slightly nauseous lethargy;  the sick wish that I could get rid of a little of it; the idea that drinking a cup of coffee is a torture device to a tummy grown sour and grumpy.  As an alcohol novice too often says to the toilet after the first binge:

“Why, oh why did I drink That Much?  DID I drink that much?  Boy it sure didn’t take a lot to make me THIS SICK!”

Just substitute the drink for eat, and you have my mantra for this morning, except I must add: “Why oh why did I eat that piece of pie when I was overfilled?”

It is a question that millions of persons will ask, perspiring with post- Thanksgiving gluttony, all morning long.  But my journey into wet burp illness is a little more complicated, as the  “bastardized”  famous quote in my title suggests.  I had TWO thanksgiving dinners, and not by choice.  I have the (mostly) good luck of living with my parents across the street and my in-laws about a mile away.

Yes, I hear the gasp of horror from some of you.

They are lovely, rarely interfere, and help out in a hundred different ways. But this Thanksgiving was tough in that my brother was at my mom’s and my brother-in-law was at my in-laws.  We rarely see either, one living in Iowa and one in Chicago.  Both wanted our attendance.  I asked for a combined dinner at my mom’s (who has the room for 20 persons, and is an excellent cook), but my in-laws were firm:

We Will Have Our Thanksgiving Feast At Our House

So we went from one dinner (my mom’s, and no dish can be forsaken without pangs of regret), scarfed it down, said “See you later”, then ran over to my in-laws (who had changed the dinner date and were done). By then, I couldn’t look at food but, feeling a little guilty, I was shanghaied into dessert.  I slowly stuffed some down,  with deep cleansing breaths, taking one for the polite team, and left as soon as it was not rude.  At the end of the binge, I simply crawled into bed, felt a little mis-used, and firmly told myself I will for now pick one or the other and not go through that again…….

And later, I re-lived my dinner over and over and over. And I don’t think I am alone, I am sure that millions over the country have family close, who will not get all together, leaving the peanut butters to jump from one side of the bread to the other.  So while I am thankful for my family, great food, good wine and (wishful) good health, I am wishing that one of my in-laws will leave the area next year.

So, surprise, my Thanksgiving rhyme is firmly themed around my post Thanksgiving tummy.  Smile, and WHO STOLE the TUMS?


Ode to the Weed We Seed

Homeowners are universally agreed

that a perfect yard is free of weeds.

 With impotent hypertensive rage,

a circuitous never ending war is waged.

This time consuming, irritating bane,

can drive even the most patient insane.

Yet still those weeds thrive and breed

as alternately we seed, weed and feed.


God’s cursed ground is potent indeed!

Yet in denial, we chemically spray,

temporarily nuking the evil away.

We make it our horticultural creed:

these “vegetational” murderous deeds

will permanently make our yards weed free.


While “the sweat of man’s brow” is our lot,

I say give it up, stop the madness, it’s too hot!

Enjoy life, make peace and ignore this curse. 

Revel in your free time and heavier purse!

The word weed has many different meanings.  Widow’s Weeds are a mourning outfit, albeit the reason for the name escapes me, as men don’t have WidowERS Weeds. Of course, in our day, WEED is synonymous with marijuana, although I am discontented with their “ownership” of a word that to generations past meant a great deal of work.  In Genesis Ch 2 God curses the ground to produce weeds for man to wrestle with “by the sweat of his brow”. From that most uncomfortable punishment that Adam had to endure to my own time period, tenacious fast growing weeds of the nasty “coup” type are always but one missed sweaty session away from completely taking over my flower beds.

I have been in a constant battle with the enemy for clean landscaping beds.  I wish I had kept all the receipts over the years related to flower bed maintenance; I bet it is in the thousands.  Some people just don’t care about the weeds, let nature take its course.  Those lucky souls don’t have a Home Association, the scourge of the suburbs, the Hitler of home ownership.   The ability to put a lien on your home for grass that is too high or too many weeds are a boon to yard maintenance companies. I swear they are in bed together.  In any event, a home association and society neighbors are good negative enforcers for landscaping laziness.  And in my neighborhood, “the weeds liveth not, nor seeds produce”.  So the following poem is a humorous poke at our attempt to control these little monsters.

And this year I am throwing up my middle finger as I build a home far away from Home Associations.  Weeds and wildflowers are welcome.


Ode to the Crap of CPAP


Sleep comes poorly to those

who have obstructed airway flow.

Sometimes snores shake head-to-toe;.

sometimes breathing entirely slows.

Obstructive snorts make bedfellows rage

causing connubial bliss to quickly go.

Eventually an ultimatum is given:

fix the problem or sleep apart.

So the poor sufferer is medically driven

to silence snoring’s unpopular sound

hoping that a cure for these snores is found.

Medical providers order a study of sleep.

Sleep studies, a torture of this age,

are ordered to determine apnea stage.

Trussed up with tape and wire

the sufferer can barely walk to pee.

This unfashionable technological attire

is a nightmarish and scary sight to see.

The main treatment is splinted air,

as “CPAP” keeps the airway apart.

But the mask is enough to scare

even the most intrepid, fearless heart.

CPAP breathing is like snorkel learning;

uncoordinated, breathless, a fearsome start.

Trussed up each night and yearning

to resume their former snoring bliss.

And many give up, eagerly returning

to the danger of the apneic kiss.

But most don’t know how concerning

the danger of Sleep Apnea really is.

Physicians know this dangerous condition

leads, over time, to a short living attrition.

Organs gradually fail and fall apart;

hypoxia an organ-deprived mission.

Oxygen-deprived brains do not keep smart.

This gradual damage forces organs to depart

as oxygen deprivation kills organs and heart.

So breathe deep, life is sweet!

Be grateful for silent sleep!

Do not consider free breathing cheap

(no matter what it takes to keep).

I have Hypermobility Syndrome, which is strongly associated with sleep apnea.  So for the last 12 years I have had a love-hate relationship with my snorkel device.  I try and make lemonade but there are times when I really just want to squeeze the lemons and toss them at someone.  This is satirical humor at its most subtle with an attempt to be grateful.

The Gun that Killed Poncho Villa

There is a famous myth in the Brook clan;

a legend through generations told.

And my dad relates it with full Élan

as he allows the details to unfold.

“My dad and Uncle were genuine cards,

each as slick and wiley as the other.

And they wove stories that Shakespeare the bard

would only have told a sneaky brother.

These “Pieces of work” did not tolerate

dicey stories that seemed too tall to tell;

if the story did not corroborate

a cordial invite was given to hell.”

“One day, Uncle, with quite a drunken gate,

wobbled into our house with gun-in-hand

and with inebriated speech did state

and swear,  as he did solemnly stand,

this old gun had a history so great

grandpa would pay to hold it in his hand.”

“What’s this history so great?” pop did say.

“Wh-ell, dish gun’s a killer, doncha know,

it ta-hook Poncho Villa’s life the sad day

that (burp) to His Great Maker he did go.”

“What! Don’cha waste my time with this sad rhyme”

roared my irate pop,  quite irritably.

“You are just a drunk, crazy old bastard

and I just don’t have time, so off with ye!”

“Stung, Uncle insisted, with blazing eyes,

that this rusty old gun must surely be

the one and only rare, unique and prized–

and missing— gun that shot Poncho V.

“Aghast, Pop measured him with blazing eyes.

In a flash, with one great bellow and punch

he sent his brother-in-law through the door,

then sat down with a sigh to eat his lunch.”

“What happened to that “rare and priceless gun”?

All good tale-tellers have to speculate:

that dodgy seller surely had some fun

and took that money to the gambling gates!

This story is a legend in our family, so I thought I would share it as a rhymed poem in iambic pentameter (10 syllables to a line).  People often crashed through doors and windows in Norristown, PA, where my ancestors lived and eked out a living.  The story is faithfully handed down as told by my Grandpa Leo Kingston Brook, a storytelling genius, to my dad Lee Charles Brook, a second storytelling genius, and then to me.   Today is my dad’s birthday if he were still living, so it is fitting and bittersweet that I remember my favorite story on a day that makes me a little sad. The memories surrounding this tale make me smile and miss the mystery of their richly hued, one-of-a-kind,  tongue-in-cheek stories.


Drip Drop

Drip drip drop I have nasal showers;
 it’s really not embarrassing at all

Drip drip drop this flow is powered
similar to the flow of Nigeria falls 🙂

Drip drip drop and the allergic flowers
haven’t even made their first seasonal call

Drip drip drop it flows hour by hour;
 I look like I’m having a really huge bawl

Drip drip drop as I wipe and scour;
my skin is growing red-ripe and raw!

I wrote this a long time ago (loosely to the childhood tune of “Drip, Drip, Drop”) when I was having some allergies in Springtime, but I thought that anyone right now with viral symptoms could appreciate a little lighthearted fun.  Be well, everyone.

Ode to Tee Pee

Im rich in a commodity few now share
that humbly cleaned both nose and bum.
An item once flushed without care!
But now is more worthy than gold to some.
TP, a moniker with little flair
names a product of wood pulp and gum.
Yet when supply becomes threadbare
our faces turn long and glum.

Where to turn, our national cry,
with crazed rush from store to store.
In a collective mad rush to buy
we create a surge-market uproar.
We morn what was a great supply
and yearn for shelves restored
with pruny faces and stinky eyes
and yell at those who hoard!

For I fear we have fallen prey
to love convenience at any cost.
It is why we feel such a loss
over a product we throw away.

Just had to do it!  My brain was screaming for tongue in cheek humor after all the dark poetry that woke me up at night.  It was a great release, I encourage you all to come up with humor in the dark.

Ode to the Hair on my Chinny-Chin-Chin

Oh wiry, follicular weed!

You are tough as granite stone.

Why do you see the need

to make my face your home?

With manic frenzy you feed

on hormones and keratin.

Like a fertilized spider plant

randomly sprouting from my chin;

with impotent rage I rant

yet you return again and again.

My razor armies ruthlessly lead

the charge to remove, hurt and maim.

I mow and zap you with all speed;

you laugh as I  feel the pain.

Yet sadistically I still have the need

to remove this embarrassment and shame.

I fear my hairless creed

has left me slightly insane!

I wish to be fully freed

from your black spider legged train.

As beauty is our greatest greed

your loss will be my Gain.

One of the “joys” of getting older is the sprouting of wild hair.  These over-“keratin-ized” strands of protein are the superheroes of the hair community.

I can hang like a monkey from mine.

I have tweezed, waxed and home-lazered the little horns with no effect.  Chemo took out a lot of my hair, but not the thick posts sticking out of my chin.   What a fussy lot we are….hair is acceptable in only certain areas of the body and humiliating in others.  Who determines the placement of beauty?

I say be proud and not shy and let that hair fly!

Having said that bravely to my mirror, I will now once again remove the offenders from my face and count my pennies for a permanent hair removal session.  Sigh, I am weak, I am frivolous, and I hate facial hair on women AND men.  My husband grew a mustache at the age of 12 (in a long downward U-formation–ugh) and wore the stupid thing for 13 years straight, resisting all taunts and attempts to remove it until I told him that I would only date him if it was removed.  He immediately went into his bathroom and 10 minutes later emerged a new man!  Well….how could I refuse THAT? I mean, there isn’t a greater act of wooing sacrifice then a man removing himself from his beloved hair, the icon of his identity.  I have had women sighing and sobbing in tears over this sappy story of romantic love….

But I must say that it was also the finest moment of my dating career and a boon to all mankind.

Unfortunately, a couple of years ago, in a moment of extreme weakness, I let him try a beard, and “Facebear” emerged to my intense horror.

Yes, that’s right…he NAMED the thing.  Kissing a mouthful of wiry hair is akin to rubbing my face with a potato brush.  I can get a rash after just 30 seconds of it.  So I don’t kiss the man until it is all off.  And when I give this ultimatum, the tussle between his manly image and his desire for a smooch is palpable.  Hmmmm…..perhaps I should stop obsessing over my chin hairs and rub them on HIM.  So here is my (hopefully humorous) “poem” on facial hair, enjoy!

chin hair 2




Ode to the Hair We Wear

Oh hair, individual and  follicular!

Though dead, you are a MANE attraction.

For we as humans are most particular

to positive or negative hair reactions.

Centuries long, you are ever evolving;

changing our human portrait anew.

Scientists, working long, still solving

how to keep more of you.

This chameleon changing image

(a transient gift to most)

leaves men  in a saving scrimmage

desperate to model  head as host.

The first change that many make

is to cut, curl, shine or color

if their image is to be replaced.

For hair changes, like no other

changes “the look” to those in haste.

Oh what men will try when hair is dying

the “comb over”, toupee (to name a few)

does not leave the women sighing

and wanting more of you.

The title “hunk” is often symbiotic

with great hair, along with other attractions.

Although styles are transient and quixotic

they are positively related to hair fraction.

Many image worshipers spend much time

on the current “creative” hairstyle craze.

Each Era thinks them quite fine

“What awesome hair” the worshiped phrase.

Hindsight twenty-twenty, generations next

find the hairstyles so adored quite ridiculous.

Of course their elders, tasteless and un-blessed

were sloppy, mundane and un-meticulous.

I fear our cultural worship of hair

(though silly, short-lived and vain)

will always be a-kin to  beauteous fair;

unless left out in the rain.  🙂

For a great style, if new and rare,

no matter the time or pain;

will achieve many a copy and stare;

And that is quite insane!


It’s amazing to me how an inanimate strand of protein-collagen complex can rock our world.  The glory of hair transforms self–esteem, gives iconic and succinct explanations of our day (as in “having a bad hair day”), crowns the world of fashion and Haute Couture, and supports a multi-billion dollar industry.  Before cancer I had great hair.  Long waves and curls, thick and cinnamon honey colored.  Now, I have a thin, somewhat curly, medium brown HOT MESS!  When I had great hair I did not understand the power of hair.  When I had no hair I was overwhelmed by the nakedness and loss of my only beauty.   Now I can sympathize with the ache of hair loss that so many men have to suffer through, even though my hair did return, though but a frail shade.  My hair will never be the same, and will always remind me of my body failures.  But my poem portfolio would not be complete without a nod to this ever changing obsession, set in a humorous style.  I hope you can laugh with me as I strip away the universal hair craze shared with humans throughout the centuries.

Ode to a Dust Mote


Floating tiny flakes of skin;

insidious, ghostly, an infinity within;

Combined, dust upon dust without end

you infiltrate every crevice and crack!

With futile attempts to catch and send

your army forces stick and stack

and drive our enthusiastic dusting friends

on ever aggressive dusting attacks

as we spend  our money, millions a year,

on expensive and exotic dusting gear

in futile attempts to hold you back.

Author of many allergy sneezes

you puff unknowing into our nose

and attack with sniffles and wheezes

just adding to our dust-laden woes.

Breathing in untold millions of dust

starts a cascade to dust unseen

as trapped in gooey mucus must

make them claustrophobic and mean.

Our bodies do not like you, not one bit!

Moist or dry, brown or green,

our ever vigilant cilia filters

clump and clog you as “bugger-shit”.

On rare moments we cease the fight

to view your beauty, your free-floating form,

visible in unstirred filtered light;

unfettered, your graceful circular flight

temporarily stops our dusting storm.

And on a more serious note,

you remind us of the Biblical quote,

“Ashes to ashes and dust to dust”

as in death our bodies must

return to a simpler, easier form.

I am allergic to dust (or more likely, dust mites), so I have air filters in all the bedrooms.  But with four cats, four litter boxes and four people, dust is an enemy never conquered.  The only time I have real allergy issues is when I “dust”, and since I hate to dust  because I hate to sniffle and sneeze, it collects and coats every surface before I give up and remove it. Of course, removing it is really just a joke, all I am doing is swirling it around a bit and getting my immune system all riled up.  But it looks better, which is the goal of housekeeping, so I keep at it when my dust threshold is hit.  But there are times when it is achingly beautiful, and it was in contemplation of a moment of silent filtered light that inspired this poem.

Ode to the Air We Share


 I never hear persons with germ scares

fear the “healthy” air they share.

For all the air that we breathe,

is blown out from other lungs indeed!

Respect for air that moves here and there

should be our primary creed;

sharing air should also be nasally fair

and gas should be carefully freed.

For I do care as I sniff from there

and my lungs do deeply breathe,

the malodorous scents and body vents

that constantly assault my bronchial tree.

 As children we are frequently taught:

“the tissue is our nostril’s best reprieve”.

For some reason we prioritize nose blows

and covering our faces when we sneeze.

But the simple fact is that ANY breathing act

is recycled refuse,  an unfortunate lot!

And that is an air sharing fact.

It does gross me out that I am breathing in what you just expelled.  We are all really just one big organism.  As  I write this at the start of yet another epidemic (Chinese coronavirus), it is a pertinent reminder that we are but a sneeze or cough away from the Big One.