Friday, April 27, 2018

I dread the day when she will stop playing altogether

I lean over to comb that unruly strand of hair away from her eye. 
At first, Natasha seems startled. Then she lets me tuck it, ever so gently, around her ear.
I say, “There’s so much I want to ask you, sweetheart.”
“Really?” she asks, with a reluctant tone. She stares blankly at the corner of the kitchen floor, evading my eyes as if in anticipation of some trick question. “Like what?”
“Remember that night, in Vernon?”
She replies, “Yes,” but does so with a shaky tone, which means no, I don’t really remember but I’ll give you the answer you want. Just let me be.
I wipe a bit of syrup from her chin. She must have licked it when I wasn’t looking. “You told me,” I say, “that come what may, you would never forget that night.”
“That night?” she says. “Which one?”
“In Vernon, when we woke up in each other’s embrace, to the sound of shots.”
I pause for a second, so she may reply. And as I wait for her, the memory comes back to me. It seems so fresh, so vivid, as if it happened just yesterday. 
Following the failed attempt to blow the bridge, fights erupted between French Resistance fighters and German soldiers. Rochelle and I ran frantically through the narrow streets to join Monsieur Antoine and about forty other fighters. 
Upon arriving at city hall, he handed us some home-made explosives, which we started hurling, along with the other fighters, at German tanks and trucks. I remember the shine in her eyes. “This,” she cried out to me, “is a life worth living!”
Just then, one of the tanks caught fire. The blast pushed her back, accidentally, into my arms. Oh, what a fiery woman she used to be!
And still, there is fire in her. 
I dread the day when she will stop playing altogether. As long as her music—such as it is—is full of rage, perhaps, perhaps, perhaps there is still hope. 

Lenny in Marriage before Death


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Thursday, April 26, 2018

It’s going to be our secret

From this distance I can barely see her. Wrapped in a long robe, which is made of some shimmering fabric, the only flesh visible to me is her little foot. 
From afar I must look too small to her. Perhaps all she can see is a flash, a sudden spark from the corner of my roof as a ray of sun catches my crown. Perhaps she spots a dark shadow slanting into a window in a distant tower, one among many windows, many towers, and to her it seems still, which is why she ignores me, and goes about the business of smelling one piece of soap after another, and rubbing them on her skin.
I glance sideways at Benaiah. 
“Tell me,” I demand, as if I have spotted her now for the first time, “who is that woman?”
He squints, the better to see her, and says, “Oh yes! She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
“Go knock at her door,” I tell him, “and give her this note.”

He comes back awhile later.
“Done,” he reports. “She read it.”
“And?”
“Nothing.”
“Nothing?”
“Was she supposed to say something?”
“Why wouldn’t she?”
He shrugs.
I groan.
“Shall I run back?” he asks.
Benaiah earned his fame as a war hero, and he killed a lion in a snowy pit, but as a go between in a simple exchange between the sexes he is utterly useless.
“Bring her to me,” I command. “But be sure not to be followed.”
At that, his mouth drops open. On second thought, he gasps. 
“If I’m not to be followed,” he says, “how can I bring her?”
“Be sure she’s the only one following you.” I roll my eyes at having to spell things out. “This is between me and you.”
“Oh,” he says. “And Bathsheba too, right?”
“Yes.” I lower my voice. “It’s going to be our secret. No one but us is to know about this, especially not Nathan.”
Having sent my spiritual advisor on his errand and Benaiah on his mission I run down to the King’s Gardens and back up again, bringing with me a huge bouquet of freshly picked Jasmine flowers, which fills my chamber with a sweet fragrance. It is then that time takes a strange, unexpected turn. It slows down. 
I have no idea how much of it I have wasted since the beginning of my wait. All I know is that it feels without an end. 
And despite knowing that I have arrived, that I am at the prime of my life, I feel, once again, like a teenager. She loves me, she loves me not. With a flick of my wrist, white petals start scattering across the marble floor.
I go out to the roof and pace to and fro. Already, there is chill in the air. The rays of the setting sun give a last flicker before darkness, before a sensation of fear sets in. Then they withdraw, hesitating to touch the tabernacle of God down there, below me.
Coming back in I set the twin sconces, left and right of the chamber door, aflame. Which is when, to the quickening of my pulse, I see it opening. 
There she is, lifting her little foot and setting it across the threshold. 

David in A Peek at Bathsheba


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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

I miss being with my ma

At such moments I find that I miss being with my ma, who threw me out of her place long ago. I miss her, because inside—where no one else can see—I’m still a child, and because with her I’m at ease, and I don’t have to torture myself, and I don’t have doubts about nothing, ‘cause she makes things cut and dried, even if she has to slap me for it. 
So even though we’re married now, I don’t really feel I belong here, in this place. An outcast: that’s me. 
So I storm past him—but Lenny lays his hand on me. Grabbing me by the shoulder, he brings me to a standstill. 
Stop! Stop, Anita,” he says. “We have to talk.”
“Whatever,” I say, “I’m done talking,” even though we both reckon that like, the only thing I’ve swapped with him since this morning was my silence for his. 
And he goes, “Maybe you are—but I am not.”
And I don’t say nothing, ‘cause like, what’s the point? Between his son and me, I bet I know whose story he’s gonna believe.
And so he presses on, “There is something, Anita, something I must tell you.”
“What,” I say. “You leaving me again, Lenny?”
“Going back to work,” he says, which takes the wind right out of me. 
“Really?” I gape at him, and notice that his briefcase is right there on the floor, at his feet. “So soon? You sure you’re up to it? Like, with the limping and all?”
“Yes,” he says, and lets go of me. “It is time. I cannot afford staying home any longer.”
And, seeing that I stare at him as if to ask, Now, what does that mean, he goes on to say, “It means, jobs are hard to come by, Anita. Especially,” he adds, “at my age.” 
“Fine, then,” I say, and lift his briefcase from the floor, to save him the trouble, and I hand the thing to him. But instead of taking it, he grips me again, this time by my waist, and turns me to the light, like, to read me. 

Anita in My Own Voice


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Monday, April 23, 2018

She gasped. So did I

Just my luck! It was too late to prepare myself now, because two things happened at once: first, I spotted the slender outline of a girl up there in the window, combing her long, red hair. And second, the front door opened, letting out her Mama. 
Somehow I managed to bring the car to a stop. She took one look at me and with menace in her eyes, set her hands on her hips. 
I fumbled to pull up the brakes. “Hello,” I said. 
And she muttered, “Not you again.”
The woman was wearing a square-shouldered jacket, in the style that became popular recently, which also featured narrow hips and skirts that ended just below the knee. With so many men leaving for military service, magazines and pattern companies advised women on how to remake their suits into smart outfits. The alteration idea must have appealed to Mrs. Horowitz, because her husband, the famous conductor Benjamin Horowitz, had passed away only a few months ago, and the cloth would otherwise sit unused. Looking rather substantial in it, she plodded heavily forward, overtaking the milkman and heading in my direction.
I turned off the ignition and leapt dashingly out of the open-air convertible, which was the moment her expression changed. I could tell, by the way her jaw fell open, that the impression I made—or rather, the impression the vehicle made—was the best I could possibly hope for.
“Mrs. Horowitz,” I said. “How are you this fine morning?”
To which she said, “It’s already noon.”
I went around the car to the passenger side and from there, took out the bouquet I had bought earlier. Red roses. 
Opposite me Mrs. Horowitz leaned over the driver-side door, perhaps to examine the plush leather interior. It was then, in the face of her curiosity, that a question suddenly occurred to me. I asked myself, did I—or did I not—turn the front wheels towards the curb, to make sure the car won’t roll? 
And before I could make up my mind either way, I heard a low rumble as something gave way. The brakes must have become disengaged, which sent the car rolling downhill, letting a single red petal fly out of the passenger seat and swirl into the air.
I took a step back. So did Mrs. Horowitz. 
She gasped. So did I.
Stumped by not knowing what to do with the bouquet I was holding, I shoved it into her arms. 
“For Natasha,” I said, and took off running after the car.

Lenny in The Music of Us


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A. Reader,TOP 100 REVIEWER

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Poznansky takes a risk and delivers

Pamela Fagan Hutchins is the YA author of the What Doesn't Kill You romantic mysteries, and (possibly) hilarious nonfiction. She is passionate about hiking with her hunky husband and pack of rescue dogs (and an occasional goat and donkey), riding her gigantic horses, experimenting with her Keurig, and traveling in the Bookmobile. I am honored that she read and my Women's Fiction novel, My Own Voice, and posted this review:


on April 20, 2018
I had a feeling I'd enjoy Uvi Poznansky and My Own Voice, but by about halfway through it, I was tugging on my husband's sleeve. "This woman can flat-out tell a story!" (imagine that said in my surprised voice--because I don't say that very often). Uvi took a risk in writing this protagonist as well, because the woman's voice is not polished. It's jarring at first. But the theme of the novel (without any plot spoilers here) turned out to be about her accepting herself (and her speech). I found My Own Voice to be very original—think of it as women's fiction, family drama—and I will definitely pick up another one of Uvi's novels.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Don’t Open Your Eyes

Don’t open your eyes
Try not to see
Things are no longer
Where things ought to be

That voice—is it her?
Behind a closed door
She calls you a stranger
Your mother no more

Breathe through the moment 
Turn, turn your eyes
The past you imagined 
Was all lies, lies, lies

Things are no longer 
Where things ought to be
Who is this stranger
Is it still me?

This is my mixed media painting, titled The Door to My Childhood
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"This radiant book is an exploration of the bond between a daughter and father and the book overflows with some of the most eloquent poetic moments in print. HOME is an invitation, a very personal one, and should not be passed over." 
Grady Harp, Hall of Fame Reviewer

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Didn’t you tell her there’s a war going on?

“Didn’t you tell her there’s a war going on?”
“I said it only a million times! I told her over and over: it’s a long journey across the Atlantic, and ships are being sunk every day. But what good did it do me? She won’t listen!”
“I can’t believe it,” I said, exasperated.
“Neither can I,” said Mrs. Horowitz. “Trust me, I didn’t give her my blessing, not even my permission to do this, but some organization—I think it’s called USO—did.”
“What’s that?”
“From what I hear, their mission is to provide morale-lifting services to U.S. soldiers wherever they serve, ‘Until Every One Comes Home.’ Somehow they decided to do it at my expense, I mean at the expense of putting my daughter in harm’s way, just so she can play music to entertain the troops. Oy, Lenny,” she said, her voice trembling in-between sobs, “I’m so afraid, so terrified that something bad will happen to Natashinka, that I can’t think straight.” 
Meanwhile pips started to sound and I knew that a few seconds later, the line would go dead unless more money was fed in. I checked my pocket, fumbling to find more coins, but no luck: it was empty. 
“Which ship?” I asked, at full tilt, knowing that the call might end at any second now. “Which port, when—”
“Well,” said Mrs. Horowitz, and in the background, those bedsprings under her came alive again, giving another moan. She must have stretched in bed, perhaps to get a handkerchief. I imagined her arms, with wings of flesh hanging flabbily down, flapping all about. To the sound of her blowing her nose into it, I wondered: did she even pay attention to what I asked? Was I going to get an answer? 
“Well,” she said at last, “Natasha is supposed to board ship in a few hours, and she told me it’s about to set sail at noon, just as soon as they finish loading some cargo and stuff, so I’m going to go there to pull her off, whether she likes it or not, so as not to allow her to get too comfortable in that pitifully small cabin, because by hook or by crook such is my duty, and when it’s all over I know what to expect, because a mother’s work a thankless job.”

Lenny in Dancing with Air


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"Dancing with Air by Uvi Poznansky is a lyrical tour se force set in World War II in England. Poetic, evocative, and at times langorously delicious, the new audiobook version adds even more to the sense of "being there" along side the delightful characters who, by the way, span a series of novels over the course of their lifetimes." 
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Monday, April 9, 2018

I am a woman seeking a name for herself

And before I know it, I can hear myself saying, “I see the fallen angels here—what remains after them—but where are the rest? I mean, where are the demons?” 
Satan leers at me, and his voice resonates deeply, suddenly penetrating the depth of my soul. 
“Where else?” he says. “Inside.”
Then he walks down the path, not before waving his hand with an elegant, courteous gesture, which I take to mean, Come now! Come with me!
Which I do—even though with each step, my feet get more and more scalded by the boiling earth. But I don’t give a damn, this pain cannot stop me, nothing can, because somehow I know there is a purpose to this journey. In life or death, I am—and perhaps always will be—a woman seeking a name for herself. 
A woman on a quest.
We are traveling together in the direction of my village. Well, the copy of it. As close as can be. 
Home. 

Ghost in Twisted


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"Dark, intense, entertaining, thought-provoking and emotional, these short stories each hold their own brand of magnetisim that lasts long after the last word is read... A wealth of depth in few words." 
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