Archives for the month of: July, 2007

From some writing prompts i wrote

My sister’s hand was pale, her forearms moist and the writing from
her body invisible. What’s it like for a twin to be witness to a
birth, the birth at the end of time here in dirt city, earth school,
not a gallery, but a workshop?

She had ceased breathing in and breathing out, as I sat at my
computer in her kitchen, exhausted from a month’s witnessing her
agitation, lucid thoughts, holding her in my arms, doing student
nurse type of things like learning to hammer out crushed ice, with
the ice in any kind of clean towel we could grab from the kitchen
and hurry back to her. Her body in the end was luminous, but she
had stopped breathing in and out, and a body no matter how
beautiful, simply does not tell you reliable truth about the soul
who had just left.

I had a few months before, been witness to the doors of Weimar, with
pictures of my dear young friends, pictures of doors of Bach’s
hometown, cobblestone streets, and a restaurant with beefy beef and
potatoes which split apart from a quivery touch of a fork or spoon,
ready to abandon all to the love of someone’s, in particular my,

I had seen the doors and the trim of Haifa dwellings, a blue only I
could call Acca blue and think of march toward oneness in this
trembling age. But then I got to see the doors of Caldwell, Idaho,
where I had written a few odes to the Caldwell cows. These doors
were open, spilling out casseroles with a bit of creamed this or
creamed that over hunks of veggies and chicken. Their owners kept
up a steady supply of feeding our little group of four, assistants,
trainees to the hospice team.

We had an unbroken line as twins, that line tested so much over the
years. Fraternal is different, opposite the myth or the unreliable
truth that twins think the same thoughts, feel the same feelings,
utter the same cries.

But, the fact is the line wasn’t broken and while she stayed in
Caldwell, and I twitted about the world a wider piece, the line did
its job, staying firm or loose or taught but still a line. The line
has dissolved into space unknown, a silver blue thing of mystical
origins. And now I a traveler in the fractal worlds of God think of
her in random moments of my day in wonder of the doors that lie
ahead of her.


My twin, Elizabeth and myself, and then Elizabeth on her tricycle!

This was an exercise I tried after sending a friend who is teaching kids some examples of lessons; it was nice to try it; I want to say it was fun; but would that shock those who knew my twin just passed. But heck yes, lightness of being, the unbearable lightness of being; it’s grand.

If death were a color it would be
a rainbow, with the black starting first
just as so not to surprise the writer
who is in for a notice of change

Death ain’t what you thought it would be baby.
And it would be varied and graded like
all us creatures in the world; shades of grey
in thinking; no geometric black and white

What’s wrong, this is the only way
Nope, it wouldn’t have an only one way color; and
it would taste like medicine at first, but
tIt would be like riding the Ferris Wheel
higher than ever before

And if death were a feeling, it would be
like my tummy going on a big bump, jumping
up high inside, but skipping down in delight
and finding out, not all bumps are meant to hurt
and give new meaning to bumped up.

Yep, bumped up to the higher ways of intricate oneness
Death would feel light and like bouncy, bouncy bally
A verse uttered by nine year olds in schoolyards past,
and it would be as sturdy as a red rubber ball
needed to be in the school yard
and smell sort of rubbery, familiar like
with maybe a touch of vanilla, cuz you know
Vanilla soothes the senses, don’t you know

And inside, the smell would make me feel just
Oh so safe
And if death were a sound, it would be echoes of
Kids in ages past shouting out beyond the sky,
The stars and the moon
Ollie Ollie Infrey, Ready or Not
Here I come

Elizabeth Leslie BY Esther Bradley-DeTally

It makes sense, Elizabeth, my twin, would have come down the pike first. I bet when she hit earth, she did so with a determined plop of a baby bottom. In fact, I think she had printed instructions for her life, balled up in a chubby fist. I think these instructions read: “This baby has spunk, courage, and a capacity to endure.” I also think she had some capital letter instructions which might have read “Increase Capacity for Endurance.” And you know, just to go further out on a limb with “I betcha,” I betcha some random angel threw in Determination and Service but also added Loves Sports.” Life is indeed not all work and no play.

But, what do I know, because I was on the Welcome to Earth conveyor belt, 12 minutes behind her. Me, Elizabeth Bradley’s twin. Elizabeth Deagan Bradley, born August 28, 1938, in Boston. She went home first, and I stayed to put weight on a four pound body, and clutching my own fistful of instructions and a note “Dear Baby, As you go through life, you will experience the phenomena of skin stretching. Do not be alarmed.”

We went home to parents Don and Mary, a sister a year older, Mary Ellen, whom we called “Meb,” a brother John a year older than that,” and a housekeeper Rita who had the talent of keeping the household together, all the while with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth.

We preceded: the Great Hurricane of 1938 a month later, sweeping into the New England Landscape like Attila the Hun on a bad day. We preceded whooping cough in the next few months, which Children’s Hospital of Boston took care of, because my father was out of work with 4 kids, all 3 and under.

Margarine hadn’t been invented, and our jumping on tin cans to save them for the War Effort and our saving lard, and tobacco shortages were just around the corner as was War with Germany and Japan and blackout curtains at night.

Descriptions followed: One became blonde and curly haired with big blue eyes. The other looked wizened, wrinkled, a baby squirrel kicked out her nest with a solid hind foot of Mother Squirrel.” “The Twins didn’t sit up until 7 months because they had each other.” “In the winter, we’d dress you girls up in snow suits which took a good half hour a piece, and put you outside. You stood motionless, not moving; until we gave up and hauled you back inside.”

After kindergarten they separated us because one twin was more dependent than the other. Only last week did I find out the cause. Liz said, “I copied your yellow wooden shoe drawing.”

I read and Elizabeth hated reading. But one day in third grade, a miracle happened in the form of Eddie and His Fire Engine, a short story which Liz read at school. Guess what, you couldn’t stop her from reading then. She also threw herself into Red Rover games, jump rope, sledding, ice skating at the local field, a form of squash which you hit with a tightened fist. Liz was the best. She’d sit right close to our dad and listen to the Baseball Game with him. She wanted to be a boy, and she was the next best thing for our dad.

Radio programs were a big item. We passed on over Baby Snooks and Jack Benny. By the time Elizabeth was 10, my mom would come out to the back porch, look due east and up into a thickly leaved maple tree, and say, “Elizabeth, Elizabeth, Bobby Benson and the B-Bar B is on.” A rustle would be heard, and Liz would slide down that tree and disappear into the worlds of Bobby Benson, Sergeant Preston and His Dog King (of the Yukon), Red Rider, and the Lone Ranger.

Harry Raymond’s Ballroom Dancing School beckoned us at age twelve, and Liz would climb down her tree and we’d put on identical red satin dresses with Peter Pan Color dresses that my mom mad. We’d be driven to Harry Raymond’s Ballroom Dancing School. We had to wear stockings and garter belts. I felt like a cat on the way to the public bath. Liz was more popular with the boys and had no trouble being asked to dance. When we sat on the sidelines on long benches, she sat with her legs wide apart as if ready to spring on a horse, sat that way, that is, until Old Harry who was like an Opaque Crow, tapped her ankles with a long black walking stick and said, “Ladies always sit with their legs closed.”

There’s a dark side, like big splashes of thick red and black paint, assaulting a Pollack canvass. Alcoholism, a mom taken away for shock treatments, a dad besides himself with anguish, 4 kids in disarray. Elizabeth also told me last year, “When I was 10, I stood in the graveled driveway and thought, “I have to take care of myself now.”

My father didn’t leave us, and my mother eventually died when we were 17. We had moved to downtown Boston along the Charles River, and Liz went home from school first and found her. Our mom died that night of a massive stroke.

Did I mention we fought a lot, and that she’d wait until I’d left the house and then fill my shoes with Kleenex and wear them for the evening? Did I mention all those Saturday night dances, and lots of guys thinking she was the cutest thing that side of the Mississippi, and dances where ushers went around tapping couples locked in Siamese embrace, saying “6 inches from the Holy Ghost”?

She also faked playing the clarinet with Janet Cleary and myself in the St. Theresa’s Marching Band, and we marched on the floor of Fenway Park and in the St. Patty’s Day Parade in New York.

She was the good student. She published a short story in the Tattler, a High School newsletter. We both thought we were stupid (my father was in Harvard at age 16), and we felt like Prince Valiant trolls. We loved dogs, independent ways and a 12 room house with 8 bedrooms and lots of fireplaces. Still, we shared a bedroom, and I was sloppy beyond measure. My father used to say “No man will ever marry you with a room like that.” Liz drew a line down the middle of our room, and I couldn’t cross over to her side.

Neatness aside, she went on to nursing school, but came home one night in hysterics, determined to quit, quit that is, until the next day Dad said, “Get up, you’re going to look for a job”. That night Liz was back in school. She finished, graduated to a standing ovation because an accident bruised her brain badly, left her with a slight limp, and her brain stem was injured. She came away from this sharp as a tack and it made her the most compassionate nurse in ICU and CCU units around!

She married a man whose chapter could be called “Psychotic and Dangerous,” and fortunately he died. I had my son Nicholas at 31, and felt badly she had no children. So we did what twins do, like Parcheesi Games and gifts for birthdays, we shared. I included her in many of Baby Nick’s adventures, and we were always there for each other.

Another chapter began meeting James Leslie. They were a match. Her wedding was the happiest of days, and then she became pregnant at around 42. Surprise! The day Matthew was born, blue eyed, blonde hair (where have we heard that), was a huge, huge day of joy. Jim and Liz then took care of foster children, and animals began to gather in their house looking for a potential Arc. Another incredible day happened when Joey arrived over the threshold, dark, puddle-warm brown eyes, a half-smile that would twist and melt your heart, and then Liz and Jim adopted him. After a few foster children came and went, shored up, readier to face the world, Matt said to his Mom, “When do I get a new mom and dad?” But that wasn’t the case.

Other than Her Lord, Jesus, these two fine sons were and are the cause of Elizabeth’s Greatest Happiness. Jim died, of agonizing bone cancer, and it was a blow. But somehow a spoon was in their pudding, which means, the Hand of God was gently guiding this little family. They moved to Idaho, and the rest is Matt’s story.

One final comment, she was always grateful: for every leaf on a tree, for a roof over her head, for every blessing and trial that came her way, and she tread the path of service and selflessness with her patients and her family with fortitude, endurance, empathy, courage, and tads of laughter, well throw in “How about them Red Sox” too!
We were both happy to be twins!

some triggers and how I used them:

1. the reunion

2. “there is nothing like it in all the wide world.”

3. dogs in tutus

4. Sara Louise Throckmorton had never believed in ghosts

5. added; thank you for the active week

There’s nothing like a 50th reunion from high school in the whole wide
world, and I had just coaxed Liz, my twin, to “Let’s go back and be
the Bradley Twins once more,” and we were to somehow hook up and fly
into Logan Airport in Boston, traverse the sub ways and get to
Roslindale, Massachusetts where we hung out when the earth was young.

I was going to entertain her of stories of John’s snapping turtle who
was odious and who spent days in the butler’s pantry propped up
against a silver tray admiring himself. Throckmorton P. Jr. finally
got thrown back in the pond or water in Dedham or Norwood, reunited
with his sister Sara Louise Throckmorton, and I thought good riddance.

Around that time we had a pug and a boxer and we kept dressing these
dogs up in tutus and lying on the floor watching them edge their
bodies against furniture, anything to get those damned things off; we
lay there a silent laughter systollically(sp) going up to the high
ceilings, and our ribs going up and down like out of control bellows.

But you know on a scale of 1-10, these remembrances would be a two,
except that Roslindale High had been an abandoned building, until a
convalescent home had taken it over and made it into a shiny place for
elders. They had remodeled the stage and theatre too, where i got up
to help the magic man and told the audience his tricks, and he snarled
at me under his breath.

So the Committee for the 50th decided to hold the reunion in the rest
home’s newly redone auditorium, and when I looked at who was coming (7
people) I called Liz and said, “Forget it.”

So we had our own reunion; strange I would call sitting by her bed as
she’s passing through to the next worlds of God a reunion, but hey you
gotta grab language and happenings were they are.

We had a principal named Mr. Gately who parted his hair down the
middle and looked like Al Capone’s jailer; did Al Capone have a
jailer? Catch my drift. Then there was Miss Keough, the Guidance
Counselor, who had been in the WACS, women’s armed services group of
World War II. I swear you could have put a studded collar around her
neck and called her Bubbita.

I would be on the third floor in a classroom, when the phone would
ring. The teacher would answer it, mumble yes, and then hang up the
wall phone, look at me, and say “Bradley,” go to the principal’s office.

I would walk down three lonely long flights hearing silence banging
within my head and then finally approach the linoleum floored first
floor: long, empty, except for Mr. Gately and Miss Keough.

The gist of it was three times that year, they did this, looked at me
with loathing and said, “Get out. Don’t come back until you bring
your father.” I head over to the local hangout and light up a
cigarette. I was 15. I’d think, “Why do I always do this,” But
meditation and knowledge of my inner landscape didn’t even hit a
shallow level. I never told my father, so Gately would call on a
Sunday night.

I grew out of it; shame, fear of not graduating, summer school where i
learned how to spell (sasparilla) – sar sap a rilla were my 50s
catalyst to settling down.

Did I mention my son “never attached to high school,” my euphemism,
and that a guy I dated asked “What’s the difference between precocious
and a brat,” Without a minute’s hesitation I answered a mother’s
point of view.

But I tell you I am here today and I want to thank the prompter and
the people who write for this group. In my life settling up my twin’s
house after her passing and on the screen, it’s been a very active
week, and for that I am grateful. Life goes on.

My sister, by the way, was known as “the good twin.”

wimbledon plays, bop, pop, british accents
i sorrow for a twinging tooth
wimbledon plays, bop, pop, british accents
a back tooth like an old couch waiting for Goodwill

sorrow was two weeks ago standing in front of
my twin’s coffin, she in her blue bridal dress of old
me, alive, sorrowing for the little girl on a tricycle
sorrowing for her life of dripping Rorschach ink

wimbledon plays, bop, pop, british accents
sorrow has gone up like a balloon on a helium sortie
wimbledon plays, bop, pop, british accents
thwatting away epic events tumbling through and around
the people on the earth’s stage

order, thwats, pops, bops, all metranome like
in their reassurance, the steadied beat of routine
comfort, sorrow, joy, laughter, anger, all runs together
wimbledon plays, bop, pop, british accents

Winter came early that year. That year when they had said Gorbachev
was sick, and beefy people appeared on the TV screen to announce a
takeover. that year when one morning in Ukraine the people awakened
to no money, no rubles, no purchasing of bread, longer lines, because
the government had switched to a new money, Ukraining money, the name
of which paper escapes me at the moment.

The sidewalks were wide but bumpy, and snow filled pothills in the road.
Lines of babushkas waited for the bread store to open, bulky bodies,
empty bags, scarves tied tightly over their ears, their skin ruddy
from years of hard weather.

Still we trudged into the City. Forget taking the bus outside our
flat which either didn’t show or didn’t work. No, we would walk down
Orlovskaya Street, skittering down, taking a left, right, streets like
the shops, empty. Finally to the trolley and waiting as I felt
history’s shadow and sensed the ghosts of prisoners, serried lines,
marching to the nearby railroad station.

Our trolley would come, and we’d squeeze into its crowded innards,
passing money up through the people, hand by hand until the bus driver
received it, and then back, hand by hand, over the heads of people, a
small paper ticket, similar to one in a Bakery would be handed out.
Somehow the money still worked for the trolley for a few days.

Cold whipped through my thin grey coat, the one I found in Ulan Ude, a
city with the largest fattest head of Lenin sitting in a public
square, near the KGB building. Always in our time was the sense of
being watched. Now in the cold weather, when we moved our mouths
around so as not to freeze and made funny faces like Vlad, our
interpreter told us, we moved towards the Mining Institute, ready to
trudge up Karl Marx Avenue, towards the pretty side of Dnepropetrovsk.

We walked by cake shops, bread shops, an army take in the center, and
I noticed the snow fell like a lacework over the city; obliterating
any ugliness of the previous day. The snow created a space within us
like a moving painting, and we could for moments forget the people
whose life was arduous and abusive from early morn on into the night.

Living in Dneperpetrovsk, in Ukraine, in the winter, we learned how to
use dry mustard in a bucket of hot, hot water, so steamy, my toe
stayed in for milleseconds. We learned, no forget that, we
experienced the love and caring from Inna, from anyone, when we were
sick. We would be quickly scooped up into blankets, with our heads
peeping out, and our feet immersed in mustard water (mustard being a
deficit item. We were given verenya a jam in tea and once as I sat
being treated, I experienced menopausal flush compressed into an
hour’s time with mustard and verenya, but weakened and no longer
desperately ill, I could stagger to my bed and sleep and recover.

Winter, and no vegetables in the open market, well maybe a few that
looked like they came from a potato orphange, and some wilted cabbage,
but still we had bread and cake and new money: coupona, wow, coupona.
so many words ending with “a’! Little parades of “a”s indicating
hope and not starving, no rather packing my hips with starches and
lumbering through those winter days.

There was the night when we walked the wide flat sidewalks down to the
railroad station at four in the morning to welcome Paddy O’Mara from
Ireland, and the snow fell through the silence, a purity from God, and
a lacework of sensory experience flowed through me, beauty revealed in
a hard town, during a hard time, along with ever unfolding love and
kindness from our Russian friends, and I will always remember that
year, the year when winter came early.

Prompts for 7 July ’07


Holy moley, my plastic St. Jude Valve wheezes like it’s a dog ready to
cough up a snail, that reaction to his choresterol sludge. I have
sludge too and have been attempting to attain the Divine Stage of
Reconciliation when I will glide into my doc’s office and tell him
I’ve been trying to meet the standards of the pharmaceutical companies
and have my cholesterol at 100 or so.

But I suspect these pharmaceutical companies are in cahoots, and keep
resetting the bar of aterial perfection higher in order to sell more
heart drugs and keep their pill devotees in a state of deprived of
that o’l lardy feeling. That way the patients lunge at food in the
middle of the night, in a walk through the hollow corridors of Walmart
searching for Twinkies, Susie Q’s, Devil Dogs, and think just this
once, and than add some Chocolate Rocky Road ice cream to smooth the
trip down towards a psyche which assumes gargoyle form, hissing in need.

These old boys in the pharm corps want us to be choosy about our food,
but they know we can’t and they have created lovely little statin
drugs to take at night; drugs promised to say to you, “Hello, I’m your
new miracle of the universe. Take me and you will cease trying to
be perfect on your own. It’s not your fault. Become a fan of
statins. Statins are your friend. Say “yes” to life and arterial
equanimity. Why worry, be happy.”

But, I suspect I am too choosy, to suspicious of the sirene call of
Statins. Still I take them because my doctor will bark at me in
anger, and my choresterol will lump up in a state of inner nerves.

Oh dear, what’s a gal to do?


My day begins with an aubade to the rosy sun that filters light
through mullioned windows, casting shadows, stripes, hues on the 20
stiff and silky furred pugs all snuffing and snorting their way up
towards me in complete devotion.

Bill brings me my 26th cup of coffee, a yearly treat, as he tells me,
“I vacuumed the Pugs with a silent hose so as not to disturb you,” and
I praise the sun and this husband of mine, whose heart beats are
tachycardiac with my own in slavish devotion to these squatty little
warloads, these imitation pugaparte’s, named: Napoleon, a rather
smallish one, Sluggo and Nancy, he bullish and spilling flesh, leaning
against my knee, whilst his mate, Nancy, black, small determined and
pissed because Sluggo keeps pushing her out of the way. The rest?
I’ll leave that for a less perfect day when my spirit droops and tell
you of Grendel and Thor and Hortensia and Garlic Breath, and Attilita,
aaah my beloved Atilita who wants eggs every morning, spit out the
yellow on the floor and just eat the whites, Atilita.

The World Times comes to my bed, again brought by my slavishly devoted
mate of 100 years, and I note with pleasure, our world leaders, all
elected on their qualities of service and integrity, and finally
decided how to handle those whose necks arch out in greed.

They have created what is known as Pie in The Sky Ranch, and all those
leaders whose underwear probably scratched their inner thighs and
made them irritable and evil, will be allowed to go to a remote place
off the Falkland Islands and walk with the penguins and learn how to
make beef pie, and never be allowed to come back to civilization.

I also note that according to our latest poll of the planet, we are
achieving 98% literacy and that Janabe Judd has one the Nobel Prize
for his theory of international relationships. The honored Janabe,
blessings be upon his mom, has figured out that Africa is the heart of
the world, and Germany the brain, and the States who went through that
humbling, scrape of the arrogance period in the early 2,000s is the
social director and coordinator of solace and welcome to the human
race. He will be honored for his literary representation of the huan
race; it’s oneness, it’s diversity, the parts (countries) becoming one
and their spirits creating a greater than the whole tenor.

Creativity is flourishing; my mind stills at the thought of every atom
in the universe being there for our education, and further stills and
my heart stops because we have finally achieved as a planet a place
where everyone born is a trust of the whole. The Spiritualization of
Humankind, the promise of Prophets and Seers and Poets of older times
when earth was grubby and garbage ran amuck.

How did we get to live through those terrible times and witness
today’s morning glory. I decide 140 is as old as I want to be; i don’t
want to have baggy kidneys and knees that look like bookends to my ankles.

I lie back and snuggle into the pillows, and say to my beloed mate,
“Put on another pug, right over the empty space here on my nose and my
mouth, and he picks Clara, and also Margo and Kaufman just to be sure,
and i slowly lose consciousness with a sense of peace like a warm
soothing blanket from days of old, spreading silently through my
being, and i think right before my soul rises up the ceiling in utter
bliss, “This beats stretching and straining for Yoga positions,” and
then I move into other worlds knowing my beloved mate is sure to meet
up with me shortly, and the pugs will be cared for tenderly during all
their days, because Be Kind To Animals is such an observed saying, it
has replaced the old Peace Poles with Peace written in different
language, and put in parks and civic buildings.

Snort, snuff, hmmmmmm.

Am going to put some recent writing (draft only) this was trigger “Being Master of the Universe Isn’t all Fun and Games

Meing baster of the universe isn’t all gun and fames kou ynow! just for instance, i have to drop my Master language as was my first sentence (sirst fentence) which I and twelve angels on the head of a pin (welve tangels on the pead of a hin) play when we play olley olley infrey out here on the back deck of pluto.

Pluto, now that was a blow. Pluto was a premature birth, and now because of its neonatal size voted by the earthlings or downgraded –
not a planet any more.

I’m disturbed about all this downgrading on the planet. Earth Planet is coarsening. They don’t listen to my messages. The political leaders and corporate CEO’s are like Oreo cookies. Remember Oreo cookies being invented? Such dark chocolate, flaky, melt in your mouth experience of our little cookie eaters on the planet.

I was proud that a soul like Betty Crocker (Cetty Brocker) burst onto the food scene. Finally, someone thought about the little people,
their needs. Well now,it seems these same leaders and CEO’s have taken that gorgeous white cream out of the middle and are just using
it all for themselves.

meing baster of the universe isn’t all gun and fames. You see I am an advanced earthling (whatever that means) and the Creator appointed me Chief Custodian, and I have to report to this Creator every event, small or big. People envy me, but believe you me (yelieve mou ye) some days I just want to grow German Shepherd fur on my neck, go out to the garden and eat worms.