Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Noise Never Stops

The noise never stops

It radiates in our brain

In our ears and lungs


Think, say, do it now

Make your mark it’s not too late ~

And help the ‘Children’


Wipe out poverty

Follow the rules, make your own

Be a friend, be a wife


Create an Empire

But never brag about it

Watch your step, people see you


The noise never stops

Don’t do that, this is the way

That will never work


Bombs, gunfire, glass, blood

That will work, join the Chaos

The noise suffocates


And drowns out the birds

I can’t hear them, did they stop?

Are they singing ~ I can’t hear.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Bad BAD date!

I am not a teenager, young adult or even middle aged – I am an older woman, therefore, I date older men. 

Older men that, I presume, are somewhat worldly, have a little style, and are gentlemen.  

Well, forget that!

I have had some really, really bad dates – like one of those so-called gentlemen tried to play patty-cake on my bottom…….oh, first date - needless to say – on the only date. 

Bear with me, please, and let me take you through my all-time worse blind-date. I barely date and this little story will make it clear, why!!

Why would a man, who is meeting me for the first time, show up at an up-scale restaurant in a lavender short sleeve polo knit shirt and khakis? 

You can see where this will end badly……

I have been single for a very long time; my husband is deceased – a most charming, attracting, intelligent guy.  I am attractive, intelligent,  successful, dress well, and have a great sense of humor.

My friends very seldom ‘fix me up”, in fact, they just don’t, lamenting the fact that there isn’t anyone they know I would find interesting.

So, maybe it is my fault, but I don’t really believe that. Let me continue, you decide if you would ever take a second date with this guy.

Not my fault, the ‘gentleman’ in the lavender short sleeve polo shirt did not treat me to lunch, as in pay!

 After we finished lunch, we were chatting about a possible movie date the following week, when I noticed the check in the little fancy tray was still in front of him. In a few seconds he pulled out his credit card and just held it over the tray – hovering with it in mid-air.  

I finally said, ‘Would you like to split the check?’ He replied, ‘Okay.’

When that obscene bit of theatre was over, he had the nerve to continue discussing about next time. It gets better.

This super dork watched me as I got my valet ticket out with my $$$ tip in hand.

Oh BTW, I slept with a beautiful man because he took the ticket out of my hand, leaving me with the bills – he had already won my heart during dinner when he noticed my glass of white wine was not chilled anymore, but probably room temperature since I let it sit too long. He had just poured a fresh glass from the ice bucket for himself and promptly traded my glass for his – letting me enjoy the chilled wine.  Manners work with me every time.   

So…..with my ticket and $5. in hand, we walked to the front of the restaurant. As we got to the door before exiting to retrieve my car, he informed me with this (of course you did) bit of information.

‘I parked in the back.’  He said something about emailing me and off he went.

I had already formulated my ‘Dear John’ letter that I would send off immediately.

The usual: ‘It is not necessary to contact me……’

I have many pet peeves and one of my top 5 is the following:

Don’t come to the game if you’re not going to play.  

There’s always McDonalds -



Monday, April 25, 2016

Love ~ in all its ramifications

It is not of sex
Nor softness of a love song
But of power raw

I saw a bird once
Dancing in the bright moon light
Once more, please, tonight

My mother loved me
Then she died, and loves no more
How am I to grow?

The rose petal falls
A child bends to pick it up
Turns in joy and calls

Bitter taste of love
Consuming my sleepless nights
My heart in sour shreds

Marry me, kind sir
 A nicer girl, no, not found
Tis I, your heart wants

Monday, January 11, 2016

This I Believe ~~

My mother was a deeply religious woman, and never shied away from living and practicing the teachings of the church.

For instance, Mother thought it was a sin to gossip, and therefore, refrained from its dangerous pull completely. She believed by ‘doing the right thing’ her children would be protected from unfounded or hurtful gossip from others. She simply believed that.

 There were so many things she taught us. She embodied the essence of style and provided us with insight to the principals of a cultured life; manners, speaking well, art appreciation, reading, playing outside, singing together and practicing good posture.

There is one principal that has had a great influence on me, and has become a personal belief; it’s taken from a church teaching my mother followed religiously throughout her life, administering God’s Grace in times of illness, merely stated as   – ‘Visit The Sick”, which of course included, the old, the infirm and anyone alone.

Always on her missions she would take one of us along; there was never a discussion about what she was doing, we learned this principal by example - she would just gather up whichever one of us was around, and off we would go to see whomever was in need of company, food, or a helping hand.   

It is so ingrained in my sisters and brother that we just do it. Visiting the sick, the elderly and the infirm is a natural part of our life.

Another principal I learned from my mother: that of social behavior; the front runner of manners and social behavior is how we greet our fellow human beings. Simply recognizing one another as we pass through this tragic comedy of our lives, reassures all of  us we are not alone while traversing daily pitfalls,  disappointments and indeed our most joyous triumphs -  

I believe it is our duty, one to another, to acknowledge each person who crosses our path, be it a nod, a smile, a wave, and ‘Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, powerful words, easily said, slide trippingly on the tongue.

Manners, behavior, deportment – Upon presenting my report-card to my mother, her eyes would pass over all the subjects, I was an A-B student, occasionally the dreaded C would appear, but the subject line for Deportment, as far as she was concerned, should always show an A.

Of course, we don’t grade manners anymore –I mentioned deportment recently in conversation, several adults were not familiar with the word; a pity certainly.                





Saturday, April 25, 2015

David Bowie

A career marked by continual re-invention, musical innovation and I love him so much for his striking visual presence -  not to even mention his brilliant mind, and I quote:

"I'm looking for backing for an unauthorized autobiography that I'm writing. Hopefully, this will sell in such huge numbers that I will be able to sue myself for an extraordinary amount of money and finance the film version in which I will play everybody."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

I'm Writing, I'm writing . . .

No I Am Not

All day yesterday to write, I have today free to write - Can't seem to put ANY thought or scrap of a sentence together.

I read Larry McMurtry's essay he published on storytelling for the Texas Classics literary series  where he talks about 'the woman' who as a young girl was swapped for 50 skunk hides - he saw her many times as he was growing up - his dad sometimes would give her a ride into town - she never spoke, never uttered a word, just stood by the side of the road until someone picked her up so she could do what ever she had to do in town; 'she lived to bear the trapper many children.'

The essay is full and rich in detail as he goes on to tell how his grandparents arrived in the vast open empty country to settle and populate the land with children that scattered far and wide. Rich rural stories, we have all read and loved, like ."Lonesome Dove" to name one of about 30 novels.  See what I mean - I know, give it up, Helen, take the high road - be honorable - just fall on your sword.

His '(My) grandparents were - - potent word - - pioneers.'

I see a glimmer of hope here - my grandparents and parents were pioneers of sorts. Traversing an ocean to reach the land of the free but instead of wagons to reach the far reaches of  Texas, my grandparents  traveled by train where factories were waiting for the men, land too, precious land that would take years of toil in those factories to purchase their prized pieces of of that rick black loam, because like the McMurtrys  - land, owning it - made them  free, not beholden to any other man.

My grandfather and father were business partners, the women were rulers of the house - my mother, was exceptionally beautiful, so young, raised by the nuns in Italy, knew only books, music and fancy needle work. My grandmother, her mother-in-law knew only hard work, raised to take care of the men and children,  to cook, clean, tend the fruit and vegetable gardens. The women raised in to two different worlds, one of privilege and one of laborers.

My mother was beautiful, my father was handsome. My grandparents were the rock and foundation of our lives . . .

(I won't fall on my sword today)


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Florence - Written and Photographed by Helen Martin

First published in the November issue of FD Magazine -

Florence -

     It's raining, a slow, steady, refreshing kind of rain that wakes up my sleepy self as I hurry to one of my favorite cafes' in the heart of Florence.

     I love the sounds of the city: the glorious church bells that ring out from dozens of church towers, reminding me to smile as I pass a gentleman playing a plaintive 'O Sole Mio'  on his accordion.

     The cool and sleek interior of Cavalli's coffee shop just beside the signature store became a regular hangout for my morning espresso or cappuccino, and with my morning coffee, I was treated to another unmistakable sound of the city: the clatter of cups and saucers being continually re-cycled as they are washed, dried and stacked.  The baristas stack the white smooth china with such  flurry and style, design and balance all the while creating symmetrical art displays.

     The whole of this Etruscan city is a museum.  The grand palazzos, the expansive piazzas, framed with soaring arches; public buildings designed to endure centuries, architectural elements that dazzle: fountains and sculptures abound; around every corner, another feast for the eyes as one marvels at the changing light playing on the ancient stone. Florence is alive every hour, offering Americans the perfect European street life we crave.

     For years I dreamed of leasing an apartment in Florence.  My beautifully furnished one bedroom was on the 3rd floor of the Palazzo Rimbotti, which dates back to the 14th century, each apartment lovingly decorated by the current elegant Countess of the same name. I traversed Via Tornabuoni, which houses Georgio Armani, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli and Hermes which occupies the first floor of the Palazzo Rimbotti.

     Leaving my street and walking toward the Ponte alle Gracie, I pass Salvatore Ferragamo's headquarters, housed in a splendid, ancient, dark brownstone palazzo along the River Arno.  I'm on my way to visit the Uffizi Gallery and view one more time Botticelli's "La Primavera".  I pass a performer of street art in front of the Prada store--a lone, beautiful girl encased in white--I saw her several times during my walks around the city.

     The sight of El Duomo with its huge dome provided a landmark to navigate the dozens of winding streets.  The Gothic, marble facade is breathtaking, Another landmark to guide me: Ponte Vecchio. The ochre  tones
of the shops glow.  The Pharmacia Antico just off S. Maria Novella on Via della Scalla enchants me.  Opened in 1612, the ornate 17th cintury building boasts a tall carved arched entryway, marble floors and fine art lining every wing, each one devoted to a single department such as perfumes, handmade soaps and skin care.  A stroll to Via Spiriti offered another memorable uniquely Florentine moment; watching the fireworks display over the Arno, in honor of Saint John, the Patron Saint of the city.

     I visited, jewelry designer, Angela Caputi, knowing full well I probably could not afford any of her amazingly colored pieces.  She was in attendance and helped me select earrings for myself as well as a bracelet for my sister, each piece between 35 and 45 Euros.  Her couture collection, showcased in the Pitti Palace Costume Collection ranges into the many thousands, but this stunning Florentine artist designs for 'us' as well.  I treasure the photo I had taken with her.

     When one talks about Florence, for me, anyway, it comes down to the food, sensuous and sumptuous; one falls in love with its unforgettable flavors.  I had a pasta dish everyday - all excellent!  If I had to choose an absolute favorite, it would be from a wonderful trattoria along the river; plain large shells, make in house, with fresh, slightly cooked, pressed tomatoes, flavored with picorino romano cheese, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh basil. (I did not add cheese. (I did not add grated cheese. The chef and my waiter approved.) I also visited the restaurant, Boca Lapi, just around the corner from my apartment for the world famous Florentine grilled steak: a T-bone, cooked 'undone'.

     I took a day trip north with my friend, Giuseppe, to walk along the Carrara Mountains, and as I marveled at the hugh marble mountains exposing their treasures, I wondered, did Michelangelo imagine David when he chose a piece of gleaming stone?  Most say no. Legend has it, the master discovered his brave David as he chipped and cut the white marble; it goes on to say, the Lord himself touched his hand.

     In Florence, I gazed at "David" and when I could gaze no more, with eyes lowered, I paid homage to his maker.

     Soon afterwards, I said goodbye to the stately city on the Arno.

Ciao, Firenze -