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Stamp out starving writers, buy their books!


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A Change of Scene

Sometimes life makes sense and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes that matters, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes you get the most unexpected surprise gifts for your birthday. Or maybe it’s not your birthday and you receive gifts anyway. Or maybe you simply receive surprises.  The poet and songwriter Marilyn Robertson  isn’t fazed by any such surprises, as she tells us in her poem “A Change of Scene.”

I  was sitting in the comfortable chair —
the green one — and I remember
someone had come in from the kitchen
with a cake — chocolate with white frosting —
and a pinball machine w rapped in yellow paper.

It was the only thing I’d really wanted
for my birthday. That and the set of law books
an aunt wheeled in later on a trolley.
It  was always a comfort to know there would be
plenty of small print nearby.

After that there was ice cream —
And after that I began to play.
My game had improved considerably in the last year.
Everyone called me the Pinball Queen.

But then, well, things started happening
and I stumbled in to another story.
This one has a mahogany sideboard
and four kinds of cheese.

—Marilyn Robertson

More Notes


Tim Carmody, in his excellent piece, "How Haiti Became Poor", notes that President Trump's racist policies and vulgar language have sullied the word "shithole" which used to be one of the all-time great swear words. He's right. It's another terrible power this careless President wields.