The Tower Journal

Milton Ehrlich





Friendship

Holographic ghosts of energy
zig-zag up my entire spine
when I meet an old friend
I haven’t seen in 60 years.
He doesn’t recognize me
and I don’t recognize him,
but we identify each other
without words, the way
animals sense our feelings.
Elated to see him again,
I kiss him on the cheek.





The Distressed Poet

(Painting By William Hogarth, (1741)


He sits on a bed in his nightgown
in a dingy attic garret, quill in hand.
A crying infant lies unattended.

An impoverished second-rate scribbler,
he longs for fame and fortune
like Alexander Pope and other writers of the day.

He scratches his head, but words elude him.
His pregnant wife sits darning clothes,
surprised by a milkmaid demanding payment.

Their room is crude, with uneven floors,
broken windows and cracked walls.
Their cupboard is bare, with only a scrounging mouse
and dog stealing remains of food on a plate.

But the poet lives his dream:
He has a pipe, tobacco, a mug of beer,
an ill-fitting wig
and lace cuffs drying by the fire.

A gentleman’s sword at his feet,
and overhead a map:
“Gold Mines Of Peru.”






Your World Without Me

I’m a bubble in your bumble bath,
sweetness in weeping cherry trees,
and in perfumed Frangipani blossoms
in your pond filled with Golden Koi.

I ignite the sky with Northern Lights,
inhabit a piece of every star,
keeping an eye on you
wherever you are.
When your car must stop,
my foot hits the brake.

I subdue the growl and bark
of every dog that scares you,
and join the purr of Aretha
on your lap when you’re content.

I keep every snorting beast at bay,
and send tornadoes back where they came from,
sealing the earth when it fumbles and cracks.

You’re never alone in the world without me,
even when you’re sailing from Souris
to the Magdalen Islands, —
I’m kisses in the spray
on your face as you perch

I’m a bubble in your bumble bath,
sweetness in weeping cherry trees,
and in perfumed Frangipani blossoms
in your pond filled with Golden Koi.

I ignite the sky with Northern Lights,
inhabit a piece of every star,
keeping an eye on you
wherever you are.
When your car must stop,
my foot hits the brake.

I subdue the growl and bark
of every dog that scares you,
and join the purr of Aretha
on your lap when you’re content.

I keep every snorting beast at bay,
and send tornadoes back where they came from,
sealing the earth when it fumbles and cracks.

You’re never alone in the world without me,
even when you’re sailing from Souris
to the Magdalen Islands, —
I’m kisses in the spray
on your face as you perch
on the prow of the boat.

The scent of new mown hay
when we curled up at the top of our silo
for a mute encounter remains a memory
of how you made my soul blossom.

I’m in touch with you
in ways you can’t imagine,
like honey in your oolong tea
when we were in Kyoto


The scent of new mown hay
when we curled up at the top of our silo
for a mute encounter remains a memory
of how you made my soul blossom.

I’m in touch with you
in ways you can’t imagine,
like honey in your oolong tea
when we were in Kyoto,
and wished we were in Kyoto.




Copyright © 2016 Milton Ehrlich


Milton Ehrlich Ph.D is an 85 year-old psychologist who has published numerous poems in periodicals such as Descant, Wisconsin Review, Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, Toronto Quarterly Review, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.

The Tower Journal
Winter  2016