As Father Lay Dying, by Milton P. Ehrlich

As Father Lay Dying
by Milton P. Ehrlich

As Father lay dying
restrained in bed,
he wanted to go home,
but he clung to a phone
grunting orders to his broker
about trades of puts and calls.
Family maintained a vigil,
reading Barons, Business Week
and the Wall Street Journal
to keep him alive.
His quivering voice, a pinhole
of light in the emerging darkness.
Clinging to the last of his breath
he was determined to secure
a vault of safety for Mother.
While the forces of Darkness
tugged at his soul, relentless
in his sense of responsibility,
his withered body focused on
tallying up the numbers
like a good accountant should.
Father taught me to be responsible.
When I lay dying, I’ll revise my poems,
making sure the alliteration,
enjambment and internal rhymes
work well enough for publication.
I’ll keep reading what old Ez taught me
at Ezuversity about how to write poetry
until my eyes give out and I disappear.
Entwined by blood of my blood,
a strike price of love endures.
Father will always be my King
even though we walk divergent roads.

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D. is an 86-year-old psychologist. He is also a Korean War veteran who has published many poems in periodicals such as the Wisconsin Review, Descant, Toronto Quarterly Review, Chariton Review, Vox Poetica, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.

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Perrin’s Marine Villa, by Milton P. Ehrlich

Perrin’s Marine Villa
by Milton P. Ehrlich

Mabel is sequestered
in a well vacuumed room.
There’s not even a handful of mirth
in this house.

A whiff of flatulent air greets her guests.

Her glittering faux diamond earrings
make her look like a frumpy old woman
holding court as she sits on a stuffed chair
with her swollen feet elevated
on a Moroccan hassock.

She wants to go home,
not play any more bingo,
but forgot where she lives,
though an aerial photo of her house
hangs on the wall.

Neighbors who visit, still tease her
for being “from away”.

A young Nova Scotia soldier,
once a fine mate
peers down from her dresser in a resolute gaze.

Jesus hangs nearby rising
from the dead
behind rolling white-caps in a turquoise sea.

No one wants a one-way ticket
for the parting of flesh,
waiting for your name
to be written in stone.

Sent to their rooms
like misbehaving children,
they wait for an announcement
for their hour of departure,
a journey to the world beyond.

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D. is an 86-year-old psychologist. He is also a Korean War veteran who has published many poems in periodicals such as the Wisconsin Review, Descant, Toronto Quarterly Review, Chariton Review, Vox Poetica, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead, by Milton P. Ehrlich

I’ll Eat When I’m Dead
by Milton P. Ehrlich

Who has time to eat?
Ravenous for feeling alive,
I leap out of bed
at the first ray of light
to catch the rising sun—
see as many falling stars,
Northern Lights
and rainbow omens
that I can see,
and delight
in toddler’s laughter—
let alone all the books
I haven’t yet read.
And don’t forget
the touches and caresses—
the magnificence
of creative lovemaking—
there’s still positions
in the Kama Sutra
I want to try,
and countries to visit,
seas to sail,
bubbly prosecco sips,
honeysuckle sniffs,
and music—
don’t get me started—
I’ll be blowing my trumpet
instead of ringing the bell
when I reach the locked door
to the world beyond.

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D. is an 86-year-old psychologist. He is also a Korean War veteran who has published many poems in periodicals such as the Wisconsin Review, Descant, Toronto Quarterly Review, Chariton Review, Vox Poetica, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.

I Practice Dying, by Milton P. Ehrlich

I Practice Dying
by Milton P. Ehrlich

Every time I suffer a bout of pneumonia,
I begin to count my last breaths.
In the army I cooled my feverish head
on the cold iron bar of the infirmary bed.

Since most of my friends
are dying, dead or demented,
I figure it will soon be time
for me to be getting cemented.

My family nags me to consult doctors,
but I’m a follower of Voltaire,
who proclaimed: The art of medicine
is to amuse the patient while nature
cures the disease and the Doctor collects the fee
.

I knock on the door of Mother Nature’s home.
A neatly-dressed guard from the penguin corp
informs me Mother Nature is tired and worried.
She wears a secondhand housedress
revealing two warm moons of breasts.

She warns me:
Swarming stars have been squawking all night:
OUR EARTH IS FOR SALE!

If she’s anything like my mother,
I can charm her with a pair of chocolate eclairs
and a montage of all whoever loved me.
I rhapsodize her with my best poems.

Since there’s no way to get out of here alive,
I carry a lifetime supply of plasma for my soul.
My plan is to never be fully dead after I die.

As Father wrestled with a lymphoma-ravaged body,
I remember how cold his hands became
as soon as he breathed his final breath.

I monitor the declining temperature of my hands.

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D. is an 86-year-old psychologist. He is also a Korean War veteran who has published many poems in periodicals such as the Wisconsin Review, Descant, Toronto Quarterly Review, Chariton Review, Vox Poetica, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.

HOW I FEEL ABOUT MY LIFE COMING TO AN END WHEN IT’S COMING TO AN END, by Milton P. Ehrlich

HOW I FEEL ABOUT MY LIFE
COMING TO AN END
WHEN IT’S COMING TO AN END

by Milton P. Ehrlich

At the age of 85,
it feels like my life is over.
The rest is just gravy—
nothing but an encore.
My audience can’t stop
yelling Bravo!, Bravissimo!
I’ve taken my final bows,
saunter off stage to take
a peek and catch a glimpse
of those who still
remain standing and
can’t stop applauding.

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D. is an 86-year-old psychologist. He is also a Korean War veteran who has published many poems in periodicals such as the Wisconsin Review, Descant, Toronto Quarterly Review, Chariton Review, Vox Poetica, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.