Mother, You Need Shoes

I would not have noticed her had the subway car not cleared
of people at Lexington Avenue.

She removed a tattered stocking cap and stuffed it
into a grimy army jacket.

She held a smudged white bag between her legs.

She reached into it and pulled out half a doughnut.

That was when I noticed her shoes.

The uppers had split from the soles; she wrapped
her feet in newspaper and rags.

I thought, Mother,  you need shoes.

I wondered if forty dollars would do.

I looked up and watched her untangle a lock of
matted grey hair.

She reached into her bag and found a bobby pin.

She styled the lock of hair into a bun

I had forty dollars.

It was for vitamins; specifically, anti-oxidants.

My body was rusting faster than a wet Ford.

The crows feet around my eyes whispered: erase us; your
happiness demands our absence.

I examined the old woman’s cracked and broken shoes;
they were useless for January in New York.

She closed her eyes, as if ready to savor a long warm ride.

Maybe she lives in the subway, I thought, like those people
in the documentary,  Dark Days.

If she never leaves the subway she doesn’t need new shoes!

My crow’s-feet said, ’Yes!’

But that can’t be right, I thought; an old woman, alone, with
nothing but a stale doughnut for dinner.

I saw myself stand, and watched as I took two twenties out
of my wallet.

Then I knelt and said, “Mother, you need shoes.”

She opened her eyes and smiled at me and
nodded in agreement.

“Will forty dollars do?”

“Yes,” she said, “God bless you.”

I gave her the money and returned to my seat, and
listened as my crow’s-feet maliciously threatened
to deepen and spread.

 

Rob Goldstein (c) 2014-2018 All Rights Reserved
First published 5/29/16
Revised 4/7/18

 

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I Like Playing with Dolls

I liked to play with dolls when I was a kid.

My dolls unnerved my Father who forced me to join a football team.

The team tossed me after the first game because I stopped in the
middle of a play to pull up my socks.

I hate the feeling of droopy socks; but back to the dolls:

An avatar dressed in the formal male attire of the 1920's standing on a metal platform against a blue backdrop
Test shot of the Valentino character in Hullaba Lulu, a Jazz Wednesday story by Teagan Geneviene on Teagan’s Books.

I had Barbie and Skipper.

I also had Ken, and GI Joe.

GI Joe was the doll for boys who played with dolls in the closet.

Joe and Ken had a one-off in a foxhole and it drove Skipper to suicide.

She had a secret crush on Joe.

Valentino, Lulu and Rose wait for a train in Hullaba Lulu, a Jazz Wednesday story by Teagan Geneviene on Teagan’s Books.
Valentino, Lulu and Rose, characters in Hullaba Lulu, a Jazz Wednesday story by Teagan Geneviene on Teagan’s Books.

I started playing with digital dolls with The Sims and eventually joined one of the online worlds of the metaverse.

I liked to play with dolls when I was a kid.

I still do.

DistanValentino and Lulu sit on a bench as a phantom train arrives
Distance shot of a ghost station as a phantom train arrives. Valentino and Lulu sit on a bench. Image inspired by Hullabalulu, a Jazz Wednesday story by Teagan Geneviene on Teagan’s Books.

The shots in this post are part of an ongoing collaboration with Teagan Geneviene of Teagan’s Books.

Black and White test shot of the Valentino character and the Gramps character in Hullaba Lulu, a Jazz Wednesday story by Teagan Geneviene on Teagan’s Books.
The Valentino character and the Gramp’s character in Hullaba Lulu, a Jazz Wednesday story by Teagan Geneviene on Teagan’s Books.

 

(c) Rob Goldstein 2018

Felique Dupré in the Haunted World: Whose Hell is This?

Persephone plods relentlessly towards Hell.

Great drifts of snow form a tunnel along Union Turnpike.

Everything is grey: grey snow from a grey sky on grey
buildings.

Persephone rolls her eyes at the writer; perseveration of
thought is the sign of an overwrought mind.

Yet, she does consider the landscape grey

Illustration of Persephone made from a photograph of an avatar
Union Turnpike

Alla Saints an’ Mother Theresa coul’na saved me!” laughs Hades
with a puff on his cigar.

He’s just told the story of how, as a young Catholic converting a Jew in Switzerland, he was chased by a pack of Protestant dogs.

“My twisted sister!” Persephone hikes her skirt; that story never fails to impress.

Hades,” she says, “about Felique…”

“I don’t have your precious Felique!”

Nevertheless, she persisted: “But you must!”

Hades relaxes and chuckles affectionately: “Of course I must. She’s in the Garden playing with dolls. She’d love to see you.”

Persephone is confused: “What was that business with the hag in the mirror?”

“You know how the writer likes special effects.”

“And Felique…?”

“She’s a little girl named Trina.”

“I see…and, whose Hell is this?

“Cocteau’s, do you like it?”

Surrealist photograph of virtual reality avatars to represent Persephone and Lucifer entering the Garden
Persephone and Lucifer enter the Garden

Persephone examines one of Lucifer’s paintings and smiles: “Life is like a skyscraper on quicksand.”

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

Felique Dupré in the Haunted World: Headed to Hell

Persephone is headed to Hell but first she decides to
meet Christ in Manhattan.

She takes in the sights of 7th Avenue; shards of rain
slice the sky.

She stops at the Cafe des Poetes for a cappuccino:

“Ex-presso! she orders.

“How fast?” asks the waiter.

“Oh, the puns,” Persephone sighs. “Please stop!”

“Make him.” the waiter points through the screen at the writer .

Persephone gives the writer an irritated glance, “He never stops!
Ex-presso please.”

“But you came in for a cappuccino.”

“But I ordered an ex-presso.”

“Not stating your intention! This is no way to meet Christ!”

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved