Alex M. Frankel
This time at the Second Sunday Poetry Series the featured reader will be none other than Alex M. Frankel who is also the host. Once again, I’ll be reading from my memoir-in-progress called A Birth Mother’s Kiss. I’ve been working on it for over eighteen months. Ideally, I should wait another twenty years to try to publish it, since it will get better with time and further revisions, but since I don’t know if I have twenty years, I better try to get in print sooner, and with a respectable publisher who will promote it. If you know anyone, let me know. A Birth Mother’s Kiss is about being given up for adoption at birth, childhood with Holocaust survivors, and then tracking down my birth parents many years later at age thirty. One character who appears very late in the book, and then just for a page or two, is my bio half-sister Samantha, called Betsy in the manuscript, or should I change that to Cynthia?

Betsy was very, very talkative, and I couldn’t help noticing how much she loved her beer. Her boyfriend loved his beer even more; he was an L.A. transplant up to the Central Valley, who, when he had enough liquor in him, would begin pontificating about urban planning, baseball, Eastern Europe, and related topics. She was like an empty vase next to him, needing to be filled up, always playing the role of the co­ed hungry for knowledge about the world, hungry for instruction by strong male figures. I know I’m using an overused phrase—“no there there.” And I almost want to delete it. So I’ll take something from Ibsen’s Peer Gynt: a character who compares himself to an onion; you peel and peel and there’s nothing at the core. I could have said to her, “I might go to Peru to spread the Gospel and father eighteen children,” and she would have said, “Oh! Nice, when are you leaving?” and her big, open face would have looked at me untroubled. I could have said, “Now that my adoptive father has died, I have no one and wish to end my life, do you have any suggestions on how to do so?” and her big, open face wouldn’t have looked concerned or the least bit emotional, and she would have fired away questions, cheerfully asking to be fed more facts and opinions on suicide as she drank her beer.

© 2015 Alex M. Frankel
Alex M. Frankel was a Feature Poet at the October 2015 Second Sunday Poetry Series