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‘Packed and ready to go out of this world’ and other poems by Milton P. Ehrlich

By: Milton P. Ehrlich


Lovebirds sit on their suitcases
waiting for their wings to sprout.
They listen to a melancholy melody
in a minor key planting seeds of love.
They carry a supply of dark chocolate,
a magnum of Cabernet Sauvignon wine,
a double cream brie soft-ripened round,
and a Rukaza silicone hot-water bottle.
Under the white sheen of a full moon
their backs begin to swell with buds
unfurling of newly formed angel wings.
Radiant and winged, they fly away
to transmigrate in the crisp night air.



We would all feel more alive—live in the enormous present
with remarkable attentiveness if we were all a little Black.
The enemy of the people may be Whitey,
digitalized nerds—deadened, gum-chewing vibe-suckers
who are flat-footed and reek of halitosis.
They play with a loaded deck, use counterfeit money,
and secretly invade our privacy.
I have no use for “data voodoo dolls”—tech doesn’t know,
the sun’s a star and will not rise forever.
Hold on to your hat for the ride of a lifetime.



I can no longer tell the day of the week
or recall what I had for breakfast
or remember Sacco and Vanzetti?
I watch a fly zigzag on my window
struggling to find a way outdoors.
I keep looking at the clock on the wall
waiting for this long day to be over.
I rock back and forth in a rocking chair
with my black Burmese cat on my lap.
I chew tobacco like a cow chewing its cud
while humming songs from the 1930’s.
I must be waiting for a bus or a train¬—
but I don’t know where I’m going
or who might be coming with me.
I’m told I’ll be the first to find out.
I just hope they bring my spittoon.



Four Roses—a congregation of flowers,
never smelled so sweet, until its drained
to the last drop. Beware of a man that doesn’t
relish the pleasure of a smooth, stiff drink.
I will have fascinating stories to tell
about the women under the influence
who moved their hips like go-go girls.
Amorous encounters—both consenting
and assaultive, without a hint of mercy.
“Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker”
to reveal the face behind the mask.
The tough get tougher—the maudlin weep.
Cops, guilty of hitting their wives and hitting
the bottle, get drunk and kill themselves.
Don’t wear black when you say goodbye—
rusting memory clings to the bones.
Grief unites us.



Everyone was hungry as a grizzly
emerging from long hibernation
on a sub-zero September morning.
We waited on a long line of fishermen
under the Sturgeon bridge for the eels
at Kiln’s Bay to swarm across the road.
My friend, Jim Creed signaled me
to follow him to the azaleas behind his silo.
Crouching down, we snuck around to meet
Leonard Smith, who broke off chunks
of frozen mackerel fillets with his thumb and forefinger.
We chewed with gusto as our hunger pangs subsided.
Leonard wore his WWII bomber jacket, emblazoned
with the motto: Life is fragile, handle with care.


Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 88-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published poems in, The Antigonish Review, London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.

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