Poems From

Stealing Cherries

Massage in Luxor

i spent the day tomb-hopping from Tutankhamen to Cleopatra, Ramses to Nefertari, every bone in my body aching with glories of history. back at the hotel oasis, away from temples and pharaohs, i decided to treat myself to an aroma therapy massage. a masculine arabic man at the spa took me into the backroom that smelled of cinnamon and nutmeg, put on chimes music, softly almost whispering asked me to undress, lie down on the table and cover myself with a towel. in slow soothing strokes he rubbed jasmine, almond, lavender on my spine, neck, preaching that these oils extracted from plants are the soul of the plant, now i will become light and carefree, like the plant. suddenly the lights in the room went out, the entire oasis turned ebony black, the man started screaming, waving his illuminated cell phone in my face, please don’t be afraid it’s just a black-out. i tried to get up to reassure him i am not afraid, my towel slipping to the floor. he backed into a corner, shaking senselessly, you stay away from me American woman.


we heard about the beach on the other side of the resort, the sign prohibiting all photographs, the mandate to remove clothing at the gate within thirty seconds, or leave immediately. the nudists, we were not like those people, polite and proper we stayed on the prude beach in our bathing suits, discussing politics and the importance of potpourri. by sundown we knew that there would always be just the two of us on this deserted island, as if in the aftermath of a catastrophe, we were the only remaining humans. somewhere out there, hundreds and hundreds of people sporting nothing but sunscreen, sunglasses, sombreros played volleyball, water badminton, ping pong in pairs, legs, arms, balls, breasts, some silicon, some drooping, swinging in a liberated dance of limbs, a return to ancestral truths. we spat on our principles, we embraced those people, we became those people, for the next eight days we wore nakedness, like a luxurious Burberry coat. when it was over, stranded at the Montego Bay airport it pinched our eyes to see all those fully dressed people, and every inseam, every cross-stitch felt like a cut of a blade, fabric, like sandpaper

Childhood Friend

they warned me about her, the prettiest little girl on our street, she was now a drug addict, a drunk, messy divorce, house full of thugs, mother’s throat slit at a party, they barely saved her. i went to our playground, listened to the echo of all-important girlish gossip, the secrets of childhood sweethearts. i called, asked her to come downstairs for a minute, a surprise, she sent her boyfriend to check it out and when he saw that there was no jeep of kidnappers waiting outside, she came, my bosom friend, my partner in crimes of discovering lipstick, skeletal, with blood-shot eyes and yellow fingertips, a lip mustache, smelling of vodka at four in the afternoon. we sat on the bench next to the orange seesaw and the tire swings, twenty years since we had seen each other last, she held my hand, wavering between recognition and forgetfulness. it was her birthday, her mother, a scarf tied around her neck, kept shrieking out that it was time to make the salad, serve the herring. we exchanged our numbers, certain that i will never call and she will lose that piece of paper before she makes it past the monkey bars

Written in the style of Sholem Aleichem meets Sex and The City, 74 hilarious stories, each story is 150 to 300 words - it has a plot, a conflict, a lesson, a whole lot of humor and a full spectrum of characters. Whether she's writing an engaging account of childhood memories from the Ukraine ("Otlichnitsa"), her family's quixotic immigration experiences ("Welcome to America"), or current romantic misadventures ("Curious Things at the W Hotel"), with a unique voice and sharp eye for detail, award-winning author Marina Rubin reveals the triumphant absurdities of contemporary times.


Paperback 80 pages
Publisher: Manic D Press, Inc: 1st edition (October 15, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1933149809
ISBN-13: 978-1933149806