Back to the book shelf to tag our next summer influence. Our selection? Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger.LastDAys


Last Days of Summer is 1998 novel written by Steve Kluger. It is an epistolary novel told completely through forms of correspondence; letters, postcards, interviews with a psychiatrist, progress reports, and newspaper clippings.

Taking place in 1940s Brooklyn, the bulk of the novel consists of letters written between fictional New York Giants third baseman Charlie Banks and Jewish twelve-year-old Joey Margolis.

Joey Margolis, a Jewish boy growing up in a tough Italian neighbourhood, is burdened with beatings from neighborhood kids, his parents’ divorce, and an absent father who repeatedly lets him down. In addition, he is worried about Adolf Hitler‘s rise in power. Craving a surrogate dad, Joey strikes up a correspondence with Charlie Banks, the third baseman for the New York Giants. That he does so by persistently nagging Charlie sets the tone not just for their ongoing correspondence but for a relationship that will change both their lives forever.


Your poem could be written in the form of some communication: a letter, a post card, a telegram, a tweet (140 characters), or smoke signals if you can pull it off! Write of your feelings of the coming of the end of something or anticipation of something! The end is near… write about it!



    Dear Mike

    You’re fortunate indeed
    to be there,
    lucky to be present
    for such poetry.

    She has a
    wonder-filled heart
    and it finds hope
    in the oddest places.

    You are like her.
    So am I.
    No wonder
    we like her.

    I wish I’d said that,
    he said.
    You did,
    I said.

    I see,
    he said.
    I’m sure I haven’t,
    but it’s nice of you
    to say.

    I wonder,
    he said,
    what you’ll say
    I said,

    Wednesday, 20 July

    I listened to the timbre
    of crows last night —
    fighting over scraps.
    I chased them off
    into the drizzle.
    Into the trees.
    I can’t forgive
    their charred voices.
    I can’t forgive
    the end of peace

    (c) Misky 2016


    This velvet night with sequins bright

    and a moon reflective and full

    a midnight stroll on cool firm sand

    with kisses of waves on my toes

    a quietude, a mellow mood

    and honeyed remembrances viewed

    through a lens of rose-colored glass…

    I bid adieu to the summer.


    Just listen. The music you hear
    is announcing that joy will appear
    when new melodies play,
    for each makes of each day
    the best day of the days of the year.


    Brooklyn in the 40s was our childhood:
    fear of the third rail; gang punks deep in subways,
    the Cook Street Market
    (now an indoor multi-level garage)
    but don’t tell me the market sounds
    are gone now.

    When the wind is right
    the child in me hears the Yiddish peddlers,
    smells the cheeses,
    feels a young mother’s warm hand
    tugging him away from the temptation
    of just one Greek olive, one grape,
    one free token from the marketplace

    Blocks away on Graham Avenue
    At the Lindy and The Rainbow
    Movie houses Johnny Mack Brown
    and Bob Steele, screen giants
    of the wildest West, thrill Papa and me
    on those summer Saturday matinees.

    In the present now I’m standing with a tripod
    set up for the camera inside my head
    that reels off film like there was no
    tomorrow, only so many yesterdays.

    I want to write it all down: the colors,
    movements, shapes, smells ––
    reminders I’m heading towards
    becoming someone else’s old memories.
    I want it catalogued, recallable
    at a fraction’s notice, to see my mother’s
    soft hands, my father’s black, wavy hair,
    their son jumping the trolley’s last car
    riding for free up as far as Grand Street.

    I want to see you again, little boy
    confessing made-up sins to Father Baretta
    at Most Holy Trinity Church
    after Saturday movies;
    I need to sit you down, tell you stories
    About you all grown up,
    how the subway’s third rail
    still fascinates him,
    how the sound of trains never changes,
    only the passengers staring out at
    time clacking by on those iron rails.

    Sometimes it’s an unclear face,
    a moving flesh blur; still it’s who I think I am back then.
    I pay the visit I owe you so you knows
    this man cannot forget your kid dreams.
    In those early days did I see the man
    I finally grew to be?
    Did I see this man lurking on Brooklyn streets,
    nodding like some film director proud of his work
    or did I see and fear he was some deranged pervert
    or malicious thug out to rob me of my allowance?

    Did the two of us meet in my childhood
    and spend some time together
    or did I learn my father’s lessons well
    and fear the stranger on dark, unfriendly streets?
    Can I blame you now for refusing
    to turn around in my memory
    long enough to spend some time with me?

    We are not so different, you and I.
    I am still here today making up sins
    and holding on foolishly to dreams.
    When the wind is right I find the moment
    to tilt my head and see the boy
    collecting bottle caps, marbles,
    comics, baseball picture cards
    or favorite photos for a later time.


  6. TO POE

    My Dearest Edgar:

    It has been hard to reach you.
    I beseech you to hear me out,
    you imp of the perverse!
    The power of words is in your court.

    Do I need to resort to retorts
    and provocations? Is your station such
    that you no longer care much
    for the world as it has become?

    Remember that night we had that fight
    after polishing off that cask of Amontillado?
    The vintage was weak, I must say,
    yet the musty bouquet had a kick like opium!

    I had seen Annabel Lee, and she
    had no nice things to say of the way
    your pipe dictated your muse. I refuse
    to believe your descent into the maelstrom

    of clear thought was wrought with whatever high
    your pipe would provide. You can’t hide forever!
    That fall at the House of Usher should have
    helped wean you from such addition, but your dereliction

    was surely remorse filled. Of course
    your sadness over Lenore was understandable.
    It was the premature burial they gave her
    that troubles to this day. We could have saved her.

    The oval portrait that hangs in your study
    is ruddy red from whatever substance
    you rendered. But your love for her was well known;
    your heart was tell-tale – you never failed to wail

    and lament that what had sent her to the grave.
    I read the narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym.
    It was him who should have cast
    the proper verdict. The good doctor and professor

    would have been tarred and feathered.
    It was that purloined letter that convinced me.
    Since we hardly speak now, how do I reach you?
    Again, I beseech you. Is the city in the seas

    the place where your haunted palace spreads?
    Or do you consider me dead to you as well?
    Do tell. Stop living this dream within a dream.
    You seem lost to those who wish you none but well!

    That is truly a predicament. I’ve sent
    Three score letters, all returned unopened.
    I suspect the same fate from this hand.
    I remember what you had said in the years

    when our youth plagued us. “Trust your heart.
    Never bet the devil your head. The oblong box
    will wait for your fill!” Your words are still
    in demand. Thou art the man!

    These streets are in an upheaval, although I long
    for a tamer lane than what exists now!
    You remain an enigma, Edgar! I’ve been ravin’ of your wile
    for a while. But left unanswered, I will write nevermore!

    Sincerely yours,

    M. Valdemar
    Red Death Mask Company
    Baltimore, Maryland

  7. Summer’s End

    “The summer’s nearly at its end.”
    “You hush your mouth about that, please.”
    “I must be honest as a friend.”
    “I’m begging you upon my knees.”
    “I’m sorry, I just like to tease.”
    “You know that I’m adverse to snow.”
    “We have some time till cold winds blow.”
    “You’re right, the falls are nice and cool.”
    “Just think, we will not have to mow.”
    “But then we must go back to school.”

  8. What Happened Daddy?

    “What happened, Daddy”, my daughter asked
    “What happened to that wonderful lady?”
    I tried to explain in terms she might understand
    “Well, she fought a good fight for many years,
    but her family turned against her
    and broke her heart.
    So she left us.”

    “Why did she leave us, Daddy?” she queried.
    “Well, I guess that’s what happens
    when the family turns their back on you.
    She really didn’t have a choice.
    They pushed her away.”

    “Do you miss her, Daddy?”
    “More than you’ll ever know.”

    “Will she ever come back, Daddy?”
    “As badly as she was hurt by her own blood,
    I don’t think so. But, there is always hope.”

    “Are you hoping, Daddy?”
    “Hoping and praying for her return.
    As long as I’m alive, I’ll keep her alive
    in my heart, and hopefully in yours.”

    “But I never knew her, Daddy.”
    “She’s been gone for a while.
    But you can read about her.
    Her name is Liberty.”

    © Earl Parsons

  9. via Hollywood

    I am sending you this postcard
    from Hollywood Boulevard
    cheaper than a letter
    to show that I’m better
    off without you playing bodyguard.

    I’ve become a Hollywood actress
    I get to wear slinky dresses
    I am platinum blonde now
    a real cat’s meow
    Never more will I be repressed.

  10. THANK YOU for letting me visit and play with you whilst the dVerse Poets Pub was closed for vacation. I enjoyed the camaraderie and sharing poetry. I hope sometime some of you will come over and visit and I can return the courtesy to you all. I may be around from time to time as poetry and my prompting duties at dVerse allow. Take care all. And summer isn’t gone or close to gone yet!

    • We enjoyed having you, Toni. Your poetry always touches something in me, and your comments were always uplifting. We happy making you “one of us”. Feel free to return as time allows. We’re in our 5th year here as well, so there is a kinship between us.

  11. School Supply Lists, Then and Now

    One tablet, 6 number 2 pencils, one eraser, one box of 12 crayons, small bottle of glue, pair of scissors,

    Dear Parent or Guardian:
    Please send the following with your student on the first day of school. Also please send lunch money. Due to increase of food costs, current cost of lunch in our cafeteria is $3.00. If you elect to send lunch with them, be sure to include the 4 food groups as teacher will inspect lunch each day. Enjoy the last week of summer.

    Superintendent Overwhelmed
    Local School District
    Anywhere, USA

    1.12 – # 2 Pencils
    2.24 – Crayons
    3.2 – Glue Sticks
    4.1 – Box of Tissues
    5.1 – Pink Eraser
    6.8 – Broad Tip Markers
    7.1 – Pair of Fiskar Scissors
    8.1 – Pencil Case
    9.2 – Wide-Ruled Spiral Bound Notebook
    10.3 – Pocket Folders
    11.12 -Pencil Crayons
    12. -1 set headphones
    13: backpack with child’s name written in marker

    P.S. Be sure to ask your child what gender they are so we will know which bathroom they will use.

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