Diana Raab, PhD, is an award-winning memoirist, poet, blogger, speaker, and author of 10 books and is a contributor to numerous journals and anthologies.
Her two latest books are, “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life,” and “Writing for Bliss: A Companion Journal.”
Her poetry chapbook, “An Imaginary Affair,” is forthcoming in July 2022 with Finishing Line Press.
She blogs for Psychology Today, Thrive Global, Sixty and Me, Good Men Project, and The Wisdom Daily and is a frequent guest blogger for various other sites.
In the heart of this southern city where lady’s wear Sunday hats, eat grits and drink beer in mugs and where gents were once proper, I meet her for a drink, the first time in forty years, young adults then, where we lived up the street from the White Castle restaurant where servers wore white starched hats, served square hamburgers to us on spinning vinyl stools. You’re an artist and youngest and spoiled sister of the boyfriend who first touched me and now my memory struggles to learn how you called me the legend who snatched your brother when we were teenagers, and absconded to Europe, at a time when kids nestled under protective families umbrellas. I was the big sister you always wanted, but now jealous of your brother’s first love. I don’t know what happened to him and I, but I shall never forget the intensity of my young desire drowned in his brilliance and aptitude for math and how he understood the connection between math and music and each time he strummed me a song on that psychedelic guitar he added, multiplied and divided the chances of us meeting again, one day, gray and wrinkled, sometime after meeting the sister he never loved, but, I always wanted.
My Lost City
(After “Oh My Lost City by Pablo Neruda) New York, the place of my birth, Still hear Streisand’s words of glory— the city that never sleeps, even for me as a teen who slept under stars with sexy boyfriends and cars. Each Sunday visited Rockefeller Center where dad taught ice skating they called him Mr. Mark— unable to pronounce his long last name— Marquise—invented after immigration from some French ancestors which is maybe why I love croissants, espresso, chestnuts and steamy nuts from street vendors. I left before I could drive, but now want to revisit my roots, especially with dad gone and the city changed faces more times than I can count. Queens was my place, Cunningham Park where hippies puffed joints and concerts permeated lively words with numbered streets and houses in rows like soldiers, only colors setting them apart, one hundred and seventy-third street— oh the pink shingles dad pained when I was born to match his pink impala— the kid mother never wanted, but dad cherished. She planted a cherry blossom tree in keeping with theme, her green thumb also holding the reins of her favorite four-legged equine partner, always more important than me. She’s still there, waiting to die but never dying to live I only wish her well— planted in the city I used to call my own.
was the place I learned to ride a red bicycle and kissed my first boyfriend. It sits between Jewel Avenue and 73rd Avenue. The day I was born, my father painted both our house and his chevy pink— the only pink shingled house on the street beside the Kazdan’s whose mother was a yelling school teacher. The walls of my house shook when she got mad at her sons. On my other side was Alan, an only child like me, living with three matriarchs. After my children were old enough, I drove them to visit that house— knocked on the door as if it was my own, An old grumpy Asian man answered. I told him I was raised there and wanted to show my kids my upstairs bedroom. Scanning me up and down, he reluctantly, et us in. We gingerly climbed the still creaky wooden stairs, turned right to my childhood bedroom which I don’t recall being so tiny. An old lady and her walker in its corner. A urine smell permeated the air. I couldn’t stay long. On that day I decided that it was better to live with the memories than to try to recreate them.