Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

The 1967 Big Snow and My Unexpected Love Affair, at 16…by Robert M. Katzman

The 1967 Big Snow and My Unexpected Love Affair, at 16 by Robert M. Katzman

Fifty-Two years ago on January 27, 1967, the Big Snow buried Chicago and I was trapped at my older sister Bonnie’s house because she had a college party and invited me, reluctantly. I was 16 and useless around girls. Shy and clueless. I was so square that I brought some poetry I wrote with me to read in case anyone wanted to hear it. Girls my age weren’t interested at all.

(Read on …)

Badger State: Getting to Know You…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Snow stories & poems,Travel,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 9:49 am on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

By Robert M. Katzman

© October 3, 2015

 

The munching horses have become more familiar

The insanely circuitous route I take home

Each night a bit less incomprehensible

The surly burly guy with steel grey hair

Smiles at me when I buy gas from him

The beautiful deep brown Root River

Less of an impossible barrier every morning

As I learn the handful of roads crossing it

 

Going south on 32 each morning

I pause at Main Street’s western turn

Greeting the blinding sunrise over Lake Michigan

As if it were a cuddly puppy

Waiting just for me, too

Sometimes a single sailboat passing

Before I turn west towards

The grey concrete interstate

(Read on …)

Snowbound Thoughts in Wisconsin…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© January 5, 2014

Letter to a faraway friend:

I’ve been snowbound for three days now and thinking about how muted life can be when you stay home all day. Been cooking a lot, we have ample supplies and going to restaurants without any income seems irrational. My cooking is getting very good. Since I have a very limited choice of what to eat because of my  numerous and confusing allergies, finding interesting ways to vary what is on the approved list makes it intellectually challenging as well.

(Read on …)

David, Goliath & Egg Fu Young: On Being Jewish in Chicago at Christmas Time…by Robert M. Katzman

© December 21, 2013

 

People of the Book

Wandering brown-eyed

Through silent dark streets

Alone among the millions

Each December 25th

For Millennia

 

Tinsel-less

Sleigh-less

Tree-less

Santa-less

Outside and looking in

 

No chimneys filled with myth

No stockings to hang

No mistletoe for kissing

  (Read on …)

A Second Cup of Coffee, Staring at the Snow…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Friendship & Compassion,Love and Romance,Marriage and Family,Snow stories & poems,Trees — Bob at 2:52 pm on Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

By Robert M. Katzman © March 5, 2013

Snowbound

Sweet coffee aroma roaming across my face

Windows half steamed up

Like before and after the storm

I watch for traffic

But there’s none

(Read on …)

Stand-Up Guys: An American Story……by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

(Reprinted from the original publishing of this story, December 8, 2008, just before Christmas Eve 2012.  I hope it warms your hearts like warm brandy, just like it did mine when this frankly incredible story actually happened, four years ago.

Yes, there are good people out there, and you never know when you will meet them, even on the darkest of days.  If anyone wants to post a comment, there ‘s a space to do that after the end of my tale.  I hope you do want to say something. Maybe you will tell someone else about it if they too need cheering up.  Right now, I believe a lot of people need cheering up.

So, Merry Christmas.  Here’s my little story, set during a fierce blizzard in Chicago, four years ago. Every word you read happened, as in all my stories.)

 

Charlie Newman, a Jersey guy, will get all this immediately.  For him, I know I don’t have to spell it out.

But for all you other guys, well, it went down like this…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Once a week, I go to this little place, a small cafe on the northwest side of Chicago–not the glamorous part–and join a rotating group of guys, and girls, to read my poetry and short stories at an “open mike” kind of place.  This venue, cleverly named: The Cafe, is so intimate that there actually isn’t any microphone.

People are quiet and respectful of the spoken word, and so no amplification is necessary.  It is a civilized two hours in our assorted lives, and the outside world doesn’t intrude in out efforts to communicate whatever is in our hearts or loins or whatever.  By around ten o’ clock, when we are done and go on our separate ways, there are hundreds of words scattered around the floor of the tiny stage, and Baki, the silent owner, sweeps them up.

Every week, one person is the “Feature” of the evening.  This means, instead of someone reading a few short pieces in seven minutes or so, one person has about twenty-five minutes to read a longer more complete work.  Some people have their poetry published by different small presses and they sell a few copies.

There are usually about a dozen people who show up to take part in this moment of culture, gradually, by the 8:30 PM starting time, sometimes a half a dozen more.  The place is so dimly lit, that if after a couple of beers, an affectionate couple decided to neck in a corner, near the bar, no one would notice.  Or if they did, well…that’s a kind of poetry, too.

Week after week, this gathering of diverse individuals occurs and the number of participants is always about the same, even though I believe I’ve seen perhaps fifty or sixty different faces that drop by on a particular night, over the time I’ve been coming to The Cafe. It’s kind of mysterious that the number stays the same, but things don’t have to make sense every single time you get involved with something.

Charlie Newman is the Master of Festivities and also reads his own stuff, but at a speed so fast, no one can be sure exactly what it was he was expressing.  Maybe he’s suggesting how fast life flies by and we better not miss it, but I’m just guessing that part.  Charlie does his bit, and then introduces the first poet, and after that, by some Byzantine method only known to him, decides who follows that person on stage.

(Read on …)

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