Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen

Posts Tagged ‘Writers’ workshop’

Charlie, the Bug Guy

In Stories, secrets & dreams, Who, where, how? on August 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm


You meet a lot of interesting and friendly people, both among the other volunteers and our guests, when volunteering at Holy Apostle Soup Kitchen. They come from all walks of life and many have fascinating stories to tell.

One such person is my friend, Charlie (we’re not real big on last names at HASK). He’s a six foot three ex-school teacher with bushy white hair and mustache a great smile and terrific sense of humor. One of other volunteers says she thinks he resembles Tom Selleck. Maybe, but I don’t really see it. I met Charlie at lunch one Friday and we quickly became friends. He usually works the outside door and it’s allowed him to get to know many of our visitors by their first names, their lives and their hardships. He participates in the HASK Writers Workshop and I recently attended one of their readings. After listening to heir readings it helped to get to know many of them better as well.

Early on at lunch on Friday we were discussing our plans for the weekend. I didn’t have anything in particular planned but Charlie said he was planning on attending the bug and reptile show at the Westchester Center in White Plains. This quickly got all of the people at the table very interested and we all questioned “Why?” Charlie proceeded to tell us that one of his hobbies was collecting and raising tarantulas, scorpions and giant centipedes which he keeps in his basement. He told us of their eating habits and the fact that, contrary to popular belief, their bite isn’t lethal although the bite of a giant centipede can be very painful. I’ll take his word on this since I have no desire to find out for myself. Needless to say this hobby of Charlie’s quickly became the talk of the table and, after that, he became know as the bug guy to a number of people.

One Friday Sister Cecilia came and sat with us and we enlightened her about Charlie’s hobby. Ever since when she sits with us she refers to Charlie as “tarantula man” and questions him about their latest exploits. He’s brought in pictures of one his prized tarantulas, one of which is easily the size of a dinner plate and he gladly shares tales of any pregnancies, new additions and any recent purchases.

Yes, we all have interesting hobbies and Charlie’s is certainly an unusual one but hey, I always say to each his own. Charlie may be bug guy to some and tarantula man to Sister Cecilia but to me he is a friend and so much more.

By Joe


Love of Writing

In Guest stories, Love on May 24, 2013 at 1:13 pm

ImageFred D. Street read this piece during the Writers’ Workshop Reading this past Wednesday, May 22, 2013. An album of pictures from the reading is up on our Facebook page. The 2013 anthology is also available for just $5 – contact us to reserve your copy.

My love began – I would say in school – reading, writing, arithmetic.  Writing was always a challenge to me because I had to learn how to write a sentence.

Example – I’m glad we’re here today – Instead of – I am glad we are here today. It’s the wording of the statement and the flow of the words.

Writing has given me the opportunity to send a card – to send a text – write to a parent.

Writing caused me to have a sense of confidence in my experiences that I can write about with a desire to write more and more –

Writing gives me a sense of pride that I can write.

Thankful that I was given the chance to learn how to write, to go to school – to communicate with my brothers and sister, my friends at Holy Apostles NYC, whom I admire and appreciate and honor to have the opportunity for expression.

By Fred D. Street

Photo credit: kpaulus

Ode to Eyes

In Poetry on January 31, 2013 at 9:04 pm


Eyes that judge

Eyes that conceal

Eyes that care

Eyes that see

Eyes that love

Eyes that are unconcerned

Eyes that smile

Make us individuals of a unique being

Caring has an abundance of heart and soul.

It’s a pleasure to write thoughts that have a feeling

Of security beyond reasonable doubt.

Fred D. Street


In Prose on January 31, 2013 at 8:55 pm


Sarah spent hours on the concrete patio that jutted from her seventh floor apartment, as a patio did from each apartment on all of the floors, making a stack like jagged Legos in grays and whites. Occasional blasts of color appeared as rugs were hung over the edge of of someone’s railing to dry in the sun. Over another railing, piles of sweaters accumulated as a cluster of people meeted-and-greeted on that patio, sharing tall drinks in narrow glasses. Sarah was prisoner to the dull confines and hard surfaces of these city retreats. They were uninspiring and cold. She found that she always threw a sweater over her shoulders, even in the summer heat. The stones were that cold to her, that bleak.

She didn’t entertain there, even when new visitors to her some seemed surprised and somewhat elated to see it: “Oh look, you have a patio!” It seemed a special blessing. A city indulgence, a sign of opulence and success. But Sarah kept her friends corralled in the sunny living room that boasted the framed watercolors she had collected in her summer in Providence. They were light and airy and smelled of the sea. The yellow throw over her white couch added a pleasing brightness to the room; it was there that she would serve tall glasses of iced tea with bright green sprigs of mint. She never fretted over watermarks on the table or the piles of coats left on her bed. She was comfortable with the ebb and flow of visitors about her apartment, picking up a piece of cheese with a toothpick at one place, inadvertently dropping a cracker to the floor somewhere else.

But she did stand guard before the framed glass door that opened onto the patio. She did deny access, if only subtly, by what might appear a natural and unintentional leaning against the door. The patio, with its stony edifice and stark demeanor, appeared to embody some shadow-side of her – somewhere inside her that was cold and judgmental, that swam far away from her feelings, so that she could not summon a name for them, a taste of them. She became afraid that this stony inferior might surface even in her sunny room, even among dear friends. She began to fear allowing herself to go onto the patio even to enjoy her morning coffee as she used to. She looked out on it through the glass panes, standing there with the white mug in her hand, the morning paper tucked under her arm. She took to surveying the patio from those windows, then to occasionally casting an oblique glance that way, then to turning her back on it altogether, trying to assure herself that there was no patio, that in fact hers was the only apartment in that line that had no patio.

Somehow, though, the draft from cold stones found its way under the door, or through the tiny cracks in the frames. She could smell the concrete, taste its dust, as though chiseled from its hard surface. The place of coldness within her was fueled by the movement of stone drafts around her. She had no one come to visit anymore. She found herself abrupt, almost rude in phone conversations, the frequency of which decreased. She moved from one room to the other wrapping about her the yellow throw, which seemed to have lost its brilliance, dulled to a matte tan. She could find no warmth. She grew increasingly angry and fearful. She attempted in vain to suppress this side of her which seemed, once it was tapped into, to grow uncontrollably, to now be her. The confusion left her dizzy and tearful. With no caring left within her for anyone or anyone, she found she detested even herself. Especially herself.

It was some weeks later that her doorbell rang. She waited for the sound of feet to depart and then opened the door just a bit. A note clung to a small plant. It was from a neighbor she hardly knew. “Hi – noticed your patio was kind of bare – thought you might like this for it. Beth.”

Sarah picked up the bright yellow tulip and carried it carefully to the glass door. She hesitated, then cautiously opened the door and placed the flower in the center of the patio, thinking she might sit there just for a minute.

Annie Q

First Love

In Love, Poetry on January 31, 2013 at 8:26 pm


She looks just like

That woman I love

Always have

When she was younger

She was supine, effervescent,

Witty and classy

I’ve seen all her movies,

Know where she lives,

Know all about her

She walks just like

A dancer from the

Australian Ballet Company

I’m smitten, been bitten,

Ain’t quitting until we’re one again

I’ve had her. I’ve lost her.

She acts just like six good years

Of my life, lived like man and wife

Is gone now, is memories

I was her Spencer Tracy

Paul Coleman

After A Passage

In Poetry on January 31, 2013 at 8:21 pm


After a passage

It is difficult to know

Where you are

Where you have come from.

What was in between?

What did you experience?

After a passage

You now have perspective

And should know where you are.

You have learned

From where you have been

And are a smarter person.

You continue from there

And start your next passage

As you go through life

Learning along the way.

Lois Skaretka

The Best Winter Day

In Stories, secrets & dreams on January 31, 2013 at 5:56 pm


It was a cold snowy day in February. I was not working at the time. I read in the newspaper that the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan was having a fre lecture on Polynesian art. I have always had a fascination for primitive art because I am an artist myself.  I enjoy the connection with spirituality and nature that many primitive tribes display in their artwork. It fascinates me that these people with no formal education or tools were able to create such beautiful objects. So, I hopped on a subway to attend the early morning lecture at the Met.

It turned out to be a lovely tour and lecture in the Oceania Room at the museum. Our tour guide kept us interested with anecdotes about the different tribes and their works of art. One of the most horrible stories he told us was about the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller while on an expedition to an island to collect Polynesian art. To this day, no one is certain of what happened to him. He may have died in an accident, or in a flood, but no one has ever seen him again.

The best part of the day was when I left the museum. The snow had stopped, and Central Park was covered in a blanket of white. Hundreds of birds were singing. I went into the park and slid down one of the hills. Of all my winter days in New York, it was my best of all.

Ronnie Eisen

Something I Lost

In Prose on January 17, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 16.30.22

The young woman sat down at her computer and switched it on. She immediately logged into Google, and paused before she typed in the man’s name. She thought back over the years since she had met him and remembered their time together fondly. They cared for each other deeply, but they could not be together, for various complicated reasons. She hadn’t seen or heard from him in about 10 years. Every so often over that time she would Google him, but not much came up – nothing she didn’t already know. He was a mature man, and she always feared what she might see on the screen. It had been at least six months since she had typed in his name.

She entered it, clicked “I’m Feeling Lucky,” and it came up immediately – his death notice. He had passed away a few months earlier. This did not come as any surprise to the young woman. Death at his age was certainly not untimely. She absorbed this information and grieved quietly for a few days, then began to feel better. She was happy that the internet and Google now existed – otherwise, she would not have known of his passing. She had many good memories of their time together. Her favorite was the time he had told her how happy she had made him, that she had brought him much joy.

Lois Skaretka

The Morning Glory

In Poetry on January 10, 2013 at 9:10 pm


The scent of morning glories is delightful.

The morning glory is a peaceful flower.

Yes, a tingle goes up my spine in this garden of delight.

Would you walk on the green grass with bare feet?

Would you see a waterfall in this garden of my creation?

Would you sit with me under the peaceful trees?

Would you let me read you a poem?

It elevates me in the morning sun.

Would you join me with a morning glory tea?

In my special garden where I go when I’m lonely?

Leucio Parella


In Prose on December 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm


It was a January morning, and a wet, heavy snow was falling. I could not stay indoors as I had business to do that day. I left with a proper amount of clothing and a recently purchased pair of shoes. These shoes were comfortable, which was a blessing. I looked down at them, and I was proud of them for their appearance and their fit. Fit is very important to me, since my podiatrist said my aching feet are due to foot bones shifting with old age.

The snow kept coming down and then the snow turned to rain. Slush was everywhere – big puddles formed at city intersections. Cars and cabs were splashing dirty water about. I walked about the city, low on cash, going from place to place. I started the day with a nice pair of shoes. At the end of the day, the shoes were soaking wet. It started when I had to step in a deep puddle at a corner. After this I did not care about my feet – I just marched on.

At home, I took the shoes off. They dried with that heavy salt stain all over them. I was disheartened. I let them stay under my bed for over a month. Finally, I got up the gumption to clean those shoes. I put them under the faucet and scrubbed them and let them dry. Then I used some saddle soap, finished the cleaning and polished the shoes.

Today there is a light snow outside and I am walking about the city again, enjoying the comfort of these same shoes. Yes, today is a better day.

Bill Acheson