Persephone Abbott

Fame Comes Knocking

Posted on February 15, 2022

My doorbell doesn’t work and nor does the buzzer. Hasn’t worked for ages, and I like it that way. People ask me how do you….? For a short while my downstairs neighbor was very obliging. But then she went, like so many have gone before, and now I have a downstairs neighbor who won’t open the street door. I don’t know his first name, but I noticed from the mail in his box that he is the owner of a bike delivery service. Maybe he’ll stick around more than five months. But back to the story, some time ago my downstairs neighbor, then a young exuberant Italian woman with a nose ring, buzzed open the street door.


A man stomped up two flights of stairs and started knocking on my door. I heard the knocking, and I asked myself, “Is that someone knocking on my front door?” I happen to live in an area that isn’t really a typical residential area and the residents, the handful of us who are long term, are not out to impress each other. In any way. My area is the kind of area that’s a flow through place. Of course the day I moved in signaled to everyone that artists were and are still a commodity. And most likely this neighborhood will be going upscale, but hopefully not before I hit sixty-five when I will stop singing classical music and merely concentrate on playing my grand piano.


What I learned the day I finally opened my door, after a young man determinedly continued knocking, was that it can take some time before artists get the gentrified groove going someplace. It turns out that Herman Brood once lived in my little studio. A photographer had just written a book about his time following Brood around Amsterdam and wanted to film a little promo piece.  The photographer and the reporter were amazed at my little studio, a real artist’s studio! It was like Herman was still in situ! They were glad that the place was still in the hands of a Bohemian.  It was karma. Herman had celebrated his honeymoon in my flat back in the 80’s and for years now, I’ve celebrated my divorce in my minuscule apartment. All mine, I don’t have to share space, and the neighbors never last.

Herman Brood by Gerard Wessel

Four Poems

Posted on November 7, 2021

 on the floor
 recovering from yoga 
 I listen to the marbled glass ceiling light
 the waves playing a soundtrack 
 from a 1980’s cult movie 
 old world Baba Cool – 
 Only a handful of people I know 
 would probably remember that film
 and today on 
 The Other Side of the World
 my friend 
 buried her son.

Biking Mater Nostrae 
 Plump mound of Venus
 Orange lace legs
 Toffee colored saddle
 Thrusting nose
 Denim mini dress
 Pregnant belly

High heels pumping

 The Time When I Brought Chengdu Peaches to Singapore
 Between my fingers
 this poem
 not so distant from a peach
 Peel it
 hang it below one nostril
 wok fragrance in other nostril 
 Have you ever tasted 
 the swollen peaches of Chengdu?
 so much more flavor
 than the muzzled fruit of the West
 Packed carefully 
 lucky red box 
 ready for Singapore landing
 friends and family 
 urgently feast
 But at our table
 untouched fruit and
 your withering question,
 “How was China?”
 rot then, my gift 
  It’s a Bagel
 Some concept, poem or bagel
 garlic versus sesame, makes me
 worry openly about longevity.
 But I know for either one
 the road is a short, seasoned trail.

Copyright Persephone Abbott November 2021

Leaving the USA Sept 2021

Posted on October 24, 2021

The pedestrian lobbed
A thick gob of spit at the taxi
We were on 3rd, up a bit, almost at 34th
“Fucking dickhead,” the walker yelled
The taxi driver didn’t flinch
Twenty six years driving
A cab around New York City,
His career move from Russia,
Some guy in a tee-shirt screaming
Profanities at him in the middle
Of the street just as he was
Heading towards JFK
About to get some country air….so….
Behind the wheel the Russian perked up
Seeing that cute white Nissan sportscar
Even accelerated a bit, switching lanes
To follow a little closer maybe
Already forgetting about the traffic ticket
He got on Hudson after I climbed in
Tardy seat belt maneuver and the cops
Watching, nodding at me “Ma’am”
As they approached the taxi
Pulled over on top of a bunch of white lines,
Pretty bracelet around the curb,
Requesting a card to charge and the
Happy Dragon Early Intervention Center
Direct off the Horace Harding Expressway
Promising easy access for families
The taxi and the Russian
In moderate traffic rattling
Along the highway
Past the miracle churches and
Wooden houses with barred windows
An hombre in a sombrero on the steps
While Grandpa’s Bus Company claimed
It had already checked for sleeping children,
The sign suckered onto the dirty window.

Three Poems

Posted on August 27, 2021

Germany in August

Listen now

In the meadow near

Old sheep stalls

Musicians performing

Mosquitos dancing

Take up knitting

The suggestion came

For the singer songwriter

Less rhyming,

More sequence.

Out of touch

I ordered

A whatever schnapps.

Last week 

I inherited
music from Larry Fishkind.

He was
a one of a kind
tuba player.

Unknown to him
he graciously
bequeathed to me
a short stack of scores
folksongs, Christmas carols
Copeland Americana

All without words.
It's time
For new ones
A binary orbit
Star adventure
One foot in tune
With the other

Bad Bellini

Posted on December 25, 2019

Jules Deelder, the poet, died. It reminds me.

I was called up one day, one day back in the day when I lived in Rotterdam. The voice on the phone asked me if I would sing in Amsterdam and represent Rotterdam. As the Rotterdammers say “Amsterdam where is that then?” It nearly rhymes in Dutch too.

I was not an obvious representative for Rotterdam. As in I wasn’t born in Rotterdam. Or anywhere near Rotterdam. The voice on the phone told me that I was recommended by the organization of a local opera festival.

I felt flattered. It was paid. The voice on the phone wanted to show the people Amsterdam that Rotterdam had real culture by supporting a student of opera to sing something, anything, on a national holiday. Rotterdam is not known for opera singing.

The voice on the phone was from a radio station.

So I found myself in a van with two radio presenters from Rotterdam, Jules Deelder and my boyfriend, a born and bred Rotterdammer, who couldn’t believe what was happening. We drove to Amsterdam. Jules Deelder was not enthusiastic, he was pretty stoned. The radio presenters were having a blast.

We were dropped off at the Dam. “You think this will do?” The woman presenter asked me waving at the enormous stage with thousands of people cheering and yelling in front of the stage. My pianist met us at the cafe being used as a green room.

We stepped onto the stage and the woman presenter enthusiastically introduced me as Rotterdam culture and erroneously pronounced the name of my pianist as a potato chip snack. We were the warm-up act for Deelder.

A Poem

Posted on November 21, 2019

Wet Noodle

We’re playing at wet noodle

my dog and I

because no one is watching.

She threw up

I limped home after physical therapy

We can be nauseous and upset

all we want

together as overcooked pasta

her body glued onto mine in this chair.

This is a good reality

much better than pretending we’re fine

someplace else

forced to

accommodate secret blows

covert bashings.

No holding up a false picture of bliss

around here.