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Contributor: Bruce Levine

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Whatever happened to one?

One telephone company –
Ma Bell!
You picked up the receiver,
Attached by a squiggly wire,
And dialed the phone – literally.
You put your finger in the hole
For the number or letter;
Rotated the dial and back it came,
Rotating in reverse, and making that wonderful sound:
Ti-ka - Ti-ka - Ti-ka - Ti-ka - Ti-ka - Ti-ka - Ti-ka
Then the person on the other end answered
And actually said – Hello…
No lost calls – no breaking up…
Simply one –
And it worked.

Bleach is even more confusing.
If you wanted clean clothes
You went to the store and bought
You did have a choice –
Bleach or Bleach.
It was easy
You picked up one bottle or the other –
Either one – they were both the same –

Today there are 7,826 ½ choices!
Bleach that smells like flowers;
Bleach that smells like fresh air;
(I’m not sure how that’s possible)
Bleach that’s like a cool, refreshing stream;
Bleach that spills and splashes;
Bleach that doesn’t spill or splash.
Bleach in colors –
Liquid – Solid – Powder…
Will there be decaffeinated bleach next?
(More about coffee another time)
I’m beginning to understand
Why people take drugs –
The bleach aisle alone is
Enough to torment the brain!

One was simple.
One was effective

Choices are nice
But better left for the
Wine list.

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Bruce Levine, a native Manhattanite, has spent his life as a writer of fiction and poetry and as a music and theatre professional. His literary catalogue includes four novels, short stories, humorous sketches, flash fiction, poetry, essays, magazine articles and a screenplay His works are published in over twenty-five on-line journals, over twenty-five books and his shows have been produced in New York and around the country. His work is dedicated to the loving memory of his late wife, Lydia Franklin. He lives in New York with his dog, Daisy.


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