Thursday, November 29, 2007

Diner Blues by Ed Galing


used to be
i would go to
this diner
not far from
my house
and have a
lunch or breakfast
and my wife
would be sitting
across from me
and it felt
just like it
should be when
you got some
buddy with you
to enjoy life
like it should be,
but just when you
get to know what
its all about,
its over
kids gone
wife gone
you wonder why
you are still here.

so now i sit alone
and watch the
young couple in
another booth
she smiles
her eyes are gray
i can see them
because i am right
in back of them
and she is facing me
and looking at me...

i feel like crying
i want to make love to her
i drink my coffee
and keep my thoughts
to myself.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Old Age is Not for Sissies by Ed Galing

Old Age is Not for Sissies
By Ed Galing
50 pages at $5 paperback
Peerless Press
3435 Mill Rd.
Hatboro PA 19040

The venerable Poet Laureate of Hatboro PA is still plugging away creating chapbooks, submitting poetry to journals, and grabbing life by the lapels. From the retrospective of nine decades, Galing’s poetry cuts to the heart of life and living. In this chapbook he addresses the vicissitudes of aging and fondly turns the pages of his life with an occasional bit of help from his cartoon friend, Sadie the Psychic. Always, Ed Galing looks at life with humor and acceptance.

“Longevity” commemorates centenarians introduced by Willard Scott on TV. Galing enjoys the show, and wonders if he’ll make it to age 100:

…then my knee starts
to hurt

as I head into the
kitchen for a cup
of coffee and an

In “A Bit of Philosophy” Galing contemplates life, love, happiness, sorrow, and wonders if his poetry makes any kind of impression on anyone. Before poem’s end, he gives himself and his readers a mental shaking:

Hell, it ain’t easy getting old…
it ain’t for sissies…

now stop your sniveling, and wipe your nose!
and eat your farina!

“So, Where are We, Anyway?” is an amazing poem, simple and powerful and typical Galing:

growing old
might grey your hair
and bend your back

but need not erase
a bright smile on your

and the gentle fond
remembrance of the days
when your life was full
of sunshine, beaches, parties,
love, laughter and adventures.

growing old
only makes you
stop wasting your days.

I’m always delighted to find a new Ed Galing chapbook in my mailbox. I read his work and hope with each new book, hope some publisher will see the lifetime of grit and joy on every page, as I do. If it were in my power, a publishing contract would be Ed Galing’s Christmas miracle this year.

Review by Laurel Johnson for Midwest Book Review

Monday, October 1, 2007

Central Park and Other Stories

Central Park
And Other Stories
By Ed Galing
53 pages at $5 + s & h
Peerless Press
3435 Mill Road
Hatboro PA

Ed Galing's poetry has been featured in many well-known journals and he
has numerous chapbooks to his credit. I've been privileged to review most
of them. This is his first book of prose. These stories first appeared in
Spare Change, a publication out of Cambridge, Mass dedicated to poverty and
homelessness issues. While reading this book my first thought was: Amazing!
His writing style is feisty, honest, touching, and amusing, with an
energetic spirit shining out of every story. Ed Galing knows poverty and
injustice; he remembers a childhood spent in the tenements of New York City
and Philadelphia. Galing sympathizes with the homeless because he
understands that many Americans are one paycheck away from living in a
cardboard box. And so, in his ninth decade of life, Ed Galing, Poet Laureate
of Hatboro PA, compiled this book of fictional short stories that contain
more than a modicum of truth. These are among some of the best short stories
I've read anywhere, by any author, famous or otherwise. I've chosen a random sampling of these fifteen stories for review purposes:

"Central Park" introduces readers to Joe Brown. Joe has no skills with
which to earn real money and his odd jobs don't allow for even the cheapest
of lodging. He looks on the bright side, though, and tells himself sleeping
under the stars in Central Park is akin to camping out.

In "Conversations With Myself" we meet Harry Cohen, age 82. This lonely
widower never had much money but lived frugally and raised two children. He
enjoys discussing politics and books, and pursuing a gentle flirtation with
his lady friend.

35 year old Harry Epstein drives the narrative in "My War With the
Unemployment Office." Abandoned by his parents as a child, he grew up in
foster care. He's knocked around from job to job for years but hopes for
steady work so he can find a decent apartment. He files for unemployment
after his latest lay off. His only hedge against poverty is a $5 bill hidden
in his shoe.

"Once Upon a Neighborhood" is a poignant picture of life back when
almost everyone was poor. But in South Philly neighborhoods, working class
people banded together and even The Mob had a heart. Cops, firemen,
hustlers, and the working poor could forget their troubles for one night
when a young Sinatra entertained at a local nightspot.

Jeff Grimly is riding high with a good job one day, and homeless the
next after losing his business in "The Fall Guy." Jeff learns that honor and
honesty are worth more than money, even to a homeless guy.

Bill Kearney is a 50 year old music teacher at a Settlement House on New
York City's East Side in "East Side Melody." Josh Samuels is his 16 year old
prodigy, living in abject poverty, struggling to avoid joining a gang.
Amidst the dregs of tenement life, Kearney finds gold in a boy whose
untrained musical gift is stunning.

"Diary of a Squatter" shares the life of Jake Summers. Jake lost his
wife, then his home, after getting laid off from his job. He's too proud to
live in shelters so lives in a condemned, boarded up building that used to
be a crack house. His home has no electricity, water, or heat, but the
beauty of this story is how Jake makes an acceptable life out of nothing,
with only a mouse for company and a few candle stubs to read by.

A handful of discriminating, respected poets and publishers have
discovered Ed Galing's work and I've been singing his praises since
reviewing his first book of poetry. After reading Address: Central Park, I'm
doubly impressed with his abilities. Check out Galing's blog, created and
maintained by Doug Holder, to see more of his work. Ed Galing's home made
books are treasures and highly recommended.

Review by Laurel Johnson
Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Molly Goldberg by Ed Galing

*The Goldbergs was one of the most successful entertainment ventures ever, a radio and television show that reached across every medium.

It all hinged on one woman - Gertrude Berg, a true multi-media pioneer. Beginning on network radio in 1930, The Goldbergs had a phenomenal seventeen year run, second only to Amos and Andy as the longest-running program of radio's golden years. A Broadway play and daily comic strip were also spun off from the show.

hello, mrs. goldberg...
hello, mrs. blume

long before television
long before computers
or e mail

even before telephones
and cell phones

molly goldberg and
mrs blume ran the
lower east side of
new york

communicating from
one window to the

the back of each
tenement house
had windows facing
each other

and mooly goldberg
fat and jolly like a
jewish housewife should

alwayd had time to converse
with mrs. blume across
the street, in the back,
from open windows,
both of them shouting to
each other across the
vast void,

hello, mrs. blume, how are you?
oh, i am allright, mrs. goldberg

they would chatter for hours,
shoulders on the sill,
discussing the news of the day,

while the evening meal of
borscht and potatoes
overcooked in the kitchen


Friday, July 27, 2007

Letter From An Old Jewish Poet

Letter from an Old Jewish Poet

* dedicated to my friend Ed Galing

Your are like a son to me.

I love your work.


I have included a small poem,

so it shouldn't be missed,

I am old,


not a reason to publish this.

And how about that boychick

on the Coast?

God forbid

he should publish my work,

like a son to me too

but such a callow jerk!

And mister big shot editor

why do you publish her?

she's nothing but

a cat-loving cur!

As you know

I am an old man

weathered its true ,

and most-of-all- remember

I am a Jew....

Did I tell you?

You remind me of my son.

But truth

be told

you both

ain't that young.

But you can imagine

my outrage

when my name

does not appear

on that page,

and I realize

my time is short

on this

relentless stage.

-- Doug Holder

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Perks of Being An Editor by Sam Pierstorff

The Perks of Being An Editor

* For Ed Galing

I can really
only think of one.
His name is Ed.
He's 90 and he writes
long letters to me
with lines sloping
and the pyramid walls
of each "A" are jagged
as saw blades.

His wife of 60 years
recently died.
He tells me this
in every letter,
but I haven't forgotten

It's what I think most
when my own wife
of only 6 years
into the living room,
if I'd like some
black tea.

Ed's in an old folk's home now,
playing harmonica
and tickling the keyboard
until it laughs
or cries.

But I get the feeling
in every letter
that Ed's always writing
to a dear friend.

And that's the way
it should be
with poetry,

* Sam Pierstorff is the founding editor of the Quercus Review.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Shpilcus in the tuchas


whenever my father
was annoyed with me,
or someone else,
when we lived on the
lower east side,
he would say with
what's the matter,
you got shpilcus
in your tuchas?

it was his favorite
expression, brought
over from the other
side of the ocean,
my mother used to frown
and say, sam, stop saying
it, it isn't nice,
my father would then grin,
and say to her, maybe you
have shpilcus in your tuchas,
too, and then he would laugh
out loud, while my mother
made a face of annoyance,
most of the time he said
it to me, whenever i wanted
to go out on the street and
play bill, or snatch an apple
from a pushcart, or just
go somewhere besides sitting
on the fire escape,
he would make a noise with
his mouth, like hmmmmph,
you got shpilcus in your
tuchas son? what's the hurry? you got all day...
he just didn't understand...
i didn't have all day...
i think it's the ultimate
expression, having something
up your ass you don't like,
and often i wondered what
a shpilka looked like,
was it like a hemmorhoid,
a bug of some kind, what was
it? these days at my
age i often wonder if i
have shhpilcus without knowing
it..i'm always in a hurry...
a hurry to go somewhere...
my father was a wise man.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Ed Galing: Tales of South Philly

Review of tales Of South Philly by Ed Galing

=======================================Tales of South PhillyBy Ed GalingNo ISBN28 page chapbook at $5Four-sep PublicationsP.O. Box 12434Milwaukee WI 53212

Tales of South Philly is, perhaps, Ed Galing’s best known work. The PoetLaureate of Hatboro PA grew up there in the years between W.W. I and W.W.II. These are priceless poetic memories of the people and places he knew in his youth -- Jake’s Candy Store, Porter Street, Snyder Avenue, Market Street, colorful immigrants who lived a hard knock life but proudly learned English and became citizens, and Mafia guys who took care of their own. This excerpt from “by definition” begins Galing’s odyssey back in time:

"you just don’t come to live in South Philly just because you like it here…….you come here the hardway…the way I got here…"

“Love on the Sly” tells of South Philly girls. "They had their dreams, and most of them did not include marrying poor:cause south philly girls came from poor houses and dreamed of movie stars like Gable or Stewart or maybe Fred Astaire…Poverty and crime took a huge toll on South Philly. State and Federal programs poured money into South Philly.

In “progress” Galing documents the results:
"…and pretty soon what was supposed to be the end of living in poverty and the beginning of a new era began to turn to ashes…those who lived there tried to hang onto their memories…but a few months ago they blew those hi rises down…dynamite rippled through slight murmur and the houses that jack built came down…."

Ed Galing was abandoned to poverty, unceremoniously dumped off in SouthPhilly by his father to be raised by a devoted mother. He grew up tough in hard streets, but loved the shops, sights, scents, and people who shared his existence. All that and more is in this paean to an era long gone. Tales ofSouth Philly is highly recommended because Galing tells history like it was, as only he can.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Violinist and Other Selected PoemsEd GalingThe Poetry Collection3435 Mill Road, Hatboro PA 19040No ISBN $5.00

At near-ninety years of age, Ed Galing is a Pushcart nominee and the official Poet Laureate of Hatboro PA. He's authored numerous chapbooks and his poetry has been featured in just about any poetry journal you can name. His work is a virtual monument to America as it is and was. In fact, because of their content and appearance, his chapbooks could be described as folk art. Galing by-passes amenities and goes straight for the heart in his work. In this latest chapbook, readers will find paeans to the phenomenal Gene Krupa and Fats Waller as seen through Galing's eyes in their glory days.

And as always, the poet memorializes sweet years of his youth, memories of his parents, his father's violin music. One of my favorites in this chapbook is "Marathon," a long poem about a dance marathon during the Depression years. This poem is almost like being there on the dance floor. Galing has seen it all during his long life and documents his experiences with clear eyes.

For example, in this excerpt from "The Heyday" he remembers burlesque and makes a valid social commentary: "burlesque died a gasping breath when the floodgates opened and civil liberty took a different turn."

This excerpt from "Retrenchment" tells a too-familiar story of workers in America. It was true when Galing was young and struggling, and doubly true today:

"that's what you get fromthose in power,controlling workers' lives hour by hour. and when they're finished,they spit you out,and that's what democracy is all about."

Whether social or personal, Galing shows life like it is based on eighty-plus years of experience.

The Warehouse/ Nursing Home by Ed Galing

Two Poems by Ed galing

The Warehouse

this is my first day in
this nursing home,
my son said, dad,
this is the best place
for you right now,
yeah, sure it is…
just because i had a
small stroke at eighty
he puts me in here…
well, i cant blame him,
he is sixty himself,
works night and day,
he cant take care of
me, specially now…
dad, he says, soon as
you get better, you
can come home with my
wife and meyeah, crap too… it will
never happen…
anyway, now that i am here
in a wheelchair, i have a
roommate next bed, a big
black guy who snores all
the time,
and the hallways are full
of screaming alzheimer
people, and broken down men
and women who each live in
their own hell… i call it a
warehouse for old people,
before we die…
once you get in here you
dont come out…
(they say the food
aint bad here…)

Nursing Blues

you don’t need to go
to hell when you
just get sent to
a nursing home
any one
and you will
soon learn what
it is
to die by inches…
the one my sister
in law was in
was the worst i
ever seen,
she laid in a goofy
bed, with a
mattress that blew
up with air,
the nurse came
around to stick
her with a needle,
and to wipe her
my sister in law
groaned, when
they put her in
her wheelchair,
she was half out of
it, when they took
her into the dining
room to eat with all
those crazy people in
I seen it with my own
she has alzheimer’s,
at the table she
fell asleep, and her
face hit the lousy
food they had given
god have mercy
the nursing home

From "The American Dissident" Ed Galing Speaks out!

A Literary Journal of Critical ThinkingIn the Samizdat Tradition of Writing against the MachineA Forum for Examining the Dark Side of the Academic/Literary Industrial Complex
Ed Galing (Hatboro, PA)

Ninety years old, outspoken, hate government bureaucracy, and the namby-pamby sons of bitches destroying our way of life. I am also a Jewish man, who doesn’t care if you like me or not, and a gentle man; just leave me alone, goddamn it. I hate the way day care centers for the very old treat all of us like a bunch of idiots—coloring books, and playing kiddy games. When I was young there was the WPA. Lots of drones worked on this make-believe program. I have written many letters and had a, knock on my door when I was 21, for criticizing the city government. I worked on the writer’s project during the war—another phony job. I have served in the army and navy... got out after 17 years with no pension because the navy shipped me away from home, and made it impossible for me to complete my last few years… I suffered plenty. The whole damn world is run by lunatics. My wife had terminal illness and was in a nursing home after an operation, then in a holistic room in a hospital where they give you 6 months to live (or less). We were married 68 years—2 grown sons, 2 grandchildren, 5 great grandchildren. Once we were all young, and family. Now we’re suffering from old age and death. At this time of my life I’ve written over 50 chaps, been in hundreds of zines—won awards, first prizes, etc.—so what, eh?

Turkish Bath by Ed Galing

Turkish Bath

one of the enjoyments of
jewish life on the lower
east side,
the turkish bath--

there was a saying,
if you could last in
the turkish bath,
you are a real man...

the baths were red hot,
steam coming in the
damp enclosed room, that
turned the room into a dark
and you could hardly see
where you were, or who was in
the room with you,

the water was scalding,
but good...
and there were those
wooden benches, we
sat on,
it was called the
Schvitz, and even the
name sounds like something
really hot, as it was,

old men would sit
on the benches naked
maybe a towel around their

pot bellies, wrinkles
bare feet and
smell of fish,
while the clouds mercifully
surrounded all of us,
and we would talk about the
talk about the old country,
israel, and maybe even a bit
of the talmud was discussed here...

it was cheap... one dollar...
this all means schvitz could make
you or break always
came out of there feeling like
a new man...your sins all washed

Monday, May 7, 2007

Jack's Deli -- Philadelphia, PA.

Jack's Deli

every sunday
jacks jewish deli--
crowd outside the front door;
we all stand in line to get inside;
place is packed,
old men and women,
we are all here, walkers and wheelchairs, canes,
no matter, we all get in,
inside its like the tower of babel,
the deli counter smells from corned beef,
the jewish pickles
fat and briny, tempt us;
the booths,
loaded with widows and widowers,
all talking with their mouths full;
jewish language, and laughter,
a heaven of its own, waitresses
run around filling empty coffee cups;
this is the reason
why jack's deli is so crowded on weekends;
it's not the food,
it's the atmosphere.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Videograph


At ten years of age
I was running the
streets of Delancy
and Rivington, a small
boy with lots of vitality
breathing in the smells
of the pushcarts on Orchard Street,
snatching apples from
merchants, thinking: 'they
can't catch me."
And whenever I had a nickel
I would walk over to Houston
Street, because that's
where the Videograph machine was,
by turning a crank on the
side, the figures inside would
move and come alive,
I would crank the machine, peering
into two lenses, laughing
with glee at a man named Ben
Turpin, whose eyes were crossed,
and Marie Dressler, a fat woman
with a big nose, as they hit each
other, and the faster I turned
the crank, the more they moved,
sometimes I got lucky, and
would turn the crank and see
Sheba, the dancing girl, clad
into a tantalizing costume, and
shaking every part of her body,
and smiling as if she enjoyed it,
and I would turn the crank
faster and faster, laughing at how
I could make her shake even more,
and was always sorry when I
had no more nickels.

Monday, March 26, 2007



*summer in the city in the Lower East Side of New York in the 1920's.

who bask
in the warmth

of maimi beach....

swim in gilded
and have someone
bring you the
snacks at poolside--

remember us
those who lived
on the lower east side
and opened up
fire plugs in one
hundred degree weather
screaming as we doused
ourselves with the
flood, until the cops
came to chase us away
and closed the fireplugs,

no one to cool us off
the way you are
no one to bring us mint
juleps, and sit poolside...
I can still feel the heat,
still remember how the
fireplug waters almost
washed me away.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Praise from Writer Laurel Johnson for Ed Galing

This is from Laurel Johnson's Blog:

Poet and cartoonist Ed Galing
A year or so ago, the editor of a poetry journal sent me Ed Galing's chapbooks to review. I was immediately charmed by the man and favorably impressed by the depth of his poetry.Galing is almost 90 years old, a typical American of his generation. He served in World War 2, raised a family, and was married to the same woman for more than six decades. He's wanted to be a writer all his life, but poetry and prose does not put food on the table and pay the bills for most writers so he placed that calling on hold until retirement.Ed Galing has had regional recognition for years. He's the Poet Laureate of Hatboro PA for example. It's only been in recent years that Ed has begun to receive wider recognition. That recognition is long overdue in my opinion. He brings to his poetry and cartoons a lifetime of watching the world around him. He zeroes in on human strengths and foibles as well or better than any poet or artist you can name, living or dead.Ed does not have a computer. All letters and submissions are either hand written or typed on a manual typewriter. The lack of a computer does not hamper him in any way. Many of the best hard copy journals today feature his work.

-- Laurel Johnson is a reviewer for the Midwest Book Review

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Ed Galing: A page on The American Dissident

Ed Galing now has a page on The American Dissident website:

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Letters About Ed Galing

Mr. Holder,

As my uncle Ed will tell you, we reserve a special word in Yiddish for people like you: “Mensch” (true gentleman, honorable, caring, and ethical).

My uncle just sent me a note that you had personally developed a web blog ( for his poetry works.

I viewed it and commend you for your work…and for your support of the morale and artistic ability of this DEAR man of 89 years (almost 90).

Ed was married to the (deceased) sister (Esther) of my mother (Zelda – aged 85).

As I child, I grew up seeing the ‘pain’ in my uncles eyes that he did not pursue a career much like yours…journalism, poetry and the rest.

He surely had the ‘urge’, but not he opportunity…as many in his post-war era – just happy that they could, at least, make a living for their family.

I remember his often saying “I would have…could have…AND….. SHOULD have….(pursued my dreams)”

Those were words of inspiration to me (though he never knew it) because I said to myself (seeing his pain…even though I was a child) that I would never let myself be in a position to say those words.

So, at the age of 55 (always wanting to be a singer), I began to take voice lessons from professional singers/coaches (mostly operatic).

The results can be seen/heard on my website:

I KNOW that G-d meant for me to sing professionally because how can you explain that I would have had the opportunity to be the opening act for a rock-and-roll group that I saw “live” in 1956. Who would expect to do that at the age of almost 62. I had the PRIVILEGE on April 15, 2006 to be the opening act in Las Vegas (Rampart Casino) for The Comets (formerly “Bill Haley and The Comets” – who sang, Shake Rattle and Roll; Rock Around the Clock). The members of that ORIGINAL group ranged from 72 - 82 years (with only one substitution, on guitar, aged 62). Talk about NOSTALGIA!!

I am singing at hotels, restaurants (doing dinner shows) and am beginning to expand out --- just a matter of more marketing…and plan for this to be my ‘retirement job’ when I decide to finally give up my consulting practice.

The point of my message isn’t really meant to be about me, but about my uncle --- whose poetry, HOPEFULLY, touches the hearts of his readers… and perhaps inspires them AS HE DID TO ME.

Keep up the GREAT work you do. Though there are many who may not tell you, I am SURE they are thinking it.

Stan Simkins

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Sample Poems from "The Tower of Babel"


strange voices
not from biblical days...

these are the days
of incessant
voices on television
all day long

telling you that
nothing is good

i get up
at four or five
in the morning
just to listen
to these babblers

with smiling
handsome men and

telling us the
news of the day

and each day
how many died
the accidents on
the highway

the warmongers
planning the
final Valhalla

followed by the
or lady

it was better
in the old

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Small Press Review: Buying A Suit On Essex Street

Review of Ed Galing's " Buying A Suit on Essex Steet" in The Small Press Review Nov-Dec. 2006

Ed Galing, 88 is a historian of New York's Lower East Side in the days of pushcarts and of tenements packed with poor Jews and other immigrants-- Emma Lazarus: " tired and poor...wretched refuse" and Mike Gold's "Jews without money." According to Galing, his family, fit those categories, living on welfare and stifled in a "small iron cage" of an apartment.

Galing writes about his poverty-thwarted childhood in a clear style, short lines, and brief stanzas, aptly set in Arial bold by Dave Roskos, the proprietor of Inquity Press. The cover bears a photo of Galing in fedora and black-double-breasted overcoat about 50 years ago, and the back cover shows old Ed in an open sports shirt. In both photos he is smiling, broadly on the front cover, world-wisely on the back. He's a survivor: at his most bitter he writes: "fuck humanity," at his most hopeful, he says: "god bless."

Today his Essex Street Neighborhood is being gentrified, with large apartment towers rising amid the dwindling number of tenements. The clothier where he bought the suit of the title is long gone, like most of the other small buisnesses that served his family and later drew bargain hunters to the Lower East Side. All that remains are the memories and words of Ed Galing in the many small press venues that have published him.

George Held.