Bio of B.E. Stock

BIO OF B. E. STOCK B. E. Stock has been writing poetry since the age of eight, and has lived in New York City since age 16. She studied...

Hi friends!

A lot has happened since November, but some things took longer than I expected. My website is finally up, available at You can see the pictures from my book signing in Miami, which was really a blast. Further Collected Poems has been displayed at a whole bunch of book fairs, as well as in the Los Angeles Times holiday book section. In June, I had another book party at 440 Gallery in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It was in connection with the closing of the photo exhibit of my brother, David Stock, and I performed and sold a lot of books there.

During this time, I also got my license and bought a 2016 Toyota, which I drive to destinations in Brooklyn. I hope next year I can drive to Connecticut and the Jersey shore.

Please note that Further Collected Poems is now available in audiobook format.

Here's a poem from 2019:


O Emily, how we smeared you
Assuming some Freudian reason
For your reclusive style,
When all the while
It was blindness that neared you
In a happy youthful season.

You wrote you loved as much to see
As anyone
Under the sun
They took you to a man in Boston
Your talent was all lost on,
And your stunning literacy.

One sole hour a day to read
And write he doomed you to
Your bread you paid
As cook and maid,
Then in letters scattered passion seed,
Including to an unknown Who.

No crime by that filial heart
Could merit such a shocking blow
From father stern
And sweet in turn
And so to Heaven you sent your dart

From regions here below.


Love, Barbara

Hi friends!

I have not posted for a long time, but not for lack of activity. In October I had a book party at my church, St. Philips Episcopal in Dycker Heights, Brooklyn. Reading, sales, refreshments, the whole bit! And this Friday I will be off to Miami to take part in the international book fair. I'll be in the Author Solutions section, doing a book signing, then making a little video nearby. In the mean time, I am learning to drive for the first time ever, and I hope later on that will help in my efforts to spread the word. My website will come on soon, and I will post information about that.

Meantime, in honor of Veterans Day, here is one of my Bay Ridge stories about a businessman who served in Vietnam.


They told Alex that his father, who died in the big war, was a born soldier, though he’d have been happy to go on fixing cars and making babies. In the pictures, he looked great in a dark sort of way, and seemed to be telling his oldest son to be prepared.

No one could have done a better job. Alex became a crack shot with a bb gun, then a real gun. He followed box car racing and participated a little. When other boys were playing in Little League, he studied the way machines worked, and got into Advanced Placement science and math. He camped in the mountains and volunteered with the Eagle Scouts. He got A’s at MIT, where he learned to hold his liquor and have sex without babies or disease.

So, of course, when he was drafted for Vietnam, they made him a cook. He would slave in the wet heat at 3 AM, preparing not very inspiring food which had to be dispensed at top speed to hundreds of grumpy, half asleep men. In return, during recreation, he got permission to sleep. He had never cared much about food, but this stuff, to his intense disgust, was making him fat. He got Bill, his younger brother who was in pre-med, to send him a book of isometrics, which he did whenever he had to wait. The Army was all about waiting, and soon the flab went away.

Alex never shot anyone and was never shot at. But his entire unit came down with a virulent strain of some Asian disease, and a lot of them died. He lost his beautiful Greek skin and some of his hair. He would have brownish, rucked up skin for the rest of his life. Periodically, his digestive system erupted, and he would be unable to eat, and be weak and weepy, and have to rest for a day or two.

His sole purpose became to survive his two years and get home alive. Lydia was waiting for him. He would make airplanes, or houses, or highways. They would live in the country and have two beautiful children.

During his last six months, Fr. George came to do the Catholic mass. Being Greek Orthodox, Alex was allowed to go to either the Catholic or the Protestant service. He liked the ritual of the Mass, though the bad behavior of the Catholics and their doctrinal errors had been referred to often in Sunday school. This young fellow was full of enthusiasm about God, and he compared Christ to a lighthouse. If you kept your eyes on him you would not go aground. That was the only difference between the saints and the rest of us. They kept their eyes on the light, and became beacons themselves. Alex went to see him, and ended up confessing to him, though he could not give absolution. Instead, he handed him a little statuette of a lighthouse, and a little leaflet he had written. Alex kept those with him for the rest of his life.

When he got home to Bay Ridge, there were no jobs. Everyone hated the Vietnam vets. There was a glut of engineers. He lived with Mom and Aunt Sophie and the brothers and sisters, and got a job as a dishwasher at a diner called Chris’, an offshoot of Pegasus that recently opened on Fourth Avenue. It took him five years to save up enough money to marry Lydia and lease an apartment on the second floor of a store on Third Avenue. Then the chef, who drank too much and was resentful about his pay, walked off the job. Until another one could be hired, Alex took over. He was so good that Chris hired him at the old chef’s wages. Ten years later, when Chris retired, Alex bought the store at less than the going price. It was not doing too well, and after walking around the neighborhood thinking, he moved it to Third Avenue and 75th Street, and changed the name to Lighthouse.

Staffing was a problem. The short order cooks came one after another up from Sunset Park. Jose, then Paolo, then Cezar. They began to come late, disappear in the middle of the day, drink on the job, mess up the eggs. So Alex would be back in the kitchen. The girls he hired as waitresses were impossible. Eventually he got Norma, who had divorced her drunk of a husband, to come from across the street and hold down the counter. Then Harry, Rose’s cousin, lost his restaurant in Bensonhurst, and came with an infusion of cash to invest and be a partner, and he managed the help. He was an extravert, and customers loved him; the business grew.

Alex liked cooking now, when everyone was eating lots of butter and sugar and meat and eggs, and he could make it yummy and feel the hum of appreciation. But there was always a fly in the ointment. His niece Susie, who had some ill-defined mental problem, tried being a waitress. She would stand in the aisle, take an order, then get involved in what someone said and hold forth in a loud voice. When people talked to each other at the counter, she interrupted to talk to a third person. She took a dislike to certain customers, such as Jennifer with the bike, and would lean her elbows on the counter and glare at them. People began to avoid the store, or just get take-out. They peered in to see whether Susie was there. Eventually Susie freaked out while the family was on vacation in the old country, and they stuck her in a kind of nursing home over there.

Then Adrian appeared one rainy night with two crying children. They shared a single chicken dinner. Harry brought extra bread and salad, asked a few questions, and found out they were fleeing from her husband, a drunkard who had become violent and abusive. Harry took them in until they could get another place. In the meantime, Adrian became the best waitress they ever had. She showed up when needed, day or night. She remembered the orders, people’s names, and the prices. She put up holiday decorations, and she could add.

Alex had a couple of vendors left over from Chris. They were fine except for Black Cat, the bakers. They began to deliver a day or two late or before 6 AM; they ran out of things or stopped making them. Recipes changed for the worse. There was a batch of muffins with maggots, and they gave new muffins but not money. There was a new outfit that had a proper contract with specifics; they called you to see how things were going; it was a little more expensive. Alex signed on with them, and the next time Fred, the Black Cat driver, asked for the order, he told him he was not going to order from them any more.

“You’ll be sorry,” said Fred.

“Oh yeah? What does that mean?”

“You’ll see.”

A week later, Alex went over to open up, and found the lock glued. He called three locksmiths before one said they could deal with glue. Then he called Manny, getting him up out of bed.

“Did you tell them to glue my lock? This is Alex at Chris.”

“What? No. No, I swear, I wouldn’t.”

“Your driver threatened me.”

“Oh boy. Well, he’s gone.”

“No he’s not. You may need him to testify.”

“You – what?”

Alex laughed. “I’ll send you the locksmith bill, ok?”

“I’ll pay it, don’t worry. But why are you running out on me, after all these years?”

“Do you have half an hour to listen?”

“Yes, but not right now. I’m not even awake yet.”

“OK, go back to sleep. Bye.” Alex hung up the phone, and sat a few minutes in the empty shop, drinking black coffee and thinking. He had realized recently that he would never get out of the diner. His wife had Lou Gehrig’s disease; his son was still in school. He collected lighthouses and set them up around the store. He bought a new American flag and got the building owner to mount a new fancy flagpole. Every morning he put up the flag and every night he took it down. One by one, his old customers were dying, replaced by young ones who said no butter, no mayo, who wanted low fat everything, and complained that the bread was too salty. They did go for the Greek yogurt. The cops, truckers and firemen usually went to New Royal, which was open 24/7.

Then came 9/11. People’s schedules were knocked awry, and they came in and sat there talking for the sake of hearing each other and themselves. They exchanged information, gave reassurance, had a laugh, had a beer. At times they just sat with a cup of tea and wept, and Alex let them. The take out line was out the door – people found he was the quickest, and he would say a word or give a smile, and remind them he had served in Nam. That lasted about five years, then things became less hectic. Alex signed onto an internet food hub, and licensed his bike messengers. Then came the crash of 2008. There were very few customers for supper and night snacks; a few of the same people now came for breakfast or lunch instead. Lydia needed 24 hour aides. The kids moved to Pennsylvania to save living costs. It was around that time Alex fell in love.

She was young and rosy, from a family so long in America they could not say they came from anywhere else. She worked in a doctor’s office, and in her spare time she collected day old bread and muffins for food pantries. Everything made her laugh merrily. She had a long neck, an ample bosom, and nice wide hips accentuated by colorful leggings. She listened, asked questions, cared about everyone, and loved large dogs. He didn’t like her name, Jane, and neither did she, so he called her JJ. Five days a week she came at 6 for his unsold muffins and bagels. One rainy Saturday morning she plunked herself down at the counter, ordered Wheaties and strawberries, and stayed for two hours, chatting with him between customers.

Lydia took a turn for the worse, and Alex stayed late at the Lighthouse until JJ finished work. He’d give her a free dinner at the store, then take her out for a beer and see her home. The first time they kissed, he was so happy he thought it would kill him. Lydia would die, he would marry JJ; he would sell the house, and move to Jersey, where they would raise two kids.

Alex cried a lot at the funeral, where to his surprise the whole Lighthouse staff showed up at one point or another. The kids wanted him to come out and live with them. Instead, he took time off to stay with each of them and play with the grandchildren. Then he began to reveal what his employees knew: there would be a second wife. His kids made the right noises, but their faces slammed shut. It was too soon. He was close to being an old man. The financials didn’t make any sense. He talked about selling the house, then getting an apartment in Pittsburgh. Gee – Dad, in an apartment?

So the marriage was quiet, with old friends and neighbors, in the Pearl Room. The baby came seven months later, and they said she was premature, but as Adrian observed with her signature scowl, “She’s completely healthy.” Two years later came a little boy, shy, with a lisp. Then it was time to sell the house.

Cousin Estelle, Harry’s wife, had started a real estate business when the kids went away to school. She had some beginner’s luck, a few bloopers. Alex had his doubts, but of course he would do his house through her, it would be awful not to. He put her business cards by the cash register from the beginning; now there was the promotional picture of his house on Colonial. She came through at all hours with her customers. One was a speculator trying to buy up the block, so he could build condos after the like to like rules of Gentile finally came off. One had rings on all his fingers and offered cash. At Alex’s insistence, Estelle did a deep check on him – he was in the mob in Chinatown. She managed to shake off a couple of Russians with a record, an underfunded rabbi. Then a great deal came along, but an inspection revealed an asbestos problem. Estelle had thought it was ok if you covered it, but the updated rules required removal. At that point, the idea of selling had to be abandoned.

JJ was not very domestic, and wanted to make money and travel, so they moved in a family from Sunset, who took care of the house and kids in exchange for a break on the rent, and lived on the second floor. Juan created an illegal bathroom and kitchenette up there, and a play room in the attic with a skylight. It took six months to work out schedules, rules about noise and booze and all that. JJ took courses and became a med tech, then a PA. They sent the kids to the nearby Greek parochial school, which meant that Alex occasionally showed up in church. After ten years, they finally had the honeymoon – a month in Europe.

In Paris, Alex ran into Fr. George, a Jesuit working with Arab Christians in the ghetto. His flaming red hair was now a yellow fuzz, and his ruddy cheeks were seamed. He narrowed his eyes and said, “Let me think. Vietnam. The Greek cook. – Sorry, the name won’t come.”

“Alex Vounousiou.”

“Of course. Welcome to Paris! Not quite the guide book, is it.”

“Not where you are!”

They both laughed, and had another absinthe. It was no use trying to supervise JJ’s shopping. It was her money, and she was the financial whiz in the family. In fact, she had already begun to straighten out Estelle’s real estate business. Seemed that everything was going to work out fine, as long as he left it alone.


Love, Barbara
Hi friends! I want to report that my new book, Further Collected Poems, is already out from Xlibris. It is available from Amazon and B&N. I will be going to an international book fair in Miami in November to promote the book, and my website should open on November 1. I am also in the process of learning to drive for the first time ever. Very exciting!

I want to share a few poems I wrote this year so far.


On the other side of death
She still plots the ruin
Of the hated one, whose crimes
She rehearses now without sleep.
The beauty, the confounding luck,
The mellow tone of voice
That persuades any male –
And worst of all, the failure
To notice the other crouching
Nearby, longing for a few crumbs
Of attention and sympathy.

And when she finally comes,
Limping, wrinkled, unable to speak
At all, will it really matter?
Something will urge her forward,
And she will embrace her warmly,
Gazing into her face, and laughing.


No one liked me where I came from
And then I found a friend called gun
I bought it and carried it out in the woods
I practiced until I could shoot big birds
Then little birds and then just a dot
On a target I placed in a distant spot
And there the faces of sneering kids
And teachers who flunked me no longer hid.

I went to a fair and found me the kind
Of weapon that really blew my mind
And saved up my money and bought a few
With all the bullets I wanted to do.
And just where achievement’s flags unfurl
I’m going to go in and blow up my world,
Then turn the gun on myself so they never
Can touch me before my miseries sever.

And after that for years and years
People will speak of me with tears
For the infamous day when I was a star,
As none of those genius nerds ever are.
All the nice children to heaven are sent,
And I’m more important than the President.


A man walks slowly on grass
With a heavy rod in hand,
Awaiting the tug on his wrist,
The moment his blood will thrill.
He is sad, for the day is sunny,
The thrush tweedles in the bush,
And children squeal with excitement
By the seesaw and the side,
But he goes on, devoted
To his quest – it is all he does,
Now that he is retired,
The wife and children gone.
Occasionally he stops
To rest on a bench and drink
The soda he brought in a bag;
Then he resumes, dreaming
That one discovery.

And if he were to find
The gold he searches for,
More troubles would ensue
Than he can now imagine,
As he makes his harmless way
On grass along the curb
In the City, where every inch
Was claimed so long ago.

Hi, friends. I have some great news. My second collection of poetry is being published by Xlibris next year. In fact, it will come out on my 70th birthday. Meanwhile, I am continuing to generate new things. Here's a story from Bay Ridge Tales. Hope you enjoy it.


She rounded the corner with her black, colorful cane, saw Jennifer, and smiled. “Well, I haven’t seen you for a while. Where are you going this fine day?”

“It really is. I’m meeting someone to go rowing in Central Park.”

“That sounds like fun. I’m visiting my friend in Crown Heights, we’ll take in a furniture and jewelry show at the Brooklyn Museum. Will you be taking the express bus?”

“No, the B16. They’re messing up the east side with some a-thon, so we have to go in from the west. And since there’s no elevator around here, I’m getting the train at Prospect Park.”

A jay called out, then flew across the street and into an evergreen tree by the coops where the bus stop was. His blue feathers contrasted with the green of the needles. They were silent a while, looking across the street to where the river sparkled in spring sunlight, which turned it a baby blue color. Trees were budding, and sparrows kept up a constant chatter in the bushes by the coops.

A bald man went by with a little white dog on a leash, a suit in a plastic bag over his shoulder, and a cell phone in his other cheek.

“Hi Eddie,” the lady said, waving to get his attention.

“Hi Donna,” he responded, “you’re looking fabulous as always.”

“So are you, may I say. How’s Buster?”

“Roof!” said the dog, coming up to snuffle her shoes.

Jen moved away; she didn’t like dogs.

Donna petted Buster and cooed over him while Eddie chatted on the phone. Then Eddie said he had to get home, and he and Buster passed on.

“It’s funny, I shudder when I see dry cleaning. I grew up in an apartment over a dry cleaner. It had the strangest smell. The vent could be very noisy. And it created water conditions. The tenants sued, and got a break in the rent, but we had to sign a health waiver.”

After a few more minutes, Jen went to look at the schedule. “The bus is ten minutes late,” she announced.

A young woman with a stroller arrived and stood next to her and began using her phone to find out where the bus was. She didn’t leave, so Jen figured it was coming soon.

When the B16 arrived, the air conditioning had been activated. “Hi Joe,” said Donna brightly. “Are we going to the North Pole today?”

The bus driver groaned. “They set it at Cropsey. I don’t know what they’re thinking.”

The back of the bus was already half full of teens in team uniforms; several elderly Oriental people got on at the nursing home in what looked like church clothes. More teens came in at 86th Street near the high school. There were also shoppers, two of them with aides. On other trips, Jen and Donna had single seats on the right, but now they sat together in a two seat.

“Eddie is such a dear,” Donna said. “He’s from the old days – introduced himself the day I moved in, runs over to hold the door, helps with my bags. The new owners aren’t like that. They’re like shadows in the night.”

“I know what you mean,” said Jen. “We’ve been here 20 years and still don’t know any of the long time residents. As for the others, we just about say hello and they move out again.”

The bus crawled to McKinley Park, through Chinatown and into Borough Park, with an almost complete change of passengers. It turned a corner and jerked to a halt; the doors opened, and the access ramp lifted and went down. In came a fragile, white haired, pale woman, clutching her bulky walker. The front seats were now full of young adults, as were the single disabled priority seats. No one moved.

“Can someone please let this lady sit down?” Joe called out wearily. Finally he stopped the bus.

Then a white haired man in a two seat moved over to the window, and the frail lady sat on the outside, awkwardly holding onto her walker. The first time the bus jerked to a stop, the walker got out of her hands and bumped the knee of the young man across the aisle, who told her it was all right, and held the walker for her until she was ready to leave.

“Well, I never,” said Donna.

That was the start of it.

“In the old days, this would never have happened,” said Donna. She nodded vigorously several times, and her dangling earrings bobbed up and down. Her curly gray hair was cut short all over her long head, and her ears seemed almost as long as her head. “Why, I remember once I gave a smart answer to my grandpa, and my mother called out, “Donna Belleville!” Then she slapped me so hard it knocked me to the ground. I got up crying, and my brain was spinning, but nobody paid me any attention. I learned my lesson that day.”

For a minute, Donna was silent, and everyone was relieved. Then she started again. “My mother always told me to respect my elders. In those days, everyone was polite. It was yes sir, yes mam. You obeyed the teacher, the police, the boss. There’s no respect today. The idea that an elderly person would be standing while I was sitting – it wouldn’t enter my head. We’re less civilized than the savages now. They respect their elders.”

Again she stopped, but a dangerous flush had spread over her made up cheeks; her lips trembled. “And how can they learn anything in school?” she demanded in a higher key. “Worried that another student will assault them or do something to the teacher? Worried that they’ll be attacked in the bathroom? How can anyone teach? Worried about a riot in class or being shot or beaten up? Worried about being sued because a child went out in the hall and was raped? There’s no discipline today.”

Joe glanced at Donna in his mirror. The kid in front of them turned up the music on his phone. A woman in the back of the bus made a call. “I’m getting by the cemetery now,” she said loudly. Several people commented on the weather. Jen watched a hawk circle in the sky over the southern tip of Green-wood; she took out a bus schedule and began to calculate when she might be getting the B16 home. Her heart throbbed because she thought Donna might turn on her. Instead, Donna looked straight ahead and continued her dissertation.

At Crooke Avenue, Donna rang, got up a little unsteadily, and made her way to the back door. She touched the yellow tape, and the door opened for her. The voice of the bus told everyone the door was opening and closing. Briefly, all was quiet. The white haired man, whose disabled partner had departed long ago, took a hankie out of his trouser pocket and mopped his forehead. The phone lady hung up and gave a loud sigh. Two teenage girls in plaid skirts giggled.

Jen soon had a new seat mate, who put on make-up, smelled of coconut, and snapped her chewing gum at regular intervals. But Donna, at least, was in the hands of her friend, and the Brooklyn Museum.

Love, Barbara