symphony

 

city dawn sq

It starts with a soft hiss
in the dark
that percolates into a jangle
like chains
being pulled through pipes
which, in turn,
complain
of growing pains
with loud clanks and bangs
as they learn
again
to radiate heat.

The sheets
and the dog are warm.
The bathroom tiles will take
a little longer to comply.
I lie awake and watch
the dark blue silhouetted peeks
wink open
as windows light
one-by-one
to the rhythm
of my radiator
symphony.

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marcello’s lullaby

Marcello and me

Oh, how I love my sweet ‘Cello bello boy!
I love him right up!
Did you meet my sweet ‘Cello bello boy?
That rascally pup!
How I love Marcello.
How I love Marcello.
How I love my sweet ‘Cello boy.

On the street, my sweet ‘Cello bello boy
is growly and gruff.
If you greet my sweet ‘Cello bello boy,
he’s rowdy and rough.
But at home, Marcello
is my sweet Marcello.
How I love my sweet ‘Cello boy.

See him run, with his feet flying, ‘Cello boy,
a bounce in his tail,
and the wind ‘neith the ears of my ‘Cello boy,
like wings on a sail!
On the run, Marcello.
(Cutest bun, Marcello!)
How I love my sweet ‘Cello boy.

Go to sleep, my sweet ‘Cello bello boy,
and dream of a day
when the squirrels and the wheels, ‘Cello bello boy,
have all spun away.
Go to sleep, Marcello.
Dream sweet dreams, Marcello..
How I love my sweet ‘Cello boy.

Lyrics by Jim Kempster, based on the melody of a waltz by Vince Guaraldi.

Instrumentals don’t stand a chance with me. I memorize the melodies and my brain immediately attaches words to the notes, sometime random, sometimes rude, sometimes entire lyrics, as they have here. Vince Guaraldi’s classic album “A Charlie Brown Christmas” was re-released by Fantasy Records in 2012 with a couple lovely melodies from other Peanuts Specials, one of which is the “Great Pumpkin Waltz.” That melody was the inspiration for “Marcello’s Lullaby.”

 

my trip with burt reynolds

Burt Reynolds Deliverance_why

I fell in love with Burt Reynolds in 1972 on a CYO field trip.

An eighth grader at the time, I was too young to wonder why the Catholic Youth Organization of St. Catherine’s Church in Kansas City had included among their schedule of mixers and amusement park field trips, a few outings to the local theater for first-run films like Deliverance and Cabaret.

Continue reading “my trip with burt reynolds”

face lifting

AgeMachine1500

Sometime in the 1970s, when cosmetic surgery was first being discussed on the nightly news as an elective procedure for those who could afford its extravagant price tag, my sisters who were gathered around the black-and-white TV in the kitchen dismissed the idea completely.

“I’d never do that,” they scoffed, extolling the ’70s all-natural look, “when I grow old, I want to do it gracefully—like Lauren Bacall.” They always referenced someone like Lauren Bacall (who only would have been in her fifties at the time), never Aunt Bea or Granny from the Beverley Hillbillies or any of the other women that most of the population ages into resembling.

At that point in the conversation, my mother turned from the kitchen sink with a wistful smile. “I don’t know,” she interrupted, “look at this.” Continue reading “face lifting”

history lesson

Cleaning out
is history research,
an archeological dig,
each layer revealing
moments from the past
weeks,
then months,
then years,
—what mattered at the time.

While cleaning out the garage
I found a wad of bread
some creature had stashed
between summer cushions
with dust, leaves, twigs
—an abandoned nest
built upon the boxes
we brought with us
intending to repair
an even more
ancient
past.

 

discombobulated

I woke completely confused, an hour before the alarm this morning. Although I’m already a week into my new job, I startled from my sleep unsure of what day my new employers were expecting me to start working.

This came after two busy days in Rhode Island helping Bob get the house closer to ready for sale, bookended by two three-and-a-half-hour train rides (which explain why we didn’t visit New York as often as we had intended when we moved to Providence), plus the added hour subways between Penn Station and Bed-Sty.

I was discombobulated much of the weekend in Providence. As I was falling asleep on Saturday night, back in my own bed with Bob and our dog Marcello by my side, I had been scrolling through Manhattan apartment listings on my phone. For a few seconds I wondered if I could make an open house or two before I met my train the next day. I had to remind myself that I was in Providence currently, and wouldn’t be back in New York until after my train.

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missed connections: losing my iphone as i leave new york

“How is that phone even working?” The fourteen-year-old son of our friend in Paris asked, staring across the bistro table at my iPhone with the kind of casual disdain that French teenagers have perfected.

He was right, of course (as all those French teenagers usually are). My iPhone’s battery had overheated and expanded, pushing up against the screen, which had detached around the edges along the top. It being a work phone, I could have turned it in for a replacement, but knowing I would be leaving the university in six weeks, I didn’t want to go through the hassle, despite risking the loss of all service and connection while on vacation in Europe.

Continue reading “missed connections: losing my iphone as i leave new york”

quiet sadness on the pope’s visit

As a person who cares deeply about ending poverty and its systemic causes, as well as reversing the disastrous consequences of climate change, I know I should remain silent.

I should tuck my personal feelings into my vest pocket, keep a low-profile, and roundly support the lovefest that has been unfolding here in the United States for Pope Francis during his visit.

But I’m conflicted.

And I’m tired.

Continue reading “quiet sadness on the pope’s visit”