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.”

 

groundhog day

The sun lurks past coldly,
an estranged friend
sneaking by
on the opposite sidewalk
avoiding eye contact
behind a turned-up collar of silhouetted buildings.
He hangs in other hemispheres these days.
I must be last season’s affair,
if he thinks of me at all.

The day opens her doors only briefly,
pulling in her awning
as schools let out,
flipping her sign to “closed”
as the shadows grow long on the sidewalk,
slipping onto the bus before rush hour.
I pass her grated storefront
on my way to and from work,
wondering if she’s gone out of business.

The papers pile on my desk,
layers moldering together,
settling into impenetrable strata,
insurmountable mounds.
I should have raked them into manageable heaps
and burned them back when they first fell there.
I cannot begin to make sense of them.
They are past their deadlines
waiting as mulch for the crocuses.

James J. Kempster, 2000