Category Archives: nostalgia

This poem, a sparrow

I remember counting birds on summer mornings,
before the heat settled in,
I’d circle the house.
and count the sparrows and bluejays,
a robin or two and sometimes a cardinal.

A task that kept me focused
each and every morning – on small details
like the poetry now.
I looked for colors,
with hope that this time
I might see yellow in a warbler, a goldfinch,
the multicolored painted bunting
or hear a gleeful song that the mockingbird pretends.

The ominous black crow was not here, though venturing
near the field behind our house – I would hear caws
that echoed.

Tick marks on the page were used to tally,
and sparrows always led the count.
A swath of greys and brown, with patches
of blue and red, and always hoping for yellow.
The darkness far away.

This, before the summer heat settled.

Abandoned

The abandoned lines are welcome. They collect on scrips and pages.

Writing is something that I can not believe I will have time to do.

My first thought was to go back to the place where I was sitting.  For a time, I was simply there and trying.  Gardening, while a gang of robins followed me about the bed – inspecting my work.

The second thought was you. Somehow the verses always came as if you spoke them. You are not here and the poetry can be seen through; the language is not the answer. The rhythm is listless.

The drumbeats of my favorites are thrumming in the past.

I open up the door and get the mail from the slot.

There is a letter from a woman in Seattle, a postcard from a school friend visiting Niagara Falls, coupons for home improvement tasks, and a form letter guarantee for future savings – if I act now.

I write this all down for future projects, perhaps ones that could be emerald and glistening, for poems about lost souls and overwhelmed emotions.  For times when I need to cover. Maybe build a patio that sees the sky or install block windows to hide.

The abandoned lines are welcome, they fill the page and occupy my mind.

On birthdays, memories, and top 5 lists

This past week I celebrated another birthday.  It was a milestone, being number 55. This year events coincided that made the day just a day.   My wife recently had back surgery and is recovering at home (doing well, but still has pain).  My eldest son is busy with work projects and a new baby.  My youngest son lives elsewhere and had to work (though he did call and we had a great conversation).  Good friends had other family obligations or were traveling.  I worked all day.  In fact, this is one memory of my birthday that will go down as being one of the most unremarkable.  For that alone, I will probably always remember it.

I will count the small kindnesses/gestures along the way:  The balloons shared by coworkers who recently turned 55 this month and like to tease each other about who is older.  We now have a special club – and I will always get used balloons because of it.  The blueberry pie made for me by a family friend who was looking in on my wife as she recuperates.  The phone call from my youngest son to wish me a happy birthday. The adorable phone call from my parents singing “happy birthday” in different keys.  Note:  My parents are career musicians and are never off-key.  Greetings shared on social media (FB) from friends and family – far and wide- hoping that I had the greatest day – the best day.   Yet, it was just a day, and I guess there is nothing wrong with that.

I reflected on past birthdays  and wondered what made a day the best day – the greatest day.  I’m not sure I have the answer, but I did dredge up some good memories of birthdays.

  1.  On my eleventh birthday, I received my first vinyl album as a gift from my parents.  It was Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles.  I had recently been introduced to their non-mop-top music by a school friend, and was immediately smitten with the lyrical genius of John Lennon on I am the Walrus.  It would be the first of many vinyl albums I would receive on my birthdays/Christmases.
  2.  On my 13th birthday, I had a sleepover party with 8 friends. I think this was my first and only sleepover birthday party. We ate hotdogs and hamburgers, played badminton, wiffle-ball and touch football, then roamed around the neighborhood after dark – playing  ghost in the graveyard.
  3. On my 27th birthday, I received my PhD.
  4. For my 40th birthday,  my wife purchased third base line tickets to a AAA baseball game in our city.  We went with some dear friends (one each of our children share a birthday) we had recently reconnected with.
  5.  On my 50th birthday, I was traveling in Germany with my eldest son and my father.  We were in Nuremburg on that day and visited Coburg Castle.  Facebook likes to remind me of that day every year and I smile.

There are memories of other birthdays,  but all the things that make days special are there in that list: meaningful gifts and gestures, landmark events, good food and fellowship, and exciting adventures in new places.

They are still just days – though,  and I hope you have a great one.

 

 

 

Abandon

Chalk sun-faces on an asphalt driveway,
drawn to chase away the chill breeze
and forecasted rain.

Bicycles circle the cul-de-sac
blazing trails, pedals flail.

Shouts and whoops
to Scout
to fetch the ball
and chase the calls.

Children playing with abandon.
Adults watch and see themselves –
their childhood, stranded.

Christmas passed

I sit at the side of an aging Christmas tree,
its lights still glittering, the ornaments of memory
and seasonal delight put away since yesterday.

Times of Yule have passed, and a passionate thread
winds with the ribbon, translucent and red,
around the fir’s perimeter, wreathed and twisted.

Perhaps, tomorrow I shall put it all away –
the strings of lights, the skirt with gold inlay,
And finally, the tree itself – for future holidays.

And in the empty spaces that it leaves
I shall remember light and ribbon, though it grieves
that such a brightening emblem has to leave.

Listen

I’ve spent the week listening to songs
and paying tribute to old movie stars.
Ol’ Gator and the Crewe are gone,
the coffee pot is growling on.

The songs I heard are old and true,
yet still they sound like yesterday.
I send them out from me to you.
The coffee pot is growling on.

Ol’ Gator fought the crooked law
and justice served the Crewe at last.
Even bandits fight against their flaws.
The coffee pot goes growling on.

What could happen, which is worse?
Posed a voice I recognize.
Are our leaders so accursed?
the coffee pot goes growling on.

Where did all our heroes go?
I ask aloud – inside my head.
The lonely people – they all know
the coffee pot’s still droning on.

Songs and stories will often tell
us who we are to be:
Poet, lover, bootlegger rebel.
The growling pot has stopped, it’s done.