December always comes last 2.0

December update 2019-   Your ghost at the door knocks again

Greenport Christmas 1967

 

I’m walking next to my father

on a chilly, but clear Christmas Eve

down to the movie theater

just past supper time

under a brilliant canopy of stars.

 

The sidewalks are hard solid grey

cracked and buckled slabs.

We walk the mile

side by side

as we always have.

We have been doing this

since I learned to walk

and was able to keep up.

Tonight I’m going down to work with him.

Pre C-Mas 2012 041 This oneThe town glows silently tonight

The storefronts decorated.

We pass swiftly the last few blocks

down to the other end of town.

 

We can’t be late to start the show on time.

 

We stand in front of the darkened theater

as he fishes his keys out to unlock the lobby doors…

He has them attached on a long silver chain

There are a lot on the ring….

 

As I stand next to him searching for the right one

I can smell the low tide bay a block away

in the cool night air.

 

Once inside the theater is dark…

 

He goes in the office and I hear the snap of the circuit breaker

relays bringing to life the light the Deco Movie Palace

 

The orange chasers on the huge marquee dance in a mad circle

outside in the Christmas eve night.

The movie theater is alive.

Gushes great sighs of forced warm air.

The crowd is sparse.

I sit up in the near empty

orchestra/lodge in the front row

of the one thousand seat house

eating popcorn and drinking coke

and watch a comedy farce

that I hardly understand.

Even the second time.

I sit through the two showings..

the Seven and the Nine PM.

 

There are even less people for the last showing.

 

A little after eleven I watch my Dad

kill all the lights

with the same circuit breaker snap

sequence.

I watch the movie theater go back to sleep.

 

We ride home with Jimmy D

the projectionist

in his work van.

I sit in the back with all the tools

on a overturned milk carton.

 

He smokes cigars

and barks a hard husky throaty laugh

as he farts

which makes him laugh harder…

 

I like him

and the sound of his laughter

but I hope when I grow up

I don’t find that stink as funny

as he and my Dad do.

 

He pulls up

in front of our house

near the Sound Bluffs.

 

As the engine idles

They talk in the front.

I ask if I can go inside.

I’m sleepy.

Need to go to bed.

It’s Christmas eve

and I’m 12.

Too old for Santa

but not my dad.

 

12/07

 

 

 

 

 

Cool Whip June Christmas

Could anything

look much better

than a white plastic

former Cool Whip

container presently

filled to the brim

with old-fashioned

glass shelled peanut

sized multicolored

electric red, green,

orange, purple

Christmas bulbs just sitting

there on the workbench

out in garage

on a brilliant June evening

ending so slowly

the longest day of the half

disappeared year as a gentle twilight

shroud of dusk descends

so slowly ushering in another

fragile fleeting gift of Summer?

 

Except you.

 

Nor’easter for Christmas

(for Monk)

And he started

talking in

back alley doorways

with a mug full

of parking lot teeth

as the gale wound

up her fist from

the east and positively

dared him to jump

across four feet of lapping blackness

from the aft deck

to the floating dock

gleaming slick in salt water ice

to square of that drag line.

 

Of course he did it.

 

Now the red and green

of the old Claudio’s

liquor sign flickers,

buzzes and glows

around his head like

sucker punch halo

as the flags up on top

of the poles

sport boners.

 

 

Of course

he did it.

7/07

 

*

iStock_000004726670XSmall

Serial Visits

*

The whistle is the period
in this motion sentence.
Punctuating movement
calling cooling coffee steam
escaping gray minuet figure 8s
in a rocking cardboard tray.

Go ahead.
Spill it.
After all
how many years
have you been ending
your life sentence
in this paragraph.

Awareness unraveling
to some temporary core
where you define
your next visit as the
last lap of time and distance
measured increments
like rungs of a ladder.

That track bed ratio
of rhythm and ties.

 

 

How do they sing in their beds so ?

What is it with that whistle
that you still insist upon
that you hear so clearly
much less
ride off
into a sentence of movement.

Present future
Past period.

Take a deep breath
of the dark roads awash
in wire to wire rain.
Do you stop to heave a sigh here ?

In relief awash or gasp for air
15 hours after ignition.
Do we have your
arrested attention
yet ?

How can you hope to convey
this flight
this passage
A shadow’s dance
In lock step perpetuation.

What kind of ticket shall we call this then ?

Miracle, weary ritual
or merely picking
from the fabric of your reflections
a thread you wove
that called you by name incessantly.

Into a dream
from out of a dream.

Where you step
and step again
all over it.
On it.
Just past it

Inside you.

Greeting from Gridville -2004

*

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Christmas Visit Snapshot

*
Nearly noon along the Hudson
Brilliant light about
descending rust wine
iron crane wench hook
set in blue and white midday relief.

McNamara’s daughter isn’t coming
Johnny in Singapore
You sit in here alone
listening to the bartender
tell that the pickpockets are
using box cutters this year
up on 86th and Lexington.

Back in the Big Red Mountain booth
way downtown beaten worn linoleum
I’ll call you from the payphone
in the back near the pool table
while listening to the killer jukebox
resurrect Spike Jones singing,
“you always hurt the one you love.”

Attitude House 12/99

*

Pre C-Mas 2012 041 This one

Homecoming

*

Can you find any words left
for the long runway and this familiar foot rest.
All day miles melted past
and you were able to sit still silently propelled
just reading and taking notes.

Your big idea of time off.
Now before the last leg of the trip
you heel toe the legs put the sidewalk square
with an older eye.

Attesting to this as I walk in the door
overheard from the boys over the pool table,
“here comes the professor…..
wonder where his footnotes are tonight?”

So you take your place at the bar and
put out.
Always remembering, remembering
where you came from.

Attitude House- Greenport Christmas 98

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