‘such a pretty pretty boy’ Conclusion

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for Mom
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And for that entire summer Pretty Boy’s empty cage remained where it had always been, aside one of the two near floor to ceiling, lead glass windows at the rear of our narrow railroad apartment.

The low sills provided an easy view of the wall of four story tenements and scruffy yards, and easier access to the wrought iron fire escapes dangling off the rear of every building. This view, even on the sunniest of days in monotone brown tar shingles, the imposing black painted, zigzagging iron bars and early shadows left little to be hopeful about; like the Escher engraving of the steps to nowhere.

Divorce changes lives in a hurry. But this neighborhood we moved to, tucked away in a forgotten corner of Brooklyn was lifetimes removed from the wide open and manicured green lawns and the single family life we once lived.

The dimming memories felt like someone else’s lucky dreams.

Yet looking back now, sitting on that window sill visiting with Pretty Boy is where I spent much of my time when I was home. Studying the blue intricate beauty of his feathers was such a refreshing anomaly to eyes aching for color, his endless banter one of the few cheerful constants in my already unsteady life. So it really shouldn’t have surprised me that seeing those blue feathers lying so still and quiet, nestled amongst the thin strips of Daily News lining the tray of his cage was enough to bring this 15 year old man boy to tears.

But it did. I struggled to keep my crying quiet, trying to decipher the unwelcome silence from his cage, wrestling with another inexplicable, here one day not here the next, loss. Yet another loss I was unprepared to absorb.

Mom and I sat at the kitchen table and reminisced about Pretty Boy, reminding each other of memories we had forgotten while she breathed in long slow drags of BelAir smokes and longer purposeful chugs of her favorite Schaefer beer. Cradling Pretty Boy in her hands, her chest rising in deep exhales and her lips trembling a little she recalled that fateful day Pretty Boy came home.

Back in the day, in the Long Island town of Hempstead where we lived then, all the shopping centers had a Woolworth store, nicknamed the five and dime. It was a huge place that had miles of aisles filled with toys, cards, tape, ribbons and all the handy little daily items, and right in the middle of the store was their popular pet department.

Mom and I always made a bee line there to see the rabbits, hamsters and turtles and take in the songs and squawks of the yellow canaries and various colored parakeets for sale. All these cute, first kid pets had a high turnover rate, but mom had her eye on one blue parakeet that lingered for months. And despite his cheerleading, the salesman could never convince anyone to take this one bird home.

Pretty Boy was not a very pretty bird, despite his eventual name.

Smaller than the other birds his age, he was missing feathers and wore a pronounced scar on the white crown of his forehead. So mom, ever the devoted animal lover and champion of underdogs decided that day this unloved orphan was coming home with us. The salesman was so ecstatic, he discounted everything we needed to bring him home.

The sales receipt read Parakeet…..99 cents.

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It was only 10am as I watched the ashtray overflow with spent buts and another can of Schaefer bit the dust too. It became clear as I got older that Mom had quite the potty mouth. Pretty Boy only repeated what he heard, a loyal confidant when no one else was there to listen.

I heard a few, very choice words about my grandmother that morning.

Time has a way of dulling the sharp edges of our pain, and karma…well, it has it’s own mysterious timetable administering our just rewards. My grandmother was a hateful woman whose own psychosis and prejudice eventually alienated most of her sons too, there were very few tears shed from the few people that attended her funeral when she died.

It was hard not to notice that familiar warm spark return to her sienna brown eyes the more mom and I talked, that free spirited Irish spunk that was so much of her charm, and despite all she would eventually overcome in a life that never resembled her early romantic dreams, she always retained an empathy for all things living. Mom was a survivor, she persevered, she always did the right thing as best she could.

I’m grateful for inheriting the very best of who she was.

I watched her meticulously wrap Pretty Boy’s blue body in Saran Wrap, tearing thin strips of Daily News to line the cardboard match box he would be buried in. We would have a proper funeral for our little friend. And as she finished taping the edges with her usual care, she looked up mischievously making sure she caught my eye and whispered,

‘God damn shit…God damn shit… God damn shit.’

We both howled with laughter at the image of Pretty Boy thankfully chasing the wicked witch out of our lives that day, shaking our heads in awe that a little .99 bird had so much say in so many lives.

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As much as this piece was intended to be written about Pretty Boy, the deeper I delved into the writing I realized the story was as much about my mom. So it only seemed fitting on this of all days, unplanned as it was to devote this conclusion to her. Somethings work out the way they should, somewhere mom is reading this story about our Pretty Boy, and

somewhere she’s flashing that impish grin….

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click to enlarge

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms today!

over the wall

dear friends, i found a song and video that
inspired this poem. the words are written to the
tempo of the song and if you have the time,
please watch this incredible video.
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Stubborn Love/ The Lumineers
It’s better to feel pain, than nothing at all
The opposite of love’s indifference
So keep your head up, keep your love
Keep your head up, my love
Keep your head up, keep your love
Head up, love
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over the wall
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i saw a smile today…

shining from a stranger’s face

and bundled from the bitter cold

it leapt over the wall

to meet me eye to eye
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i woke a girl today…

and kissed her pale forehead

as i did on that night she was born

tears just poured over the wall

at the miracle in my arms
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i drew a face today…

trusting these hands again to say

what my eyes have always known

climbing over the wall
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’cause fear is the enemy of art
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i risked it all again…
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and shared all the secrets
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of my troubled life
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her patient Love tore down the wall
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to heal an injured heart
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now i won’t pretend to know

why this life can be so hard sometimes

and this world will bruise our tender hearts
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because i am just the sum of all my pain

the kind that can never really be repaired

i just learned to wear the scars beneath my skin
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i saw the sun today

so bright through the clouds

even the greying slush did

sparkle and gleam across my boots

and i… just keep walkin’ on
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Siren of Shooting Stars

dear friends,
it’s been a long week and a longer winter.
i began daydreaming about the warm weather
and the annual vacation we take each August.
we rent a 5 bedroom houseboat on Holly Lake
in Tennessee and find our favorite cove and
tie up for 10 ten days.

this is a repost, i edited the form. it was written
in one sitting at 3am as i sat as i always do, on the
top deck while family and friends were asleep. this song
was playing in my headphones and this poem was inspired by
the incredible shower of shooting stars that crossed the sky.

please play the song and begin reading…ty and i hope you enjoy.

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when

the

S u n

is

busy

elsewhere…..

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and

the

night

descends

upon

your

world…

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in

your

S i l e n c e…

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in

the

S e r e n i t y

of

forgiving

S o l i t u d e…

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cast

away

the

fear,
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just

S u r r e n d e r

your

heart

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and

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L i s t e n.

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beg

your

eyes

to

open,

.
.

to

gaze

so

high

above

the

low

horizon.

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there…

beyond

any

doubt

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behind

the

shadow

of

constant

cloud,

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S h e

can

be

seen

each

night

cajoling

every

S t a r

in

your

S k y.

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B e l i e v e,

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embrace

your

F a i t h.

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S h e

is

O m n i p r e s e n t,

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S h e

is

E v e r l a s t i n g.

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S h e

is

a

daughter

of

the

U n i v e r s e,

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a

S i r e n

of

S h o o t i n g

S t a r s.

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her

voice

a

chorus,

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a

H a r m o n y

of

every

melody

devoted

to

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L o v e.

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her

history

our

yearning,

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the

sum

of

our

forgotten

M e m o r y.

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.

her

shape,

a

C o s m i c

swirling

of

I n f i n i t e

density.

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S h e

talks

to

S t a r s,

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in

the

U n i v e r s a l

language

of

L o v e,

of

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R e a s s u r a n c e.

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a

S i r e n

offering

C o u r a g e

to

erase

their

fear.

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‘my bashful star,
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ready yourself for the voyage.

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T i m e

is

N o w.’

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‘oh, lovely star
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hear my song,
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my Melody of Love as you fly’

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‘go little star!

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blaze a trail
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across the midnight sky’

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and

become

N o w,
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what you were always meant to Be.’
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and show this world
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P e r f e c t i o n,
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in your moment of
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E t e r n i t y.’

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numb of Winters past

Its-a-lonely-man
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for years suspended

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in the crevice of between…

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regret or forget…
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speaking or silence…

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numb silhouette safe between

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love and protection.
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shadows disappear

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in the white of fallen snow,

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each Spring forgives the
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impatient crocus.
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crocus abd bees 2012 001
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Time erases shadows and

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Love resolves the wounds.
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Repost Friday……summer us

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a summer favorite, and a light and breezy
soundtrack to read this poem by::::enjoy::::
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summer us
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how you try in vain to shield such lovely pale soft skin
with your lotions, umbrellas and wide brimmed straw hats
while i crave this Mediteranean sweat and bask in the burn

how you must swim in every fresh water or rolling surf
while i just dig my toes deeper into any warming sand
content just hearing your giggles and joy

how you refuse to wake up your sleep in vacation mornings
while i stay up sleepless nights penning you my poems of love
listening for the sighs and mumbles of your overtime dreams

how you dutifully RSVP each planned event and bbq
yet smiling face rush to any impromptu backyard party
while i ask you again and again please say ‘hey’ from me

how you always order your iced decaf Americano black
while i need extra soy in anything caffienated latte’ style
and who will really believe that we both sans the sugar?

oh darlin’!
my warm weather twin

and who would really believe our eleventh summer is almost here?
and why would anyone really hear the truth we simply can’t deny
that anyone can possibly share our summer joy more than you and i?
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images (7)

Friday Repost: coverlet

Friday Repost
for my new friends,
a little dig in the
archives for you.
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coverlet.
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i dreamt…

i wrote you a poem last night

i traced the words with my finger

across the cotton coverlet

i wrapped you in

to keep you safe and warm
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i watched

you breathing as you slept

sat on the edge of the bed

for hours remembering

every kiss i ever gave you…

every laugh i ever made you…
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i’ve sewn

all our memories together

into this blanket of love

i wrapped you in

so you will always remember

all that you are to me
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i wrote

the poem lightly with my finger

so not to wake you

and over and over and over

i traced the words so you never, never forget

‘please… don’t ever… ever leave me’
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black-white-romantic-couple-lovers-large-oil-painting.
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Monday Haiku: the bird of Love

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to her….
will be random posting
of Haiku devoted to
Scout, my partner

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Love needs air to breath,
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and Love needs Trust to survive.
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birds need wings to fly….

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i learned to let go
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and love her with open arms.
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the nest… calls us Home.
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images (96)
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to Christina and C.K. for their inspirational
post Let Go, Jump In, Love Wide Open ty.