summer of sorrow

dear friends
i had no intention of writing this, as we were
driving to the farm on Friday these words just
began arriving. why?… i have no idea because i
haven’t thought about these memories in decades.
oh, the mystery and wonder of poetry….

so Scout took the wheel and it all spilled out,
before we reached the farm. everything told here
is true. i changed her name, it didn’t seem fair
not to.

i don’t often put the song i write to, up top,
but this song IS part of this story more than
any other poem i’ve written. it was the only song
i listened to that summer when it was released.

as always, the words follow the slow tempo. ty.

oh Lola,
my Puerto Rican Princess
you wrote such exquisite poetry then
oh, my peaceful flower child
where, where do your words reside today?

we loved each other, our senior year
so immersed, in Tolkien and Kazantzakis
so inseparable, a promised ever after in our eyes
so untouchable, to a world beyond our view

the purity and innocence, of a first true love
our reflected light so intense, we outshone the sun
we were just 16, the only moment that truly mattered
was whatever moment we were in

born a little too late for Woodstock,
we were still committed and it was always
about Peace, Love and Understanding with us
and oh, did we wear our hippy proud!

i can still remember, the whole bunch of us
hangin’ out, smokin’ out and singin’ out loud!
while you braided my waist length hair
right there, on the worn steps of our high school

an hour later, you gave your Valedictorian speech
hell…there wasn’t a dry eye in the house
oh Lola, you made your boyfriend so damn proud!
then, just one week later…you broke my heart

walking those miles to your apartment
with a flower, I always picked for your hair
you and him were holding hands and laughing
the flower died…right where it dropped

gone was your ankle length, silken skirt
gone was the sheer, embroidered Indian blouse
and the peace sign necklace I saved up for
who was this girl, with cut off shorts and t shirt?

and so began my summer of sorrow, that year in ‘71
and so began a lifelong habit, retreating in silence
when the pain becomes so unbearably real
there was no peace, no love…only my fountain of tears
images (32)

and then about ten years later,
i shut the lights and locked the door
to my little shop and went for my run
and no matter the temperature or weather

wearing shorts, sneaks, headband and ponytail
i ran and ran and ran, ‘til I just couldn’t run no more
hey man, I was committed…….to never being hurt again
but there was no peace, no love and no one to understand

and as I was bent over, trying to catch my breath
under the arch at Washington Square
this woman who seemed so excited to see me
hugged me right through, all the sweat on my chest!

‘how are you, it’s so good to see you! how long has it been?’
and then like an electric shock, thunderbolt to my heart
i thought, ‘oh God no, my Puerto Rican Princess,
where, where, where did you go?’

oh sweet Lola, my faded flower child
you probably don’t remember saying this
as we sat down, and the bottle came out of your purse,
‘Aragon, I made such a mistake leaving you. I’m really sorry’

all I could say, after us both taking a hefty swig,
‘please, please tell me, you took that full scholarship to Vassar’
her blank stare said, ‘do you wanna’ see some pics of my kids?’
so as one pain began to heal… another wound took its place
and her promised call…never did ring

now I don’t pray all that often, but i knelt that night,
‘please, please, help her come to her senses. help her see!
or send someone to save her..….then send someone to save me’

Who Could Know Then

I wrote this as a surprise gift to my wife on our 10th anniversary of the day we met. This was the first ‘poetic/stream of conciousness piece i ever wrote and the first listening to music.

imho, it reads better with the music as a soundtrack, so click the
song and start reading nice and s l o w, the second refrain, the crescendo should then coincide with the last paragraph.


On Tuesday the ’79 Ford flatbed pick up truck will be carefully driven up the narrow steel ramps and onto the trailer, the rented trailer attached to a U-Haul box van for the long awaited and well deserved trip from Chicago to rural Indiana, the final leg in the long journey to it’s rightful place, the 100 acre family farm.

How could anyone have possibly predicted that this sturdy old truck, that never quit even in the worst cold Chicago could conjure up, that he found on the front line of a local gas station fifteen years ago with a handmade ‘for sale’ sign taped to the windshield, the note written by a thin, weathered man who bought this truck new in 1979, an Iowan farmer who used it daily hauling crops, who needed to sell it sadly because times were tough, who could have known then that this working farm truck would now go back to the soil where it once started its noble life?

Who could know then that this old blue truck would evoke so many memories in her, the farm where she spent so many of her childhood summers, where she would walk the acres holding hands with her playful grandpa Paps tending his peony crop, lose herself for endless hours in the cavernous, dusty hay filled barn, chase chickens around the small wood framed house, help her Grams churn homemade ice cream served with Saltines and end those days on the back of Paps Ford flatbed truck piled with hay and crowded with giggling cousins for a slow, bumpy ride on the gravel road into town?

Who could know then it would spark a romance between a most unlikely couple, she’s barely over five feet tall, he’s six two and lanky, her skin pale and perfect, his a few shades darker, marked, grey eyes, hers the warmest brown, she was Kentucky sweet, engaging and talkative, he’s the king of one liners, an ex New Yorker, he luckily made it out of high school, she has a graduate degree and more friends than any one person should, he’s a loner, she taught violin in the same university for twenty years, he was self employed forever chasing dreams, she was the lead singer in a rock band, he will always be anxious in a crowd of strangers, she had 2 healthy parents, the family reunions hosted hundreds, he had neither and who could know then that she had almost given up all hope of ever finding anyone?

Is it ever too late?

Who could know then as he watched her drive away after a chance meeting that they would ever meet again, he only had scant clues, driving night after night through so many unfamiliar neighborhoods, dark streets and darker alleys, driving in the Ford pick up searching, hoping to find her dented little red Honda parked somewhere and finally, finally on that unusually cool and clear night in May under so many close stars he did find it, leaving his own hand written note on the windshield, hoping?

Who could know then that this ’79 Ford pickup truck, this four wheeled piece of steel with all its myriad moving parts, would become a symbol of their dedication to each other in the face of some difficult times, a steel badge of their unshakeable loyalty, their tender ten year journey together, who could know then that the universe, with all it’s myriad moving parts would extend it’s gentle hand and grant such a random act of kindness?

And who would want to?
 photo thefarm020.jpg

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