The Broken Record

living one long continuous groove
we put the needle on the record
and play the music
jubilant, discordant, meditative
reflecting, enhancing the dance of life at 33 ½ rpm
microgrooves allowing sometimes
pre-echoes of the bigger booms to follow
in time, the record can become scratched by wear
we put the needle on the record
moving to our life-soundtracks
a minor scratch can cause the needle to jump
to the previous groove
and then jump again
causing a continuous loop of sound
a repetition of the dance
a gentle touch on the needle
can nudge it forward, past the scratch
and the dance continues
yet deep scratches can interrupt the tune altogether
and the needle jumps
further this time
backwards or ahead
completely out of the groove
unable to find it’s way back
and what was once a lovely recording
becomes a broken record
never playing the same
never finishing the song

and the dance ends

99 Haiku-Lives

For my THWF friends (give it a minute to load)

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And if you STILL can’t see it:
Sung to the tune of 99 LUFTBALLOONS

Here we are in our happy spot
Putting ideas out with the words we’ve got
set them free every Wednesday
(or any day, the ‘no rules’ way!)
Fiasco, our thoughts laid bare
Knowing always Leah’s out there
with her watchful, loving eyes
99 Haiku-lives revive
99 Haiku-lives
reoccur, they never die
Underwear, TLPD
and poo-flinging flying monkeys
Once they’re out we can’t renege
opens up another segue
like visits from the cable guy
99 Haiku-lives revive
99 good points are moot
99 means of tribute
from backin’, backin’, backin’ up
to sexy thoughts from coffee cups
Billy Idol and Igor
What color’s your underwear?
Mr. Banderas, he’s so fine
and 99 Haiku-lives revive
99 brain cells erased
Michael Douglas eats cupcakes
Everyone’s a silly jerk
Everyone’s Kurt Vonnegut
Angst can be a bitter pill; Anna straight from Somerville
Knowing there’s no reason why
99 Haiku-lives revive
99 Haiku-lives revive
99 types of earworm
many things we can’t unlearn
left with visuals we can’t un-see
50 Shades of imagery

If I could count on my fingers
the syllables to put to verse
in three lines, my feelings true
It’d be for you, Wednesday’s Haiku

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Dad and I have always had quite the…relationship.  (See, “Bully For You, Dad”).  We’ve had many (many)…differences of opinion. But there is more to that, as well.  I consider him one of the strongest (he was certainly the most forceful!) influences in my life. Yes, that is both good and bad.  It’s one thing to look in the mirror one day and see your mother, but it is quite anotherthing to think something and hear your father!  (At least for me!)  My brother (who bears an extremely strong resemblance to Dad) is well aware of the fact that every time he makes a face that looks like a ‘Dad face’ I want to slap him!
He was one of the two ‘scary’ dads in our neighborhood growing up.  In spite of that, all the kids still came to our parties.  I remember one in particular (I think my sisters and I were maybe 16, 15 and 14) where all of us were dancing to the jukebox in the living room (see “I(Re)Write the Songs”) and my father comes out of the bedroom and there is a drink spilled on the floor and one cupcake has fallen off the counter, leaving a smeared trail of frosting on the side of the cabinet.  Dad walked right up to the jukebox and shut it down, mid-song.  Then, in his best drill-instructor voice, barked at us how we were NOT to trash the place and gave us five minutes to take care of business or else “the party was over!”  You’ve never seen almost 40 kids rush to clean up two little spills that fast in your life!

He gave the best lectures (and so many!).  There was a specific way to do everything (the toilet paper roll gets put on with the loose end ON TOP), and there were specific reasons why (it puts it more within reach).  He always took the time to explain why in great detail. We didn’t walk around on the rugs barefoot because the oils from your skin make the rug dirtier than with your shoes or socks, therefore making it harder to clean (and THAT was the reason you never drew pictures in the fog on car windows!).

Punishment was manual labor and public humiliation.  I got a D on my report card and had to build a landscaping wall in front of the house with cinder blocks  Dad told everyone, “My daughter loves me SO much that she spelled DAD on her report card!”

A particularly fun argument came about when my mother’s answer to a problem was “I guess that’s my cross to bear,” and Dad responded with, “If you stepped in shit would you scrape it off or leave it there and say, ‘I guess that’s my cross to bear.’”?  (He has a way with words, don’t’cha think?)

His favorite lecture had to do with making sure you got a good education so that you didn’t end up working at McDonald’s for the rest of your life. After my parents’ divorced and we moved out of the neighborhood, my father was out mowing the lawn and two of my friends made the mistake of stopping to talk to him and asking how I was.  I got a call from one of them later saying he kept them there for two hours and that the “moral of the story” was “Hold the pickles”!  Yup, that’s my Dad.
I get my warped sense of humor from him (you can all thank him now).  When I was a teenager and had started to look a little more mature (I said “look”) I walked into a crowded restaurant with him and he yelled “Oh, no! There’s my wife!” and ducked behind me.  Then there was the time my new stepbrother and stepsister met him for one of the first times and he decided to break the ice over dinner by shoving his face in my stepbrother’s plate and inhaling the food.
He had a habit of answering the phone in that DI voice of his.  I would notice that his voice grew softer and friendlier if the call was for him, but it would NEVER change if it was one of MY friends.  I questioned him on this and his answer was, “That’s because I want your Hero-friends to know that they will NOT pull the same shit with me that they pull with their own parents!”  He called all of us “Heroes”. I’m not sure that was a good thing. Ha!
All that aside, I have many, many wonderful memories with him (and hopefully that many more to come), and I’ve learned so many valuable things from him. 
I posted this on Facebook today: “I have a very visual image in my head of when I was younger and we lived in Cambridge. I was 3 and/or 4 (it happened many nights). I’d wake up in the middle of the night (SEE? I’ve always been a night owl!) and go out in the parlor. Dad would be there, sitting in the middle of the floor with a record player on the floor in front of him, 45’s strewn all around him. After yelling, “WATCH YOUR STEP!” he would let me make my way VERY CAREFULLY to the couch and listen to the music with him. I loved those nights.
Those nights were the best.  He would talk to me about the music, as if I were older.  I loved sharing music with him.  As a family any car trip involved music and singing, and we would all try to out-do each other.  Any song with one strong, high or loud note sung in it was the most fun (“She’s Gone”, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”, etc.) He even took us out in his ’67 Oldsmobile 442 for a few “night cruises” and we’d listen to music. (That’s where I get that from!)  And he would take us out to a special record store in Dedham and we’d each be able to pick out a few 45’s.  I remember how much he loved Rock Me, Amadeus”.  We tortured him with that one!
I try to make sure I call him and tell him every time I realize he was right about something.  That happened a lot more after I became a parent!  Here’s something I haven’t told him yet, and it comes to me a lot.  One “silly” little lesson he taught me was awareness.  And it came out in the simplest of lessons, on the simplest of subjects:  He told us when approaching any corner (and he was talking initially about when we were walking down a street, or in a store, or running) to keep in mind that somebody could be coming from that direction.  How simple is that? And how huge is that? To be aware of other people.  Yes, when I’m walking down a sidewalk I now slow down and keep a wide berth at corners and intersections, and when I’m driving it helps keep me defensive (not offensive—that happens when I see someone driving who is unaware!), but it goes so much further than that. Think about it.  Awareness of other people. I won’t get all preachy about it, but think how many “collisions” could be avoided if we were more aware of each other.
Thank you for that, Dad.  Happy Father’s Day! I love you.

(N.B.  I can also thank him for my perfect driving record, because we three girls were given “car classes” and had to learn how a car worked before we were even allowed behind the wheel and because “HIS daughters would NOT be “women drivers”!)

Convertible

“convertible” 

gentle at first,
the breeze slowly slips thru the strands of my hair in a lover’s caress
I step on the gas
as the speed builds the caress turns into a forceful demand
pulling my hair in a frenzy

frantically it swirls around my face and shoulders–

and I laugh out loud, giddy, feeling one with the wind


–May 24, 2012  (Re-posted from THWF)
I love my car. No.  I LOVE my car!  And I LOVE driving.  To me, driving is another form of therapy, enjoyment…FREEDOM.  I think in my car (mayhaps I should spend more time there?).  I play music very loud in my car (I’m the idiot dancing behind the wheel on the highway, arms flailing all over the place, head bobbing in time).  It relaxes me and keeps me sane (a relative term).

When we were little, Dad used to take us “cruising” at night in his ’67 Oldsmobile 442 (his baby); that’s where it all started for me- the driving, the music.  I have to say it was very generous of him, taking his kids.  I know how much I enjoy being ALONE when I’m out at night!


–then again, there’s something to be said about ‘company’! (Expect odes to THAT later!)

Outdoor Concerts (Re-posted from THWF)

“Outdoor Concert” – May 27, 2012

No matter the music,
they are all the same
I could just listen and watch
instead
I close my eyes
– and feel 
(the music)
the heavy rhythm pulsing in my chest
– stronger from nearby speakers– it consumes me
(the music)
the desire to move my body along with it
(the music)
the balmy night air
(the music)
the flood of triggered memories
(the music)
the music
the music

“Outdoor concert 2” – Aug. 5, 2012

The music blares through large speakers
Heavy bass gives the ground a heartbeat.
Five girls happily dance
while a policeman searches their bags.
A man lies with his head on his girlfriend’s stomach,
his head turned towards her breasts as they talk over the music.
Little girls barely into single-digit shoe sizes scream and swoon
over a singer their mother drooled over in junior high.
Narcissistic joggers in tight shorts stretch and pose
in an area selected to give maximum viewing pleasure.
Two teenagers play ‘frisbee’ with a flip-flop,
giggling as if they invented a new sport.
Elderly couples sit in folding chairs tapping their feet
to whatever music they are hearing, even if it’s not what is playing.
The combined scents of fried foods from the vendor carts, insect repellent sprayed intermittently, 
the heavy cologne of eager young boys (and some old enough to know better) who underestimate the value of a shower,
and the smell of the grass, both the kind underfoot and the kind inhaled-unless-you’re-a-president,
waft through the crowd, wind permitting.
And then there’s me…just soaking it all in.

Re-posted from THWF

Wine…sigh…

there is something so very sexy
about the way he tips his glass to his lips
first breathing deeply of the bouquet
before he sips, slow to swallow
savoring that first taste
and each taste thereafter
making you wish his hands were holding you
instead of the glass
and that the scent he inhaled
the taste he savored
-each and every taste

was you…