Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Anger Mismanagement

The walk from the car to our house
Should have been a piece of cake
But there were many times when this
Was a treacherous journey to make.

Jeremy, now 12, let his body go limp
For reasons he wasn’t telling.
I carried him, he dragged his feet and
The whole time he was yelling.

He just would not cooperate --- both of
His knees were buckling.
Three guys in their twenties walked by
All of them loudly chuckling.

Instead of just resorting to my
Getting really quiet act
I completely lost my temper and
Read these guys the riot act.

“Do you think this is funny? Yeah,
Autism’s just a crack up!”
(People several blocks away could
Hear I had my back up.)

“I’m not bothering you! Some days with
My son knock me to the floor!
Unless you three have other plans, do
You mind if I walk to my door?”

They mumbled and looked sheepish as
They skulked away from my yard.
My final punctuation was slamming my
Front door especially hard.

My wife was out, so I called Josh because
I knew he would care
That I’d stood up forcefully for Special Ed
Families everywhere.

“Did these guys point at Jeremy?” Josh
Asked somewhat abstractly.
I thought this over and replied, “Well,
The truth is … not exactly.”

“Did they call him some kind of name?”
My resolve was not so steely.
“Now that you put it that way … I would
Have to say … not really.”

Josh then concluded, “My thoughts on this
Are not entirely complete
But it sounds like for no reason you screamed
At three guys on the street.”

I’d seen this kind of dance from Josh and
I’d heard this kind of song
Which is why I felt so confident that he
Was totally … right.

If you lived near Melrose Avenue
Around 1993
And someone had a hissy fit who
Looks like me

This may seem rather long ago
To you like archeology
But if I yelled at you, please accept
My most belated apology.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Day I Met Ricky Jay

Around 1980, I was at a friend’s house
(I was around 26)
And Ricky was amazing all of us with
His incredible tricks.

During a lull, I picked up his deck and
Gave it a good perusing
As I was curious as to just what kind
Of cards Jay was using.

Loud gasps. I instantly realized that I had
Done something horribly improper
Like doodling on the original painting of
“Nighthawks” by Edward Hopper.

He looked me in the eye, sighed and said,
“Tony, with regards
To magicians, you should never put your
Hands on their cards.

It takes months --- many, actually --- for us
To know each and every one
Which is why anybody touching them is a
Thing that should not be done.”

Jay paused and sensed he got through to me
And that his lesson would stick.
He smiled that wonderful smile and launched
Into another stunning trick.

Jay could have understandably ripped me a
New one and read me the riot act
But didn’t and handled my ghastly faux pas
With both ease and quiet tact.

I’m writing this on just hearing about his death:
In his sweet memory, I offer a cheer
To recall how his kindness and magic skills once
Made my embarrassment disappear.


Friday, November 23, 2018

55 Years Later

One day in a Pasadena bookstore, I accidentally
found Of Poetry and Power.

It came out in 1964 and features many of the best
poets in America pondering JFK’s death, including
Robert Frost, John Berryman and W.H. Auden.

“Bulletin” (just twelve lines) is my favorite poem
from this collection.

Here’s a Wikipedia link to the poet who died in
2017 and was only 23 when she wrote it.


by Chana Faerstein

Is dead. Is dead. How all
The radios sound the same.
That static is our seed.
Is dead. We heard. Again.

We peck at the words like bran
Strung on a string of air.
Is dead. Again. Is dead.
Too rhythmic for despair.

Our faces are all the same,
Learning to taste the word.
Lockjawed with awkwardness.
Is Dead. We know. We heard.