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Monday, October 16, 2017

Dawns Whistle

They sat and waited their breath visible in the cool of the October dawn. They had listened to the distant train whistle for months from the tiny room in the apartment he rented that third year of college. She held his hand, and he hummed to the tender sky as if he could provoke it. They needed to see the train that had become a part of their time together. It interrupted their mornings embrace and touched them as they lifted their eyes to one another. So they stood by in the dawn of their lives, two inexperienced lovers with a life of opportunities ahead of them. When it passed they stared into its windows and accepted its song on the tracks and together they saw the flame of the engine and finally they heard the whistle.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Couple

They were sitting in a library an older couple both in hand-knitted sweaters poring over an old map. The librarian asked if she could help them and they explained they were looking at all the places they wanted to visit.
"We never went mostly cause of money you know once the kids came," the man said.
The wife pointed to Venice.
"Ah Venice," the librarian said. "Marble palaces on a lagoon."
They giggled and shared a few more romantic wish list trips and even recited from memory a few poems to match each location.
"So what is your favorite trip together?" the librarian asked.
"It's here," the woman answered. "Our darling place is the library we love to look at things here together. It's our best date, our best vacation, and it makes us happy."

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Baseball Innocence

We were all young bucs maybe 10 or so, most sporting Pro Keds and our older brothers hand-me-down Stargell shirts. We finally had permission though, to take the PAT bus as a group no adult and go to the Pirate game. We were excited kids given only one rule when we left our homes, 'Treat everyone with Respect.'
We talked and debated the whole way about batting averages and favorite players.
We got off at North Avenue and walked down to Three Rivers Stadium proud as heck that this would become a routine thing. We paid $2.50 for an orange general admission seat,.50 for a program, and some guys even got pops, and man we watched baseball. Everyone from the TV was in person from high up in the orange seats. Three Rivers was beautiful to us, and we felt rich like we could be anything we wanted even become ballplayers one day.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Flop House coffee

My dad warned me because I was young, but he said it was necessary.
"Son, we are going to go to a place that I don't want to take you to but a man in this place took something significant to me when he was at the house painting. You see, you're too young to leave in the car and your to young to leave at home and it's too late for anyone to look after you because I didn't notice it was missing earlier. This place is called a flop house it's a dump, but it's sometimes all people can manage to keep out of the rain."
It was raining that night I remember the noise the wipers would make on my dad's old station wagon. They would squeak. He called his car Betsy and often asked it to hang in there a bit longer.
When we got to the flop house, there was a cluster of guys out front smoking and drinking they all stared at me funny. They needed haircuts and could use a shave all of them had on layers of clothes. My dad took my hand and asked someone what room Elmer was staying at.
One guy said room five and patted me on the head. He asked my dad for a cigarette before we went inside. My dad gave him the whole pack he had. We weren't inside to long and I stood right outside the doorway I couldn't see in but I was frightened to hear my dad yelling so loud. A few minutes later he came out carrying my mother's old hospital coffee cup, my father always kept change in that cup at home. He often would look at it and hold it. We left the flophouse with the empty cup and my dad was rubbing his hand. He took me to Whitecastle that night and then we went home. I have that cup now and I often look at it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Stare Skirmish

I personally felt the whole matter was blown out of proportion after all it was the first time Bobby Boira had ever driven a truck and he was only 17 but when he landed in Mr. Deeves rose bush a skirmish ensued.
Mr Deeves stood with his fists clenched as Bobby reluctantly removed himself from the old pickup.
"I lost her around the corner Mr. Deeves I am so sorry," Bobby said.
"Bobby, I've told you time and time again to slow down I've put hours into these roses you jackass," Mr. Deeves begin to duck and weave.
"So you want some of this?" Bobby asked as he crotched down and wiggled his fingers in a wrestling stance.
"Let's dance then you young punk," Mr Deeves removed his cardigan.
Mr Deeves was a spry 70, he had a fines head of silver hair and still swam every Saturday at the YMCA. Bobby would fall some place between heavy and super heavyweight and often took to eating while driving, leaving crumbs in his long beard.
Mrs. Deeves who heard the hubbub and noticed that several neighbors were struggling to cut off the two competitors yelled for them to stop.
"Listen, you two I am going to get the hose if you don't stop. Bobby are you hurt?"
"No mam," Bobby said.
"He's gonna be," Mr. Deeves said as he began to shadow box.
And then they went into a deep stare down. It was as if two cats had a mouse between them. Some said thunder could be heard in the distance. It was an amazing stare down they were poised for whatever it took.
The neighbors eventually walked away as the two men remained frozen and Mrs. Deeves went back into her modest home after an hour or so. As for Mr. Deeves and Bobby, no one knows to this day who looked away first, but they became great friends after that they even garden together and fix up old trucks. I guess they saw each other's frailties and weaknesses or perhaps they just got tired

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Greatest Love Story

The greatest love story I ever witnessed was right there in Brighton Heights, Northside Pittsburgh. My dad was in love with his family. He would always have a full-time day job and he staid working night jobs, real crap jobs those nighttime gigs. He was a security guard down the river for a while and when he flashed his flashlight, he'd see those big Pittsburgh River Rats big as cats and they'd separate so he could step through them. He ran a drive-in movie theater for years ...where he was manager I don't think a northsider ever paid to get into a movie. There he was selling popcorn, doing books even helping to break up fights. He cleaned offices, shops, garages. He even worked at a fast food place called Winkys. He did all this so my mom didn't have to work she was sick a lot. He'd call her during the day, "I love you my Kay," he would say. And after his calls she was always less sick and would sing hymns. He'd have dinner with us before the night work and he'd listen to his kids talk about school and life and he'd take it serious. After dinners until we got older he always cleaned the dishes and what not so my mom didn't have to do it. He'd call her at night and check on us to make sure we weren't disrespecting her or the house, and on the weekends when he had daytime off those were all about his time with her and us. They would grocery shop, we'd go to church, we'd watch tv. When she was dying he worked around her times awake every spare minute by her bedside cleaning her and tending to her every need. This guy was head over heels never took his wedding ring off and never stopped loving his family or his wife.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Seek the Seers

For three generations his family had been going to the same barbershop for advice. So when his son was in the chair and old enough he was elated when he too pursued knowledge from Sonny III.
"Plain as day Jacob you want to tease the Steelers and put your heavy money on the Monday night game. Trust me you'll thank me."
Jacob smiled wide even proud nodding to his dad who had a tear in his eye. His boy had become part of the families working class tradition....

Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Sam and Dana walked beneath a moonlit sky towards one another on a city pavement. He had loved many times before it came rather natural for him. He was tall had dark hair his glasses were smart, and he was extremely charismatic when he smiled. She was unloved but hopeful that one day despite her being shy, short and not the slightest bit confident magic could happen. Then that point when the two were about to pass each other their eyes met the city silenced the world became meaningless. She said "hello," faintly, and he said nothing never noticing her.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Blind Eyes

The men were rowdy they had been tailgating and drinking all day so when she walked by I simply expected the worst. I was right they let fly with as many clichés, whistles, and filthy proposals that could occur in such a short time frame. She studied me perhaps because I was silent.
"Sorry," I mouthed.
She said, "tell them cause your silence is just as hateful."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Advice from a Time Traveler

Paint pictures of naked men and women hiding underneath old pine trees that have branches at the bottom that lift up like umbrella's.
Drink gooseberry wine, huckleberry punch, and chew on tea berry gum because they all are from a different time and aren't trendy.
Split atoms and logs and read about math and discuss the mind-body problem during meatball contests at small pizza shops.

Friday, September 15, 2017

All Even

I bought a Root beer Ice Ball and joined them.
We were all even in life cause we were all seven.
You weren't a Professor yet.
And she wasn't a Doctor yet.
He wasn't a bus driver, no one was a fireman, army man, jailbird
dancer, business owner, thinker, drinker or dead.
No one was NOTHING
Just seven-year-olds eating ice balls All even.

A Memory: 6th Grade Skating Party

"You are a great skater," she smiled and lifted him in the air.
"You know my dad gave me money for burgers and cokes if you are interested," he winked, and did a magnificent roller jump--kicking one leg forward and the other behind him at the same time.
She held his hand as 'Bettie Davis Eyes' came to a close.
"I'm interested," she said. 'Abracadabra' blared-they all skated backwards.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Window Dressing

The long-haired garage band worked as hard as they could, banging out tune after tune about girls, rule-breaking, the Devil, and motorcycles.
Everyone watched them from behind smudges in nearby windows.
Window 1: Joe a bald-headed, beer gutted old man, quite disappointed with the way his life turned out- squints nightly at the band and won't stand for their hope much longer.
Window 2: Kelly a 44-year-old woman that wears too much blush and has tired eyes, she married a Neanderthal and studies the guitar player, wanting to hop on him for at least an hour.
Window 3: The drug dealer waits for them to slip.
Window 4: The insurance man that used to play in a band waits for them to slip.
They play onward and louder while everyone watches.

On The Rooftop

They were all fishing the North Shore, all seven, I counted them from the rooftop. The flat tarred rooftop of the building where my dad cleans.
There was three old men, dark men with beautiful white beards, and old rods. There was a pale woman with tight shorts, teaching her little child to cast and hope. Finally, there were two CEO's with golden Rods and Levis jeans, roughing it, giggling. I ignored those two.

The Baptism

At the river's edge they gathered for a 100-year celebration, and all joined hands. The sun beat hot; it was a reminder of human fragility. The pastor ill and his flock limp, a baptism was now peculiar and many in society would even look upon it with hate. This group of Christians refused to redefine God to fit everyone. All stood and rejoiced and did so knowing they were not going to be popular. The river grasped them they did not fear a Godless world.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Bar Scene

She was loaded with energy, had a purple highlight, and ordered Zimas two at a time. She pointed to the laborer at the end of the bar. He savored a delicious Yellow Bunny cocktail through an umbrella straw. She paid for his drink, and he blushed. He placed a crumpled dollar into the cd jukebox. 'Take my Breath Away' played, and they necked and wiggled. They became two icons in a past place that would one day become invisible mere memories of one another.

My Virtual World

I wrote micro-fiction on a houseboat that my friend owned. He was in another state sleeping. I struggled for words so I distracted myself with decor, hand rezzed, by a woman from Australia. She was in tomorrow when we were in today. I made three cups of coffee that you could only drink in your mind, tasted salt water with my eyes, and realized that the real world and virtual world were blurring me. I took a shower.

Civic Duty

They were a modest group fewer than 20 people but they had serious projects. A civic organization filled with farmers, laborers, and factory workers. Before every meeting they would sing 'My Country 'Tis of Thee.' They would do a blessing and share a meal. Then they voted on community endeavors, building handicap ramps, removing trees, supporting schools, mission trip fundraising for young adults, everything to encourage. It seemed with time the group became smaller and the rumble of the world wider. But they still reached and still loved.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The Brisk Streaker

There they were all five of them naked as the day they were born and standing ready to streak. The final step in completing a dare that began the previous day during a casual conversation in a dorm room. That's right Streaking, the act of running naked down a public street. This action was no problem for four of the five men however Mug Johnson had a whole knew approach in mind.
"I've decided to walk briskly," Mug said.
"What?" Bob said....
"According to a scientific study walking cuts risks of heart trouble by a greater amount when the same energy is expended," Mug said.
The other three men began their run ignoring the odd conversation of their two cohorts. A small yet noisy group of spectators lined both sides of the street.
"I don't think someone that is streaking really should be considering science or health. The overall act is kind of non academic," Bob said.
Mug began to stretch which was also a new approach to the activity.
"You go ahead and have your run as for me I'll be increasing flexibility, bone density, and the overall strength around my bones and joints." Mug said.
Bob took off moving quickly leaving Mug behind...
Mug began his brisk walk like a proud Bull Fighter he sauntered continuing to explain his rationale and reasoning. The crowd watched Mug, several spectators nodded and slowly but to Mug's amazement, he won people over. They eventually began a slow clap which was made popular in 80's John Hughes films, and many still speak to this day of that mans willingness to put health first.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Dirty Laundry

When you go to the laundromat at 4:30 in the morning, you are usually alone and Tommy enjoyed that. He would say, "The laundromat always has a calming effect on me. The hum and warmth of the machines, the smell of Bounce in the air, and thoughts about nothing accompanied by some quiet reading."
So when the man with the gun approached him he found himself frustrated even angry.
"You know you're screwing with my best time of the week, bringing it down," Tommy told the man with the gun.
"Give me your wallet, idiot. Don't talk to me," the robber said.
It seemed ironic that the thief had on a dirty hood in a laundry mat. It had a mustard stain just above the letter P. There were also stains from coffee and grease.
"I got no wallet dude. I have six dollars in quarters and due to the fact the dryers aren't the best here four of them are earmarked. So I can give you two dollars in quarters which I would do even without the gun."
"Give me your car keys asshole."
"No. Did you not hear me say this is the best time of my week? Do you not realize that when someones best time of the week is laundry they really don't care if you blow their head off? Besides, I'm going to heaven when I die I got that all sorted out," he gestured to the bible on the table behind him."
The man sighed a breath and cursed. He put his gun down on a large laundry table.
"So I got to kill you cause you wont give up your car or a bunch of quarters?"
"No. You gotta kill me cause I aint afraid to die. I'm not looking to die but I sure aint afraid to die."
He put the two dollars in quarters down next to the mans gun. And then spoke under his breath about how messed up his best morning was because of the incident.
The robber looked up at the video camera that claimed to be recording. They both new it didn't work nothing in that neighborhood worked. He pondered what ifs and their consequences and listened to the hum of the machines.
Tommy went back to his laundry and back to his morning and waited for the man to decide.