IT'S JUST ANOTHER DAY

A blog about a life awakened and rejuvenated around Western New York.


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POET ONLY WHEN I NEED TO BE

The time to rhyme comes and goes, and God knows I’ve served my nickel in that regard. It has gotten harder to concentrate on pentameter when I know the meter is running. So I guess it’s time to log into the blog again and work at a pace that won’t misplace my thoughts. That’s not to say I won’t find my verse in rhythmic muse from time to time, but my time (and following) has seen better days. So for now, it will be just another day dawning and I’ll find myself fawning over what tickles my fancy. Reading this over, it seems it will take some doing to leave the rhyme behind. Oh (Brother! Why) Bother!

 


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LIFE IS A BEACH

Beach7513 004Last day of vacation of a sucky, rainy week, we decided to take a ride to the beach of our separate (but connected) youths. The drive up Route 5 along the lake passed through bright sunshine to overcast skies to smatterings of rain (some downright monsoon like). But we continued on.

Evangola State Park was the place we went for a day of sun and fun, picnic lunches and escape. It remains the same. However, it looks different. Maybe it was just perspective from childhood to the verge of my senior years. But the essence of it was Eerily familiar.

Grabbing the blanket and radio (and with umbrella in tow) we headed through the park to the shore, getting caught in a downpour before our destination. Under a tree, we debated ending the trek and returning home. But, just as suddenly the rain stopped.

Down the ramp to the sand, barefooted and determined, we found the beach deserted. No one, save for the two guards still on duty.Even the gulls were few. The skies changed but our connection stayed strong. As the rays of sun made an occasional appearance, it reaffirmed our believe in a greater power. My wife and I took our leave in the expanse of this Lake Erie shore. Even one day at the beach, albeit a rainy one, was just what the doctor ordered. It was sill a good day!


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WTF, PEOPLE?

WTF!

I’ll make a broad leap here and assume that you learned something in Driver’s Education. I could be wrong, and you’ve taken every opportunity to prove me so. A refresher course is in order.

It’s red. It has eight sides (I won’t confuse the morons amongst you by calling it an “Octagon”). Big bright white letters (four of them, as a matter of fact. I know you know all about four-letter words) that spell out the word S-T-O-P. Stop! As in “Do not go”. I don’t give a rat’s ass if there’s no one coming or in the intersection. I don’t care what time of the night (or early morning) it is . If the f-ing sign is red, and the f-ing sign has eight sides (an Octagon, very good class) and the f-ing sign says stop, then you FUCKING STOP!

You don’t reduce speed and cruise through, you STOP! Don’t look at me approaching WITH THE RIGHT OF WAY and stare me down until the last possible second and still proceed to pull out in front of me, You STOP.

This isn’t meant to be a race to the next sign you totally ignore. It isn’t supposed to be a race at all. What are you saving? Three seconds of your precious life that could have been spent…what? Flipping off the guy you almost killed because he had the audacity to be on the road when you were cruising the boulevard for God knows what.

So I have become “that” guy. The guy that comes to a complete stop and looks in all directions before even remembering I have a gas pedal. Yes, I’m holding you up and maybe saving your life. I’m the guy that drives the speed limit because I know idiots like you are in a hurry. Yes, I’m the guy slowing you down and possibly saving my own life. With all the modern time-saving devices nowadays, there still seems to never be enough time that we have to rush all over ignoring traffic signs, or other drivers, or pedestrians (those are the people that are walking, morons). Life is not a game of Grand Theft Auto or Fast and Furious. Once they’re dead, mangled or injured, they stay that way!

For two straight days I have had near-misses with the same driver no less, blowing through his red light as I start to advance into my green arrow indicated left turn. Who needs rules! I guess they think they have the “right” to drive with reckless abandon. But, there’s a funny thing about “rights”. Yours end when they infringe on my right to stay alive.

And one more thing (now that you revved my engine). Since when has every driver suddenly become a mathematician? I know the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But the sprint diagonally across a parking lot is as brainless as the aforementioned rant on the sign. (The red one. Eight-sides, S-T-…).

And these are the wide-awake and sober drivers! I won’t even attempt to open THAT can of worms at the moment.

WTF, people?


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TRYING TO CUT THE MUSTARD PLAYING CATCH-UP

I’m a poet mostly. I dabble in musical composition and short fiction. Screenplays and scripts for stage become the rage on occasion. And juggling all those balls is an eventual losing proposition.

Getting the word out (or multitude of words out) is akin to reaching into the haystack without a glove. Sooner or later, you’re going to get stuck. And on more than one happenstance. Chances are you fall far enough behind that you give up the ghost and recoup, starting somewhere in the middle.

So I fiddle around with my muse, choosing to saturate my poetry places with pieces of verse and curse the day I discovered like sounding words. Time constraints (and those of a more physical nature) have handcuffed me somewhat, keeping the glut of work I am apt to pen to a manageable minimum.

As of this moment, I think I am at par with the rest of the jackbooted poets, at least on the sites I have chosen to frequent. Keeping up with the Jones and Whitmans and Wordsworths takes some effort. I relish the opportunity, cutting the mustard playing catch-up and being dog tired.

I think it’s lunch time. I just made myself hungry!


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RETROGRADE

Screw George Jetson!

His space aged flying sportsters are still a pipe dream (although it seems we’ve pretty much nailed Jet Screamer on the wall sized television sets!) The move forward keeps taking steps backward.

When I was a kid with visions of having my license, I saw a Mustang, or Camaro, or a Challenger or Charger in my future. Rather myopic, agreed! But I was a kid. Give me a freakin’ break. And before I could realize owning any one of these, they disappeared from sight (or had gotten ugly enough to not even be considered.) I mean really, who the hell envisioned a Dodge Charger as a luxury car Cordoba wannabe. Fine Corinthian leather, my ass!

So on my drive in to work this morning, in my reliable and roomy family car (a gas guzzling S.U.V., you tree hugging bastards!) I noticed I was in a string of cars that included of all things a retro-Mustang, a revamped Camaro, and awesome looking Charger and a reincarnation of the old Dodge Dart. Four-for-six, an awesome statistic.

In my day, I came close. My first car, a ’72 Plymouth Duster, was a pretty awesome car (and would have made a great “project car” now – but family obligations blah, blah, blah…) and a two time try in Pontiac Firebirds (Camario’s poorer cousins – a ’77 and an ’80). But as always, no cigar!

So I live vicariously through your cars as I go through ice, mud and snow. I guess for the time being, the only way to go!


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KAREN CARPENTER IN MY HEAD

A wet Monday for the most part, still battling my weather woes. I don’t usually find my self in the throes of such a malaise, and I’d be crazy to start now. So it just seems natural for music to soothe this savage’s breast.

I’ve spent the day searching for the songs that express such days perfectly. The Mamas and the Papas sing “Monday, Monday” and I find myself harmonizing right along John, Denny, Michelle and Cass. “Rhythm of the Rain” by the Cascades stokes a few chords but doesn’t completely satisfy. Dipping back into the days of my Bubble Gum youth, the Cowsills “The Rain, the Park and Other Things” brings a smile.

Chicago’s “Thunder and Lightning” rocks with horns (I still miss Cetera’s voice in the later stuff). “Raining Men”  by the Weather Girls… I don’t think so, “Let it Rain” soulful, but I had enough. “Purple Rain”, “Bucket of Rain”, “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” Enough said.

“I Don’t Like Mondays” (Boomtown Rats), melds into “Long Monday” (John Prine) and “Manic Monday” (The Bangles) fill the calendar day.

But I guess the ultimate theme for days like these is the spirit that lives in Karen Carpenter’s lilting voice in “Rainy Day and Mondays”. She finds a way to ignite my fire long after she’s gone. I miss her voice, terribly!

Hey, so I’m a passionate guy. Sue me!


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BEAUTIFUL SUNDAY

A smart looking day today. Not overtly warm, but this Sunday holds the charm I remembered as a kid growing up in Lackawanna, New York. Screw the Blue Laws and other random restrictions, it was a guarantee that Sunday was a day of rest. Now I’m not gonna get all biblical on you. That is truly not my style. But after a week of work (with Saturday dedicated to the house and yard) you relished Sunday.

I remember my Grandfather, Josef Kura, a distinguished old (naturalized) immigrant from Igolomia, Poland. He worked in the yard in his later years, various gardens and flower beds; always with a rake or hoe or shovel in hand – the tools of his toil. He dressed in work pants, flannel shirt and ball cap drawn over his eyes. His handkerchief (bandana) hanging from a rear pocket to collect the sweat that beaded on his forehead.  But come Sunday, all that ceased. Dressed in his Sunday best, his going to church clothes – highly polished shoes, pressed pants, white shirt and tie, and a straw fedora perched on his head. This was his uniform for the day.

And it seemed that for a man that worked so extremely hard, it was almost out of character to see him so sedate and relaxed. He was a peaceful man that displayed that persona daily, but dressed for the part each and every Sunday. He rested on Sunday. Today is tailor-made for reminiscing about my mentor. And for kicking up heels and feeling his spirit. I can hear it in the rush of wind. It’s a beautiful Sunday!


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LEGION OF GLOOM

Buffalo weather is right on schedule. It’s cold, it’s hot. It rains like a son-of-a-bitch or sprinkles in misty precipitation. They tell me there’s this thing called “the sun”,  but I’ve seen neither hide nor hair of it in so long, I have come to doubt its existence. I will offer some resistance and wait to see what the weekend brings.

But still there’s this mood it dumps on me that needs more shaking than an upside down Etch-a-Sketch on its last leg. I steer clear of windows, for the effect the view has on me. I listen to KZOK-HS2 out of Seattle. Great rock, no talk and none of the insipid local weather/traffic headaches with which to deal. Even the Weather Channel app on my phone depicts the grayness in the wallpaper representing the Buffalo sky. And they’re being optimistic.

I’ve heard folk say, “Well, a good thing about the rain is… you don’t have to shovel it!” (Nyuk-nyuk) Tell that to your friends in New Orleans next time you have too much time on your hands.

And you know, it’s not even so much about the rain. I can take a sun shower ten ways to Sunday. I’m a colorful guy and my palette is usually full. Muted shades of gray leave little to my imagination. The rain is just a reminder.

Forecasts call for improvements (I know this shit isn’t gonna last forever). It’s just that it’s caught me on a few bad days (although I question if this is a chicken and egg thing). So I’ll string it out and shout when the sun peeks out and I start to sweat. And you can bet I’ll piss and moan when the heat returns and burns my sorry rump.

But, there’s a big advantage to the sunshine. You don’t have to shovel it!


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A DILIGENT DIVERSION

Respects paid, and flowers laid into the soil to toil under the sun’s diligent efforts. A quiet stroll through the grounds of Holy Cross Cemetery in Lackawanna, NY. Taking root near where my parents (Mom and Dad, Grandmother and Grandfather) lay in repose, they already are looking colorfully splendid in the cool afternoon daylight. The silence (near-by road noise, not withstanding) makes this a very cerebral place. Thoughts and heart pangs shared in an almost telepathic state. I rue the fact that it is too late to share my achievements in person. But they know. I can feel it. Our connection has stayed strong.

On my way out I stop briefly to re-establish my place to resume the Service project I began a summer ago. I never made it out as planned. Tracking back, I spotted three markers that look untouched. Extracting pad and pen, I begin to record facts engraved in granite and stone, some the lone evidence that these unselfish souls once existed.

Gold_Star_Service_Banner.svg

Gold Star Service Banner

I remained working on Section 25 until I had every last man noted and accounted. More awards and another Purple Heart recipient. I even came across a designated Gold Star Mother; she will be included in the tribute! Three men who fought in the Spanish-American War. So much history buried in mystery here. I assume the role of detective, scratching out clues to solve these very divergent puzzles. I must look strange on my hands and knees, clawing and carving sections of sod overgrowing the flat slabs. Moving from grave to grave, with the hopes of saving some pride and sense of dignity for those who have given me the ability to do so. It remains the very least I can do.

Tomorrow is a big day. I will return in love and out of respect for these extraordinary individuals who have served the whole of us.

Thank you for your service.

“Hang Tough”

And “say a prayer for our guys and gals over there!” (Thanks Bob Curran)


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HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE – NIAGARA FALLS

American Falls - Niagara Falls

American Falls – Niagara Falls

Her call is loud and thundering, a torrent of water across the precipice here and over the “Horseshoe” (the Canadian side of Niagara Falls). Feeding Lake Ontario with the flow Lake Erie sends her, an unending cycle of life.

Nik_Wallenda_Niagara_Falls_2012Legendary and fabled, from barrel to a high-wire cable (Nik Wallenda‘s trek across the cavernous gorge) she has seen her share of daredevils and whack-jobs looking for the fame of a name in defiance. Triumphs unfortunately, are very few.

But the view (especially at night when the lights perform in unison to offer more beauty, if that was possible) is awe inspiring. If you are desiring adventure at the hands of Mother Nature, there is plenty to see and feel (you catch a good spray on a decent day) at the hands of Niagara Falls. One of the true wonders of the world, and the honeymooning isn’t bad either!

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