Every Eve

July 20, 2019

Every Eve was beautiful. She formed
A reflection of a reflection that lots
Of people would think of as a home.
Every Eve knew that love can tie knots
In laughter. She knew that love was like a poem
That must live among the living—and outfox
The dead. She came to settle, she came to roam,
She came to love the lover who allots
Flowers in vases, who forces every Eve
Not to thieve, not to believe, and not to leave.


Glass Mask

July 14, 2019

On Earth

July 6, 2019

An Echo, eh?

July 3, 2019

All echolalias can be real–
a cheese, say, a nice smelly Brie—
the smell repeated endlessly
as to a hungry moon
hunger that must be
repeatable and repeated,
sieved and saved,
until the moon makes it true,
not only  echoed once,
but again by two.


June 26, 2019

One for the Road

June 22, 2019

The mystery of rain: it falls alike
on dirt and grass, on concrete and macadam;
it falls until it stops, for the love of Mike,
and it leaves the soil besotted, Madam.

The Garden Butterfly

June 1, 2019


The antenna-edged ants attack first. They attach
a butterfly to a memory deep in our hearts.
They turn to a transparent lie, as they try to match
their skin with ours. That these ants get their smarts
From bells and ringing shells, chords that detach
to ply a misericordia of all the parts
too partisan, is palatial. To patch
the inside of insects while reminding monarchs
that while rhyme may be the porcelain of poetry;
‘to be’ can only be a poet’s mimicry.

Steve Madaio

May 29, 2019

There’s a video on the Internet that proports to give lessons on playing the trumpet. It features Steve Madaio. And while I’m not particularly interested in learning a musical instrument. I am interested Steve Madaio. You see, I knew Steve a long time ago. We went to high school together. He was one of my best friends.

The video does not exemplify good teaching. It starts with Steve standing next to a young student. Steve plays a short ‘exercise’ and then says to his student, with no explanation or anything, just, ‘Now you do it.’ The student plays the exercise, and then Steve says. ‘It’s that easy.’ On to the next lesson he ends, ‘It’s that easy.’ And so on. There was nothing explained, like when you would use this particulate technique, or what it was good for. Nothing.

Come this September it will be 55 years since I first met Steve Madaio. My mother had to attend a PTA meeting where she met Mrs. Madaio. The Madaio family were new in town. Mrs. Madaio had a son who was also starting 9th grade. Steve, my mother told me, was looking for someone to hang out with. No big deal. He lived only two blocks away. Why not stop over there sometime? Oh, and Jim, he plays the trumpet too. Just like you.

It soon became apparent that Steve did not play ‘just like me’ at all–not by a long shot. When Steve played the trumpet, the angles sang. I was mediocre; Steve was amazing. There had been a hotly contested pecking order in the trumpet section established over the years. Jimmy Kaufman and David Dillinger had vied with each other all year to be the top banana. I could play one song, When the Saints go Marching in. Before Steve, I had to deal with a lot of grief, but being a friend of Steve Madaio improved my status immensely. It did not improve my playing one wit.

The band leader in Lynbrook South, Mr. Pinto, was a fiery and emotional guy. Hard to please. He heard Steve play maybe one note and he broke up the pecking order. Steve was given the first chair by acclamation. No body objected. Steve could play anything. That year we performed the music from Lawrence of Arabia for the Christmas concert. It was a pretty tough piece for a junior high school band. Steve carried us through it. Even Mr. Pinto was happy.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Garden in Winter

May 21, 2019

All the magnolia trees have lost their elfin
charm. The garden is as rough and silent as their
bare branching arms.  They look like ragamuffin
soldiers fighting upside down, their hair
scouring the earth. Winter can be a muguffin
in a garden (see Alfred Hitchcock).  It can scare
the bejesus out of all the garden trolls—
for while they wait for flowers, it snows.


May 17, 2019