Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Neil Young - Heart Of Gold


At the delayed green traffic light,
no one’s out tonight, just past eleven.
He’s one of the few, who still listens to the radio,
and one of the fewer who listens to classic rock.
“I listen when I’m in the mood, of course,”
is what he says when people ask him about it.
Tonight he turns it up when he hears the harmonica
at the beginning of a Neil Young song and
wonders if this is the one from so long ago
that made him want to buy a harmonica.
Not a plastic one from Hoy’s Five and Ten
or a cheap one from Dellas General Merchandise,
but a shiny chrome looking one with Hohner
emblazoned on the side. Ones locked away
in a little glass cabinet that spun around on top
of the counter at the paper store, Keltie’s News.
Next to them, sat displays of Imperial pocket knives,
corn cob pipes, White Owl cigars, Ajax unbreakable combs.
And as the light changes, he thinks of how long it’s been,
how he can’t go there, how it can’t be found anymore.
“It’s all gone,” he mumbles aloud, “Man, I’m getting old”.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


“Today, many people beachcomb for beach treasures and
also because the activity offers them a natural prescription
to achieve better emotional, physical and spiritual health”.
- S. Deacon Ritterbush,
A Beachcomber's Odyssey, Vol. I: Treasures from a Collected Past

If I lived on this beach, I’d walk each day
on the shore line looking for certain kinds
of rocks, specific shells. I’d collect purple edged
clamshells, ones the Leni Lenape supposedly
used to make into belts of wampum, for money.

I’d place them into large half gallon Mason jars
and once filled to the top, a lid would seal them
like the garlic, hot peppers, pickled vegetables
at the A&S Pork Store we used to go to in Fords.
I’d display the jars in my living room on a long
thin shelf above a perfectly matched purple sofa.

In later weeks or months I would move on to find
black rocks, brown rocks, beach glass, conch shells,
whelks, scallops, oysters, and jack knife clams too.
I’d place them in their own jars, on their own shelves
like the way I remember seeing all the materials in
Edison’s Labs in West Orange when he was searching
for something too, something that would work for him.

Friday, September 3, 2010


I notice my son’s mood has changed
as we sit and sip our Diet Cokes
from huge plastic cups in the crowded
snack bar and arcade of Nascar Speedway.
An amusement park full of go carts,
the home of full throttle fun for everyone.
He nods his head off to the right,
the way I always do and he whispers to me
to look at the 600 pound man strapped
into an extra large motorized wheel chair.
The gargantuan guy can barely hold up
his head as he watches his family
enjoy themselves playing whack- a -mole,
air hockey, skee ball, the claw machine.
My boy looks over to him some more, as if
he’s reading the man’s mind and feeling his pain.
I remind him not to stare and mention,
“He wouldn’t want you to feel sorry for him”.
And he replies- “I know that Dad, but I do.”