Friday, October 06, 2006


“It’s nice, grandma. Really cozy.” Melissa quickly wiped a tear from the side of her nose as she spread the yellow and white floral quilt across grandma’s legs. Looking around at the sterile room as she opened the cardboard box labeled ‘Clara Barron room 721,’ she unpacked the faded wedding photo of grandma and grandpa and placed it on the table next to the bed where Clara now lay sleeping. At the bottom of the cardboard box was the silver tea pot, old and tarnished. It still had the scent of peppermint tea, grandma’s favorite. A manila envelope leaned against the inside of the box. Melissa took it out, lifted flap, slid her hand inside and pulled out a silver polishing cloth. She began rubbing the tea pot with the cloth. Grandma would be so happy to see the pot shining like new again. She wiped it until every inch of the cloth was black.

Clara opened her eyes. “Dad says ‘hi’ and to give you a big kiss”, said Melissa. “He’ll be here first thing tomorrow morning.” She walked over to the large window and pulled open the blinds. “Oh my God, the view is amazing, grandma! You can see the entire skyline of Chicago from in here. You have a better view from your room than I do from my apartment!”

“I’ll trade you,” Clara said. “Too bad I can’t see that view. You know, I just love this city – ever since I first came here.

“Really, grandma, I thought you were born here?”

“No, grandpa was born here, but I came here from Buffalo with a traveling dance troupe and when the show ended, I stayed because I fell in love with this handsome waiter. He was so charming, your grandpa. He swept me right off my toes. We had many good times here . . . so many memories. Once, we ate dinner at a restaurant right next to the table of Mister Al Capone.”

“I never knew you led such an exciting life, grandma. I can’t believe you met Al Capone!”

“Well, it’s good to know that even though your grandpa is gone now, and I’m stuck in here for the rest of my time, the heartbeat of that old city keeps pounding.”

“Grandma, don’t talk like that.” Melissa’s voice cracked.

“Oh, I almost forgot to show something I did.” Melissa said changing the subject. She brought the shiny silver tea pot over for Clara to see.

“It looks as beautiful as it did the day your grandpa gave it to me.”

Melissa started away with the pot.

“Wait a minute. I think I saw it.” Clara said.

“What do you mean, grandma?”

“I saw the reflection on the tea pot.”


“The city. My city”

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Sacred Footing


Propylaia portal!
Pass unto this ground
of sacred marble temples
and columns, that surround.
Remove thy leather sandals -
leave foreign lands behind.
Remove the blinding sunlight
from the eye within thy mind.
Speak not, yet, do listen . . .
for 'tis through the olive tree
the voice of wise Athena
unweaves the mystery.
Atop this limestone fortress
each pillar bears a name,
Stone faces turn to flesh, once more . . .
no thing remains the same.
Citizen eternal!
the aged roots of thee
thrive under the protection . . .
of this Acropoli.

Cleaning out my closet

It seems like I spent all summer packing away last winter, now I am already packing away the summer and preparing for the coming of a new winter. All this packing up and unpacking and sorting through my "stuff" . . . living with a closet that is constantly full; feeling the heaviness of accumulation; exhausted from the vampires that take up space behind my closet door and deplete me with their passive- aggressive presence. It's REALLY time to clean out my closet . . . fuck all the taking out and putting back in - I want to feel the peace and contentment of emptiness - the lightness of being - the Zen of "less is more." I have come to realize that until I clean out my soul, my mind, my heart, I will forever struggle with the physical manifestation of a closet that is packed so tightly I can never find what I REALLY need at any given time, but especially at the critical moments. I have tried the piles of 'yes,' 'no' and 'maybe,' but eventually the demons of greed (of fear) fill the 'yes' pile with "I need, I want, I can't live without!" I have tried putting away the things that I should let go and hiding them in the basement, but like an addict, I eventually start remembering past possessions, and in seeking their comfort, I invite them back into my space (and back to my table for dinner . . . on me). My closet is full of shit that I don't need - full of things that weigh me down - filled with the past and all the things I could never let go. Soon, I too will have a crimson-red silk Christmas vest, like my Great Uncle Chet that comes out, with all of the other Christmas decorations, year after year. Did he wear that same vest every year because he could not let go of it? Because it was just easier to "know" what he would wear on Christmas Day? Did he think it's 'memory' would bring back his mother to the holiday celebration? Was it out of frugalness or a fear that there would never come along another red vest like the one he loved?