Smoke and Mirrors

In a perfect world . . .

Month: April 2009 (page 1 of 2)


And now for something completely different.
Cue the X-Files theme

In the Eye of the Storm

Cumulonimbus, in purples and lavender greys
it’s heavy with rain . . .
it smells like rain, feels like pain,
but there’s little need to look back again
because it’s just more of the same
cutting it deep

Lightning rains from the heavens above,
the brilliant flashes of pure white light . . .
it illuminates all but the darkest and sacred of corners
in a room where the walls are ever-changing,
re-arranging the unfathomable fractures of the soul
sadly caught up in a crystalline hurricane

One thing is tragically clear,
a storm has settled over here,
as the clouds shift their gossamer form . . .
with a heart on the mend, tired of trying to bend
the soul looks for the eye of the storm
And maybe hope will rain
someday . . .

Guess who should paint me?

Just a little thing I saw on the net.
I was hoping for Dali.
I guess M.C. Escher is better than M.C. Hammer . . .

Who Should Paint You: M.C. Escher

Open and raw, you would let your true self show for your portrait.

And even if your painting turned out a bit dark, it would be honest.


Get out the headphones.
Just an old tune I still love.
The singer is Bobby Kimball who is no longer with the band.
He sings his proverbial ‘nuts’ off.
Great song, really gay ass video though.
Have a bitchin’ weekend folks.
It’s going to be 80 degrees and sunny in Boston tomorrow.
Look for me on my back deck tomorrow night smoking a Cuban Montecristo #2  . . .

Jasper Dreams

My father’s dresser stood roughly 5′ high and was made of a dark striped mahogany.
The handles were brushed bronze and made an interesting ‘clink’ after drawer was opened.
The most interesting thing was an item sitting on top of it;
a cast iron piggy bank that weighed about 3 lbs. with a lock on the underside of the belly.
But the strangest thing was that it was painted blue which made no sense to me whatsoever.
Pigs were not blue.
There was a small felt-lined box that held his wristwatch, rings, spare change, assorted cufflinks and an old broken lighter that I assumed had been my cigar smoking grandfathers.
There was a picture of me and my sister Maureen and an old black and white TV kitty-cornered leaning against the wall.
All of this sat on an ivory colored doily of sorts.
Actually the laced doily may have originally been white but discolored with age,
I could never be quite sure.
Dad was an orderly man, maybe even a bit anal retentive when it came to his dresser.
The drawers in order: sox, underwear and t-shirts, cheeno’s and jeans, polos and sweatshirts and in the bottom draw there was an odd assortment of archaic and godforsaken film reels (8mm) that he would never see, pocket watches, old broken wristwatches, pencils, pens, gag gifts from various milestone birthdays, an empty bottle of holy water and a grass stained baseball or two.
Upon opening any drawer of the dresser the thing I remember most vividly was the obvious scent of the man.
Though I find it hard to describe, imagine fresh warm linen with a hint of a melancholy and long forgotten rainy day.
That was my Dad.
One thing that’s baffled me all these years was his wearing of boxer shorts.
Images of him standing in front of the bathroom mirror shaving wearing nothing but boxers, a white t-shirt and stretch black socks are seared in my mind forever.
I distinctly remember the day I cleaned out his dresser for the last time.
With the exception of his boxers and t-shirts, every drawer held a different memory of him.
In his bottom drawer I found a metal ‘bank’ box that contained old bank passbooks, faded photos of people I didn’t know and various documents he had been saving.
Underneath the pile I found a tie tack I’d made him when I was about 8 years old.
It was brushed silver and had a semi-polished jasper stone set in the middle.
I made it at the same time I’d made my mother’s ‘precious stone’ earrings (each earring weighed about 8oz)
Finding the tie clip wasn’t so much of an emotional thing for me.
He didn’t leave it there for me to find.
He just never threw things like that away.
It was one more thing for me to learn about a man I would soon be losing.
The piggy bank is resting comfortably in my cellar right now in a box with all his stuff.
To this day I’m still wondering why the hell it was painted blue.
Maybe someday I’ll still be able to ask him . . .


To look at it, you would think it was just another normal boy’s bicycle but I knew better.
It was an off-brand that my father bought at an old store in town and I so loved it.
Can’t remember the name for the life of me but it was mostly fireball red and the fenders
had a bit of white detailing on the tips that made the overall effect one of ‘daredevil’ proportions.
It had a really cheesy gold sparkle banana seat, nicely padded for overall shock absorption.
The highlight was the handle grips which were a neon orange with black tiger stripes and tiger heads on the ends. Yeah, this was one serious machine, to me anyway.

I drove it everywhere: around the neighborhood, into the center of town, to the baseball field, the high school, my multiple girlfriends’ houses, the fruit stand for a classic Coke and a bag of State Line Cheese popcorn –
there wasn’t anyplace this thing wouldn’t go.
We used to build ramps to practice catching a little bit of airtime
and rode ‘sans’ hands whenever there were girls around.
We were daredevils and would try almost anything that gravity would allow.
You were nothing without your bike.
These days, you’re nothing without your FaceBook or MySpace page.
Funny how things change . . .

One day we decided to race down Harvard Street, a road right next to my house.
It had a bit of a downward slope and was an unforgivable gravel with asphalt road, rough as a lizard’s skin.
During the summer days we never had to worry about cars driving down the road because our fathers were all working and our Moms were at home doing whatever it was that Moms did.
We started at the top of Harvard Street and the first one to go all the way down,
around the cul-de-sac and back up to the top was the winner.
40+ years ago, the street seemed to go on for days.
I mean this was one long ass drag strip.
In reality, if I were to drive my truck down and up it today it would take all of about one minute.
At 15 M.P.H.

Someone yelled, “Ready? On your mark! Get set! Go!”

Off I went past the Gilbert’s house, whizzed by the Masterson’s, flew by the Pelletier’s before seeing the cul-de-sac ahead of me.
I was clearly in the lead and didn’t bother to slow down going into the nasty cul-de-sac.
The last thing I remember is hitting a patch off sand as my trusty bike slid out from under me.
My left forearm hit the asphalt as the rough road began chewing off my pieces of my skin.
My bike was wrecked and my left forearm and knee were bleeding profusely.
I left my poor and once awesome bike in the road and ran home in a bloody mess.
Winning would have been nice that day but having the skin back on my forearm would have been much nicer.
This was the day I learned and took to heart the phrase, “Winning isn’t everything.”
I omitted the last half of it for my own psychological benefit.
I did get another bike but it would never be the same.
Maybe that was part of growing up that I hadn’t counted on . . .


There are things that happen in our lives that simply defy explanation;
situational outcomes, a much needed phone call out of the blue, an errant email you ‘forgot’ to open that drastically changes some facet of your life.
Lately, my father’s journey has been something of an emotional rollercoaster ride.
In the span of one visit, he’ll laugh one minute to beat the band while the next he’s crying like a baby.
While it’s easy (and enjoyable) to watch and listen to him laugh, his tears and all too complete sorrow are a completely different animal.
Wax on, wax off.
He was never an emotional man to begin with so that takes some getting used to.
My sister and I have been truly baffled by the whole thing.
The last time my sister visited our mother’s grave, she had a brief ‘conversation’ with Ginny.
We both do the same thing when we visit her.
She told her about Dad’s current penchant for a psychological taste of a Six Flags amusement park.
She also told her that her ‘Wally’ is sad and misses her dearly.
One week later while Maureen was visiting our father she noticed a woman standing in the doorway of his room as she fed him lunch.
Her heart skipped a beat.
This woman looked like our mother.
Her eyes, her hair, her glasses, her sunny disposition were all subtle suggestions of ‘Ginny’.

“Hi, Wally!” she said, as she walked in and touched our father’s hand.

Maureen was a bit gobsmacked by the situation but she said our father seemed to enjoy this woman’s company.
He was smiling and laughing.
Her name is Margaret but they call her Peg.
And Peg seems to have a thing for Wally.
We were told that Peg and Walter can sometimes be found sitting together in the rec room that looks out over the city of Worcester.
It’s a wonderful view even on a grey and rainy day.
Peg even holds our father’s hand.
It’s uncanny that after my sister’s visit with our mother this woman should almost materialize out of thin air.
I’m thinking that as poor as my father’s eyesight is, every time he sees Peg, he’s also seeing our Mom.
Rollercoaster ride, explained.
In looking at the situation I’m so tempted to believe this woman was sent by my mother, a surreal gift of a love from someplace truly wonderful.
I know, it sounds way too Disney and formulaic but the situation defies explanation.
Maybe Peg was sent to help my father finally get home.
Perhaps she’ll remind him of the most important things missing in his life, make him close his eyes and dream good things.
Maybe she’ll give him the much needed solace he so richly deserves.
But for now, he shall remain a constant rider on these misshapen, parallel bars of cold steel.
He’s still holding on for dear life, lost on a perpetual track of fragmented emotions.
Only God knows when and where the rollercoaster will ultimately arrive.
For the love of my father, I hope it arrives soon . . .


Only my wife can say to me, (as she did tonight)
“When are you going to write something on the blog?
There’s been nothing of substance lately. Where’s the writing?”
I hate when she’s right. Write. Right.
I have a few things cued up in need of definite editing so please check back on Monday.
Thank God I have someone to give me some much needed toughlove, huh?
Not everyone is as lucky.

Dancing Queen?

This is the latest web/ YouTube sensation called Miranda.
Is she a Dancing Queen?
A singing sensation?
Maybe not on this planet.
Either way, she rocks my world.
I gotta talk to her about how she applies her lipstick though.
Maybe she needs to be in one of those Little Caesar pizza commercials . . .

Reminds me of . . .

The year was 1978.
About the time I met the woman that would ultimately change my life.
And I met my wife . . .
I’m sorry but they don’t write stuff like this these days.
A pop song with a #11 chord?
Questions about the above observation are welcome.
Though you may not understand the answer.
I used to play this song and loved the chord changes . . .
As always, headphones are highly recommended.
The sound is great.

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