Category Archives: Radio

Part Three-The Lightest Touch …

In case you haven’t noticed, I love presenting ideas in threes … to this end … I will do three times three with my journals and the bits and pieces of Radio before I travel to yet another location in my mind.

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When at last she left her beloved Brooklyn for the hills of Northern Manhattan, her babes were at her knees. Each took a hand which became symbolic of their unity and strength. When life hit hard, each held her solid, reminding her  how fragile the connection of their union could be, and how easily it could be severed. But not yet.

All was possible, all waited around the next bend in the road … white lightning and wine filled the new rooms with delightful delirium.

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Music has remained the concrete foundation of my life, the muse fills me with joy and sorrow. Rising to the heavens or crashing to the nether regions of hell. All things are possible through the muse.

These three of The Lightest Touch, carried me on the whine of the electric guitar, the low moan of the base guitar, and the amazing voices of the sisters, Ann and Nancy Wilson, who became Heart.

From Ramblings, 1978, the year we left Brooklyn:

 Snow Bird

Snow flakes are falling in the city
What a wonder to see snow falling in the city

Its white perfection lying softly over
Concrete and garbage
Washing away dust and noise
As it quietly blankets the streets
And the cars
The whore-houses and the bars

A little bird is resting upon my fire escape
Flitting along the flakes of white
She has perched herself to rest
And she makes me smile

Then she if off again

Off into the quiet snow fall
Off to swoop over the trees along the avenue
And I marvel at her strength
And her persistence

To be a bird in this funky city
To be a snow bird in this
Funkiest of funky cities

Surely that is a marvel !

A Christmas present to myself

It’s Christmas Eve and the children
Anxious and gay play around
The tree
Waiting for the bottom to fill up

It is a joy to have children
On this night of all
Nights

Their eyes shine with
The lights of the tree
Holding the gleam ’till morning

And all the day long we
Baked and fixed and sang
Silly songs

Stuffing me like the
Holiday turkey
Spicy and full of wonder

Oh, what is it that makes
Children tick?

What little mechanism
Twinkles like Christmas stars
Up in their tiny heads?

What red, blue, sun-yellow
Wheels
Roll inside their bellies?

Oh, what magic could
I steal
Were I to find the secret
Of the grand machinery
Of childhood

Quiet now …

They are up in their beds
Cuddle soft and candy
Dreams

Crackle fire and
Peppermint spy
Fat ole’ Santa blankets
The bottom of the tree

Leaving behind the gay
Assortment of trinket and doll
And ribbon wrap array

Of little presents to bring
So much pleasure to the
Biggest child

Me!

Untitled:

Many things
Of different sorts

Come flashing
Dancing along
The waves of sunshine

One flicker of sun
Told me of you

I returned alone
As I had gone
Yet not as lonely

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From a turning point in Radio:

1952, I hate boys  …

It happened the year of my Holy Communion. Time to learn about sin. Pure-snow-white-angels, good girls don’t have to confess anything. 

There was a lady down the street. They called her Crazy Mary.

Hey Crazy Mary, where ya goin’?  
Goin’ to see my boyfriend.

Grin, Crazy Mary. Keep the secret and grin.   

My mom was so lucky ’cause she had two best girlfriends. One of them was my angel and the mother of the only boy I didn’t hate. Her face was round and beautiful and she never yelled or called me names.

The other girlfriend was small and dark and frightened and the mother of the bad boy who made me run home faster than all the rest.

I ran home again. The bad boy pushed me into the alley after school and said bad things. I kicked him and headed home fast as my crooked feet would take me.

She told me not to run up the steps. I didn’t listen. If I didn’t run up the steps one of them might catch me. I never told her the one who caught me all the time was one of us.

The boys wore white too. I hope they confessed their sins. 

Both of my parents had friends they counted as family, friends they cherished like the finest wines. It was a tale told by each of them.

Seven men who came from Carloforte, a small fishing village on the island of San Pietro, seven kilometers off the southwestern coast of Sardinia, left behind their families, went to sea on the tall ships and traveled thousands of miles to find a dream. They fell in love with, and married seven women from Poughkeepsie, the county seat of Dutchess County in the Mid Hudson Valley of New York.

The men spoke a funny language called tabarchin or in Italian, tabarchino, and the women spoke the Italian dialect of Naples. Among them were two brothers who married two sisters. They all brought over cousins and grandmothers, reproduced and multiplied to the tune of fifty-seven varieties to rival Heinz and followed each other from Italy to the Mid Hudson Valley to Brooklyn.

Including the one boy I didn’t hate, the only kids I had to play with came from the same places as my parents and they were all boys. And if they weren’t from the same places as my parents and weren’t all boys, they were sweet little girls who thought I was a freak. 

The two little girls up the block were dark like us and their grandmother couldn’t speak English like Nonna across Fourth Avenue. My middle brother told me they were Armenian and everyone in the entire country had a name that ended with “inian.” They didn’t play with me because I acted like a boy.  

Tom boy, go away. Don’t come again another day.

Aw, who needs you and your “inian?”   

Their crazy grandmother put needles in our Spaldeens but I didn’t care ’cause When I Fall In Love, like Doris Day, it will be forever.

When The Wheel of Fortune didn’t spin out my numbers, I listened to the sounds that soothed me, and escaped with Rosie who could do good things to me ’cause she knew how to belt out the Blues In The Night.

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There you have it … the last part of The Lightest Touch.  

What degrees of separation remove you from your fondest dreams?

Your worst moments?

Share a dream or two … better … share two or three with me.

fOIS In The City

All photographs for The Lightest Touch were from my daughter, Jen G, and from the official webpage of Philco Radio.

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Filed under Poetry Wednesday, Radio

Part One-The lightest touch …

She came to me in my late twenties, when the two were mere babes, when life was still a promise yet fulfilled, when it seemed easier, simpler. Now she prods and pokes at me, her laughter mocking my efforts to stretch my psyche across the page for your entertainment.

She came in the night when my defenses were worn, and she attacked my senses until they bled. And the words grew from my college journals to Poetry Wednesday, to a box-sized table-top Philco Radio.

Often when the poet paints her words across the page, she uses the lightest touch, the faintest hint of colors, the soft hues of night, the splashes of seasons, the kaleidoscope of daylight playing in her head.

She might strike out, slash the page with her words, tear your heart with her sad songs, penetrate the nether regions of your brain to unleash the beast hidden in caverns where few may travel.

This is what I do when all efforts fail to shake me from the doldrums, the melancholy and non-productivity, some laughingly call “writer’s block.”

I don’t get blocked, I get crazy. Inside my senses dance and I go nuts. To celebrate this time with you, I am turning inward to my other persona … a young mother and her babes in arms …

I begin yet again …

Crazy on You, Heart

From Poetry Wednesdays:

Memories …

I’ve tucked all the corners
Tight
Trimmed the edges
Brushed away the dust
That fell in the space you
Used to fill

Still you have not come

If it’s night and horizons dim
Softly melting into
Blue and gray

If it’s warm inside and
Ovens bake
Dipping into
Sticky and sweet

Where is the sight of it
The taste of it
To fill a hungry soul?

#############

A Silver Web …

I’ll practice every day
Until it becomes natural

Take up the task
Working harder each time

Obliterate every thought
Of you
And your real world

Until it intrudes on some cold
Morning when the dream has forgotten
The purpose and lets it in
Shattering the fragile silver web

###########

Untitled …

Inside of me there is an
Un-Godly animal sound

It moans all through the night, Mama
And it keeps me running passed the boundaries
And over the fences

‘cept I don’t know where to, Mama
Where to ?

##########

From the opening of …  You turn me on … I’m a radio         

Radio, told in her words, begins in 1951 when the little girl is seven years old and ends in 1958 when she is fourteen. To understand you need only imagine your entire world contained within a brown rectangular, tabletop Philco radio.  

 

1951,  A Treasure For Me  …

My brother was a tinker, junk collector extraordinaire, who roamed along the docks adjacent to Brooklyn’s Bush Terminal in the neighborhood of Sunset Park, and found smashed in a junkyard, a decimated, yet salvageable treasure for me.  

It traveled from the junk yard to the kitchen table whereupon it sat for an unknown number of months while my mother complained about the burdens of being the mother of a junk collector.

Do you have to do that on the kitchen table? 

In a small, cold flat located on the third floor of a clapboard house, three rooms ran through a tunnel separated with two sets of French doors on either side of a long, narrow kitchen, hyphenated with a small hook in the front; a closet-sized-room with a window and an open doorway.

Our parents’ bedroom, located at the back of the house, contained my parent’s bed and mahogany dresser, my father’s old Victrola with crank and large 78-RPM records, and my brother’s homemade dark room. It was the place most of the laundry sat until it went either on an outside or inside clothesline. This inside clothesline was a mechanical device of immeasurable value to a crazy Italian housewife.

The kitchen contained our central heating, otherwise known as a coal-burning stove, where below heavy iron plates, the fires of hell burned and scared the be-Jesus out of me.

Inside the kitchen, a wall of three windows and a door enclosed a freezing cold bathroom with a pull tank and a claw-foot tub where not much hot water flowed. No one knew why there was a wall with three windows inside the apartment through which one could see from the kitchen into the bathroom.

To protect our privacy my mother covered the windows with café curtains that she then tacked along the edges. If anyone moved the curtains and dared to look, our mother smacked them with whatever she was holding.

Under the inside windows, from the back wall to beyond the bathroom door was our long, wooden kitchen table, usually covered in what was known as “oil” cloth with a felt backing. It came in patterns of large yellow daisies and other flower designs or gingham checks in bright red or blue, depending upon my mother’s mood when shopping in the Woolworth’s Five and Dime.

My father sat at the head of the table and next to him my mother, her back to the deep sink with washboard for scrubbing said clothes to hang on erstwhile mentioned inside or outside clothesline.

The eldest sat at the other end facing my father, and with his back to the bathroom wall, my middle brother sat, slouched in his seat, making faces at me. I was a Southpaw and sat to the left of my mother so I should not be in juxtaposition to anyone lest I knock over their drink while I ate.

The kitchen also contained an “ice box,” which overflowed onto the freezing cold linoleum floors. The refrigerator came in the next apartment along with a gas range and steam heat.

Between the sink and the ice box was a small food pantry with a glass door in front of which I danced while my mother told me to set the table, wash my hands, don’t jump so much or I’ll spit up my food, and her last-ditch effort …

Stop dancing, you’re driving me crazy.

##########

 … although on this day, still two years away from our first television, in our cold-flat apartment in Brooklyn, in the middle of a factory district, my brother gave me my own, personal, private radio.

It was a tabletop Philco with a lovely cherry wood finish, a special treasure with two large, round knobs for changing channels and controlling volume, and soft canvas material, behind which were the tubes and the speaker.

A radio with a horizontal AM dial that lit up in the dark, and a needle which traveled with lightening speed from one end of the world to the other, where you could even get a thrill and be welcome like the flowers on Mockin’bird Hill.

And that is where this story begins … in the fifties … at the beginning of the AM dial …

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While I struggle with the angst of unpacking, editing, and revising two books … a mystery and not a mystery … I will continue to bring you the pages of my journals and the snippets of one crazy hell of a Brooklyn Tale.

How do you handle being a block-head?

Do you give in to the frustrations or fight back?

Tell me all. Misery loves company.

fOIS In The City

 

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Radio Stories …

Over seven months ago, I introduced a story here as a series of three posts. For whatever reasons, I moved two of them.  The third one remained as a post called Sad Songs Make Me Cry.

I have no way of knowing how these things happen, but during the last seven months, Sad Songs has become the most viewed of all my 100 plus posts to date, not including those who simply read the posts on my Home Page.

It is a story of the first time a little girl of eight learns about death. The little girl is not me. She is an amalgom of so many little girls.

Loving her and the music she uses to escape from the reality of her life, I would like to share parts of her stories again.

You turn me on … I’m a radio       

 Introduction … 

Someone who knows me might conclude this is a story about my family. They would be wrong. 

There are no names of characters, no complete descriptions, no actual dialogue and the central characters are a little girl and her radio. There are no moral lessons to be learned, no neat conclusions and whatever problems occur, remain unresolved.  

It begins in 1951 when the little girl is seven years old and it ends in 1958 when she is fourteen. 

To understand you need only imagine your entire world contained within a brown rectangular, table-top Philco radio.

One … 1950

A Treasure For Me

My brother was a tinker, junk collector extraordinaire, who roamed along the docks adjacent to Brooklyn’s Bush Terminal in Sunset Park, and found smashed in a junkyard, a decimated, yet salvageable treasure for me.  

It traveled  from the junk yard to the kitchen table whereupon it sat for an unknown number of months while my mother lamented on the burdens of being the mother of a junk collector.

Do you have to do that on the kitchen table?

It was like a railroad apartment with a little hook at the end. Three rooms ran through a tunnel separated with two sets of French doors on either side of a long, narrow kitchen.

First room: Our parents bedroom which contained my crib for a time, my father’s old Victrola with crank and large 78 RPM records and my brother’s dark room for a very long time. The place most of the laundry sat until it went on either an outside or inside clothes line. This inside clothes line was a mechanical device of immeasurable value to a crazy Italian housewife.

Second room: The kitchen complete with central heating, a coal-burning stove.  No, I don’t remember when the damn thing was converted to gas. I only remember the fires of hell viewed from the heavy iron plates, scared the be-jesus out of me.

Inside the kitchen, a wall of three windows and a door, enclosed a freezing cold bathroom with a pull tank and a claw footed tub where not much hot water flowed. Don’t ask why there were three windows inside the apartment where one could see from the kitchen into the bathroom. Though if anyone dared to look, our mother smacked them with whatever she was holding.

Under the windows, from the back wall to beyond the bathroom door was our long, wooden kitchen table. My father sat at the head of the table and next to him my mother, her back to the deep sink with washboard for scrubbing said clothes to hang on erstwhile lines in or out.

The eldest sat at the other end facing my father, and with his back to the bathroom wall, my middle brother sat, slouched in his seat, making faces at me. I am a lefty and sit to the left of my mother so I should not be in juxtaposition to anyone lest I knock over their drink while I ate.

 The kitchen also contained an “ice box,” which overflowed onto the freezing cold linoleum floors. The refrigerator came in the next apartment along with a gas range and steam heat.

In between the sink and the ice box was a small food panty with a glass door in front of which I danced for about seven years while my mother told me to set the table, wash my hands, don’t jump so much or I’ll spit up my food, and her last-ditch effort.

Stop dancing, you’re driving me crazy.

Behind this amazing private stage was the center of the house, our prime means of entertainment other than watching my brother build stuff, the tall stand-up Philco Radio.

Third room: Beyond the kitchen was the front parlor, the room for the television. On this day, still two years away from our first television, in our railroad apartment in Brooklyn, in the middle of a factory district on the cusp of the Golden Age of Radio and Television, my brother gave me my own, personal, private radio.  

 It was a table top Philco with a wooden finish I would one day paint a sickening turquoise, a horizontal AM dial, a needle which traveled with lightening speed east to west, two large round knobs for changing channels and controlling volume, and soft canvas material died a camel color, behind which were the tubes he could replace and the speaker.

A radio with a great sound and an AM dial that lit up in the dark and went from one end of the world to the other.

 And that dear children was where our story began.

In a cold flat, in the fifties, at the beginning of the AM dial.

fOIS In The City
 

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