thanksgiving on the other side of the world

Originally posted on Leonard Durso:

there are voices calling my name
on the other side of the world
an empty chair
a glass not filled with wine
dark meat with gravy
stuffing with mushrooms
and Robert’s famous meatballs and gravy
hot and sweet sausage
broccoli with garlic, lemon and oil
Johnny bought blueberry pie
only I’m not getting a piece
’cause I’m over here
on the other side of the world
quietly finishing a bottle of wine
trying not to think of your voice
the sorrow in the air
fresh flowers don’t quite kill the smell
of disappointment
another year gone by
that empty chair
that bottle of wine unopened
ice cream melting on a plate
Al Martino singing love songs
George serving salad
and you sliding food onto my plate
the cat under the table
my hand reaching across
grabbing nothing
grabbing air
on the other side
of the world

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the things we do: for Jimmy

Originally posted on Leonard Durso:

when you asked me
to be best man
at your wedding
I didn’t realize
I had to embellish
the wild stories you told your niece
in my speech
but being your friend
I told of how you saved all of us
on the tour bus
from an alligator attack
in the Everglades
and on a fishing trip
battled pirates single-handedly
and thus saved the ship
Jimmy, old friend
the things we do for each other
so okay, the alligators
I can understand
I mean there were dozens of them
sunning themselves
and there could have been a feeding frenzy
the tour bus occupants being lunch
and you gallantly saving the day
bopping them on their snouts
kicking them back into the swamp
but pirates, Jimmy
outside Miami
that was a stretch
I did out of loyalty
for you
I did bring up those parking tickets
hundreds tumbling out of your…

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the heart of Italy: for Carl

Originally posted on Leonard Durso:

there is your sense of empathy
a deep understanding
of the foibles of the human race
reached no doubt
from your reading
your advanced degrees
your close contact with people
your ability to listen
as well as discuss
a wide variety of subjects
it always amazes me
the range of your knowledge
and though at times
your voice takes on the tone
of the classroom
and the professor in you
begins to instruct all
within the sound of your voice
it is never dull
and the warmth in your eyes
speaks volumes of your background
from the soil
of Italy
we were raised
and you embody all the qualities
that country stands for
an aesthetic sensibility
you had strife in your life
an ex-wife who tried
though unsuccessfully
to poison your daughters
against you
and now you stand
a widower
mourning a wife you helped nurture
to academic…

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on humor: for Little Chuck

Originally posted on Leonard Durso:

there was this woman
who lived in Big Chuck’s building
and had an interest in him
even though he was not interested in her
in that way
but enjoyed her company
and that of her mother, too
Big Chuck reads a lot
sometimes 2 or 3 books at once
and this woman to impress him
I think
told him how much she loved
The DaVinci Code
which she had read like
a hundred times
when Big Chuck told this
to Little Chuck
at the donut shop
late one night
Little Chuck said
Ah, lover of book
or the time
Big Chuck took Little Chuck
to a party
and Big Chuck was charming
a rather attractive Russian woman
and Little Chuck
upon discovering she was from Russia
asked how the squirrel and the moose were doing
a reference to a cartoon show
totally lost on the lady
and she became…

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on believing in happiness: for Chuck

Originally posted on Leonard Durso:

so there’s the weekly conversations
when skype is working
about books music women life work
there’s the plans
the trips to Mission Ranch
where I stayed once
on your recommendation
Izzy’s Steak House
that New Year’s Eve
with Little Chuck
who is actually taller than you
but you’re still Big Chuck
in our eyes
the balloons floating toward heaven
that list of questions
we were instructed by you
to ask all available women
and lo and behold
it did lead to conversation
some of it even interesting
there are the magazines you lay out
the CDs DVDs books
you’re always listening to something
though you tend to watch the same movies
over and over and over
you are the kind of friend
whose picture is in the dictionary
under loyalty
and though opinionated
they are opinions worth hearing
you keep coming back to the Jesuits
and I admire that…

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on roads taken: for David

Originally posted on Leonard Durso:

we met on a bench
during orientation for transfer students
you picked me to talk to
because I was the only other person
wearing bellbottom jeans
that was the beginning of our brotherhood
and our roads
though different
continue to overlap
through time
shared music
a fondness for whiskey
and once
in another time zone
we shared a house in LA
picked because it had enough bedrooms
for the various people we carried with us
and a wet bar
which was essential
in our eyes
my brother
how is it we
of two opposite personalities
have remained so close
without tension
even during all those pool games
with only one argument
over my driving
settled when you refused
to get out of the car
a thousand years ago
my brother
we sealed our fates
and traveled rocky roads
connected in ways
we don’t fully understand
there have been women

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