going your own way: for Randy

Leonard Durso

once upon a time
in a foreign land known as LA
Jimmy, Gordon, and I drew a line
and then crossed over it
to put in the physical universe
a place where words mattered
and thus committed ourselves
to the culture wars
both Jimmy and Gordon left
within a year
to do battle elsewhere
you came to take their place
and crossed that line
to join me
standing tall
there was also Bill
and various others in and out
for a day or two a week
but you were there 24/7
my right hand
moral support
over those turbulent waters
and though we connected years earlier
in BG
over our own writing
it was the shared commitment to
the written word
our god literature
that cemented our bond
there was a price
we all paid
in varying degrees
to our own work
our livelihoods
the relationships we had
through those…

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thanksgiving on the other side of the world

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

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

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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