unpacking memories

Leonard Durso

opening boxes
separating items
these memories
of an eventful life
in my hands
soon to be placed
on shelves
while music plays
from decades ago
and though I thought
I was safe
from pain regret remorse
there is no escape
from memories
in one’s hands
outside of boxes
laid bare
like one’s heart
decades ago
decades ahead
the here and now

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listening to Billie Holiday

Leonard Durso

body and soul
that voice
brings back memories
of dark bars
Alvin swaying
John Woods’ eyes
closed to some thoughts
he could not escape
and Henry
and secrets
he cannot say
earlier we sat
with Julian pouring rye
into our steins
of draught beer
at the Blarney Stone
cornbeef and cabbage
upper west side
and that voice
haunting our dreams
where oh where
amid the ghosts
of days past
she is there
here
as night falls
and my glass
is filled
and refilled
death will come
to us all
but damn
her voice
keeps it at bay
and they can’t
take that
away
from me

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another translation from the Chinese by Mary Tang on her blog Life is But This

My friends are visiting Sydney and me: Pauline from Adelaide; Jan and Ross from Bellingen. I met Pauline when I was 12 and Jan at 18 so I can say that they are lifelong friends. It will be sad to say goodbye. Yesterday Pauline approved of my translation of Overnight on a River that I dedicated […]

via Song of the Three Islets by Chen Zi Long (translation) — Life is But This 命

on watching John Wayne

Leonard Durso

he walks
toward trouble
as if it was
of no concern
to him
and trouble
in whatever form
it takes
moves aside
for the big man
it knows
no matter how fast
it draws
how tough
it is
how much abuse
it can take
it is no match
for our hero
who drove cattle
to feed a nation
tamed the West
won the war
was the man
of the hour
any hour
every hour
gave us hope
he would always
be there
when trouble called
until the day
cancer came
and won
the day
as it almost
always does
to heroes
to villians
to us all
outside
the silver screen
in real life
where there are
no rewrites
no retakes
as the cameras
roll
without pause
in our lives

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whaddya hear whaddya say: watching Jimmy Cagney

Leonard Durso

one forgets
how graceful
he was
acting with every part
of his body
that dancer training
coming into play
the quintessential tough guy
chip on his shoulder
the old one two
too smart
for his own good
never totally bad
but always
that Irish heart
glowing
love for the girl
on the right side
of the tracks
and he
always from the wrong
part of the city
that hitching
of his shoulders
just before
he carries on
always dying
in a blaze of gunfire
or the chair
pretending to be
yellow
as a favor
for his childhood pal
Pat O’Brien
the priest
even though
his character
had no need
of redemption
he took
whatever punishment
or justice
that came his way
with the same
tilt of the head
those eyes
defiant
the hint
of a smile
on his lips

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