Saturday, May 23, 2015

Play On (In The Key Of G)

Play On (In The Key Of G)

She stands there with a gleam in her eyes
The silver metal of the harmonica
Folded in her tiny hands
And she smiles…
The type of smile that
Pulls and stretches across her face
The type of smile that probably hurts
But is unavoidable

She laughs in excitement
Then she brings the instrument to her lips
And joyfully blows 
A cascade of notes that pour into the air
Sounding like a mad organ player
Or an accordion flopping down the stairway

Her legs follow suit
Marching in wild, erratic steps
Off balance, and nearly toppling over
But she’s clinging to the harmonica
With all her might
And drawing notes through the reeds
With a ferocity 
Reserved for one possessed...

After all, she was spellbound 
Pulled in, as soon as she heard it
How could she not be?
When I was enchanted the same way
Back then, when I was a child...

She played on and on…
As a bubbling stream of
Both shrill and warm notes
Began reverberating between 
The confines of the moment
And deep echoes of the past
And instead of my kitchen
I was suddenly back in his...

He took two harmonicas down
From the top of the harvest-gold fridge
One for me, one for him
I probably wore the same face as my daughter
Eyes gleaming, a beaming grin
The hard plastic case of the Marine Band
Was placed into my hands and 
When I opened it, I could see
Matthias Hohner peering up from 
My reflection in the shiny cover plate

My grandfather took his and
Cupping his large hands around the harp
Spun out a medley of
Italian folksongs and 
Stephen Foster compositions
Giving me permission to join in 
Signaling me to blow or draw a note
With his pointed finger
While we played the
Chords and melodies of
“Oh! Susanna” and 
“Old Folks At Home”

We would play on and on
As my Grandma watched, smiling
We would play on and on
As I showed off for my parents
We would play on and on
As my brothers tugged my legs for their turn...
We would play on and on
For guests, relatives, celebrations
He would play
And I would play

I would play on and on
Becoming more nimble at
Blowing riffs beneath melodies
Breathing and blocking, while
Tasting the wooden comb
Swollen from salivating, and
Playing until the edges of my mouth were raw
I would play on and on
Yet never quite master the way
He would play a dancing tarantella 
Deftly shifting scales on his chromatic
I would play on and on...
Even after he passed on...

I had to play on without him...
I mourned him through the moody
Wistful rhythm of the Blues 
Bending my notes to infuse
Williamson, Walter
Wells, and Cotton
And when I had forgotten
How to live in the positive
I found my way back
From Talking Blues, like
Lee Jaffe on a Marley track
Resting my roots in reggae
Finding my voice like Dylan
Instilling pieces of 
Composed memories and
Explored aspirations
Into my own identity
I was finally ready to
Play the same song
I had learned long ago
But in a new style
It had been a while
So, I played on...

She played on and on
Parting the curtains of time
Pulling me back in like a note
Squeezed through the reed plate
“Daddy!... ah you ok?”
I forgot to play...
And so I did

Who knew that 
I would find him again
In my dear daughter
Just shy of two
Copying my every move
Vigorously playing 
The harmonica I gave her
Slapping the spit out
Against her leg
Cupping her hands
Waving her fingers
Prancing behind me
From room to room
Our own parade
For Mama and brother

Turning around
I stop to kneel down
And looking into her eyes
I see him
As we play a medley of
“The ABC’s” and 
“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”
Us three...
Together, in the key of G

Our doors to each other
Are unlocked by keys
Played on these
Marine Bands and Blues Harps
Our Gemini hearts
Born on Special 20’s
Together, we will play on and on...

(c) 2015

Written as a tribute to my daughter and my grandpa, both having birthdays on either side of mine:
May 21st - My grandfather, the late Edmond Gioielli
May 22nd - My birthday
May 23rd - My daughter, Makeda

Friday, May 22, 2015

I Am That Tree

I Am That Tree

How fortunate of me
To be that tree
Planted by the water
My branches heavy with
The fruits of my love
My son, my daughter

The countenance of my wife
Shines upon my life
Like the warm sun 
And her affection 
Will never cease, like
The morning dew on my leaves

You see, I grew from a seed
Planted and received
In arable soil
A royal garden where
I rose in the shade
Of ones greater than I

My roots reach down
To the riverside
Where Jehovah abides
In the constant waters
The birds nest in my crown
I’m surrounded in song

I am tall and splendid
But without the roots
I would bear no fruits
Without the stream
My leaves would cease
From spreading green...

I will never be cut down
I shall not rot or whither
Even in the year of drought
I have no doubt
That I am that tree
Planted by rivers of water...

(c) 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Great Love

A Great Love

Behold, a great love
Exists between this mother
And her dear children
There is no power on earth
Able to separate them

Her presence alone
Subdues this uncertain life
With a constant love
Her daughter dances with her
Her son seeks her warm embrace

She'll love them beyond
The ends of eternity
This is their mother
Who once held them in her womb
Who holds them now in her arms

They’ll never outgrow
The size of her beating heart
They’ll never outgrow
The home she has made upon
The pillars of family

(c) 2015

Livicated to my wife, my Empress, and mother of my beautiful children. Her love is a Great Love! Written in honor of her motherhood and the motherhood of my mother, mother-in-law, and all of the mothers I know. Their love is a Great Love!