Colorado 1987

Clouds, They Come and Go

A beloved member of my family has dementia. For him, and for those of us around him, this presents odd moments of beauty, as well as moments of reflection.

For example, when we’re driving somewhere, each of us in the car is called to examine the clouds, their beauty, their meaning, and (it’s unspoken but hard to avoid,) our own meaning.

It’s like when we were kids, flat on our backs in the field, watching the sky change, nudging and kicking each other, betting who could see a movie star in the sky, first. As for me, I never saw anything. I never saw the angels breathe into me the love that would carry me forth. I only see the beauty of the clouds, in their singularity, and in their entirety.

 

The photo is mine, copyright 2016, Virginia Galfo

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Before the Open Road

 

 

A broken glass in the kitchen
Slid a shard into my foot,

Upward, inward, biting a nerve
Like a red-hot bolt of electricity;

Much like my first love
Who was angled into my soul and

Hung there vibrating silently
while 
40 years went by.

The thing is, he was innocent.
He didn’t break my heart,

I broke it myself,
He never knew I loved him.

As I pull the glass shard from my foot,
I know that nothing in this world

Could have ever cut me
Deeper than I cut myself.

 

1/19/16

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Windows into the Night

On Sunday nights,
my dad drove the white Comet
down Paterson Plank Road,
past the houses and apartments
tucked into the rocky hillside
as he delivered himself from
his mother in Jersey City.


He had three kids in the 

back seat, along with the ghost
of the baby who died,
and my mother —

chain-smoking Viceroys 
with the windows closed —
as trucks screamed past us
on the Turnpike. 

All I could do was catch
furtive glimpses i
nto the
lamp-lit windows 
on the hillside,
wondering if someone 

was making a cake,
or reading their child s story,
a tale of comfort to soften
the sharp edges of the night,
And open a window
to the morning.

 

 

(Photo: Stock Free from  www.pexels.com)

 

 

The Muldoon Family 1963

Father’s Day: It’s Complicated

 

Looking down 10 stories
from my hotel room in Boston
to a street canyon-ed by snow,

I watch  tiny figures
hurrying against the wind,
gripping collars, heads down. 

One man is barely moving.
He’s wrapped in a gray blanket,

and his feet are slightly shuffling.

I need a smoke,
so I make my way down
to the street and the doorman
tells me it’s too cold to go out,
but he smiles as he says it. 

I huddle against the building
as the man wrapped in the stiff
gray blanket draws near
and  I hold out a cigarette;
He stops, and says, 
“I quit smoking in 1992.”

I pull a five dollar bill
out of my pocket and slip 
it into his hand–a hand
that’s brutally cold. 

We look each other in the eye and
without his permission,
I take one of his gloveless hands
between mine and begin rubbing it
between my palms,
blowing warm breath onto his cracked
skin, and when the life came back,
I warmed his other hand.

“What’s your name?”

He answers with one word.
“Eugene.”

Later that night
as the snow fell silently,
I thought of my father, 
decades gone.

His name was also Eugene,
and I don’t think

he even had the concept of
warmth, not once in his life.

Whatever he was missing
Stalked him relentlessly,
pushing his wandering soul
into the frigid nght

with nothing more than a stiff blanket
and the scapular around his neck.

 

Pencil holder2

In this scary world, there is love, there is hope

Over the past 15 years, terrorism has had many moments that grabbed headlines–moments that constantly convey devastation, mayhem, and death. We rightfully are aware of wars where millions of people are displaced, bombs are falling, women are kidnapped and sold as sex slaves, and children are dying. It’s beyond my comprehension, and I have no words to explain the evil that exists among men.

What I can tell you is there is hope. There are bright pockets of light in places you’d never imagine. Like the Lutheran Comfort Dogs. These mostly golden retrievers and their handlers volunteer to assist people in their hour of need. They are presently in Orlando, Florida, comforting the people affected by the latest god-less maniac.

There is hope in the world, and if you despair, there are people who can help you off the ledge. For those of us who have a hard time understanding where we fit in this sometimes awful world, I call on you to remember so many people love us. Here’s a link to get some help if it all seems too much.

 

 

 

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Richmond 1865 – 2016

I didn’t know that the Confederate Army lit a match to Richmond on their way out of town on April 3, 1865. Richmond had served as the capitol of the Confederacy throughout the dreadful Civil War, and was the chief supplier of munitions. The Tredegar Iron Works are still standing on the banks of the James River.


Most of the city really did burn to the ground, but enough of it, and the people who lived there, survived. President Abraham Lincoln visited Richmond days after the documents were signed to end the war, his son Tad in tow. Days later, he was shot in the Ford’s Theater. Had he lived to see Reconstruction through, I believe the lingering Cold War between the North and the South may have been mitigated, and we may have come together, the way we did in the days after the attacks on 9/11.

With this divisive presidential election looming, my hope is that we can carry forth a lesson from the past – let’s all be stewards of this land we love – regardless of the election.

 

 

Gazebo on Ogden Ave. after Sandy

With You All Along

 

I always imagined running away from home when I was a kid. I probably should have, but common sense prevailed. Rather, it was more the fear of disappointing my grandparents whom I loved. So I stayed. And others left, and that was up to them. 

The song, With You All Along, is from my first album, Broken Hearted Angel: Produced by Rahjta Ren, and recorded by Jeff (the Jedi Master) Jones. My brothers.