« Archives in October, 2012


A peek inside this week’s session between our cat, Little Man, and his therapist. 

TP: So how did it go this week?

LM: Ahh, it was ok, I guess. Didn’t exactly start great though. Had to get in the damn pet carrier (traveling prison cell would be more accurate) to go to the vet.

TP: What was so terrible about it?

LM: Well, first of all, dad always telegraphs his game plan with some over-the-top comment about how we’re going to go outside and have BIG FUN together. The last time I had “big fun” outside was when I was really young and climbed a tree. Dad thought I was stuck up there, so he climbs up too. Thing is, in his pathetic effort to reach me, he loses his balance, falls onto a lower branch, and cracks a rib. He limps into the house to whine to mom and I saunter down off the tree, no prob. That was big fun.

TP: Stay on topic, Little. The trip to the vet.

LM: Right. So anyway, he carries me downstairs mumbling about “big fun” and I can see he’s got the prison cell all set up down there—door open, ready to deposit me inside.  So, of course, I go into high resistance mode so he knows I know what’s up. Then it’s head first into the little sweatbox. I mean, look at me. I’m thirty pounds of mansome being stuffed into a kitty carrier? Please!

TP: OK. So you get to the vet and…

LM: Not so fast. First, we have the ride over. I, of course, immediately go into woe-is-me-whining-mode. He starts babbling back at me about how we’ll only be at the doctor’s for a few minutes, it’s no big deal, and then the clincher…“Maybe your girlfriend will be there.” »Read More


The shot rang out within seconds of a blur running up the alley.

“Did you see that son of a bitch move?”

George had barely said move when the pop-pop sound reverberated. Maybe there were two shots.

It was 9:30 on a steamy July night in ’60s Baltimore. We had just parked the car and George was cutting the engine when a white T-shirt and jeans tore ass up the alley in front of us.

The alley ran behind Playhouse 25, an art cinema that showed Bergman films and other innocently erotic, mostly foreign stuff. We were going to catch a 10 o’clock screening, but live action proved a stronger lure.

We jumped from the car and ran to the alley’s entrance…excitement trumping fear. Hell, we were teenagers. They live forever, right? »Read More


“A Neighborhood” : An admittedly pedestrian poem, written at an intensely emotional time…

Like a town unto itself,

But only part of something else,

It was my life for little kid years;

A place of growing, laughter, and tears.

The day I met my first real friend,

We said hello, but it would end.

His name was Bob; I shook his hand.

We were little guys who’d form a band.

We all had names that you would hear

When mothers yelled, “Time for supper. Come here!”

Names like Skip and Wayne and Lee,

Bev and Paul, even Donna Marie.

I cannot try to write them all.

It makes me sad when I recall.

‘Cause here I speak of long-past days,

Since we’ve all gone our separate ways.

Life brings us close, almost as one,

Then pulls us apart and ends the fun.

Where could all the memories be?

Do they live in others as they do in me?

I remember dodgeball and “Mother, may I?”

S-P-U-D…let the ball fly!

Games of pitch on hot summer nights,

Under the glow of city streetlights.

Hide-and-seek was fun for all.

The girls played hopscotch; the boys, step-ball.

Redline and wire-ball and so many others,

Played with passion by sisters and brothers.

Our whole play world was so very small,

Just two rows of houses and an alley, that’s all.

Now we’re all gone; other people live there.

I wonder what they think when I drive by and stare.

It’s been sixty years since I grew up in that West Baltimore neighborhood; thirty-five since I wrote this poem while resident in the high-security ward of a New England psychiatric hospital; and about a week since I last drove by and stared. Maybe I’m just the sentimental type, trying to go home again when, indeed, “you can’t.” Or maybe I’m still trying to make sense of how it came so terribly undone in the turbulent ‘60s. »Read More