Thursday, February 14, 2013

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Thursday, November 08, 2012

Poem: "Context"

I might tell you how much I enjoy being
with you as if you couldn't tell
(I am that transparent)
but it would be without true meaning

I should let you know how each of your kisses
paralyze me for a beautiful brief instant
(which is why I have to pull away and reset)
but it would not really matter

I could describe the pain in my chest
when we are apart
(that is sometimes accompanied by tears)
but what would be the point
I ought to share the calm that I feel
when we are together
(in church they say ‘peace that surpasses all understanding’)
but the words would be hollow

I could say all of these words
in the right order
to you either out loud or in a whisper
(which would you prefer)
but they cannot land successfully
without first framing them with
I love you

copyright 2012 Steven Harz

Thursday, August 23, 2012


every fall the trek to a town 30 minutes to the south  (is anything in connecticut really south?) is made by he and his boys and this one-day round trip has been made ten years running and now seems like a reflex rather than a plan.  for the kids it’s a way to  celebrate the apple harvest  by downing fritters then riding the tilt-a-whirl followed by a valiant attempt to retain the fritters. for him it’s a pilgrimage to the town of his youth while trying to recapture a fleeting glimpse of 1974 and if he looked down main street and squinted towards the town green he could almost make it out. 

surrounded by the sounds of marching bands and shrieks and giggles with yellow balloons against a cobalt sky and the red brick town in the front and the orange hills in the back he stood in a new england version of and autumnal eye-of -the storm.  suddenly convinced that he was silent and alone while all of october rotated around him in a cool swirl of air and the warm smells of caramel apples and kettle corn he closed his eyes and took a breath and then another.

the boys had grown up with a tradition but for their father this was a religion and somewhere between face painting and shaving and red wagons and car keys the two had figured this out - today perhaps it was the look on his face or his slower-than-normal gait or that they had been ready to leave for a while and he had not. as the day began to fade and the car headed north with headlights joining twilight they said dad can you drive us by your old house?

Saturday, May 02, 2009

el adios

why is it that we are drawn to that place like some mid-atlantic secondary education version of mecca with flights from new england and drives from the gulf coast all seeming perfectly normal and why should they not?

somewhere among the sounds of the bawlmer o, chuck thompson’s voice, the lyrics of maryland my maryland, and 98 rock circa 1980 we fell in love. with a building.

the red brick and pea green trim look tired and the rust on the window frames is visible from any distance and this is amplified by the beautiful sepia brick replacement being built to its right. as much as you want (need) the building to be there forever and wonder from your home three hundred miles away why the wrecking ball is necessary but as you actually approach it you see the pain and as you leave you hear a faint voice saying that it’s time. please I can’t do this anymore.

the cafeteria looks smaller and our bodies look larger and I suppose that both are the result of a long thirty years that disappear when you see classmates and teammates that commonality and life experience have turned into brothers and sisters with kids of their own. a band plays 80s songs in the gym and we don’t dance now like we did then but rather struggle to connect today’s faces and golf shirts to yesterday’s yearbook photos and velvet bow ties.

behind the school the football field has turned into a parking lot for construction vehicles with a chain link halo that shares what’s left of the turf with the ghosts of blue jerseyed boys in front of six thousand fans under the proverbial friday night lights with horns and flutes and refrains of hooray for bobcats and we only remember the wins and with memories like that aren’t they all wins?

and so you the next day you return alone and sit on the remaining set of bleachers under the perfect blue sunday morning sky and the breeze pushes the ninety degree heat and you realize that as much as you need to go home that something is keeping you there and not letting you leave and an hour goes by. and then two.

we do love the building and that’s why we came over a thousand strong to say goodbye but that thing that keeps you there with the high school before you and bel air in the distance is not just the building itself and you realize that your love is not just for the structure but what you learned there. about yourself.

when you finally drive away and the tears subside and the school gets smaller behind you your phone rings as if on cue and your nine year old son who knows of your love and that you may be struggling says dad are you ok?

Friday, April 17, 2009

bryant park 4/10/09

that was a bad tuesday and this is good friday the one similarity being that on both days the sky ripped in two. you did not exist then not to me anyway but our day today in bryant park is much like that morning when I sat here reading the times among old monuments and upcoming fear.

blue stretches above from the bryant park hotel to grace – the building not the state – in concordance with the green carpet at the bottom of this glass and concrete canyon. the park’s signature green chairs are as silent now as the grey pigeons were then just prior to the larger silver bird crossing the canyon - from grace to the north to the hotel to the south – causing the beating of wings and the breaking of glass and the wave of what we did not yet know.

officers with rifles circle the park now as a reminder of then and as a siren goes the opposite way up 6th and I see you crossing 42nd and our eye contact is crucial because it’s lifting me above the a seven year malaise that started on the eleventh and ended today.

above the park and it’s carousel and ring of trees and well above grace I see the apollo to the north and queens to the east and a thousand feet above the hole to the south is a the fading shadow of a little girl on her mother’s lap looking out the window of an airplane heading in the direction of disneyworld.

Monday, March 30, 2009

the smile

a happy baby turned into a giddy toddler then into a sullen adolescent and among his two parents and one therapist the reason for this change was zero. the look in his eyes was otherworldly and there were times during the outbursts and implosions when he looked more sinister and less sweet and it scared his father unlike anything he’d ever seen.

the smile formerly everpresent had all but disappeared and was replaced with the look of sorrow and despair. It occasionally arrived unannounced at a carnival here and a party there and only fleetingly and if you sneezed or blinked or winced you missed it.

although small enough to be in diapers he had been larger than life and always drew a crowd to his eyelashes and fat cheeked smile and his parents could not get through the supermarket or a church service or disneyworld without him being spoken to or commented on or pinched. while mom and dad felt proud as the years moved on he felt more and more perturbed.

it was hard for his light to shine from under the shadow of his all-star pitcher and starting quarterback little brother and in many ways his birthright had been usurped. he’d tried many activities from art to archery but in his 12 years had not found his place in the world as his brother had in his 9 but he kept trying and perhaps now he’d found his spot.

his painful introversion in juxtaposition to his brother’s effortless extroversion made reaching out implausible and almost impossible. his daddy understood since their paths were somewhat similar and he did not want his son to approach the same serotonin free wall that he’d abruptly hit in his thirties because he’d ignored what his brain was telling him when he himself was 12.

last night his brother sat between mom and dad with cleats on his feet and number 7 on his back having just walked off the mound and into the middle school auditorium. the same unabashed joy he’d experienced in striking out the side and doubling off the wall was now being witnessed in dance steps and rehearsed lines and when the musical was over and the performers took their bows a blonde brother on a big stage beamed so incredibly brightly that his dad sobbed like he hadn’t in a very long time.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

the obit

since he is now in his late forties and has come to grips with his own mortality - not really but he thinks he’s closer than he was yesterday - he was reading the obituaries in the evening paper and learned that someone’s teenage son was found dead in his home monday morning.

the office of the chief medical examiner ruled the death of the sixteen year old a suicide however by hanging was not mentioned even though that’s what it was. our thoughts and prayers are with the family as they cope with this tragedy they said. he was unsure of the kind of thoughts do you offer to the thirteen year old sister who found him and what prayers you send up to comfort the mother who ran in the room after hearing the shriek.

our hearts go out to the family it’s a tremendous loss everyone said and if there is anything we can do we will. what the hell are they actually going to do he thought to himself because he did not believe that lazarus part two was going to occur in this situation.the paper reported that for ten years they boy had participated in a local theater troupe according to the program’s director who described him as a very bright boy who started out as a performer but spent the past few years working behind the scenes and didn’t any of these people see any warning signs?additionally the boy was a junior enrolled in the culinary arts program at the high school and had been looking into applying to culinary schools to further his education. he really had the art for it a friend said remembering the black forest cake the boy had made for the theater troupe’s christmas party in december and how many tears may have fallen into the batter?

a story like this would normally have not hit him so hard except for the fact that he spent the prior evening helping his own son rehearse his lines and bake some brownies before giving him his meds and tucking him in.