Saturday, September 29, 2018

My Finest Hour

This is my worst hour of the day
Waiting here in bed for the pain to go away,
waiting for the meds to work, and keep the beasts at bay,
It helps to know that this is - the worst hour of the day.

I always have believed that life is sweet and sour.
It's never been more true before than in this most painful hour.
Simply to get through it - imagination I must scour
for the tiniest grains of anything, to keep from being dour.

It's not just words on paper now; I often write on screen;
its the one place I can turn and write; with some things left unseen.
But I must never trod the path to become petty or be mean,
You know I'm simply not the type who wants to make a scene.

It doesn't really take much time to write these silly poems and songs.
And doesn't matter anyway, I don't have to wait too long.
In about an hour, while still feeling less than  strong
I'll be wondering, deep inside, how things ever went this wrong...

Tuesday, September 25, 2018


I live as the Sun rises,
no big chances, no surprises.
When darkness falls I close my eyelids;
It's then that my dream calls.

I dream not just of the demons;
they no doubt lurk within;
But ruminate on sunny skies,
a place where light begins.

I recall my past with joy, but then
my future comes to play;
as a spectre overtaking
all brightness from the day.

But it always ends when I awake,
and this I swear, is true.
As I run in fear from darkness
I always run to you....

Monday, September 24, 2018

Three Old Books

These three old books among the ones on my bedroom dresser are a bit more precious than the others. Taking them from left to write - pun intended - they are the 1921 edition of HG Wells "Outline of History" , Bassett's "Short History of the United States from 1492-1920", and lastly a seriously overdue copy of the 1943 Second Edition of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith, printed on recycled paper for the War Effort.

The first two were my Mom's and came from James Madison High School. The HG Wells book was my first introduction to Comparative Religions, as Wells was very well versed in the subject. Also, the book has my Mom's signature in the cover page along with a note from me about my intention to pass this on to my daughter and keep it in the family.

Bassett's also came from Madison and my Mom. Apparently she didn't return the books she liked..... This book is invaluable when studying American history. With the rapid turn of events since 1920 most newer books have to cut some things out, leaving unanswered questions about events which have become less important with the passage of time. But there are nuggets of information and long forgotten facts to be gleaned from it.

The third book is one which I read about once a year and it can still bring me to tears, or make me laugh out loud, depending on which chapter I'm reading. The trials and tribulations faced by the Nolan family are timeless. By the way, I did pay for the book, simply to keep it forever. I have newer versions of it which I give away, but this old tattered copy is the one I read.....

These three books can keep me entertained for hours at a time when I am delving into history, or, in the case of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" , I can emphasize with the problems and joys of an Irish immigrant family which is very much like the story of my own family on my paternal side.

The point is that these books are akin to nourishment for me. They give me insights, facts, and joy. My Mom's two books will be passed on to my daughter, marking three generations who will have taken some valuable insights from them. All three have been with me for many years. The first two are family, as I never recall them not being around. The third one is adopted, or abducted, depending on your point of view.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Mystery of History

The mystery of history;
the Who, the How, the Why;
the mistakes they made so long ago
are hard to rectify.

One side claims it went this way,
the other side disagrees.
And when the dust has settled down,
it sets on you and me.

I hate yours and you hate mine,
on this we both agree.
But I don't think it's worth killing for,
and I hope that you wouldn't kill me!

The mystery of history;
the Who, the How, and Why;
the mistakes they made so long ago,
are enough to make you cry.....

Photo by Wm. S. Williams
PFC August 1918
Hindenburg Line - St. Quentin

Friday, September 14, 2018

A Poetic Progression

This started as an exercise in taking something I wrote at 8 years old. Apparently I also rewrote it when I was 14. So, I wanted to see how I would express the same sentiment now, 50 years later. It seems that I ramble a bit more than I did when I was 8, but I suppose that's not necessarily a bad thing....?

The sky is blue
This is I see
I love you
And you love me.

Later on, at 14, it came out like this;

In the sky of royal blue
A love so true I see..
Shall I join her in that hue,
Or bring her love down to me?

Friday, September 7, 2018

Skybox - The Chrysler Building and Mary Bourke White

Until today I had never really seen this photo. I'd looked at it. But I'd never really "seen" it. Here's why.....

First off is that I had never noticed the snow. Look at the ledges and rooftops below. They are coated lightly with snow. Not very important in terms of the photo itself, but very interesting to know in order to "place" yourself with the photographer and, in as much as possible, feel what she felt while taking the photo. In this case, in spite of a lack of wind being evident, at the 61st floor she would have felt very cold.

The second thing which caught me by surprise is that she is not kneeling at all. She is standing in a little pit, somewhat akin to the "apple box" on stages where cue cards were once used. There is another name for it, but it escapes me at the moment. I had always read the captions which invariably stated she is kneeling. And, at first glance, it does look that way.

But, armed with modern technology; as we all seem to be; when you blow the photo up a bit you notice the pit and see that her right leg is bent, indicating she is standing on something, with her left half clearly below the surface of the eagle.

So, now I needed to know if there was, or still is, a tunnel leading from the inside of the roofs parapet to the opening on top of the eagle. Apparently though, some questions are destined to remain unanswered.

I called the management company in Dallas; 90 per cent of the property is owned by Abu Dhabi; and they connected me with the property in New York. Tishman-Specter owns the other 10 per cent and is the active manager of the property at 405 Lexington Avenue.

Not only did the building employee I spoke with at the Chrysler Building have no knowledge of the photo, she couldn't have cared less about even trying to understand my question. Contrasted with the employee in Dallas, who had likewise never seen the photo, but bought it up on her computer to gain a better understanding of the topic at hand, the employee in N.Y. was alternately uninterested and even a bit hostile!

Finally I got connected to Maintenance. When I was a  Estimator I always looked for the lowest employee in the Maintenance Dept. Many times they have been there the longest and have a reverence for the history of the building where they spend about 1/3 of their lives. Unfortunately, in this case, that was not the case.

In addition to the lack of any knowledge about the subject in Maintenance, security also prohibits them from discussing any structural aspects of the building. So  that was that.

But I did learn lots about the building's history. How it went from about 28 stories to its final height -  briefly eclipsing the Woolworth Building as the tallest in the world.  it

It was a short reign, as the Empire State Building opened shortly after, within about a year.

One of the things I learned was that the building never had any real connection to the auto company. It did rent a showroom on the ground floor, but basically Mr. Chrysler built the thing so that his kids would have "something to be responsible for." There was also once a Cloud Club up by the Observation  floor and some hidden apartments for the executives.

Margaret Bourke-White actually lived on the 61st floor; where she took the iconic photo in 1934. Her employer, Time  Inc. had to co-sign for her as the policy at that time was not to rent to a woman. They charged her $387.92 a month in rent. She was also prohibited from using the terrace, as women might be prone to "emotional distress". It was a rule she never observed, nor was it ever enforced against her.

When the building first opened in 1931 you could go up to the 71st floor Observatory for 50 cents and see almost 100 miles in any direction. That was actually at the base of the spire. I understand you can still  tour the building, but not to the extent which was once possible.

So, though my initial question about the "box seat" in the eagle remains unanswered, I had a real good time.....

Monday, September 3, 2018


How deep is the ocean
from the top to the bottom?
From where the water is fresher
to where things are forgotten?
Where old ships and sailors
lie in cold sand - never rottng...
How deep is the ocean
from the top to the bottom?

How high is the sky
until you finally reach heaven?
Is it five miles or more-
is it further than seven?
How long to get there -
I go to sleep at eleven.
How high is the sky
until you finally reach heaven?