Thursday, June 27, 2013


Tears unprovoked. 
My subconscious can tell you all. 
But my forthoughts? 
They are muted - stifled. 
I'd be ruined. 
Wracked with a pain that terrifies-
A loss so great, 
it would leave me beyond the solitude,
Emptiness already palpable. 
So I let the tears fall thoughtlessly. 
I dry my eyes. 
I continue on in a trancelike state. 
I cannot bear anymore. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Self Fulfilling Prophecy

I seem compelled to ruin,
Before ruin ruins me,
It's my self fulfilling prophecy,

Sometimes it surprises me,
Sometimes I do it purposely,
All to guard against casualty,

I am my own worst ememy.
At this war's end there will only be me,
It's my self fulfilling prophecy.

“The same hand that can write a beautiful poem, can knock you out with one punch—that's Poetic Justice.”
― "Irish" Wayne Kelly


It's been over two years since last I'd been there,
Though it seemed like a lifetime of pain and despair,
My feet found the platform at 96th and Broadway,
My heart sank instantly,
My knees nearly gave way,
I staggered up the stairs and into the light,
In my stomach- a pit,
Of both woe and of fright,
I scampered and scurried up through the street,
My eyes squinting desperately in hopeless defeat,

I prayed half out loud to get me there soon,
I asked Him to help me find that little Saloon,
When I finally arrived and sat with my drink,
My hands still trembled,
I still couldn't think-

Like a warrior revisiting the battlesite,
Or a widow a her beloved's gravesite,

So I prayed once more,
This time for peace,
And I felt the despair begin to cease.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tears on the Upper East Side

Sitting at a bar on E 78th with a friend I just met,
Talking about life, love, and regret,
I sip my beer slowly. I try to be strong,
The jukebox plays another sad Irish song,
I tell her how I got to this part of town,
My eyes well up. My face starts to frown,
I take a deep breath and I go on to explain,
Life's been hard and I've been in pain,
People have died. Friends have betrayed,
Work isn't easy and I'm underpaid,
She marvela how I came this far,
To this big City, To this little bar,
So I tell her quite simply

If you ask me where I go to cry,
My tears fall here on the Upper East Side,
They flow to the East River,
And wash away with the tide,
Forget being strong,
Put aside Irish pride,
When I exit the 6 train,
On the Upper East Side

Sitting at a bar on E 78th with a friend I just met,
Talking about life, love, and regret,
The girl from Galway brings us another two stouts,
And confesses she heard what we're talking about.
She tells us she's been here just over a year,
Seeing America and serving us beer,
She rents a flat in Woodlawn,
Works from dusk until dawn,
She doesnt know if she'll get to stay,
She misses her father and her friends in Galway,
She asks us if we'll help her to pray,
She smiles weakly and tells us quite simply

If you ask me where I go to cry,
My tears fall here on the Upper East Side,
They flow to the East River,
And wash away with the tide,
Forget being strong,
Put aside Irish pride,
When I exit the 6 train,
On the Upper East Side

Sitting alone at a bar on E 78th ...
My friend has since left,
Thinking about life, love, and regret,
I sip my beer slowly and try to be strong,
As the jukebox plays another sad Irish song,
It's been a long time since I first came here,
Since the Galway girl served her last New York beer,
Though life is now better and things have been well,
The past is the past, yet my heart starts to swell.
The memories still come and flow with the tide,
As I sit alone in this bar on the Upper East Side.

If you ask me where I go to cry,
My tears fall here on the Upper East Side,
They flow to the East River,
And wash away with the tide,
Forget being strong,
Put aside Irish pride,
When I exit the 6 train,
On the Upper East Side

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father's Day

My nephew Jack graduated from Kindergarten today.  I can't imagine him graduating from anywhere - not because he isn't brilliant, but because I can't believe how the years seem to blend into one another and travel at light speed.  When Jack came into the world, life was so different.  It seems like a century ago and his wisdom continues to impress me and leave me in a state of awe.  When I called this morning to wish him well, I told him that I will be visiting my mom on Sunday and hoped to see him too.  He responded, "Aunt Chrissi, Sunday is Father's Day, but you don't have to worry about it anymore, because your Dad died already."

It hadn't even occurred to me until last week as I pondered my options for how to celebrate Father's Day, that the last time I saw my Dad was on Father's Day 2007. He died the following September.  Ironically ... or something, I spent last year with a dear friend and her family who I was very close to.  Unfortunately, it was the last time I would spend a holiday with her Dad too, so I struggle to not adopt a superstition about Father's Day.  So as I fought to maintain my composure and suppress the fit of hysterical laughter that racked my body, I told young Jack that he was right.  For me, Father's Day is a day to remember him with love.  Quite simply, my wise little man agreed. 

This Sunday, I will remember:
Guitar playing
Chocolate Milk
Chocolate Malteds
Morning coffee rituals
Marlboro Reds
Being called by the wrong name and happily responding
Half eaten Oreo Cookies on Christmas morning
Irish serenades
The Clancy Brothers and James Taylor's Greatest Hits on Sundays
St. Patrick's Day
The rules of life: never get married, never buy a house, never buy a car, never have kids, never get a dog
And most importantly, being the apple of someones eye. 


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hudson River Distortions

Those days now seem a distant memory,
Or maybe I dreamt them,
Or maybe I imagined them, 
As I stared out onto the Hudson,
I remember you were there,
Or maybe I dreamt that you were,
Or maybe I imagined you were
From a rooftop on the riverside
As I stared down onto the Hudson
The waves tried to wash the images from my minds eye,
Distorting what I thought I knew in the murky current,
Leaving salty remnants of a time,
Rinsed away with tears of sorrow,
For what was,
Or what I thought was, 
Or what might have been.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Where Country Roads Lead

For a number of years I participated in a service learning project through Molloy College, wherein faculty, students, and alumni journey to "America's Third World" - the Appalachian Mountains of Southern West Virginia.  The Appalachia Project, together with the Big Laurel Learning Center in Naugatuck, WV provides (among other things) recreational activities to disadvantaged children living in the Appalachian mountains and hollows of the area.  During the 1-2 week visit, members of the Molloy community are introduced to life in "Coal Country" and learn about it's history, its people, and its culture.

Hatfield McCoy Museum
 When people think about West Virginia, there is usually some negative connotation attached to their association, and why not? What do they know? I was guilty of the same crime, until I became better aquainted with her and felll in love.  Most living in extreme poverty.  All living in a world I did not know exhisted, except as depicted in movies like Deliverance, or as the punchlines of jokes about Rednecks, hillibillies and the Hatfields and the McCoys,  until I arrived to this foreign place and discovered all of its wealth.  The majesty of the mountains that seem to reach far into the heavens, the richness of family and community and tradition. The value of hard work and resilliance, and the fruitfulness of faith - all seeming somehow more preserved there than in other places. 

Mime Tipple at the base of Marrowbone Ridge

Generations of Coal Miners, risking their lives to produce the  essential natural resource.  Some see the profession of Mining as their destiny, to continue a multigenerational tradition. Others, like Homer Hickam, choose the sky instead of the earth.  Hickam was born and raised in Coalwood, WV, in McDowell county and was the son Olga Mine's Superintendent, John Hickam.  The film October Sky, is based on Homer's novel Rocket Boys, in which  he describes life in a coal mining town, as a coal miners son, and his love of rocketry.  Singers and songwriters like Loretta Lynn - The Coal Miner's Daughter, who's love of music brought her from poverty and hardship to fame.  Academics, like John Nash, the Nobel Prize winnig Mathematician and the subject of the Academy Award winning film A Beautiful Mind and atheletes like Olympic gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton - all Mountain State natives. 

The people, the history, the beauty, all peppered throughout the region and the State. Maybe that's the value of economic hardship - personal and cultural preservation and perserverence. 






Sunday, May 22, 2011

Never A Bride

I have made my way down the aisle many times and have managed to stay single.  My method is simple: I am ALWAYS the bridesmaid - NEVER the bride.  Having experienced this privileged distinction, I can honestly say that these hand picked friends and relatives of the bride-to- be do not get the recognition they deserve.  Instead, they get emotionally abused, verbally abused, criticised, generally burdened, and above all, bankrupt.

I selfishly admit that upon hearing the news of a girlfriends engagement, the emotion that I experience following my initial reaction of joy, is sheer terror.  My mind races with excuses.  What if she asks me? How can I get out of it? Why have I been putting off moving overseas?  Is there some terminal illness I may have that will get me off the hook? ... And then we are having drinks after dinner and she hugs me and tells me how much she loves me and needs me to be a part of her special day.  I am drunk and flattered and ready to call it a night, so I say, "I would be honored".  At that moment, in my minds eye, I see the hillbilly roller coaster mechanic flip the switch and in a violent lurch forward, I am stuck on this ride.

Tea & Sympathy
108-110 Greenwich Ave.
 New York, NY

For the next 6 months to 2 years, life consists of all sorts of drama.  Phone calls, emails, text messages from the other bridesmaids, suggesting high tea parties (I suggest we go to Tea and Sympathy and chuckle to myself) to discuss the wedding plans. 
For every event, there is drama.  Debates on venues, gifts, and favors become more complicated that the Lincoln Douglas debates of 1858.  Color schemes, fabrics, strappy vs. pumps, bus or limo, Friday or Saturday, flatware vs dishware, and on and on and on   You know how I get through it? A lot of yessing, nodding, talking behind their backs, and drinking. 

The lovely bride-to-be has morphed into "something" that her best girl relatives and friends never thought she would fall prey to ... a ghoul of sorts.  She cries at the drop of a hat.  She cuts her sister off because poor big sis suggested Lillie's instead of Roses.  She goes to weekly appointments, with her groom reluctantly in tow, to learn about and dissect the art of napkin folding.  She is removed by security at Bloomingdales for causing a scene over bridesmaid gifts.  The bridesmaids are yelled at, manipulated, accused of being jealous or in my case indifferent.   She wants bridesmaid #3  to lose 10lbs and bridesmaid #5 to color her hair to match the hideous dress.  All communication with the bride-to-be consists of statements beginning with: "We like ...", "I want ...", "my parents said they would ...", "She is being a bitch ..."

Notice anything missing from these conversations? YOU.  Make no mistake about it chica, you are just a player in this play, and yes it is a play.  The good news about this perspective is that Mrs. Soon To Be So And So most likely has an understudy waiting to replace you in case you are fired or quit.  From costumes, to lighting, to sound, makeup, props, scenes, scripts, and players.  Where did you think the term "Rehearsal Dinner" came from?  So what are we obligated ladies to do? I don't have a clue, beyond yessing everyone to death and drinking as much as possible.  The good news is that there are websites and forums out there to help us through this ardous experience.  Click away!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

If Tomorrow Never Comes ...

I'm sitting at my desk, racking my brains on what to blog about.  I have some poems percolating, but nothing publishable ... assuming any of those already published are. What could I talk about on Writing In Life?  Boom ... it hits me like a meteorite that has plummeted from space just for me.  I have been purposely ignoring the fact that this may be my last chance to say anything meaningful to the masses. Today may be Judgement Day.  According to Harold Camping and, of course, the Book of Ezekiel, most of us will succumb to a westward moving earthquake.  There will be a few thousand who will be "saved", but I'm betting, based on the number of times I've been to Church in the past few years, that I will not be among the chosen ones.  Humph! If that isn't a pressure-cooker of a deadline, I don't know what is! 

There are tons of things I could talk about.  How grateful I am to have come this far in life.  How I am a decent and worthy person (according to just about everybody but one person I can think of!).  Maybe I could discuss my career, which is based in my value of human beings and the human spirit.  I love my family.  I love my friends.  I love my faith and my God and my life.  All of these things I could expound on, share stories about, and reflect on, but time is running outInstead I will talk about my hopes for the afterlife, which I firmly believe in ... on my good days. 

I really hope I get to go to Heaven.  My time on Earth has served as Purgatory enough and quite frankly I hate waiting.  As far as my destination being to the lower level- I've sinned, but I don't think enough to cause any elevator to plunge to the bottom of Hell.  It's safe to bet that I will either: not pass my parole hearing out of Purgatory, or, that He will give me the benefit of the doubt and let me through the pearly gates (if only on a trial basis).  Upon my admission to Heaven, my first priority would be to find my friends and family who perished with me in the earthquake.  Hopefully, everyone I love has reached the same destinations as I (if only on a trial basis).  How relieved I will be to know that they are with me and safe with God.  My second order of business would be to find a few people who also died in the quake, but who I had no longer been in contact with on Earth.  I would tell them that I was sorry.  I would tell them how much I love them.  I would forgive them and ask them to reciprocate.  I would rejoice that now we could be together again without the burden of Earthly things that made us part.  Finally, I would find those who died before this day.  I have waited so long to see them again and talk to them.  My father and I will be together again.  He will embrace me and tell me how much he loves me.  We will talk and laugh and sing and dance and love and forgive.  The joy will be overwhelming and I will weep with happiness.  Sounds pretty lovely to me, assuming all goes according to plan. 

We should regard today as our last day and take the opportunity to reflect on our lives.  Have you done everything you wanted to do? 
Have you told all those you love how you feel? 
Have you forgiven and put aside pride or spite or self righteousness? 
Do you strive to be all you are supposed to be? 
Have you been the person God wants you to be and gave you the gifts to be? 
I can honestly say that my answer to all of these questions is no, so if there is a tomorrow, I have my work cut out for me!!!
What about you?

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Violence Of Silence ... A Work In Progress

There is a certain violence,
In the notion of silence,
Not always a time of peace,
When sound begins to cease,
Sometimes the quiet is a threat,
And danger lurks in stillness met...

There is a certain violence,
In the notion of silence,
How it circles all around,
Never making not a sound,
It's sinister and hateful too,
Thounderous silence coming from you.