Sunday, February 19, 2012


O, this gnawing,

nagging need,

this aching, burning, heavy


for flow.

for touch.

for flesh.

Long and grueling days at work

followed by lonely, lost nights

and weekends all too short.

Hearing and reading about

the people who are in the flow

and in the moment.

I am aflame with envy

and electric with craving

to have their experience.

Diving to the bottom of the ocean

and going even further with


than I would in my own company.

Wanting to be at Esalen,

Macchu Picchu,

The Great Barrier Reef.

Wherever they are,

where their spirits sing

and their wishes are fulfilled

is now where I need,

O God I need,

to be,



I need you.

I need you more

than this poem

can ever tell you.

I would not need you

if I did not love you

more than we will

ever understand.

I need your hands

to hold mine

so that the flames

won’t hurt us.

I need your face

to be the sun

when everything else

is shrouded in night.

I love completely

and absolutely

and I am less than I can be

without you.

I need you.

Your flesh.

Your heart.

I cannot exist without them.

I need you

at my side

to feel strong

because without you

I don’t belong.

I need you

to feel alive.

Without you,

I am too weak

To survive.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


The Super Bowl and the People for whom Life Goes On

6:00PM EST, Sunday, February 5, 2012

One of my favorite people in my Facebook circle of friends is a cultivated, rather brilliant lawyer from Virginia named Alison Landry. Last year at this time, I noted with curiosity on my Facebook Wall that 52% of Americans watched all or part of Super Bowl XLV. Rhetorically, I asked, what did we see? To which Alison, who I can always depend on for clear, cogent, no-bullshit analysis responded: “We saw a lot of big men (& some scrawny kickers) in green & yellow suits, mauling each other for points before a vast and excitable crowd. This protracted melee was then punctuated my giant multinational corporate ads appealing to our baser instincts and urging us to buy their fad.”

Think of that, folks. Roughly 192 million people in fifty states riveted to the spectacle. By inference, that means the remaining 150 million people in America didn’t watch, couldn’t watch, and in a few instances, could care less about the insubstantial pageant. With that in mind, I have decided to see the Super Bowl in a new light this year. So while the New York Giants and New England Patriots slug it out for a glory I wonder if they even truly grasp, I wonder what people in both cities are doing besides watching the football game, and for that matter in Indianapolis (this year’s host city), and here in Tampa. I believe there are too many fish in the sea for all of them to be sucked into the same vortex. Much of this is conjecture, to be sure, but part of the fun is wondering who actually does what. With that…

The First Quarter—NEW YORK CITY

On the corner of Canal and Hester streets in Chinatown, there is, believe it or not, a French Restaurant called Les Enfants Terribles. They claim only to air French Soccer matches. Judging from photos, it seems like a tony enough place for people with discerning palates to nosh on Steak Tartare de Kaolack and Zanzibar Pistachio-Crusted Salmon. But the chefs are assuredly much too busy turning all that food out to even care that the game just kicked off.

At the CBS Broadcast Center on West 57th Street, Jeff Glor is embroiled in his weekly broadcast of the CBS Evening News. Don’t tell me that at the back of his mind, Jeff isn’t wondering if anyone is out there watching. It must be lonelier than being a hitchhiker in the Mojave in July. Last Super Bowl Sunday, the now resigned Russ Mitchell was hanging on to the anchor desk, and the only reason I know that is that I was so embarrassed by Christina Aguilera’s botching of the National Anthem that I flicked channels on instinct to CBS. I can’t remember what Russ was saying—I think he was leading into a commercial.

According to Wikipedia, there are 13,237 Yellow Cabs in the City of New York. I would guess that at least 8,825 of those are on the street right now. I would further guess that at least 4,412 of those radios are tuned to WFAN-AM for the obvious reason. But I love wondering how many of those cabs (and other car radios for that matter) are tuned to the Sunday Night Music Mix on WBGO-FM. Those people may be the coolest cats in the universe. WBGO, you see, plays jazz all day and night. Not “smooth jazz”, but real jazz.

And speaking of jazz, I note with delight that the Birdland Jazz Party has been going on since kickoff at the club of the same name on West 44th Street. There’s a quartet with a special guest vocalist, and I would love to be a fly on the wall finding out whom that is. Later, Arturo O’Farrill will take the stage with his Afro Latin Jazz Sextet.

There are a number of upper-intellectual types, I’m sure, who will want to see something far more stimulating tonight. I am willing to bet that right now, they’re all at Stage 5 of the New World Stages on West 50th Street to see the new play Freud’s Last Session. From what I understand, it’s a dialogue play between Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis as they debate the truly big issues of life. And from what I understand, it’s awfully funny, too. And you know what else? Say what you will about how tough it is to park in the city, but costs about a tenth of the price not only to park, but to get into the theatre, than it does at the football game.

Not far away from the New World Stages, I am elated to note that there are not one, not two, but three Bikram Yoga classes going on at Bikram Yoga NYC Studios; one in Midtown, one on West 72nd Street near the Park and one on East 83rd and Third. These classes are not well attended, but for the people in attendance, you have to admire their commitment. Stunning.

There’s no telling what individual people may or may not be doing, unless of course they come out and say what they are doing or not. Certain Facebook friends of mine I dare not name are saying that Madonna’s halftime performance will be the only reason they watch.

Times Square is actually pretty serene. It’s about 38 degrees—folks are bundled up and moving briskly as you might expect. At the TGI Friday’s, I’m certain the game is on and people stop and peek for a second or two. As the Giants go up 2-nil on a safety, certainly people smile to themselves. The good news does not, however, stop the taxis and double-decker buses from chugging along.

I listen to 1010 WINS-AM first thing in the morning, no matter that I live in Tampa. They mean it when they say, “The Newswatch Never Stops.” As the first quarter spins down, Larry Mullins is giving the forecast, Eileen Lehpahmer is at the editor’s desk and Mark Hilan starts another hour of the Newswatch. Bless them all.

The Second Quarter—BOSTON and ITS ENVIRONS

It figures that as the second quarter begins, one of many prints of “The Iron Lady” is beginning to unspool at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. Why, you ask? The theatre gives an annual artistic achievement award, the Coolidge Award. In 2006, the honoree was Meryl Streep. The night that Streep was so decorated, she led a motorcade of hybrid cars to the theatre. And so I guess it stands to reason that “The Iron Lady”, which appears to be specifically geared to getting Streep that elusive third Oscar, is unspooling. The people in the theatre for that film, as well as “Albert Nobbs”, “A Dangerous Method” and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”, although they number few, are probably having a ton of fun.

Hey, there’s an open coffeehouse: the Pavement Coffeehouse on Boylston Street. Think of all the struggling musicians and authors and college students seeking refuge from the clutches of football. It’s nice and quiet, they present their coffee well, they make tea there and salads and sandwiches. Coffeehouses, by and large, are splendid places. You can actually hear the sound of your breathing if you turn down your iPod.

Not much going on at the State House, but I’ve got to think plenty of pigeons are flitting and floating in the general area, keeping their tiny little bloodstreams warm so they don’t shiver. There is an unspoken, unsung agreement among the pigeons that none of them do to the statue of John F. Kennedy what they might do to other statues, particularly in view of the fact that my Aunt Isabel designed and sculpted it. Anyway, the pigeons are pleased at the paucity of people around at this time of night. Pigeons don’t care about human achievements, and certainly not about football.

I’m sure there are a more than a few people who are biting their lips because they can’t go to the Fanueil Hall Marketplace—it’s closed. Unless, of course, they want to shoulder their way through the madding crowds at McCormick and Schmicks or Cheers.

God bless the people at Google Maps; the world becomes as real to you as it can be without being outside because of their machinations. Just at the moment, I have an eye on the house at the cul-de-sac of North Street and Young Road in Foxborough. Why? The backyard of that house is about 100 acres of trees that end on the property where the New England Patriots practice and play. But I do wonder: Who lives in that house? Are they season-ticket holders? It’s not a bad location if you can get it.

While the game is going on, there is at least one guy back at WEEI Radio headquarters in Brighton who is making sure the Dial Global broadcast of this game—the same one I have been listening to—reaches as many homes and cars as possible. I’m sure he’s watching, the same way the guy up the street at CBS Radio’s Boston office is while receiving the Patriots’ network and operating the board. I wonder if they’ll get together at someplace like Papa Gino’s after the game to blow off steam and go over the game. Or will that place be closed, too?

One more inventory before the half: At Mass General, how many patients are not allowed to watch the game because to do so would only exacerbate their conditions? Is the game on in the emergency room? How many people will be wheeled in there before midnight tonight? I hope they don’t have to wait a long time. The nurses and doctors have already earned their angel’s wings. They know there’s more to life, perhaps all too well.

The Third Quarter—INDIANAPOLIS

Here's an odd thought: There are three low-income, somewhat dilapidated row houses at the corner of Church and McCarty Streets in Indianapolis, IN, walking distance from Lucas Oil Stadium. Questions: Who lives there? Evidently, they are occupied, judging from panoramic photos on Google Maps. Have they left their homes until after the extravaganza? Do they rent their homes for the week to people from New York or Boston? Hmmm.

Judging from the video I’ve seen, likely they’ve evacuated.

Also in the vicinity of Lucas Oil Stadium, I notice that there is a Napa Auto Parts store. Odds are it’s closed by now, but likely over the past two weeks, sales of mufflers and air filters at that location have suffered. None of the estimated 150,000 visitors to Indianapolis would want to leave with so minor a souvenir.

But all of the 150,000 visitors had better be captains of industry or wealthy landowners. Do you know how much it costs to park in the area of the stadium? Anywhere from $75 to $495. The parking lot owners don’t need to watch the game; they’ll be too busy licking their thumbs and counting pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Thomas Jefferson. On top of the over $800 face value of the ticket, they had better be serving Dom Perignon, pate and caviar to satisfy the “discerning tastes” of football fans. By the way, that Napa Auto Parts store I mentioned? Not exactly a bargain--$100 to park there according to a fellow who took due advantage.

Do you know the kind of person I really feel for tonight? The guy or gal behind the counter at the Speedway on Kentucky Avenue in Indianapolis. Lord knows he or she, like the hordes of convenience store workers in this country, wanted to be home watching the game, drinking a Coors Light that he or she may have bought from that store. Alas, that person is likely restocking the potato chip shelf, I’m sure, trying to hide his disappointment. Either that or he sits perched behind the counter, waiting for the next unwashed person to show up requesting Marlboros or Skoal tobacco. “Fuck my life”, he thinks to himself as rings up the sale.

Right about now—8:38PM EST, to be exact—a commuter plane is about to depart Indianapolis International Airport, bound for O’Hare. For the pilots of the plane and others like it, and for the air traffic controllers, a football game is most assuredly not their main point of concentration. There is the awesome burden of getting the business travelers across the time zone and into Rosemont, IL in one piece.

Madonna just entertained at halftime of the ballgame. A lady who lives in Indianapolis named Julie Perry hoped she’d kick ass. She went on to write on her Facebook wall of the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer: “The only super hero(ine) I ever knew as a child.” I didn’t watch, so I don’t know. But most reports from trusted sources say Madonna killed it.

People still have to walk around Indianapolis, like a guy named Vidya Singh, who is a research assistant and student at nearby IUPUI. Without knowing if Vidya is in the stadium or not, I can tell from his Facebook wall that he took plenty of pictures and clearly had a ball.

Some people think that the Super Bowl will one day return to Indiana. There are others in the Indianapolis area who probably feel the same thing I felt three years ago when the game was held in Tampa: The circus is a much more exciting place if it’s happening over there. However, thanks in large part to Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other such vehicles, over there is steadily creeping closer and closer.

The mayor of Indianapolis, IN, Greg Ballard, is probably smiling for more reason than you might think. We just got the attendance figure for the game: 68,658. Figuring a face value ticket price of $1200, the economy of his city will have had at least $82,389,600 pumped into it. That, of course, discounts concessions, souvenirs and accommodations. Tomorrow, Mayor Ballard will skip, not walk, into City Hall.

The Fourth Quarter—TAMPA

At halftime of this game, I drove to find something to eat. Traffic was moving as easily as you might expect if there were no football game taking place. I found a decent fast-food joint. Desolate, but it was open. And before I made my order, I thanked the manager for being open. It cannot be easy for them in particular view of the fact that no other sales were coming in.

Also at halftime, I learned to my dismay that my stepfather’s father passed on earlier today. He lived ninety years, which is marvelous in and of itself. My brother and stepfather are, I’m sure, saddened. I hardly knew him, but it does bring about a moment of pause. Both my brother and stepfather are in my prayers.

This is also a birthday. The first person to tantalize me onto Facebook was a junior high crush of mine named Georgette Wilson. Brunet, good cheeks, a ready and alluring smile. Six years ago, and again amid Super Bowl hoopla, Mrs. Rodney Cribbs gave birth to a girl named Kaylee. The smile clearly has not left Georgette’s cheeks since.

I am gladdened to know that Afsaneh Noori is otherwise occupied as well. Afsaneh is a family friend and host of the Internet talk show Change Thrivers. Nine minutes ago (8:58PM EST), she posted a photo to her Facebook Wall with this caption: “1 in 7 American homes are empty. 1 in 402 Americans are homeless. 24 empty houses are available for each homeless American.” Sobering and staggering when you consider that.

I just turned on the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue scanner. Their patrol never pauses. Supposedly something happened on East Fletcher Avenue. Dispatchers and vehicles are trying to coordinate ETA’s and suchlike. Someone is also evidently being dispatched to an apartment in Apollo Beach. God alone knows what is happening, because I can hardly understand them.

I was talking with my mother last week and I told her about this project. The hype over the game that will be ending fairly shortly was approaching critical mass and I was fantasizing about all the things people who are not interested in football do on this night. Mama replied as only she can: “Drink…a lot…Eat…a lot…and/or shop. I am over it…always have been.” It doesn’t matter to Mama who wins. Mama knows deep down what I am trying to understand: Love’s the best game in town. And love always, always wins.

I have paused here to hear the radio announcers describe the end of the game. Whoever wins, I’m happy for. Whoever loses, I’m just as happy for; all of their peers are envious tonight. I don’t know how many people watched tonight, and I don’t know how many did not. The people I’ve mentioned and the people I have conjectured about probably don’t think about such things. And while New Yorkers prepare for another Canyon of Heroes parade, New Englanders pause to dry tears, and Indianapolis watches as the roustabouts begin to pack up the tents, I breathe a sigh of relief. The words reverberate in my mind: “The circus is so much better when it happens over there.”

And going back to where we started, with my Facebook Friend Alison Landry, she apparently spent tonight unpacking boxes of books. And in her zeal, Alison forgot to watch Downton Abbey. For her, that show on PBS would appear to be more dramatic than any sporting event.