A Bird Lands in Brooklyn….

Tonight I was/am stricken with insomnia.  I have not slept a wink and for some reason do not feel tired at all.   I have just spent the last two hours reading mu old online journal from 2003.  It was so incredible to relive that time through my words.  I was instantly transported back to Brooklyn.

Then I stumbled over what I consider to be my best, and most heartfelt piece of literature written.   While reading the last 1/3 of the essay I started to feel tears well up…..


A bird lands in Brooklyn……….
It is with a heavy heart and sullen hands that I write the following words………

A bird lands in Brooklyn

He makes not a sound

Tonight is a night where I need to hang out with Holden, he always knows how I feel……why did “catcher in the rye” have to be your favorite book?

I walk through life down a path laid out for me, I cannot see around the bend, I know not what lies around the next corner, what is waiting for me in the bushes, how hard the next stretch will be, or how easy, will I have to work uphill? or can I just coast on down? I feel like a migratory bird sometimes, passing through different points in life to stop and rest, not knowing what my final destination is, but just following my instincts knowing I will arrive at the exact right place at the exact right time……it just has to work out that way, its just the way it is.

I am a social being, the relationships between people feed my soul and allow it to grow, when I meet someone I learn from them, I hear their story, their perspective, their life, their soul. I take them in, I grow as a being, more experience, more people, more relationships, more happiness, and more sorrow. My soul is heavy with the stories of those I have crossed paths with. I need it, I can carry the weight, I have a strong back, strong legs, and a strong mind.

Parting ways with people is one of the hardest parts of living. I sit here, sullen, perhaps glum, a little tired, and heavy minded…….but I am grinning.

I want to cry

Why wont the tears come out?

I love the feeling of walking into school in the morning, walking up the stairs toward the third floor teachers lounge, opening the door and seeing Lo and Ms. Volf sitting at the table, Ms. Volf doing school work, Lo reading about a car, or gadget he wants to get when he wins the lottery. Before I can get a word out they say “Romano, whats going on!” I smile, how can I not, people can touch my soul, its not hard, they can do it without knowing it, I leave it open for them. It comes with a price though.

I love the feeling of walking down to zero period and having my students yell out “Hey Mr. Romano” to which I have to give about 10 hand slaps hello……it touches my soul.

I love the feeling of walking through the hallways and seeing a student smile at me as I pass and they give a little wave…sheepishly because they are young and still learning the finer points of the walkby greeting……..it touches my soul.

I love the feeling of 1st period prep when I sit in the lounge and debate the finer points of colonial economics and its relationship to slavery with Lo and Mr. Murphy, then quickly switching to the finer points of how Lo can wear jeans and T shirts to school….it touches my soul.

I love 4th period lunch. I love walking across the street to the luncheonette walking through the door and seeing Hollie, Ms. Kingston and Gabby sitting at a booth, “ROmano!!” then sliding in so I can sit down………..it touches my soul.

I love how they make fun of me for eating half a sandwhich, then asking to have the rest wrapped up……..it touches my soul.

I love how I can play basketball with a 25 year old black guy and a thirtysomething very tall jewish guy and beat them, but not always………….it touches my soul.

I love how my laugh echos in the emptiness of the air conditioned room of 322 because she said something funny, then tells me I need to settle down…….it touches my soul.

I love how six period prep can bring together a different collage of teachers each day to converse with, different people to gather stories from, to feed my starving soul with, to interact with, remember, be remembered, laugh, complain, lament, and learn from……it touches my soul.

I love how Ms. Macdonna speaks in only the bluntest of words, then laughs uncontrollably, and goes right back to serious…..it touches my soul.

I love how my mentor was a blonde jewish version of my mom…….it touches my soul.

Why cant I cry?

My figners try to type the words that will best describe my feelings, they clump over the keyboard with the precision of an alcoholic in withdrawal performing open heart surgery with a rusted up, dropped in the garbage disposal chewed up spoon. Why can’t they glide with the precision and grace needed to help my words flow at the speed of which my mind thinks, where are those long graceful fingers, I know I just saw them? Were they not mine? Or just intertwined with mine?

Confused and anxious are words that can be applied here, but I would prefer they take a backseat to the words open and anticipating. Go forth young man and do great things, you have the mind and the presence, but where is that motivation we ordered? Oh thats right its on backorder….should be here soon.

Why do birds have to migrate? Why cant we stay in one place for awhile? We stop at a resting place, grow fond of each other then head off to the next stop, we know not the final destination but we have our instinct to guide us……perhaps the final destination is the same, and we just won’t know it until we get there.

Why does their have to be jobs in Arkansas and Jacksonville? Why can’t we exist on a plane where it all doesn’t matter and jobs, regions and climates don’t exist? Where a body can meet a body coming through the rye? Why does Holden’s dream seem so perfect? Why can’t I save children from falling off the cliff? Maybe I do.

Why can’t anybody stay in one place anymore?

I guess some bird’s feathers are to beautiful to be darkened by the grime of a city…..

My hands have character, scars on top of scars, broken knuckles, and stories. I say this because I am looking at them.

I still can’t cry.

Won’t you look down upon me Jesus?
you got help me make a stand?

You just got to see me through another day
My bodies aching and my time is at hand
I wont make it any other way.

I have seen sunny days that I thought would never end
I have seen lonely times when I could not find a friend
But I always thought I would see you again.

(Thank you james, you always know what to say)

I stretch my wings, but they do not seem ready for flight, perhaps more rest is what I need, migration is tiring and my soul is not yet refueled.

Where is pooh bear? He would know what to do in this situation, I can’t remember where I left him. It has been a long time, years? decades? I shudder at the amount of time passed, “Pooh, come back, I didnt mean to let you go.”

Still my eyes are dry.

My dog has unconditional love for me…..I smile, how can you not? When will you take Gus home?

The ramblings of a weirdo right? I know what you are thinking, I care not to explain, if you get it then it touches you, if you don’t then it wasnt meant for your soul. When I write sometimes I view the people’s souls who are reading it as film. The words I put down on paper pass through their soul, they develop differently to each person’s roll of film, each individual takes away a unique photo of my writing, a unique view, a unique feeling, enjoy it. My soul is out there for you, do not be afraid, I am a kind spirit.

and still, there are no tears.

Why is the clock of my life always a few minutes off? Why does irony abound in my life like snowflakes on a glacier? Where is that person who used to act on emotion and passion? Did you miss your chance? Did you save yourself from hurt?

I saw the bliss of child innocense today, I wanted to cry so bad I laughed. Why are untainted souls so radiant? Why isnt there a soulwash? A place to go through and have everything cleaned off, with no recollection of pain, loss, hurt or sorrow?

Will I be strong enough to watch my child cry because someone was picking on him?

Will I make it to the age where I am ready to have a child?

Will I ever be able to lower my blinds correctly so they are straight?

Will I ever know the feel of her soft skin flowing down her side, right below the rib cage and right above the hip again?

Will she want me to know the feel of it again?

Why does the color green comfort me so much?

“John what is it like in your head?”

“I dunno, hard to explain, I guess it is like a beehive with hundreds of bees buzzing around it, each with a thought, idea, question, command and so on, constantly buzzing in and out and around, feverishly, I really wish someone would call an exterminator……..I want to sleep.”

God remember that time when you helped me out, well I wanted to thank you again for it.

I love how one of my only memories of my grandfather is sitting on his lap (he was paralyzed on one side of his body) and only seeing his white cotton shirt with a pocket on the left breast, a beard, his nostrils and the underside of the bill of the baseball hat he always had on with his name written across the front of it, and listening to him tell me stories of sharks and how they are the perfect eating machine, nothing but a mouth and stomach surrounded my the fastest body in the ocean, all the while using his one good hand to mimic a shark biting at the air. He made sharks magical for me……….I wish I had left them that way.

I have a blister on my foot from my sandals.

I still cannot cry.

Cat Stevens just tried to make me cry, but even “Wild World” couldn’t do it.

I can take physical pain like no man, except for a stomach ache, then I want my mommy.

I wish I had online banking for my karma bank, guess it hasn’t stepped in the 21st century yet…….I need to make a withdrawal.

Goodnight radiant souls, let yourself shine long through the night, I need to find my way home.

A drop of water fell on the keyboard, but it was sweat.

I have saltwater running through my veins……ya I knew it was a metaphor, but sometimes I joke to much.

So the path lies ahead……can’t you just carry me for awhile? I don’t feel much like walking, maybe I will just rest here for a bit.

Pieces of my heart are being taken to different parts of the country, it is only a loan, I want them back.

Maybe I am to free with them.

I remember helping my feebled dog into the car when he was being taken to the vet to be put to sleep, I couldn’t go, it was to hard, I remember watching my mom drive away with him, I never saw him again…….his name was Toby. My dad got him as a puppy right before he moved us out of a two family house into our own house…….I was 5, Toby was my equal.

I miss Toby

Saying his name outloud sounds strange to me now.

He peed on the leg of one our guests at Thanksgiving.

They didn’t mind.

I have called our new dog chloe, Toby before.

She didn’t mind.

I felt tears, but they subsided, perhaps it is a lost cause.

Well I guess it is that time, I am feeling it, my thoughts, energy, and emotion are in their last loops around the drain before they are sucked down with that gurgling sound that eventually fades to nothing.

I leave you with this….yes I am speaking to you……. and I am grinning…..

Stretch your wings beautiful bird, do not be afraid, shake the grime and soot off

Its time to fly, do not worry

You know the way

Follow your instinct

Its the voice in your heart

Its ok to cry, it means you are alive

It means you enjoyed your stay

Your presence will be missed

But I understand your need

I feel it too.

Our paths will cross again

It has too

Birds of a feather………

A tear just slid down my cheek………I guess I am alive.

1 Comment

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One response to “A Bird Lands in Brooklyn….

  1. Nana

    John. Your words made me want to cried. You are a gifted writer. Nana

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