Monday, June 29, 2009

Symptoms of love, a poem

Symptoms of love
by mike marcellino

Symptoms of love
You remember ..Robin..,
your first girl
Eating hot peppers
on a dare
from three cute
....California.... girls
giving kisses.
symptoms of love
symptoms of love.

You remember rolling in sand
with an Armenian girl
you called ..Margaret..
saying goodbye
in a ....New York City....
hotel room,
a picture of a four poster bed.
It it still possible?
symptoms of love
symptoms of love.

You think there may not be an end. Like the Blue Hole in western Ohio.
You rediscover discover,
happy. again,
over little things. nothing
You feel, slowly.
symptoms of love
symptoms of love.

You clean out the ice box.
Find ....Carolina.... ham
dated your son’s birthday.
How long does it this last, you wonder?
You want to call ....California.....
Have the ....Ohio.... apple left. Miss her.
Your appetite’s back. It left.
You remember roller coasters.
symptoms of love
symptoms of love.

Love songs on every station.
Eat like a bird.
Upside down. Spin.
Catch constellations.
Drink Costa Rican,
Shiner bock
across ....Texas.... again.

You think, “It’s possible.”
Head for cover,
bleached out
Sheets of clouds,
blue, white
pink sun glasses.
symptoms of love
symptoms of love.

You bought a back dress. Put it
carefully on a hanger.
Think about phone sex.
symptoms of love
symptoms of love
symptoms of love.You keep losing things.The things you haven't lost, you can't find.You watch a light
searching night clouds.
Symptoms of love copyright by Mike Marcellino 2009

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

His invention, a short story

His invention
by Mike Marcellino

Another chapter, Life stories series

Many days had come and gone in the writer’s life. Today, he sat down by the river to write, not sure what it would be about but had some ideas.


He had thought about writing about sound, or soundless to be exact. Life without sound. What that would be about. Frightening, at first thought. Fortunately the writer had an answer to that dilemma – invent it. Invent sound, like the light bulb or electricity, like Edison or Franklin.

After all, it was, or is his birthday. “You’re forty-four,” said Harry already working on his first bike, wearing a Mexican bandana, but the bike shop owner was Jewish, at least he used to be with some Jewish cult, but I always forget the name. “I was Acidic,” he announces every few days. I thought, “Whatever that means.”

“Mathematics, music and the brain. What a threesome,” the writer thought.

He’d invent sound in his mind.

Things are better this morning on the Cuyahoga. Just one plastic bottle floated by. “Find the owner,” he ordered. The OD bridge is open to bikes, but not cars. “How perfect.” he said to himself.

He listened to the clanging bell. A boat, maybe. Yes, a boat. A loud whistle followed but nothing ever came round the bend. Slowly the draw bridge rose. Workmen were fixing it.

In his mind, he missed the boat, a thing he feared, missing jump off time. That’s a mission of no return.

But, the writer remembered – he had not missed a thing. It’s his birthday. He invented sound on his birthday.

He watched a train on a distant hillside, glad he wasn’t on it. He watched a little basketball float by.

“You may be asked for security information,” the recorded cell phone company voice stated as the writer waited for a human being.

“Shit,” he thought, “what does that mean?” Well, they couldn’t read his mind, could they?

At that instant he was disconnected.

“This call may be monitored or recorded,” the recorded person said. “How reassuring,” the writer thought.

With that he rode as fast as he could to the War Memorial, on Mall B, two blocks from the lake. In books they call it War Memorial Fountain Plaza, but the writer had never heard anyone call it that. He called it the Veterans Memorial.

But he decided to stop across the plaza to the statue of Lincoln beside the board of education.

“Lincoln” she said in a sweet Texas accent, Carolyn told about her song, “Captain, My Captain,” at Town Hall in New York City. The writer wasn’t at the concert but he still has the album and listens to it.

Lincoln walked forth, toward the War Memorial. His expression uncertain, a declaration in his left hand, his right palm opens for deliverance.

No speeches, not a sound. Lincoln walks forth to war over the rights of man, people to be correct. Now presidents, soldiers made of stone, metal, granite, weathered, discolored, and covered with the soot of man.

Lincoln looked straight at the tall statue, a hundred feet or more, high, of the naked warier reaching for eternal peace.

The writer never remembers the verse from Palms, exactly. It’s about seeing the light, something like that. The monument made of nickels, Jefferson, from kids in Cleveland, spearheaded by press, shaped by Marshal Frederick, surrounded by a bronze plated wall – named of the dead, World War II and Korea. Vietnam left on the Internet, wishing the fountain of eternal life would burst, rise again, and touch the sky.

The writer grew tried. His mind drifted, remembering early morning of his birthday. He turned the switch on his hand tuned radio. In an instant, he got a clear, strong signal – the Raccoon Festival and Allison standing there in the mid day heat, champion of the fiddle at 16, and the cutest, nicest girl he’d met. He forgot his marriage, wanted nothing but bluegrass, wondering if she’s 18. He settled for classical Canada CBC. The old signal evaporated the way it came.

It was music to his hears, but nothing like the sound he created in his mind. That’s still his invention.

His invention copyright by Mike Marcellino 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Life stories series: Saratoga r&r

Saratoga r&r
by Mike Marcellino

Day No. 7 of a series, ‘Life stories’

He loved the smell of the track, his first whiff as he neared on his bike. The writer’s first thought was uncle Buddy, lying there dead in the Jamaica cemetery, blocks away from the track where he rode winners without a whip. Now Lavelle 'Buddy' Ensor lives in a touch screen video inside the National Horse Racing Hall of Fame, a kind a new red brick building, across from Saratoga, one of the oldest and pretties tracks in America. Buddy rode thoroughbreds like Exterminator. He won millions of dollars in the years before and during the Great Depression. He died without a penny, but he threw great parties after a big stake's win and invited all of Baltimore.

Inside the gate he swung his bike over to the rusting silver chain link fence that kept him off the dirt. The track, fittingly across the street from a barren shopping mall dotted with higher weeds, had seen it’s better days but jockeys still put on their silks and roses walked along alone tied up to a training wheel. He would have taken that lone mare for a ride if he thought he could get away from it.

He could have been a jockey, still could if he could sweat and starve his way to lose 10 pounds to get down to 114, the top weight. One of the jockeys at the cheap Ohio track, 10 miles southeast of Lake Erie in a town called Northfield, namesake of the deserted mall, told the writer there’s no age limit.

He daydreamed, made up headlines in the Times -

Michael Ensor navigates Crapshootin $5000 Charles Town claimer win

Buddy’s great grand guides Easy Does It's maiden special weight romp by six

“What If?" "Great name for a horse." he figured.

Strange things happened, especially lately.

He knew he could do it, with practice. He felt like a bird when he lifted himself off the seat of his bike, and guided, glided easily. Feet on the peddles, it could be a dawn morning work.

Next month, the writer would find out if he is his father’s son and his great uncles nephew or not. An ex-paratrooper, Gary, picked out a horse for him to ride at his Texas ranch next month.

His daydreams reminded him of the night before, or the night before that, when white birds called to him, raced across the night sky, crossing just under a near full moon that looked like the sun. The next day he swore those birds had turned brown, but not black.

“I was born at the race track,” the writer leaned down and told the girl jockey in her silks and cap, waiting for her next mount.

“Well, at least I must’ve been conceived at the track.’ he clarified. She was the prettiest jockey he’d ever seen, always wearing baby blue and white.

The dirt of the track gave him chills. The infield gave him peace.

He was at home at race tracks - Santa Anita, Gulfstream, Saratoga, Pimlico, Sunland, outside El Paso, it didn’t matter where.

Saratoga R & R, copyright by Mike Marcellino, Life stories, seven in a series 2009

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Once and for all, a soldier's song

'My girls' photo by Mike Marcellino, South Vietnam, 1967-68

'Search and destroy' photo by Mike Marcellino, 1967-68

We should ask ourselves -

'Why do we not bring an end to all this unnecessary slaughter and suffering in America and our world?'

Once and for all
a soldier's song

by mike marcellino

No more ‘thank you’s,
No more memorial days,
No more salutes,
No more parades,

No more, if you please,
Unless and until,
America gets it right,
soldiers' rights.

Our nation’s third century
of GIs fighting, dying,
sticking their necks out for us,
our way of life,
taking a hit, covering lethal charges,
save a brother’s life.

Too many body bag houses,
soldiers' homes for that the ones never coming back.

Too many wounds, terrible prices.

Too many in prison, and somehow locked up.

Too many in body, not spirit. Once 'n for all, get it right.

Stop starting wars for no reason,
by bad intent or the gravest mistake.

Man, like don't tell us to ‘take the hill’ when its suicide, same bloody ground we took the other day.

Starters, deciders, you go fight.

Never again, send soldiers into battle, to fight,
lie wounded, coming home in disbelief, with wounds no eye can see.

Why mister presidents, congresspeople did you authorize benefits, a GI Bill, to 9 million Vietnam veterans with an expiration date?

Once 'n for all,
America, do your duty.

Copyright Mike Marcellino, 2009, Once and for all, a soldier's song. Mike served in the United States Army as a combat correspondent and photojournalist in the Vietnam War.

If you would like to listen to his recorded songs go to Split Pea/ce, More of his writing can be found on his Blog, Notebookwriter on Myspace as well as his Networked Blog,

Mike served as a combat correspondent and photojournalist in the United States Army with II Field Force in the Vietnam War.

Memorial Days are rememered each day in the lives of those who lost loved ones, as well as for those whose loved ones were maimed or wounded, physically, emotionally or mentally, in that terrible war, both Americans, Vietnamese and people from other nations.

The Vietnam War remains the nation's longest, from 1963 to 1973, though it goes beyond that. It appears that the various wars in the Middle East, somewhat different, but all related, have already broken that record.

The Vietnam War left in its wake, more than 58,000 American troops dead, hundreds of thousands wounded, hundreds of thousands imprisioned, hundreds of thousands still homelesss. Countless millions of people were killed and wounded in the Vietnam War, thousands left missing, not counting the killing fields of Cambodia and the undeclared war in Laos.

We should ask ourselves -

'When will we bring an end to all this unnecessary slaughter and suffering in America and our world?'

Writings and photos copyright by mke marcellino 2009

To listen to mike's lyrical Americana pop poetry song recordings -

Question for mike try mike marcellino on Facebook

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

dylan and baez poems

i think that was dylan
by Mike Marcellino

i think that was dylan

i think that was dylan,
walkin down 42nd street
girl in his arm
right in the middle of the slushy road,
right pretty too,
comin right at me,
so i ducked
down into the
found sally
and wrote this piece

"i didn't see you there,"
- went something like that

i think that was dylan
walkin down 42nd street
trouble was the cold,
blinded me,
so i parked my car,
a cutlass i believe,
at the first illegal spot i could find
went up to the bar
"Irish whiskey,"
i said that,
it must ta been in '65
i think that was dylan
walkin down 42nd street,
go ask Sally.

i think that was dylan copyright by Mike Marcellino 2009

i knew Joan Baez

i knew joan baez
joan baez.
i knew she would
her little sister.
joan baez
i knew she would
this one.
she had a choice -
bobbing 155 mm shell casing
on the Oriental River,

no number
rung sat zone
south, southeast of Saigon
the delta hell on earth,
special forces
i knew joan baez
joan baez,
i knew she would pick this one,
like her little sister -
joan baez,
i knew joan baez.
i knew she would pick this one

Copyright by Mike Marcellino 2007

i think that was dylan & i knew joan baez copyright by Mike Marcellino 2007, 2008 & 2009

Life stories series: A scotter named lucky

A scooter named lucky
By Mike Marcellino

The prose daily volume 1
Life stories Days 3, 4 and 5 June 2009

The writer had lost track of the days. He just knew he had passed through days 3, 4 and 5.

He had a record.

Monday night he took off on his classic Japanese model to the drug store. Well, they really aren’t drug stores anymore. No new one he’d ever seen had a soda fountain.

He went to the drug store for Snickers, his favorite candy bar. Hoped they were on sale. The drug store was only a short distance, but he still had to ask for directions. His post traumatic delayed directional disorder was worse at night.

The Snickers bar was 89 cents. Out the door, he unlocked his classic Japanese model built like a tank. As he waited for the light to change, a fire truck came screaming by, red and white neon bubble flashing. The hook and ladder pulled into the other new drug store across the street.

“A drug store on every corner, a chicken in every pot,” he thought. “Why is that?”

He swung his leg over the cross bar, peddled slowly across the intersection. He had a green light. On his back he carried an Indian army surplus pack and in his left hand held a plastic thrift store bag containing a new pair of kaki shorts he got for six bucks and an army green shirt, Indian too, less than two bucks from the thrift store, a non-profit the black woman clerk said was owned by Jews.

Almost midway inside the cross walk, a pickup truck whizzed by, a near miss. Then suddenly out of nowhere he heard the winding motor of a scooter looking him straight in the eyes.

Smack, he got hit head on, the writer, the classic Japanese, another white guy and scooter all went sprawling onto the pavement.

Cars sped by. As the writer got up, the scooter guy, shaken, asked, “Are you ok? Are you ok?”

Then a black guy driving by sticks his head out the window, “I’m gonna waste you.”

The writer wondered, “Which driver is he talking about?” He did have a green light. .

His left thumb tingled a bit, that was it.

The writer punched in the hack’s name and phone number and rode off.

His bike came through without a scratch, leaving its mark on the front fender of a coffee cream scooter named “Lucky.”

(To be continued.}

A scooter named lucky, Life stories, Days 3, 4 & 5, Copyright by Mike Marcellino & Mike Marcellino Communications, 2009