Tag Archives: New York

“Where Would We Go?” by Eric Robert Nolan

Where would we go, you and I?
The sea which breathes, in aquamarine,
its rhythmic, salty epic at our ankles
and inundates a foam refrain,
over and over, in rolling green glass:
the tide — the oldest poem — an immutable meter preceding
words, or man, or even ears to hear?

The unvarying sea
takes no notice of poets —
you and I, ourselves inconsonant poems,
varying as all our kind are wont to do …
faithless at the foot of the green, returning tide,
both our lives arrhythmic and
bitter with metaphor.

Where would we go, asalam?
The staid and angled mountains, vaulting up?
Mountains are always odes. The miles of stone
which rise to cut their rival heavens
lance the air, and spin the winds to narrative.
Those winds were singing long before us,
will sing when we are gone.

The mountains will not know our names
even as we whisper one another’s,
or the rise of your breathing where we lay there —
the blithe and meadowed slope that will not blush beneath us,
where we are ribald lyrics, songs out of our lawless senses,
lascivious and nearly wordless.

Where would we go, my muse?
The river that rushes like a fugitive ghost
absconding with its own requiem?
Rivers’ roars are always dirges, for rivers run past
lives beside their banks. Lifetimes
are as seasons to them, always ending.

This timeless river
is unconcerned for poets
and will not slow to note us.
Only our own faces on its hastening, dim and opaque surface.
answer back our gaze. We are elegies, reflected
in heedless, racing waters moving on.

Stay with me, here, for now.
We have two temporary
yet temperate pages all our own
over which is the script our ardor:
my gray-grizzled Irish cheek and your Iranian skin,
to read and study, see and know, slowly and tenderly, in this ordinary room,
in this little city, in this waning light, in this fleeting moment,
in these fleeting lives.

I am inelegant free verse, but you …
you are my perfect poem.
We will draw the sheets over us,
over our moving euphony,
and frame to evoke one another —
the rounded warmth of your white shoulder,
the cadence of my pulse.
We will hear one another, and speak
in sedulous repetition
the particular rhythm of each of our names,
measured in the meter of tremulous breath.

(c) Eric Robert Nolan 2022



Santorin (GR), Exomytis, Vlychada BeachDietmar Rabich / Wikimedia Commons / “Santorin (GR), Exomytis, Vlychada Beach — 2017 — 2999 (bw)” / CC BY-SA 4.0


Throwback Thursday: WOR-TV’s “Fright Night” (1973-1987)!

From time to time I’ll find an artifact from the old days of broadcast television on Youtube, and I’ll  share it in a Throwback Thursday blog post — people really seem to enjoy the clips.  (And the credit for that belongs to the Youtube users who originally uploaded them, not me.)  One of this blog’s readers asked me about the intro for  WOR-TV’s (Channel 9) “Fright Night” movie series.

Here it is below, courtesy of FrightNight7387 on Youtube.  (Unless I’m mistaken, this would have been seen only by viewers in the New York metropolitan area between 1973 and 1987.)

I’m … actually not sure I remember this program.  The music feels more familiar than the (pretty neat) visuals, and I think I’d recall a montage like that.  I’m running it here for those who do remember “Fright Night” and might enjoy the clip.

Anyway, if you want to know more about Channel 9’s show, Jim Arena developed a terrific rundown on it over at DVD Drive-In.

It should not be confused with that other “Fright Night” of 80’s lore, the 1985 film starring Jonathan Stark, Chris Sarandon and Roddy McDowell.  That movie also depicted an in-universe movie series named “Fright Night,” which … apparently bears no relationship to the very real  eponymous series that ran in New York.  (Kinda weird.)  The 1985 movie was a lot of fun back in the day, though if it feels mostly forgotten today — even after it spawned a a damned cool 2011 remake.



The Roanoke Times publishes my letter about the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

I was so pleased this morning to see that The Roanoke Times published my letter to the editor about the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.  You can find it right here.

I’m honored that my thoughts about the occasion appear to have struck a chord with people.  This same letter was featured  first on Wednesday by New York’s Newsday (with a weekday circulation of 437,000), and then here in Virginia by The Bristol Herald Courier (with a circulation of 39,000).  As The Roanoke Times has a Sunday circulation of 85,000, this would mean that the letter was distributed to 561,000 readers.

Here’s a big word of thanks to the editors of The Roanoke Times for allowing me to communicate with with my neighbors through such a superb regional newspaper.




Oh, well. Circle of life and all that.

I’m not sure who our mystery predator is here.  As I’ve noted before, there is a notable dearth of stray cats in Roanoke.  I occasionally see one — but it’s nothing like my native New York, where stray cats outnumber people with a clean driving record.

Maybe the pupper next door did it.  I dunno.  He seems to be one of those gruff dogs who’s nevertheless timid (and adorable).  He sort of grumble-barks tentatively and then goes instantly quiet when you make eye contact with him.  He wandered into my backyard last summer and spent at least five minutes literally trembling in front of an empty tent, before he got up enough courage to bark at it.  Eventually he even ran away from that.

Whatever the case, I hope that the little patch of ground below doesn’t lie along a suburban game trail.  The is a place where bunny buds are known to roam.  And the last one I startled there just ran in a confused figure eight — and then mistakenly ran at me for a moment instead of away.  (Little brown fella had some kind of spatial relations problem.  Or maybe he was channeling General Woundwort.)

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Throwback Thursday: “The Lone Ranger” (1949 -1957)!

No, I obviously don’t remember “The Lone Ranger” during its initial run between 1949 and 1957.  (At least I hope that’s obvious — I’m a couple of full decades younger than that.)  But I absolutely do remember this show’s reruns from when I was a baby … maybe around 1976, if I had to guess?  I would have been about four years old.   (I was five when my family moved out of that house in Queens, New York, to rural Long Island.)

I know that people who claim early childhood memories are often viewed with skepticism — I get it.  (And I think many of us are more prone to confabulation than we’d like to admit.)  But I’ve actually got a few memories from when I was a toddler — and this is one of them.

I can remember my Dad putting “The Lone Ranger” on in the tiny … den or living room or whatever, to the left of our house’s front door and hallway.  You see the part in the intro below where the horse rears up at the .31 mark — and again at the 1:53 mark?  That was a verrrrrry big deal to me as a tot.

Go ahead, tell me I’m nuts.  I can take it.  You and I live in an age in which conspiracy theories have gone completely mainstream.  If I share something online that seems implausible to others, I figure I’m in a lot of company.

Anyway, I pretty much forgot about The Lone Ranger after that.  There was a 1981 television movie, “The Legend of the Lone Ranger,” that was remarkably well done — especially for a TV movie at the time.  I remember being pretty impressed with that — its plot-driving scene where the good guys get fatally ambushed was unexpectedly dour.

But I never bothered with the infamous 2013 film.  I occasionally enjoy movies that everybody else hates — something that earns me a lot of ribbing on Facebook — so maybe I should give it a shot.  Hell, the trailer makes it look decent.  And HBO’s “Westworld” has really whetted my appetite for westerns … which is weird, because “Westworld” is decidedly NOT a western — that’s sort of the point of its central plot device.  But still.

 

Throwback Thursday: 1980’s urban legends on Long Island!

I mentioned last week when I wrote about “Mazes and Monsters” (1982) that the pre-Internet age still had its share of urban legends.  They were definitely a part of 1980’s kid culture in my little stretch of New York suburbia.  (Would they be suburban legends, then?  Borderline-rural legends?)  They were bandied about most often during the summertime — maybe because there were long, idle days when grade-school boys had little to do beyond swap the scary stories they’d heard.

A lot of it was predictable horror-movie fare — we’d all compared tales about prowlers who killed babysitters, or babysitters who killed their charges, or about a friend’s cousin’s neighbor’s classmate who’d discovered a razor blade in the their Halloween candy.

Some of the legends stemmed from our geographic area.  There were the giant turtles, for example, that emerged from the Long Island’s waterways to stalk our neighborhoods — that one I actually believed (and still do).  A fellow Cub Scout and his Scoutmaster father had both seen one, and if there’s one person you trust when you’re a Cub Scout, it’s another Scout and his Scoutmaster dad who backs up his story.  And every kid had heard about the Amityville Horror house.

Another local myth was the “gangs” who tore through our imaginations as nefariously as we thought they tore through the region’s woods and marshes.  (In addition to farmlands, Long Island has plenty of protected woodlands and wetlands.)  There were definitely adults who went into the woods to break the law — I think it was primarily drug users and underage drinkers, and people who dumped cars illegally and then stripped them for parts.  There were a few deep-woods graveyards, for example, of rusting white Volkswagen “Bugs.”

But in our fecund imaginations, the petty criminals who’d left them there were gangs of bikers and hippies and devil-worshippers and ruthless car thieves, who just might kill a few young kids if they found them playing army or going on a hike.  (All of us occasionally ventured miles into the woods for such avocations, while we told our mothers that we were only going to the next block.  If you were a boy in my neighborhood who didn’t lie to his mother to leave the area, you were considered a wimp.)

When you’re in the second or third grade, bikers and hippies and devil worshipers and car thieves all blended together in your mind into one single nebulous group.  (As an adult today, if I ever met someone who was a biker, a hippy, a devil worshipper, and a car thief, I would be thrilled to interview them for this blog.)  We’d found evidence.  There were frequently peace signs spray-painted on or around the junked cars we liked to play on; it was just a motif of the prior decade that was still a popular graffito.   One of our number gravely explained to the rest of us that it was actually a coded symbol for Satan — if you turned it upside down, the lines in the circle represented the head of a goat.

Continue reading Throwback Thursday: 1980’s urban legends on Long Island!

Longwood High School’s Mr. Anderson has left us. 

Rest easy, Charles Bassett Anderson.   Even nearly three decades later, his students in New York remember him fondly and are saddened by his loss.

Mr. Anderson passed away on January 16.  You can find his obituary at The Long Island Advance, where he was a contributor.  (He retired from Longwood High School in 1991, according to the Advance, just a year after I and my friends were fortunate to have him as a teacher. He then became a professor, first at Suffolk Community College and later at Hofstra University).

Mr. Anderson was a superlative educator, and was responsible for some of my best memories of high school.  He was a good, kind, temperate man who was easy to interact with, despite teaching a demanding course of study.  (His 1989-90 Advanced Placement English class was rigorous, and was designed to fully prepare public high school students for the far greater demands of college.)  Mr. Anderson taught me, among other things, that academia could be both challenging and (sometimes bizarrely) fun — and that we could demand a lot from ourselves and enjoy ourselves at the same time.

 

 

 

Throwback Thursday: The ABC 4:30 movie in New York!

Here’s another very obscure Throwback Thursday post about broadcast television in the New York metropolitan area — this was the intro the ABC 4:30 movie.  People commenting here at its Youtube entry remember it from the 1970’s … I thought I remembered it from the very early 1980’s as well.  But I could be mistaken.

One commenter said that, as a young child, he thought that the image of the spinning camera-man looked like “a mechanical frog monster.”  I thought that as a kid too!

 

Amateur footage of Woodhaven, Queens, 1965 — 1967

I found these videos on Youtube.  They were taken between 1965 and 1967 in the neighborhood of Woodhaven in Queens, NY — where my family lived when I was a baby.  I wasn’t around in the 1960’s, but this is how the community looked around the time my siblings were born.