DAYS CRAZE

Some days I want a hammock
Some days I want a smock
Some days I can find all the keys
Some days I lose the lock.

Some days I’m good at sleeping
Some days I cannot rest
Some days I know the answers
Some, I forget the test.

Some days I’m dreaming big
Some days I read fine print
Some days my eyes are clear
Some, they have their own tint.

Some days feel different at the start
Some days feel much the same
Some days I take too seriously
Some too much like a game.

Some day I’ll reminisce about
Some days and how they were spent.
Some days I won’t recall by then,
When I’m wondering where all of’em went.

shemcreek_edit

SUNSET – Shem Creek, SC

Advertisements

METS BRAIN FEVER

Hey, Mets.
Go? Let’s.
Hit’em long,
Throw’em strong,

Leather, flash,
Bases dash,
Play ball,
All fall.

So Mr. Met
Must never fret,
Think magic numbers & old tricks,
Like Sixty-Nine & Eighty-Six.

If fortunes stray,
For miracles pray
When hope is nada,
Believe, ya’ gotta,

Yes, Mets.
Get it, let’s:
A pennant pretty,
New for Citi.

Then stay sound,
From the mound,
The rubber, toed,
The batters, mowed,

The flames dealt,
The lineups melt.
That’s how it’s been
When it’s amazin’:

Gems hurled,
To the Series, World,
Cool as Vlassic
In the Classic.

Show no quit
In the books, put it.
Not a bit of fade,
‘Till there’s a parade.

Woo-hoo,
Orange and blue,
Make a scene
Out in Queens

End our wait
To celebrate
Yo, Mets.
Go! Let’s!

cone_edit

STILL HAVE my David Cone autographed 8×10 glossy, purchased at a baseball card show (what are those?!?) circa 1990. I can recall hearing on the radio that he’d been traded to the Blue Jays in August ’92. I was crushed.

While I can’t express as eloquently as others have the emotional roller-coaster of being a former die-hardI am very much in their tent when it comes to the New York Mets.  They were my first irrational sports love, and since then, have remained one of the teams that occupies a permanent place inside me.  Admittedly, and without shame, I’d call my Met fandom today a fraction of what it once was.  Now when I cheer, out of respect for the every day, pavement pounding, orange-and-blue collar fans, I cheer quietly ; in the same way many Catholics describe their faith, I say I’m lapsed.  But I also contend, as evidenced by the sporadic but unmistakeable ways that it surfaces every so often, that my Met-love won’t ever completely be gone.  Which is why since they won the National League last night for the 3rd time in my lifetime, only their fifth pennant in 53 seasons, I’ve had Mets on the brain, dripping in bits and bursts into a notebook and then above. Somethings, when you learn them young enough, simply become a part of you.  They might fade like the snapshots in Back to the Future (sorry, Cubs fans), but in time, the real stuff always returns.

A SON-OF-ALBANY STORY, CO-STARRING MY DAD

PROLOGUE – Following is a behind-the-scenes account of my recent short film on a fellow Son of Albany, Charles Leigh.  He made history as the first player known to sign an NFL contract directly out of high school, before becoming part of the Miami Dolphins Dynasty of the 1970s.  This summer I had the privilege of telling his story for NFL Films Presents.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 9.28.17 PM

LOGUE – Below is the second part of the written story originally published on the NFL Films blog, “They Call it Pro Football.”  To see the piece there, where it includes a slideshow of production photos and a link to a Charles Leigh highlight video consisting of footage discovered during the making of the film, click here.

Screen Shot 2015-10-19 at 9.30.04 PM

EPILOGUE – During our July, 2015 shoot in my hometown, I brought my Dad to work.  Actually, I needed him to drive me to locations, so it’s probably more accurate to say that he brought me to work.  Either way, it all felt somewhat prophetic come fall when I learned the Leigh feature, previewed in the Albany Times-Union, would premiere as part of an episode titled “Fathers and Sons”.

 

BOBBER

Dear old Johnny Corkforbrains

Was “Bobber” to his friends.

He loved to float ideas but

Didn’t always think through the ends.

He thought, “A Tin Man suit would shine

In a Halloween lightning storm!”

Thought he needed to speak French

To listen to French Horns.

Thought “Swap that sugar in for salt,

They both look the same!”

Thought “What could be so different

Between a wild horse and a tame?”

The meanings and looks of things and words

Into the Bobber never sunk

That’s why he claimed that chocolate chips

Were related to chipmunks.

But despite his errors, he was a nice fella’,

So nobody complained

About sweethearted simpleminded Bobber,

Aka, Johnny Corkforbrains.

“If there was a bottle, yo’, I’ll stop it.” – Mantra, J.C.f.B (Photo by PaC)

LID-DLE RIDDLE

Nothing causes more kitchen angst

Than Tupperwars,

Prompting battles for cupboards

And skirmishes for drawers,

They start out above

Then spill onto floors,

Hazards to those

Opening cabinet doors.

“There’s a bowl for every top”

is popular lore

but the day it comes true,

wild elephants will soar.

Till then the curse continues,

In kitchens rich and poor,

And all mankind must pray,

For an end to Tupperwars.

PUDDLE VISION

When storm clouds clear
And Mom lets us outside
There’s just one thing that I see,
I’ll confide:

Not rainbows, although,
They’re certainly pretty.
Not the fresh sunbeams
That are drying the city.

Not the wet worms
Not the drenched cars or trees,
Not the once again buzzing about
Birds or bees.

While all of that stuff
Might make others’ focus muddled,
After rainstorms I only
Have eyes for puddles.

And when I get home
None of me clean or dry
Mom shakes her head
And wonders why,

“Why is it in puddles
You must run with such glee?”
“I can’t help it,” I say,
“They’re all that I see.”

puddlejump_edit2

MERRY LITTLE PUDDLE JUMPER – Ocean City, NJ 2015 (Photo – PaC)

 

SMALL DETAIL

Before Mama went out
she said to the sitter

“If you please, I’ll need you
to make the kids’ dinner.

They’ll eat anything
so it should be easy.

Oh, but try not to make
anything that’s too greasy.

Other than that, really,
anything will do.

But. . .things with strong smells
they’ll spit back with a Peeee-uuuuuu!

Otherwise, trust me,
it won’t be hard,

Juuust – don’t try to serve
food that comes from a jar.

And best not to try fooling,
their jar-dar is keen.

And if she senses any tricks
the little one gets mean.

But I mean it, they’ll eat whatever
And if they fuss, don’t take it.

Though should they ask for a thing you don’t know
I’d learn quickly how to make it.”

How fast that sitter could learn to cook
I guess we’ll never know

But out through an open window
We’re certain she could quickly go.

REPEAT: THE QUESTION

Would Wood
Rob rob
chilly chili
in Inn
Four ‘fore
dear deer
paws’ pause
cause caws
cliques clicks
where ware
bare bear
steer steer
hare hair
to two
bored Board
Principals principles?

Or, 

Might that stiff, Bob, steal frosty meat stew while attending Hotel Quattro before the ceased moving of precious hart feet prompts rhythmic ticking noise from crow-based social clubs in the same vicinity that surly, difficult longhorns short on merchandise guide rabbit fur in the direction of a couple disinterested governing school administrators fundamental beliefs?

repeat_notes_photo

Making of THE REDUN DANCE – Notes from the first draft, written March 8, 2012 – more than a year before any of this here tweed saw the light of day.  (Photo: PaC)

Hhhooray!

H is a letter that sounds like a word
spelled a-t-c-h-e,
that looks like one rung on the alphabet ladder
that stretches from A to Z.

H can give a lift
even when h is small,
and resembles
a ladderback chair,

So when H appears
Instead of “Ho-hum,”
Think,
“A humble helping hero is here!”

SHORT STORY

Dad smiled,
“Summer’s out of mothballs, kids!”
We said,
“What does that even mean?”

He laughed,
“Go check out the clothesline!”
We did,
And this is what we seen:

Parading
Tan, red, and seersucker,
Madras,
Orange, navy, and plaid.

We can’t
Ever recall a sign of
Summer
That made us feel so sad.

shorts_editMAN O’WARDROBE – (Photo: PaC)

TWO LETTERS, MAN, TO LETTERMAN

dave_running_og

Dear Dave –

I’m writing because there’s been a mix-up, which I know now, because of Al Pacino’s “Danny Collins.”

One night, 14ish years ago in Fremantle, Western Australia, I penned a letter to the editors of my college newspaper, advocating you be the keynote speaker at our commencement ceremony, slated to take place roughly one year later.  This was no reckless Hail Mary, Dave, the dorkiness of the language notwithstanding (and it is dorky, see below).  I gave them more than ample time to run background checks on you, to build a riser for the horn section, to accommodate whatever eclectic Canadian nutritional needs Paul might have.  Yet, inexplicably, I never heard back.

Puzzling, I know.

Instead of you, the school played it safe and booked the president of Mexico, then when he fell through, got lucky by nabbing the late great Tim Russert, who brought the house down.  Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that a great white whale of a chance had been allowed to escape without so much as a chase.

photo

THROWBACK CRAZY – Al Pacino himself sneaks up on Dave, then proceeds to read the numbers during the list of the “Top Ten Reasons Why Max is So Mad” (5-14-15), less than a week before the final Late Show.

By way of serendipity a few months back, I came across a copy of my letter to the editors, in the very same week that I read a story on “Collins”, Pacino’s new film.  It was about an aging rock star thrust into a cyclone of regretful introspection when it’s brought to his attention that as a young artist in the 1970s, he was the intended recipient of a fan letter from John Lennon.  The letter, advising Pacino’s character to stay true to himself and his art, had never arrived.  Finding out about it years later, the musician wonders how his life and work might have been different – less kitschy-pop, perhaps — had he gotten the message from Lennon.  Well, imagine.  It all hit me.

I’m no Beatle, but what if the editors had somehow lost my letter?  Or, what if they’d gotten it, but it then got lost in translation to the commencement poo-bahs?  What other rational explanation could there possibly be, Dave?  The president of Mexico!

daveshoes_edit

REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: Dave, pictured here on 5-1-15, announcing to the world, “Hi, I’m Dave. And by the way, I’ve dropped my price for commencement addresses.”

There’s no way to measure how many lives may have been impacted had fate not interfered with you speaking at graduation.  But now, so many Mays later, an alignment of the stars between you and the class of 2002 is no longer out of reach.  For starters, there’s the forthcoming flexibility in your day planner.  Then, the abundance of tailgate parties, round-ups, and reunion events our class convenes on an annual basis.  And finally, the fortuitous development that, as you pointed out in the monologue just two weeks ago, you’re dropping your speaking rate.  That means you and our alumni board can probably work something out.  What great news!  It’s like we accidentally made a sound investment that has appreciated into a great treasure.  Or at the very least, found an unopened sleeve of Thin Mints buried in the back of the freezer.

Briefly before I continue, since it’s looking unlikely I’ll get to say it from the sofa seat on your show, allow me to join the chorus of your recent guests in thanking you for all the yuks over all these years.  Many performers are best described as entertainers ; but the rare few, simply as entertaining – so seemingly effortless is their ability to captivate an audience that it never comes off as an act.  That’s the good stuff, Dave, and you’ve got it — same as that naturally funny guy or girl who we all knew down the hall in the dorm.

I was only a teenager when Johnny signed off, and though I’d never really watched him, I knew his departure was a big deal.  So I decided I’d stay up and seize the final opportunity there would ever be to catch Carson.  And boy, do I remember that night: how I fell asleep long before Doc struck up the band and woke up the next morning consoling myself that at least I’d always have Dana Carvey’s impersonations to fall back on.  All good.

This week it’ll be different.  If I were to nod off, I’ll still wake up with my Late Show t-shirt and memories to spare: of watching, of attending a taping, of once seeing Biff in line at The Vatican (my wife doubts the authenticity of this ; a multi-layered blasphemy on her part, in my opinion). And even having all that, next Thursday morning there’ll be little consolation knowing the curtain has dropped for the final time at the Ed Sullivan Theater, onto the same stage where John Lennon once played.  His fictional letter in Pacino’s movie was inspired by a real one the Walrus wrote to a real musician who really never received it.  It happens, the mail gets lost.  Dreams get deferred. Raisins in the sun stand up and dance to Marvin Gaye music.  Crazy, zany, bonkers stuff can go down, Dave. You know it. You believe it. You proved it.  So see you at the next reunion.  Hoo-wah.

Thanks again for all the laughs.

Your pal,
Paul A. Camarata
Univ. of Notre Dame, Class of 2002

photo

WHAT’S A WRITING DORK TO DO? – Easy. Write. In this case, a plea to Notre Dame to issue Dave a blue and gold mortar board and an invite to speak at graduation. Comment from neither the Holy Cross Priests nor lay Board of Trustees who govern the University has yet to find me. #keepthefaith

ED-ITATION

“Ol’ Ed Reed starts with an Ed
And ends with an Ed….
Is that right, Fred?”
“That’s right,” said Fred.

“It’s why all his friends
Call him ‘Bookends’
As a nickname
Because his edges are the same.”

I asked him, “Ed
Whendja get it in yer head
Thatcha start with an Ed
And end with an Ed?”

He said, “’Twas plain to see
The first day I could read
The combo ‘E-D’
I had two of’em in me.”

“Well shucks, Golly!”
I said to Ed Reed,
“Lose that ‘R-E’
And you’ll be Tidy Ed Ed!”

He said, “No thank ye, sir,
I’d much prefer
To finish how I started:
Two ‘Eds’ by one ‘Re’ parted.”

FLIPPING FRIGHTENED

When I woke up this morning
The weather was hot.
But where were my flip-flops?
Did I know? I did not.

All through the long winter
All we wore was boots
Then suddenly the
Flipping trees had flopped fruit.

So in my bare feet
With nerves that were fraying
I searched for my flops
While I shoulda’ been playing.

Being flipflopless
Was terribly scary,
‘Till the moment I found’em –
That flipped on my merry.

‘Cause nothing says good times
Like flops on your feet
Not inside the house
But out on the warm street.

EATEN UP INSIDE

The friendly Timmy Termite
has never been cool
in the eyes of the neighbors
or the children in school.

When they hear that name, ‘Termite,’
they wrinkle their noses,
when they see him they wilt
like ten year old roses.

Oh how sad it is
his mere hunger for wood
makes the entire world
judge someone no good.

The whole world but one:
a fish called Anchovy
who knows what its like
to never feel cozy

in the company of people
who don’t say it but think,
“Did he say his name is ‘Anchovy’?
Now I know what stinks!”

That’s why they each kinda’ get it,
This tiny fish and smaller bug,
Why the other is on
An endless quest for love.

JANE CHANGER

There’s nothing in this world
more sweet than Sarah Jane –
except when she gets hangry,
then her sweet goes down the drain.

See, “Hanger” is an emptiness
bigger than a garage for a plane,
a vacuum in the stomach
that grumble rumbles to the brain.

And when hangriness descends
upon sweet Sarah Jane,
her sugar turns to salt –
and mountains of it, not a grain.

She snarls and barks
like an angry Great Dane,
fuses bulge in her neck
where normally there’d be veins.

But when again her belly’s full
she goes from hangry back to sane,
and to the world returns
sweet little Sarah Jane.

SELF PROPELLED

A balding billygoat
Bought a new billy-weave,
Now he’s happy as a lonely coral who joined a reef.

A homeless cuckoo
Asked for the time,
And found a roof in a clock that now he calls “mine.”

My hooks were a mess
Till I hung’em on a hook,
My nooks all misplaced, then I stored’em in a nook.

So asking and acting
Proves, as you can see:
“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.”

selfpropelled_edit

JOY OF X

It marks the spot
From the last it is third
But for x-ray
It starts almost no words.

Expunges
Expires
Examines
Extolls

Elixir, a mixer
Ex post facto.

In both cases it looks the same
Like Cousin C
It’s a cross only not straight up
Like Cousin T.

Explaining
Exerting
Expatriating

Extant, exacting
Exasperating

There’s no alphabet king
No one “Letter Rex”
But in Alphabetowne
There’s no one quite like X