Cal Pecker

(a new one by my friend David Belmont)

a quirky 

he taught 
physics at 
stevens tech

turned us on to
lord buckley
lenny bruce
tom lehrer

on his way to new jersey
weekday mornings
he drove us into

so we only had 
to take one train
up to high school
in the north bronx

he took the big turn
on the queensboro bridge
two lanes at a time

commenting on
the wqxr news 
like an erudite
mr magoo
with waving hands 
seemingly oblivious 
to the traffic around him

at his memorial
his grandchildren
put all the Cal-isms
they could remember
up on the walls
of the queensview
community room

there were almost 
two hundred of them

my favorite:

did i wake you up?

no, i had to get up 
to answer the phone


Spring to summer to fall



Medieval to Renaissance;

Something altogether different.

Our species created this transition

Even as we lived it.

Transition brings loss and

New possibilities.

And it’s more than

How you look at it.

It’s what you do with it.

April 29, 2021


Made it to the Met Saturday.

I wanted to meet Alice Neel.

A slightly surreal scene.

Long lines of masked

New Yorkers and others

Enduring the pandemic;

Looking for hope and inspiration.

It was worth the wait.

First, the line led

Through a row of Rodin statues.


And then,

An amazing collection 

Of paintings.

Honest, but not cynical;

Humanistic, but not sentimental.

Alice painted so many different kinds of people:

Black, white, Latino

Poor, working, middle class, rich.

Her art is 

Infused with socialism;

The belief that we can live

Together as sisters and brothers

Free of exploitation, racism, and sexism.

Alice Neel;

This daughter of a

straight laced middle class

family in suburban Pennsylvania,

her father an accountant for the Pennsylvania RR.

She found her way to Greenwich village in 1927

With her husband Cuban artist Carlos Enriquez.

Carlos soon returned to Cuba, 

Leaving Alice to consort with

Artists, radicals, ordinary folk

Until she died in 1984.

This small white woman

With a big heart and a sharp eye

Breaking boundaries

Shows us what our species can do.

Leaving us with hope and  

sadness to yearn and

work for a better world.

April 18, 2021

Nancy and Bennie

Nancy and Bennie

Funny and funnier

“Now Bennie, If you keep trying to 

Bite me,

I won’t  be able to feed you.”

“I hear you mom;

It’s just what I do.”

“Good morning Nancy;

How did you sleep?”

“I was fine until five a.m.

When Bennie began jumping on my head.”

You should see them 

In the yard.

Bennie in his harness

Nancy on the other end.

Bad boy Bennie

and Mother Nancy;

A cross species

Love affair.

April 14, 2021

Dialogue Between Two Poets

by Caroline Donnola

Is a poet
a gift from God?
An offering
from the fairies?
A wordsmith with a silver tongue,
a wounded soul
with too much pain
to swallow?
One who sees the droplets of light
cutting through the dark?
A healer to realign
the humors?

Is there a special spring
from which poets drink,
infusing them with melody
and verse?

Do poets breathe
saltier air,
imbibe sweeter wine
which flows into our brains,
producing magical thinking?


We grew up
seven miles apart
(I from the wrong side
of Sunrise Highway.)
Both of our mothers
read us poetry
when we were young.
We were entranced
and so we both
picked up the pen
and created our own.

Years later we met
at a union event
at your home in Jersey City.
Since then
we’ve traveled down
winding roads
of political tactics
candidates and campaigns
fights and crusades
progress and regress
fits and starts.
Surprisingly, we keep on.

At times we meet
in the countryside
for brief forays
into fields of green,
you along riverbanks
with strong currents
where the fish slither by
framed by cresting hills
and purple wildflowers.


Language, my friend,
is simply a game.
We’re playing it
all the time.
Sometimes we’re in tune.
Other times we’re a broken record
that no one wants to hear.
we string together words
that sing out
in an almost dream-like state.
We call these musings poetry.

Those of us who place
our reflections 
onto the page?
We’re called poets.
All we have to do
is to keep on writing
and say what we long to say.