Archive for April, 2011

Be My Love For No One Else Can End This Sound Loop

April 9, 2011

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At the edge of the kitchen island
in a delirium of devotion
my mother upgraded his standard chrome cage
to a towering bamboo pagoda
that swayed as he swung to and fro
while she answered the adjacent wall phone

Had she chosen to immortalize her other
cherished recording artist, Eddy Arnold,
perhaps his vocal stylings might have buzzed
a more adenoidal twang
but this was the green feathered Mario Lanza
though rather more shrill even than an Italian tenor
scraping the bottom edge of high C

He predated voice mail
but presciently announced a tone, pitch
and haute-attitude perfect imitation
of my mother’s professional phone voice –
“Hello, Dr. Gargiulo’s Office”

His pitch morphed to an exasperated bellow
“Steve, Garbage
Steve, Garbage”
(My brother ever delinquent with his assigned chore)

The bell tone, bell curve, bellissima three notes
of my sister’s name were rendered more sweetly –
“Ma – REE – tah
Ma – REE – tah”

My name was the only playback
in my father’s soft voice
low and punctuated with fond chuckles –
“Gemma – huh heh heh heh heh”

Then the summation of our family dysfunction –
“Oh SHIT Oh SHIT Oh SHIT Oh SHIT”

In vivace brass and syrup
my mother lavished uncharacteristic affection
for his meticulous devotional mimicry of her,
no matter how revealing –

“MARIO’S A GOOD BABY!
WHO’S A GOOD BOY?
WHO’S A GOOD BOY?
WHO’S A GOOD BABY BOY?
KISS KISS KISS
KISS KISS KISS”

This last he repeated to the mirror of his music box toy –
It played Rock-a-bye-baby
triggered when he landed on a weight activated perch

He sampled whatever fragment played before
the mechanism wound down
“Rock a bye baby on the tree top
when the wind blows the cra -”
“Rock a by baby on the – “
But when the perch mechanism stuck –
“Rock a bye baby on the tree top when
the wind RECH ECH ECH ECH ECH ECH”

And at times times he seemed to channel,
not so much his namesake
as his chartreuse zoot suited likeness, Cab Calloway
in scat –
“Mario’s a Baby Chario
A Baby Chario
A Baby dip dip
A Baby dip dip
dip dip Dario!”

I don’t clearly recall
every pipe dream contest my brother and I spun
to plot Mario’s most melodramatic demise
but driving two steam rollers toward his cage
from opposite ends of the kitchen
remains locked down as a deliciously vengeful
and splendid cartoon visual

We never did arrange a meeting
with the mynah bird
who lived with the Otolaryngologist
only two doors down
or Mario might have echoed
his eerily abbreviated party piece

“GET ME OUT OF
GET ME OUT OF
GET ME OUT OF”

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