Author Archives: Tom Zampino

Tom Zampino is an attorney in private practice in New York City who makes his home on Long Island. He and his beautiful and accomplished wife have raised two fantastic daughters, four cats, two dogs, and various other domesticated creatures over the past three decades. He formerly blogged at the Catholic Channel at Patheos.

Precise Moment

 

There is a precise moment that separates day from night, inhalation from exhalation, life from death.

It is within that space, where there exists neither boundary nor border, that the eternal becomes the present and the present disappears.

We will find each other there.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

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The Forever Tourist

 

I think that late summer in New York City is the perfect time and the perfect place for that frozen image you just snagged of your traveling companion.

It’s safeguarded, now, for the person you’ve yet to become, the one who’ll be looking back with little memory of the day’s particulars.

Except, perhaps, for this brief photo flash that’s likely already been uploaded and shared and liked a hundred times.

It may even thrill your children’s grandchildren.

Or maybe it will help you – one day – to cut through the increasing haze of your own bruised and battered mind. At least long enough to give you a second chance to revisit this exact spot.

For the very first time.

Although you didn’t see me seeing you, we will forever share this moment, this space.

And one last indulgence of late summer in New York City.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay 

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Fallen Leaves

 

It’s not as if I can count them all.

Each drop of rain striking hard, like a bullet against the first of the summer’s fallen leaves, and gravity ceding control to the already soaked ground just below.

Some leaves seem to have completely given up, pinned down by the weight of their own wetness. Others scatter freely, unable to resist the forces still cutting through them. As if caught up in some kind of mechanical afterlife, first pushing forward and then quickly circling back.

The teeming, rancid earth now readies itself for animation and annihilation, both, whichever first cares to overtake it – flexibility and complaisance remaining, as they are, essential to an unstated recognition of life’s fullness and of its betrayals.

But soon enough the rain will stop and I’ll doubtless forget just why it any of it ever mattered.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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Closet Door

 

The door just about closes. But only if I lean in, hard, and push with my shoulder.

Your closet remains overstuffed with things you played with, things you once wore.

Even now.

Of course, nothing fits anymore. Not even the big, blue, baggy sweater you bought when you wanted to hide your body.

It still smells of you. A heady, unexpected mix of mom’s expensive perfume and your favorite cinnamon flavored bubblegum.

I suppose that it’s really time to move on. I know that you’re not coming back for any of it. You’ve even given me permission to throw it all away.

Sometimes, though, memories need more than just brain cells and neurons to keep them alive – hope does too. I think you’ll understand that.

Soon enough anyway

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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New World

 

You first walked the ancient village streets on pavement carved into the mountainside. Your barefoot testimony never once confessed to anger. But your hunger couldn’t hide beneath your ribs.

A new world was yours for the taking.

Scores of young men, just like you, soon found themselves excited and bewildered and scared. Right here, in a fortress that seemed to offer golden streets and unbounded freedom under the watchful eye of some giant harbor goddess.

But first, papers had to be stamped, exams submitted to, questions answered. Hours of boredom followed by tense moments of humiliation. Full cooperation was both summarily expected and enthusiastically given.

Approved, you were later shipped from island to mainland where you were left unprotected, unschooled, and completely alone. But a promise tucked away in your well worn pocket kept you sane.

A promise that you relied upon when you later began a legacy that followed in your footsteps.

A promise that meant home.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Steven Zampino at Ellis Island Hospital (Doctor’s Chair – area closed to public).

 

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To Crawl

 

I didn’t think that you’d actually crawl across my foot.

Sure, it was the straightest path on your travels, stretching from brick to brick, despite the slight incline that it required you to endure.

But even with an obstacle of that size standing directly in your way, you never once slowed down or thought through any of the real or imagined dangers ahead.

I suppose that your mission, driven by pure instinct, won’t allow many detours, time being of the essence and all – which is how the lawyers often like to talk about time.

Soon enough, though, you won’t even remember the hard slogs. The ones that, together, helped you loosen earth’s remaining grip on you.

Never again compelled to crawl, little caterpillar.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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Cool August Rain

 

It was surprisingly cool this morning.

Last night’s storm scrubbed the deep August heat, while offering its protection to the first tang of fall sneaking in.

The ground suddenly feels ready for sleep, and the trees appear braced for abandonment.

But I am prepared for neither, greedy as I’ve always been for the blistering summer sun.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

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The Bards Initiative – Poetry Anthology 2019

 

As many of you know, over the weekend I was invited to join with some of Long Island’s most talented poets at the birthplace of Walt Whitman. I was given the opportunity to read my first ever published poem Infinite Jaggedness, Finite Wisdom .

My poem is now among those collected in an anthology published by the Bards Initiative and officially launched that day. You can find a copy of the anthology on Amazon here.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this initiative, one that has established a generous forum to encourage Long Island poets and the reading of their poetry.

There is quite a lot of talent out there!

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Amazon

 

 

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Fly On The Wall

 

Not hearing much that’s eloquent he might be tempted to leave, that fly on the wall.

Words are unguarded here, and often left unspoken. Sometimes because nothing more need be said, sometimes because the better part is not to speak at all. Even when outrage feels all consuming, the time that follows always seems to demand our silent reconsideration.

Mostly though, here at home, the strands that draw us together bind not only our hearts but our tongues as well. A moment of everyday silence can still measure out years of honest contemplation between us.

Words would only distract us from that eternal conversation.

That fly on the wall may soon find himself bored, hearing nothing of any great consequence to bring back to the others.

But only because he’s not really been listening.

Peace

Copyright 2019

Image Credit: Pixabay

 

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