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Vulnerable, shirtless, lying still with wires protruding from various electrical contact points on my chest and a hand-held tube pressed gently into my side, I am transfixed by the screen just above eye level and slightly to my left.

The beating – the swooshing – of my heart sounds automated and mechanical as it draws blood into one chamber before pumping it out another.

It’s all quite mesmerizing, this echocardiogram machine.

And all quite visible – in rapid succession on that computer screen – are the blacks, the grays, the greens, the blues, and the reds that will ultimately trace out the full dimensions of my health.

One valve, doing yeoman’s work, is held in freeze frame for a moment while a tiny space is measured and recorded for later review.

Such scientific insight is now granted into the human heart. An insight unknown not so many generations ago when only sound could be heard and the physical mechanics simply guessed at.

But the picture and sound, together, reveal some coordinated hand at work. The timing, the movement, the enduring efficiency seem to speak of some ancient timekeeper overseeing every measure of my being.

At least for now. At least for me.

Is it any wonder that the heart is so often the poet’s default space from which to speak of life, and of love, and of everything in between?

A place to speak of those things that forever pursue us?

Even death itself.


Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay


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Traveling Back In Time A Bit


Traveling back in time a bit, heading off to school in the middle of a storm

I well remember the sharp scent of the lightening as it split the morning

Terrifying my companions as I pretended some uncommon courage.

Memories should always allow for some forbearance, I think, a

Forgiveness on the part of the holder to make our destined

Lives fit so much neater into the crafted narrative that

Moves us to the next day. But I best not jot any of

That down so I can (without deceit) look back

Tomorrow and pretend some uncommon




Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay


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Country Squire


Sitting in the back of my dad’s much loved station wagon, my brother and I would arrange ourselves between the two pop-up seats that faced each other, knees interwoven, sometimes touching – “STOP IT!!” – the entire trip.

The old Ford Country Squire was a prized possession being, as it was, my dad’s first brand new car. Model year 1968, headlights covered by a grill that lifted up when the light power switch was turned on, faux wood paneling.*

It possessed a certain elegance if not self-awareness.

Mostly we’d ride on the weekends as my dad’s commute to the City gave him time during the week for little more than working, commuting, sleeping. But those summer weekend trips often included a Sunday visit to the local beach where we’d romp for a bit and smell the ocean air. Then a quick stop on the way home at the local Carvel ice cream shop (for those who aren’t familiar with that name, I’m truly sorry). Sometimes, in the reverse, we’d start at Carvel.

My dad held on to that old car until well after it was no longer practical to own, what with repairs and insurance and the limited space at the new home some two hundred miles away.

But its memories weren’t sold for scrap value as its body eventually was. And I still remember the lingering smell of that brand new purchase, what it cost, the dealership where we got it, and the fun times that we had as a family.

And my brother and I knee-fighting for more room in the back.

Every single time.


Copyright (TZampino) 2020

* Ours Was Blue But This Was The Exact Model: 1968 Ford LTD Country Squire (Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons )


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In The Rain

Walking together in the rain, we stopped for a moment under a tree

Each leaf already a tiny cymbal, each drop firing off a different beat

I remember how bright your face glistened every time the sky lit up

But that glow lasted long after we started back on our way, lighting

Our path, easing my mind, knowing that the rains had arrived again

Just in time

Just like they always do



Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay


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Like some ancient warrior readying for battle, I will steel myself for tomorrow’s disappointments

Eternity’s beginnings seem to take a little longer when every moment captures fire for the soul

But no longer can I wait in silence, not while remembering that I miss you still

I will breach these walls, I will infiltrate your heart,

I will steal away your love

Or maybe –

I can just convince you to take one more chance



Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay


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A Willful And Ambitious Love


As if one generation can teach us all we need to know,

We look first to our fathers and mothers to save us.

Sometimes we desire continuity and boredom,

Sometimes it’s the rough-hewn tools of destruction.

But it is only with a willful and ambitious love for those

Unbreakable bonds forever set down between us that the

World can ever be set to rights.



Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay


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Refrigerator Door


Reminders to save the date for future marriages long since busted up,

Souvenirs bought seasons ago on trips to lakes, and parks, and family resorts,

Ads from local businesses with telephone numbers no longer in service.

These, all mixed in between yesterday’s artwork and tomorrow’s to do list, still decorate the beige refrigerator door.

Yet it’s the memory of those cheap, plastic, magnetized red letters, the ones once placed at child-eye level, that will never get old.

A time when little hands attached to little bodies formed words for us to notice – some real, some imagined, some just re-arranged in undefined order.

Sometimes the heart aches for a simpler time.

Even one that never really existed.



Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons



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Her Voice


No one can remember the last time we heard her voice.

When she was a child, they were transfixed by her laughter.

When she was a teen, they were moved to tears by her pain.

On the day she got married, her soft words belied her fierce love.

On the day she gave birth, her cries severed bonds while forging new ones.

Her speech is silent now, in ways her mind cannot begin to comprehend.

Yet there’s still a pause in each conversation (such as it is)

While she waits patiently for my turn to listen.



Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay


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Bounded Tiger


I am caged like the bounded tiger.

At turns I find myself pacing alone in anger, and then later lashing out at no one in particular. I am unsure where to find the handle, if one exists, that might allow me to twist this lock wide open and plan my escape.

But this I know.

Your pain infuriates me. Yet in my madness, I only push you away. What I keep failing to understand is that you need to indulge this hurt, to abide within it. And as you make your way through, you are sculpting your humanity – your very humanness – by engaging with the pain and then sending it back out with a sharpness and a simplicity that flows so naturally from your growing love.

Yes, I watched as you smashed apart most of what I had freely given you, causing me to stagger. But now I see you picking through the ruins, looking for the one true thing that you needed. Perhaps the only thing.

It is more than enough.

And I am proud.



Copyright (TZampino) 2020

Image Credit: Pixabay


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