First Declaration

I hated being four …
So I was glad that it was my fifth birthday .
I was not expecting much
Since the only birth we celebrated in our home
Was for the ‘baby jesus’ .

It had been raining since early that morning …
And to add to the gloom
My alcoholic mother
Was screaming at my alcoholic father
Who then decided
That if he punched a hole in the wall
Somehow it would make him feel better .

To escape from the drama
My grandmother announced
That she would take me to the Mayfair cinema .
I had never been to a real movie theatre before
So I was excited …
And at the same time just a little frightened
To be going on this unexpected journey .

I remember a bus ride that seemed to take forever .
But when we finally arrived at our destination
I experienced a breathtaking sight .

Seen through the mist of a twilight rain
The brightly lit marquee
Seemed to take on a celestial glow .

And as we walked into the lobby
I felt as if I were entering heaven .

That day all my senses were aroused .

First …

By the delicious scent of the freshly popped corn .
Then …
By the immensity of the cathedral like auditorium
With its rows and rows of plush red velvet seats .
And finally …
As I sat in the comfort of my own chair
I felt as if i were in someones warm embrace .

The lights dimmed and the curtains parted …
Then it began .

I sat in awe
As an incredible new universe
Poured itself into my soul …
With sights and sounds that filled my body
With an ecstasy that i had never known .

Suddenly i heard the voice of an angel
That seemed to be singing only to me .
I began to cry
Because something that I had never felt before
Touched my heart .

I believe that afternoon
I experienced my first orgasm …
It lasted ninety nine minutes !

The film was Romance On The High Seas
The angel was Doris Day
And the song was Magic  !

Second Declaration

I knew …
A few days before my sixteenth birthday
That in order to have a peaceful existence
I would have to live on my own .

After drinking all night
My mother would sleep most of the day .
So when I approached her
In the middle of the afternoon
And told her of my decision to leave
She looked at me coldly and said
“You woke me up to tell me that?”
Then rolled herself over and went back to sleep .

I took a pillowcase containing my clothes .
And with six dollars and seventeen cents
In my pocket
I found myself a room
In the cheapest boarding house I could find .

I would get up around 4am …
Take the bus to my job
In a notorius section of Newark, New Jersey .
There I would put in my eight hours
As a lab technician .
Then I would eat my dinner
On a bus downtown
Where I attended a trade school
For three hours a day .
Afterward
It was only a short walk to Wallachs …
A mens clothing store
Where I worked until 11pm .
Then another bus ride
Back to my room at a six story walk up .
I did this for three years
Until I finally graduated .

It was a demanding schedule
For a lonely teenager
But there was a silver lining …
Once a month I would treat myself .

Entering Penn Station
I would wait for the ‘107 Express Bus’
To New York City .
I would then sit in the back row
And settle myself next to the right window …
Where I would begin the jouney
Which took me through the Lincoln Tunnel .

Then I patiently waited for the sign on the wall .
About halfway through the tunnel
There was a line which seemed to separate my life
Into two halves .

In tile there was written on one side
‘New Jersey’
And on the other side
‘New York’ .
And when I passed that profound place
I knew that once again I had entered Paradise .

A smile would appear on my face …
My body would begin to tingle …
And my heart would beat a little faster ….
I was almost home .

Third Declaration

There are no words that can describe how it feels
When you meet the one person
That changes your world completely.

I am not a religious person …
But I truly believe that it was predestined
For me to be in that place …
On that street …
At that precise moment in time…
Our eyes met …
Our souls touched.

I knew that I was complete .

Fourth Declaration

We were together for over forty eight years .

Everything in life that was worth having
We shared with each other .

We walked the streets of Paris at sunset
After a gentle spring rain …
We gathered with the crowds
On the Grand Canal in Venice
To marvel at the historical regatta
As hundreds of gondolas raced by …
We traveled in a steamboat down the Rhine river
Where we viewed with delight the glorious castles
And the majesty of the notorious Lorelei …
Together we stood at the lip of the largest
Active volcano on the island of Hawaii
And as the sun rose it painted the sky
With such a breathtaking display of color
Even van Gogh himself
Would have been inspired …
North of Mexico City
We climbed the hundreds of steps
To the top of the Pyramid of the Sun
And as we lifted our arms
To the glorious emerald sky
We felt that as though we were reaching
Into the universe …
And could touch god with our fingertips .

Life was beautiful.

And then came the fateful day

When we heard the diagnosis …
He had Parkinsons Disease .

For years we sought out doctor after doctor …
Neuroligst after neuroligist …
Taking test after test .
And little by little life nibbled at him
Until there was hardly anything left .

Finally he was unable to take the few steps
And make it to the bathroom .

For almost six years I administered to him
Day and night .
He would not allow any one else to be near him .
He could not leave the bed
And I could not leave his side .

Near the end
He slept for eight days …
Then on the ninth day
As I held him in my arms
He opened his eyes to look at me
And I said “I will always love you sweetheart”
A gentle smile came to his lips
As he took his last breath …
Once again
I knew that I would have to face this world …
And life …
Alone .

I was born on june 23rd at 3:15 am …
He left me on june 23rd at 3:15 am …
A cosmic joke ?

I am sure that he is giggling in heaven !

Fifth Declaration

I was sure
That I no longer wanted to live on this earth.

When I was satisfied that all our debts were paid
And all our obligations were fulfilled
I would try to end my life as quickly
And as comfortably as possible .

I lowered the blinds and closed the curtains
On all the windows in the apartment
In an effort to keep out the light …
And life .

Near the end of his illness
My partner would sleep for days at a time .
It was at this point
That I began singing to recorded tracks
In the small room off the hallway .

The music seemed to come through me
From somewhere in the Universe .
It gave me strength
And the ability to care for my beloved .

When I found myself alone
One of the things that kept me going
was that I began editing
some of the songs that I had sung .
There in my bedroom I would spend hours
producing the sounds that I wanted .
It was one of the few things
That helped me forget my misery.

When almost a year had passed
I felt that it was time for me to make my exit .

I happened to hear somewhere
That one of my favorite singers
Was performing at one of the clubs in town .
I decided to leave the apartment
And enjoy one last night
It would be a fitting farewell .

I began walking to the subway …
But after half a block I began sobbing
So I returned home .
After consoling myself
I decided to give it another try .
I got almost two blocks
when again I began to cry.
And so I returned home .
On the third try
I made it to the train and my final destination .

As I sat in my seat I was approached by my waiter
Who informed me the evening would be sold out
And would I mind having someone sit at my table .

It was this serendipitous meeting that would change my life .

As we chatted and I related some of my story
I confessed
That I had lost my partner of forty eight years
And that singing gave me a peacefulness
That nothing else in my life could .

I was informed about a weekly ‘Open Mic’
Which was in midtown Manhattan .

That following Wednesday was my birthday
And the anniversary of my partners death .

I decided it would be a fitting way to end it all.

Sixth Declaration

I had to walk up two flights of steps.
There was no marquee…
No red velvet seats…
No huge screen to amaze me…
And no smell of popcorn…
Just the odor of alcohol.

Entering the room
I felt as though
I was at a reception for a small wedding.
The singer was not Doris Day…
And my memory has no recollection of the song…
But when the accompanist sat at the keyboard
And began to play
The music was transcendent and inspiring!

Week after week I was enthralled
As this man instantly and brilliantly
Arranged song after song
For every person who sang on that stage.

It took almost a year for me to approach
Maestro Barry Levitt.
I was sure that I did not have the experience
Or the talent to sing for such a gifted musician.

Then one evening he sang
When You Wish Upon A Star.
It was the first time that I had heard him sing
And it came from a place deep in his soul.
Feeling the humanity in that moment
Gave me the courage to approach him.

I asked…
“Do you think I could sing with you?”
Since that first meeting
He has inspired me…
Guided me…
And given me the courage to start a new journey.

With music…
Once again I have a reason to be on this earth.
And I am truly grateful that in my seventies
I am starting a new life.