Books for Sale Locally

Two of my books, Dreaming of Lemon Trees: Selected Poems and Outward Arrangements: Poems are available in the Local Authors section in Parthenon Books, the new bookstore located on Salina Street in Syracuse. I stopped by Sunday morning and was excited to see the books lining the shelf, in company with works by other Central New York writers.

Books on display.

 

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Urban Sculpture Mystery

While walking to work this morning, I noticed a new bronze sculpture parked in a traffic median, blending in with some trees, along a busy stretch of Genesee Street.

Unnamed urban sculpture. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

The male figure is wearing glasses and carrying scientific or mathematical equipment. Two words at the base of sculpture—“Inventive Spirit”—offer no further details about the piece. No artist name is listed.

Inventive Spirit. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

I wish I knew some background about the piece and the artist who crafted it. But the mystery also appeals to me.

Sculpture along Genesee Street in Syracuse. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

When I first saw the sculpture, the person who jumped into my mind was Tom Jones.

Tom Jones.

If nothing else, the encounter inspired me to listen to some Tom Jones tunes on shuffle on Amazon Music. I forgot what a booming, masculine voice he possesses, and I embraced the nostalgic feelings he stirred in me. Hearing his songs reminded me of my parents and a 1970s living room scene with me camped in front of a boxy TV set. And I hit replay on”Green Green Grass of Home” at least three times.

 

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Night at the Ballpark

Here I am, back to the blog. It’s been so long. I apologize for the absence, but I’ve been preoccupied with work, family, and side creative endeavors (which I will keep private to prevent jinxing the results). And now summer has ended, and a new semester is unfolding on the campus of Syracuse University.

NBT Bank Stadium. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

I have one note worth sharing. My family and I attended a Syracuse Mets game for the first time this August. My father used to take me to Syracuse Chiefs games at the old MacArthur Stadium, and I was impressed with the confines of NBT Bank Stadium, the ease of parking, the friendliness of the stadium workers, and the blue and orange color scheme in keeping with the New York Mets affiliation.

Mr. Met image on a stairwell at NBT Bank Stadium. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

My wife Pam and I debated taking our autistic son Colin to the ballpark, but in the end, we decided exposing him to the experience of a live baseball game on a perfect summer night was worth the risk of potential outbursts. We feel it’s worth trying new things with him, even though we endure stress, frustration, and humiliation when he acts out. Our hope is he grows more comfortable in public settings.

Colin sitting in the stands on the first-base line. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

And on this night, he fared well. He ate French fries, popcorn, and mini brownie muffins (brought from home). He paid no attention to the action on the field, and when the crowd roared, he unleashed high-pitch screams, drawing the attention of other fans. We left in about the fourth inning with the Buffalo Bisons leading the Mets by several runs. But we considered the evening a minor victory and felt encouraged to attend another game in the future.

Pam and Colin outside NBT Bank Stadium. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

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Public Art in Progress

While walking to work today, I saw Los Angeles-based artist Jonas Never working on his basketball-themed mural in downtown Syracuse.

Basketball mural in progress. Photo by Francis DiClemente. Art by Jonas Never.

I think the piece will be great when it’s complete. However, seeing all that beautiful white space made me wish for a combo mural—half basketball and half Warhol screen print or Pollock splatter painting.

Mural in progress. Photo by Francis DiClemente. Art by Jonas Never.

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Urban Location Inspiration

While out walking, I passed this alley, and it sparked my imagination for an entry into a screenplay scene. This won’t go anywhere, but it’s fun to play along.

Alley in downtown Syracuse. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

EXT. ALLEY – DAY

TOM COLLINS, a man in his forties, exits a building, opens the top of a garbage bin and tosses something inside. He closes the lid and sprints down the alley. Moments later, an explosion rocks the area and pieces of the green plastic bin scatter. ANGLE ON Tom’s face as he reaches the end of the alley. He looks back and three SECURITY GUARDS are in pursuit. One bearded guard cuffs his hands over his mouth.

SECURITY GUARD
You’ll never get away with this Collins. The human extension formula belongs to Dr. Reddick.

ANGLE ON Tom as he continues running.

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Pay Phone on the Ground

Instagram Poem #6

Pay Phone on the Ground. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Pay Phone on the Ground

A metal pay phone
splayed on the ground
near my apartment
building dumpster,
a relic from the
pre-digital age—
anthropological
evidence of
20th-century
American life.
Model discontinued
and no iOS update
to install.

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Sunday Morning Poem

Instagram Poem #4

Slippers found near a park bench in downtown Syracuse. Photo by Francis DiClemente.

Mystery Slippers

Sunday morning:
a pair of white slippers
left near a park bench
in downtown Syracuse.

Questions abound:
Who owns the shoes
and where did the person
sleep last night?

No answers to be found,
so instead cue Johnny Cash’s
big, beautiful voice singing
“Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down.”

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Morning Snowfall

I looked out my window this morning and saw snow falling, with big flakes covering the windshields of the cars in my apartment building parking lot. It reminded me that snowfall is typical in late March in Syracuse, New York. Here, the official start of spring doesn’t mean the end of winter weather.

Of course everything is different now with coronavirus, but the normalcy of seeing snow falling comforted me. It reminded me that nature goes on, that life goes on. And the silence of the falling snow made me feel safe and secure, even as I remained trapped inside.

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A Poem for the Start of Spring

Early spring has always been my favorite time of the year, as we put winter behind us here in Central New York. Of course coronavirus means nothing is normal this spring.

However, I am editing a new poetry collection that contains a spring-themed poem that lifted my spirits because it reminded me of happier times. I thought I would share it as we all hope for a return to normalcy.

Best Time of the Year

Snow finally
giving way
to grass
in Syracuse.

Cold mornings,
but temps
climbing
above forty.

March Madness,
Lenten fish fries
and the crack
of the bat.

Yippee …
it looks like
we’ve survived
another winter.

But never forget—
in Syracuse
a lake-effect blast
can still chase away
the Easter Bunny
and send the Moms
scurrying to their closets
to retrieve sweaters
on Mother’s Day.

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