David Lerner: One for the Holidaze

Backstory

 My parents had a circle of political friends, all Jewish communist couples with children: the Lerners, the Kelmans, the Kreuters. All the families lived in Queens. We lived in Astoria, right across the river from Manhattan, while the Lerners (Flushing), Kelmans and Kreuters (Bayside) lived further out, closer to Long Island.  All the families had three children with the oldest (all boys) being born within nine months of each other in 1951/52.

I am the oldest Belmont child, David was the oldest Lerner child. I looked up to him as a kind of unreachable, not totally desirable role model through the 1960s. He was big (eventually grew to about 6’ 3”), lanky and brusque. He sported a biting wit and a sardonic sense of humor, both well beyond his years. He turned me on to Bob Dylan, whom we idolized. Continue reading “David Lerner: One for the Holidaze”

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Junior Croce

When you hear music, after it’s over, it’s gone in the air. You can never capture it again.
Eric Dolphy, 1964

Junior was a first generation Italian-American who lived with his mother in a two-story house in South Ozone Park, Queens. She spoke no English. He barely spoke. Today they’d probably put him on the autism spectrum.

He was the middle child in a stereotypical Italian family. His older brother owned a few businesses on Atlantic Avenue in the strange no-mans land that existed between Brooklyn and Queens at the time (early 1970s). He wasn’t a gangster, but lets say sort of shifty. I never met his younger sister, but I’m told she was a bit of a princess. His father died right around the time that our avant-garde (free) jazz trio came together. Continue reading “Junior Croce”

Poems

Train Sounds

Philip Glass says his music sounds like New York City
He tells a story about a long train ride
and hearing the click clack repetition of the rails

On some days when I was in high school
I’d drop some acid
and ride the elevated train out to Flushing
I thought it sounded like Hendrix

Now I realize that it probably sounded like Hendrix
to Jimi too

(This poem was accepted for publication in the Fall 2016 issue of The Poeming Pigeon) Continue reading “Poems”