Michael Vitaly

theatre maker, writer, artist

Stop and smell the roses

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Everyday this little rose
Stretches for the morning sun.
And soon to come when no one knows
These petals dry and start to fall
One by heavy little one.
Take heed in this life.
Give and shine and grow until
All the songs you want to dance have come,
And perchance you sat some out
Or if perchance you sit too early
Know the faces in your mind
That broke with everlasting rhyme
Those men and women even strangers
Coming going in your life
How many smiles did you encounter
How much happiness did you give?

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lines on passing Arlington Cemetery

The tip of the iceberg
In dashes and lines
The bodies lie waiting
In the thick of the lime.
Six feet or so
Bathed in some moonlight
And hanging like stars
On an alabaster sea.

Lines after St. Michael’s Cemetery

Frozen angels stand guard over the Dead,
While speeding cars on rainy roads bring dread.
Long green or freshly brown they watch the ground
In silent remorse with no one around
But the constant onslaught from up above
Softly falling, slowly washing away
The sins and sadness, stories and madness,
And acid rain in time erases all
These names, while the Lord of Time does his dance,
Locked in his embrace, lost within his trance,
The World spins and reels, stumbling and mumbling
Its philosophies in any language
It knows to any open orifice,
Through hatred or acceptance, bigotry
Or love or carnal competition it
Screams from giant L.E.D or neon
Letters burning through to you telling you
What to do, what to buy, what to feel and
“All is nigh!” “Now is the time!” “it’s all yours!”
“Take it, it’s your right.”

Lost in time and frozen in time, Angels
Guard over the Dead.

DOESTOYEVSKY. the quot…

DOESTOYEVSKY. the quote that started it all.

They sometimes talk about man’s bestial cruelties, but that is being totally unfair and unjust to the beast.  For a beast can never be as cruel as a man, so artistically so picturesquely cruel. 

The Door to the General Store.

 

This door once swung between childhood and sweaty nights,
Soda shop fountains and cigarette kisses.
Touching on dreams on a rooftop in Brooklyn
seemed so far away on this porch in your arms.

For dreams seemed as far as the stars
and now I have everything I need.

This door once swung between my fingertips like the sands of time.
And now the time between my fingertips have sagged for years.
Like the kite we flew in Prospect Park that Memorial Day Picnic
when we first met.
Skin on tethered bone.

 

 

 

Cole Porter

I love his music.

I had the pleasure of coming across a lot of Cole Porter my senior year in college when I did their production of “Kiss Me, Kate.”  I played Fred Graham and he played Petruchio, but when I auditioned I just wanted to be one of the hoods who approaches him, threatens him, and ends up stealing the show with a little soft shoe.  I did however get to sing some beautiful material, one of them being “So in Love” after my ex-wife just leaves me up center and I stayed relatively still and sing this ridiculously painful song.  I’ll never forget that song.  The moment on stage was gone as it was happening, but I remember feeling invigorated.  Alive.

So then comes a few years and many miles from those boards, and I’m barefoot on the cooler hardwood (vinyl tile) boards of Brooklyn on the first floor hearing the S train go by, opening up my little book of songs and coming across this one in the still of the night.

In The Still of The Night   By Cole Porter

soundcloud.com/michael-vitaly/in-the-still-of-the-night-cole

Lines on Richter

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Washed aside and blown asunder,
In between the rolls of thunder
And the cries of languid heaven,
You stand there lashing at my heart.

Smoke and ash and bitten memory,
Bitten off more than I could chew,
Bitten by the love we once knew,
Your face and heart, like smoke and ash depart,
Linger for a time and then become sweet rhyme.

Etched into my memory,
Like a simple melody
Fiery, pure, and fleeting,
Like constellations unconnected,
You stand there washed away
From the future unprotected
Though safely locked inside my heart.

I’ll hide you there for God knows how long,
And then one day Time will take you,
Wrestling my heart to the ground
Setting you free little by little,
Washed away though etched for always
Inside this tender heart of mine.

God

Once in a while you need to not listen to anything else. You’ll find him.

Time.

“Only time can stop time…” I think, beneath the guise of rich green treetop canopies softened and sweetened by recent rain. A long needle nosed tower stands above the brick and green lined horizon like a flag pole to a bygone era. I sit and wait for a bus on Massachusetts Avenue watching cars and people and Robins go by. Most notably, the robin whose brushed brown red and orange belly was a perfect sphere under its grey and black streak of a body as it swooped across the scene crying out, “Me! Don’t forget about me!” Only time can stop time. Only time can interject itself into your life at moments when it so chooses. “Take a look at me,” it says like a grandfather clock in the hall every hour. “Look over here.” glares the neon green from your desktop shelf the night we stayed up till dawn talking about our stuff. “Come on,” cajoles your conscience as you know this is wrong but you know it will be over soon so get on with it already. Time. Slows down to a hilt always at your side. Ready to fly away at times delightful and stay, steady and slow, during those times quite painful. It’s an amazing thing that only purveys the forefront of your thought how it wants, and whenever it wants as well.

Swallows on a Sunday Afternoon

I found this in an old book of mine.
I had written it one morning while in DC .

 

The swallows overtake the sky
Like bees out of the hive,
flying this way and that
among puff-white mine fields
that hang quietly in the blue,
they swoop and flutter like fighter pilots
on a friendly flying mission.

“I wonder if somebody died,” I say aloud
as I watch a yellow monarch flutter past my window.
The two emergency vehicles were cause enough for concern.
“It wouldn’t be the first time,” I think to myself,
“that somebody dies on a clear and sunny Sunday afternoon.”