ON A WELLWORN BUT IMPROPER NOUN

As I was telling my wife this morning I have this ache of compassion for people without the resources to express what they think of a person whose behavior falls short of what we expect of, what we assume, and all secretly believe a human being to be capable of. "Asshole", the word that issues from our mouths most readily and has come to greater and greater use in the grand cacophony of human speech, within all strata of society and among children of all ages, seems painfully inadequate. Worse, it reflects too much upon the person sounding the very fetid, flaming word.
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WHAT SIN, A NAME—FRANK CROCITTO ON HIS OWN NAME

Photograph of Bearer - Frank Crocitto

Yes indeed, the name is Crocitto, Frank Crocitto, and it has proven to be a lulu, especially if you don't know the how of Italian vowels and how they can get Americanized or how my grandfather, my namesake, decreed it was to be pronounced. Of course the problem isn't the Frank part, though there is sometimes a bog-fog of uncertainty surrounding that, too: "Is it really Frank? Not Francis? Just Frank? Not Franco or Francesco? Not even Franklin or Franklyn (like an uncle of mine, through marriage, spelled it)?"

No, the answer is no, no, no!
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TO GET OVER IT

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A man was passing through a market place. His progress was slow and he became an object of scrutiny and amusement to the denizens of the place. Sellers and shoppers and idlers of all ages exchanged clever remarks about the pathetic man. Apparently, they they had never beheld such a sight. Occasionally a huckster, unable to resist a passing sale, urged the man's attention to his wares. But the man kept his eyes upon the ground and, though none could see it, he smiled a vague, shadowy smile.
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THE CLUNK OF AN IDEA

It just so happened that I was in the bathroom when I heard the sharp thud of something hitting the kitchen floor. Since my wife was the only other featherless biped in the house I assumed she was the cause, and as it was morning (which lends itself to the solemn repetition of the same old words and thoughts) and as I was feeling the imp of mischief stirring in me I called out to her: "Did you drop an idea?"

Her answer is: "What?"
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OF STORIES AND STORIES

There's nothing like a good story—well told—with a point that lingers and beckons you into the waters of a deeper, richer life. I've known that since I was a kid staying up long past my bedtime listening to my father or one of my uncles elaborating some adventure they'd had. Even after I was driven to bed I'd sneak out of my room and lurk in the shadows of the living room, all ears to the voices recounting tales of characters and situations that gripped my interest and set my imagination racing.
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JUST PEACHY

Sometimes a person gets sick and tired of reading and writing the same old acceptable tripe. Sometimes a person wants to break out and set something down that is really true. Sometimes a person tries.

I mean undeniably true—so undeniably true that even when people are denying it, by mind or mouth, or laughing it to scorn they know it's true, and you and your brother know it's true, and the ubiquitous Greek chorus always hovering in the background knows it's true.
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ON FIRST LOOKING INTO BIRD POOP

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I just had a chance to take a look at this book of poems I wrote which has birds coasting across its cover and which sports the title, A Renegade of Birds. A good title, though a bit inscrutable.

But about the poems themselves: if I hadn't written them myself I would think they're not so bad. But you know when you've been inside an idea or a feeling or a bundle of words for a while—that you hope to hell might express something coherent and maybe even meaningful—you can lose the ability to see the bloom that once was on it and you wonder whether the thing is worth anything at all. And you get a musty taste in your mouth and a disgust towards the whole business. At least I do.

Then again, as a bum I used to know would say when he felt philosophical: "You never know." Yeah, somebody might see something in these poems. Yeah. You never know.


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