Papa’s Guided Tour
Through Imagination

May 2002

May 4:
Somewhere between the last April shower and the first flower of May Enzo and I parlayed the following:

"Do you want to make Dorothy today?" (referring to the scarecrow we had made the weekend before)
"How about if you ask your mother?"
"But that's not her job!"
"Oh, yeah. What's her job then?"
"To take care of us, me and Nicky."
"And my job?"
"To build things with me!"

It was wonderful to be reminded of my role, one which I had been trying to deliberately fashion myself and what seems that Enzo has come to accept.

Even if I had not had the energy to create Dorothy with Enzo whatever day that was, his mother seemingly would prove catalyst for Enzo to become Dorothy himself. After cleaning out 30-something years of her life from her parents house because they were moving, she brought home a number of props and garments for Enzo to play make-believe with including: a long red frilly dress and a short blond wig that belonged to his grandmother in the sixties; prisoner's shackles, striped cap and a ball and chain (a bit early to be teaching him about marriage isn't it? jk); some hats and faux French cuffs with links and a matching collar with black bow-ties, and other sordid sundries.

May 5:
"What are we going to make today?" Was the first question of the weekend at 7 AM. I told him I needed my coffee first.

I also subsequently thought someday neither Enzo nor Nicky will ask me anymore. Surely, after they graduate from adolescence they'll have one foot out the door before even saying "good morning."

The Chinese have a proverb which goes: "A single conversation with a wise man is better than ten years of study," I think that the same will go for the Boys and their old man. But I won't mind. Because I rather that they not ask me to make something with them, but instead make something of themselves, or make any multitude of things such as: make love (not war) with their girlfriends, make someone (else) happy, make a statement, make their mark, make a difference, make the world a better place, or simply make mountains out of molehills. The Chinese also have a saying which states "The man who removes a mountain begins by carrying away small stones." I gather the same goes for men wanting to do the opposite.

We did go on to make something though. A bug mobile which we fashioned out of plastic bottle caps of various colors and sizes.


Enzo also asked me to read some poetry to him when we were in the sunroom. So I ran upstairs to get my collection of "365 Love Poems." I had lost Rimbauld, so I could not continue with the work that seemed to work so well initially. The lost book was replaced with The Immoralist by Andre Gide, which I did not think would prove appropriate for my budding student.

Well, it appears that Enzo was not ready to hear from others about what conquers all things, for he soon turned a deaf ear, leaving my lap to play with his construction set. Maybe he just knew already, for the day before we had gone to the Montclair Art Museum where they were hosting a special kids day—where they had booths for the children to make rain makers (hollowed tubes which they decorated with feathers and stuffed with dry corn, rice an beans to make the soft sound of rain); paint at will upon easels, make pet rocks, and other crafts—and they also hosted performances, one of which was two young Irish lassies doing a stiff-armed jig, upon which seeing Enzo blurted, "Maybe Ruby can do that!" And so it seemed that Enzo the lover believed his beloved could do anything.

Excerpted form Eclogue X, Gallus:

Upon the tender tree-trunks: they will grow,
And you, my love, grow with them. And meanwhile
I with the Nymphs will haunt Mount Maenalus,
Or hunt the keen wild boar. No frost so cold
But I will hem with hounds thy forest-glades,
Parthenius. Even now, methinks, I range
O'er rocks, through echoing groves, and joy to launch
Cydonian arrows from a Parthian bow.-
As if my madness could find healing thus,
Or that god soften at a mortal's grief!
Now neither Hamadryads, no, nor songs
Delight me more: ye woods, away with you!
No pangs of ours can change him; not though we
In the mid-frost should drink of Hebrus' stream,
And in wet winters face Sithonian snows,
Or, when the bark of the tall elm-tree bole Of drought is dying, should, under Cancer's Sign,
In Aethiopian deserts drive our flocks.
Love conquers all things; yield we too to love!"

~ Virigil, Ecologues

May 7:
Last night Enzo and I took my gardening book out to explore and discover the name of a flower which sprung forth this last weekend in our yard. The following poem came of from what we found.

Enzo noticed I was putting the final touches to it while we rode into the City on the bus this morning and asked that I read it to him. He seemed sincerely interested as he listened while leaning against me with somnolent eyes.

My Iris Germanica

Oh, regal tongue
lick me with your lavender and gold,
for I am sold! upon your
deference to my favorite
the very reason l o v e
vies to live!
Oh, what verve
this sprite of Spring
does give
to me, my sight, and pinning
the will to fall into
the very flap of you;
much like the woman
who by summer-end
has me blend into
the courtiers at her beck and call.
Oh, how tall! you leap your
colors in the air,
boasting to other herbaceous
blossoming fare
how you dare be so vivacious,
loquacious with your vitality, extending flowering vanity—
erecting gilded pistils
with fervent élan
extolling Germanic virtues
to thrive upon. You are so eloquent,
so grand
that others surround
simply to behold how
profound you stand—

For on your own
you are so brilliant!
you could oversee
a symphony
of the brightest proper
or tutor the hyacinth
that composes
a multi-horned
Your stigma
is so imposing
that even the
that are dozing
with your resounding
the opening at which
with a heavenly pitch
angels' trumpets
herald your revival
and bleeding hearts begin
to sprawl their lauds all over you.
All the while, the Queen
envy grows,
and the lilies lies
while the nymphs sow
themselves amongst
the monkey-grass
and lupines will also long
as you inspire
blue bonnets to sing!
For every flower
in this garden
is your underling!
Everything from the
catnip biting
to oriental poppies
plying the wrist
of pansies and peonies.
Oh, how it certainly seems
everything is honing—
their attention on you!
There are even Russian sages thinking
your golden wand
is a chalice worth drinking—
an ambrosia piquing
naked ladies to dance in the sun.
Oh, what fun! You do incite
behind this white
picket fence.

Hence, woe is me
for alas you are not
an evergreen,
vying only to be seen,
but for half the year.
This is when I begin to fear
our inevitable parting
the one starting at summer's demise
when all flirtatious enterprise
does have its end.
I long for your annual show
the blossoming that has me know
you have returned from your hibernation.
Oh, what grand sensation!
Your royal presence does beget,
and how solemn I do wet
the parting steps of you,
my radiant
For when you withdraw,
like the iris of my eye,
I shall s i g h Fall away
to let Winter spray
a smattering of snow,
for now I know
come April, come what May,
you will but allay
this bitterness of the cold
by bursting through—AGAIN!
your soil untolled.

May 27—June 2:
I am posting this to the end of May. However, some of my closing thoughts came in the first two days of summer (technically the first day is June 21, the summer solstice or "longest day of the year, but I'm thinking like someone in school here, okay? You got a problem with that?). These hanging meanderings are meant to make up for time seemingly lost. I felt that I had not put enough time into feeding the boys' imagination over these last two weeks, during this here close of my favorite season, Spring.

Yesterday(Saturday) was particularly poignant in this regard, for I had essentially promised Enzo that we were to make and bake clay figures this weekend. And this morning I reiterated the commitment. But by dusk, the day and the promise of this pastime would be spent.

We had passed the entire day at his grandparents' new home getting the swimming pool ready for the East Coast humidity and heat. Enzo was at no loss for fun: digging in the dirt, playing with "Coopy" the mini-pincher, picking up stones and building castles with them, being recklessly thrown in the air by papa, being stripped and then sprayed by Mama, and watching us work. So, by the day's close he had seemingly forgotten about the land of the lost dinosaurs we had intended to mold with our fingers.

Nonetheless, I still had to negotiate my own feelings of fleeting existence.

For I knew we would still have to make those pre-historic monsters at some point, and with this weekend day gone by, I had another period of relatively free daylight escape me, time in which to prep the playground I am slated to construct in our backyard—a gargantuan piece of work which I was aiming to accomplish over a few months of summer weekends, the first of which had already slipped through my fingers.

As my brother-in-law and I guessed how the water pump functioned he began to tell me how much he disliked having to maintain his family's pool when he was growing up. "If you ever have to move to another house, make sure it does NOT have a pool. Every summer I would spend entire weekend days maintaining the pool, at the end of which I did not feel like diving in. Rather, I would jump in the shower and get ready to go out with my friends."

Thinking of the floor trim I had to miter and nail in, along with the PC I had to put back on-line, and the weeds which were growing faster than I could bend down to pull them, and the curtain rods to hang, and the unfulfilled promise made to my son—all of which would have to wait for the next 48 hours of a weekend—I responded with an empathetic smirk and said, "Yeah, I think I'm old enough now, have had enough experience that is, to understand that the most precious commodity in life is…" my brother-in-law piped in at this very moment, so that we synchronicisively completed the maxim together, "..TIME," We chuckled, perhaps not knowing we were only half-way through turning algae-green into aqua-blue.


The saving grace to all this of course is that now all the grandchildren will have a pool to frolic aqually in.

Besides, Enzo seems to be steering this ship fantastic into imagination quite well on his own. In the month of May he'd added another imaginary friend to his motley crew—Ed, who's real name is "Bozo" or something wonderfully silly like that. Ed seems to be pretty quiet, compared to babybug, smoke and chatter. Perhaps, the token introvert to the otherwise garrulous group. Enzo also paints a picture practically everyday.

Also redeeming is that we began a multimedia project which will take us through the end of next month, one which combines images, words and most importantly, calls upon Enzo's droll and spontaneous imagination.

Details will be forthcoming, once it is finished. I am very excited about it.