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    SEPTEMBER BRINGS ME BACK TO JUNE

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    It was the summer of 1959, I’d just finished my junior year at Central High and needed a job. My uncle Louie, through a family connection found me a job working as a short order cook for Tony Castagnolas, a druggist on the other side of town. I actually had met Tony years earlier, when my old man and I built a wall around his house in the ritzy section of town. Tony was primo to Capo Joe Castagnolas, who lived in the Hollow, the Italian enclave our family was from. In fact Joe’s wife was comadre to my aunt Maggie. While working at the store, from time to time I’d see Tony’s daughter sashay in...

    Chocolate Martini Novel by Valerie Lee

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    Chapter 1 - Continued   Ensconced in the back seat Malone deposited headphones on her ears and grooved to the euphonic sounds of Deep Forest.    As the car made the voyage downtown, the colors and classes of New York flashed by and everyone, regardless of pigment seemed to morph into each other like a small wave gathering momentum until it was a huge crashing crest of humanity.   Before she knew it, the car pulled to a stop on Greenwich Street in front of The Muffin Spot. A Sistah the color of cashew nuts with ground paprika undertones, sporting starter locks, sat at a table by the window..

    SHOW SOME HEART

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    [audio mp3="http://carvalko.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/001_FOLDER01_001_Joe_19080815_2019_08_08_19080815.mp3"][/audio] "Government please show some heart, let my parent be free and everyone else."..

    IN MEMORY OF BILLY BOY

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    My father Billy, whose father was Billy, named me Billy, like America ain’t enough awash in Billy: Joel, Graham, Bob Thornton. But I’m not just any Billy. I’m “Billy,” keyboard drifter, 57th Street, Central Avenue, Route 66, flophouses, roadhouses, whorehouses, the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino along a Las Vegas strip (old town). Now a gray-haired man and his piano, fakebooks for the exotic one-act dancers, the Saturday night comedian at Billy’s Castle, bar rooms, dives and beer halls, no longer playin’ the moneyed high society ballrooms for phony smiles, movers, shakers layin' an oily sheen o..

    A PORTRAIT OF MELA SUSÉ

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    It’s not the easel red-faced posing bare, It’s the brushes that keep me from daubing A palette of magentas and iridescent blues,   It’s not the swirl and eddy of your contours, It’s that brushes have no bristles to tell The legends scrolled across your brow,   It’s not the blackness of your Native hair, It’s the yellow days the sun reflected off Each strand, the nights caught in hard-bitten rain,   It’s not the chocolate of your Castilian eyes, It’s the wistful tears shed for the poet’s lines, For the pain they have soaked in,   It’s not the redness of your Grecian lips, It..

    PEPPERMINT LOUNGE-1969

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    I met Clove for the first and last time at the Peppermint Lounge, outside Biloxi, Mississippi. It was a Sunday night. Over a few whiskies she'd told me  she was widowed, living with her grandmother.  She was full Choctaw-- high cheekbones, raven black hair and deep-set brown eyes. She stood at about my height, 5’10” or so, but unlike me, had an hour glass shape. She told me about life up on the “res” in Neshoba County, Mississippi, where she grew up. Two years earlier her husband’s bomb wing had been deployed to U Tapao, Airfield in Thailand, to conduct sorties over North Vietnam.  She'd gone..

    GOOD MORNING BLUES

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    This is a song, the lyrics which were written by Huddie William Ledbetter, the real name of Lead Belly, an American folk and blues singer, musician and songwriter. The version I perform uses lyrics from a Lead Belly/Lomax version, where I added my own melody. Lead Belly was born January 20, 1888 and died December 6, 1949. He was notable for his strong vocals, virtuosity on the twelve-string guitar, and the folk standards. Good Morning Blues, had material added by his friend Alan Lomax. Lead Belly had been in and out of prison, over this life, and in 1939, Lead Belly once again returned to pris..

    When America Did Something, Not Because It Was Easy But Because It Was Hard

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        I saw the dark side of the Moon in the company of a few, who like me, were to bear witness to something for the first time in human history.   On August 10, 1966, a daylight meteor was seen in the sky from Utah to Canada. It’s said to be the only known case of a meteor entering the Earth’s atmosphere and leaving it again. It was also on that day, at 2:26 p.m., Eastern time, from Cape Kennedy,  Lunar Orbiter 1, the first spacecraft to orbit the Moon, was launched. Four days later, at 8:43 a.m., Eastern time, the spaceship successfully entered an orbit around the Moon, becoming the..

    MI CASITA

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    I need but listen to this to imagine what it would be like if I were denied mi casita in NM. I can't help but think about the families that will be whisked away today. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxHSQHfdFbM#action=share   Where do I come from, my friend? Qué de donde amiga vengo?, from a little house that I have below the wheat field de una casita que tengo más abajo del trigal from a small house for a pretty woman who wants to accompany me de una casita chiquita para una mujer bonita que me quiera acompañar has a few vines in front tiene al frente unas parras where the cicadas sing..

    SINCE I FELL FOR YOU BY JOE

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    Was it her chestnut hair or the moon’s rays that leapt off in highlights after downpours in life’s gray rain? Was it the glitter drawn from youth’s eyes, or the ocean of tears shed for the days spent shackled—the suffering they once and again had witnessed? No, it was her lips, vermilion, strong-willed, sensual, and how they moved over the countless poems she murmured to keep us from knowing—She’d faded to blue, into an impassable orb, pirouetting like dust adrift in a shaft, the dance inseparable from the dancer, until the one moved too quickly—One wept. One laughed, shortly before she vanish..

    ENDERS ISLAND

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    Sound has an uncanny way to take us back in time. I once had the good fortune to spend time on an isolated island off New England.  Mornings, I'd take a secret path that stopped at a seawall. I went to hear the crash of waves, the screech of gulls, while gushing idioms on paper scraps, words marveling over the joy that made for fleeting days, or the nights the islanders sang, or the chapel, where feathers floated through the air as we hailed meandering poets reciting odes and poesy. Strange that I can't find that isle, or remember  the phrases or words we'd crushed into verse, but the melody o..

    MOONGLOW BY JOE

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    In South Dakota you can drive in nearly a straight line across I-90 for ten hours enveloped in standing corn and well kept farms yielding, if not essentially financial wealth, a wealth of purity wrung from hard work and an abiding faith in the Almighty. As a young man I worked briefly on a ranch, where the nearest town, of 500 people, was 14 miles. I remember going to the high school football game there, Saturday night 6 boys on a team. People in pick ups came from all over. The place put me in mind of the play/movie Picnic, where I felt like Hal Carter, except he was a college dropout, passin..

    BAGS’ GROOVE

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    As a kid I lived for a time in my grandparent’s house, an old Victorian, across the street from the Blue Moon Bar, smack in the middle of the city’s largest African American neighborhood. In those days music was either played on a juke box or live. On hot summer Saturday nights it was always live. From my second floor bedroom window, I could look into the barroom, where high heels were kicked off and guys swung the gals around like dolls. If I stayed awake long into the early morning, I’d hear the music change over, from a ruckus jump jitterbug or milder swing, to bebop, and a melodic softer b..

    PIECE OF ME- Not an Obit, but a Reflection.

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    My Dad was born of immigrants, 1921, in Attleboro, Massachusetts. As a kid he lived in New York, during the depression, working on a bakery truck before school. He married at 18, had me,  and at 23 went to war. He saw life, probably not to different from the way young men in his time and place saw it, as something hard. After the war, he returned to Bridgeport, and worked in the same factory for over forty years, lived in the same house until he died, sixty years later. We are cast by genes and shaped in childhood, together channeling how we survive and become “someone” at the same time. Until..

    NEW PUBLICATION ANNOUNCEMENT

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    I just submitted Sundering of the Species--Conserving Humanity at the Dawn of Posthuman Technology--, to my publisher, Palgrave Macmillan, 400 pp. The challenge I set for myself was to write a creative non-fiction about new science and technology and our changing role in what will prove to be a new order of social and aesthetic engagement. I have researched and thought through the consequences of the recent turns in science that has created two genetically altered humans, and brought us advances in implantable bio-computers, enabling communication between the brain and the digital world. These..

    PEACE

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    Happy Easter to my Christian friends, happy Pesach to my Jewish friends.  Since Trump is a non-sectarian blight upon the country, I’d like to say a few words that men and women of all faiths might think about. Let me tell you a little about why I feel empowered to say what I am about to. First, I’ve practiced law 40 years, and know something about it. I know what the law is on Obstruction of Justice. I know what the law is on crimes of Attempt, Solicitation and Conspiracy—I spent years defending clients accused of crimes, years traveling to all corners of the world, dodging people who would br..

    LEXINGTON AVENUE SCENE 1

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    [audio mp3="http://carvalko.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/LexingtonAvenue1946-Scene1.mp3"][/audio]..

    LEXINGTON AVENUE 1946

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    [audio mp3="http://carvalko.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/LexingtonAvenue1946.mp3"][/audio]..

    DIANE

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    [audio mp3="http://carvalko.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/DIANEVIBES3.mp3"][/audio] "Diane" I'm in heaven when I see you smile Smile for me, my Diane And though everything's dark, all the while I can see you, DianeYou have lighted the road leading home Pray for me (my Diane) when you can (my Diane) But no matter wherever I roam Smile for me, my Diane(Smile for me, my Diane)But no matter wherever I may roam (wherever I roam) Smile for me, my Diane..

    100TH YEAR REMEMBRANCE OF WWI-3 poems

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      Few of us can say they knew someone who fought in WWI. Tuesday, May 8, 1945, VE Day, when war ended in Europe for the second time in a quarter century, my mother rushed me out of the apartment to join a mass of people, who cheered as soldiers from WWI paraded down Main Street. My grand-uncle George, who fought in WWI and suffered the long effects of being gassed, had recently died. A couple years later our neighbor Mr. White, a WWI vet, France in 1917, gave me his gas mask, jacket and helmet. I still have his jacket; it’s over 100 years old.     NONESMANNESLOND You ask when’d..

    An Interview, Joe Carvalko, Author of DETRÁS DEL ACERO

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    A few weeks ago, I, Jonathan Marcantoni, Editorial Trance, was turned on to poetry collection Detrás del Acero by Joe Carvalko. His book examines life in 20th century America, placing special emphasis on the working class and the evolving relationship racial minorities have had with the greater society over that time. The book is both socially conscious and personal, as Mr. Carvalko uses aspects of his own life, his family history and his wife’s culture to influence his poetry. The language in his book is simple yet dense with emotion and ideas. The work has a haunting effect on the reader, wi..

    SELF-ABSORPTION

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    Looking back on my early experience as a young engineer, I am reminded how little my colleagues and I appreciated that what we did would change the world, for good and for bad. I am also reminded how Marcel Golay, one of my early mentors understood the duality of technology and how this feature plays large in its application for the right purpose. Born in Switzerland 1902, Golay received his engineering degree from the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, the same college from which Einstein graduated. He is best known for the invention of the Golay cell used in gas chromatography and op..

    TRUMP AND THE REALITY OF CLIMATE CHANGE

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    We are on the eve of the potentially deadly Hurricane Florence hitting the Carolinas. In a few days, the government will once again, methodically assess its cost, in lives and property damage. The U.S. with its immense depth for undertaking huge scientific/technical projects might help to stave off these kinds of destructive storms, not today or tomorrow, but in time to reverse the rise in ocean tides, the melting of the poles, the burning of forests, the excessive temperatures experienced here and abroad, and yes, the save the planet for our grand-kids. President Trump’s decision to abandon t..

    You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet

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    I got an email from a friend wringing his hands over what’s wrong with America. Too liberal, he says, too diverse, suggesting that if it were more Trumpian, America could be great— and white again. I wrote back that it’s more than black and white. He called me an old man casting his worn out and liberal ideology on others. He may have a point. But words never stopped me, so here I go. The Trump forces believe they have the power to change things, now that they’re in office. But to be fair, every administration does. Many of us think we have the power to change things. But, that too is a myth...

    Do We Stand in Outrage or Complicity

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    During a court hearing, Friday, July 27, a government attorney argued that the court-ordered reunification deadlines to reunite children with mothers and fathers did not apply to parents who have been deported. Thankfully, the judge ruled that deported parents are included in the order. Health and Human Services Secretary, Azar, indicated that of more than 11,800 children being held by HHS, fewer than 3,000 were separated from parents. The rest are unaccompanied minors—, or so they tell us. He said about 100 of the separated children are 5 or younger. I call them babies. I ask everyone reading..

    FATHER’S DAY

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    I couldn’t be in my wife’s skin when she carried our child for nine months. I couldn’t feel the embryo transform into a fetus that stretched her belly and burdened her body, but that day by day revealed more and more the marvel that would grant me fatherhood. When she gave birth, my bystander status ended, I had to learn much, but the one thing I knew instinctively was that for as long as I lived, I’d do whatever it took to keep my child safe. I’m sure this sense of responsibility comes to all parents, in the same way at about the same time. So it’s no surprise we see this commitment acting it..

    July Resonates

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    July resonates for lots of reasons, and, this year because I find it incredulous that President Trump praises Putin, expresses faith in Kim Jong-un’s willingness to denuclearize, while trashing our NATO allies. I’m left of center politically, yet, I believe all American’s should contribute to our democracy. For some, they choose military service. The past 4 generations of my family served, including my currently serving granddaughter, none particularly heroically, although the Army did award 3 bronze stars to my father during WWII. July 27, especially tugs at my preoccupation, because a few ye..

    Gross Misunderstanding About Immigrants

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    There seems to be a gross misunderstanding about the rights of the families being ripped apart along the border, so I thought I’d provide some definitions of whom it is we are referring to, that is the children we are now incarcerating and separating from their mothers. The word incarcerate seems harsh, but I’d spent too much time with men and women locked behind bars, not to know what a prison looks like. An asylum-seeker is someone who is seeking international protection abroad, but hasn’t yet been recognized as a refugee. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 14), of which the..

    AN EMPTY EXECUTIVE ORDER

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    President Trump signed an executive order today mandating for children to stay with their parents in detention while their asylum claims are processed. This executive order seeks to modify the Flores Agreement, which states that children should not be held in detention for more than 20 days. Denise Bell, refugee and migrant rights researcher at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement: “Over the last few weeks, we have seen an outcry from people around the world denouncing the cruel and unnecessary separation of more than 2,000 babies and children from their parents. In response, the T..

    HAPPY 4TH OF JULY

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    What the hell did the Patriots fight for anyway? To end up flushing social justice down the toilet? Every day 14 million kids, representing 19% nationwide, go to bed, and school, hungry; health insurers estimated $25 billion in profits, up 30 percent from 2016, while 35 million remain uninsured; 2.2. million incarcerated, many in for-profit prisons working for 20 cents an hour; children ripped from asylum seekers protected under international law, and put into prison as young as 1 year old; a fascist leaning leader who debases the presidency, enriching himself, and fawning over Russian and N...

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