On The One Hand


by Peter Runfola / me

Parameters: write story about staying awake all night

Many things .. most things, even ? .. in life are by design.

The program allowing these black and white pixels to form themselves into the architecture of the alphabet, for one.

For two, the gloriously designed conflagration-in-waiting housed within the plastic shell of a lighter: A remarkable device if given just the tiniest of thought : simply spin its wheel and – Voila .. appearing before your eyes : nothing less than the same magic which keeps you warm in winter. While its liquid cousin powers the vehicle which takes you to work – affording you same said wintertime warmth.

Its very name .. both the sound and the look of .. fits as a three-piece-suit .. unto itself : FIRE !

Yet … Is it a scary word simply because we’re aware of its inherent power and are intimidated by its sheer, uncontrolled rage if left alone?

To say that it is alive would not be a stretch .. it breathes .. it grows / has phases, no less – evolving from a meek ‘child’ into a raging ‘adult.’ It feeds itself .. even belches after consuming a particularly satisfying stand of trees .. or homes.

From softly hissing kisses hissing ever so softly .. to an all-consuming rage both fierce and lofty .. an uncontrolled beast which exists purely to consume and destroy.

On an only somewhat related thought : How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Simply and only : As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

No more. No less. Same with our friend / foe Mr. Fire. Ie as much wood as he could. More or less.

‘More or less,’ indeed. For it would be a difficult task to attempt to quantify the maelstrom of mayhem wrought by its insatiable self. And .. regarding ‘less is more,’ a first cousin of ‘more or less?’ Fugetaboutit.

He’s simply some sneaky non sequitur sincerely pleading to be taken seriously .. just once. But .. on the other hand .. there are five fingers .. additionally, one might say if bent on always feeling the need to accentuate the positive.

And .. why the fuck not? The other hand signaled in Braille .. as it was feeling a tad left out of the conversation .. and didn’t wish to miss its chance to Be Recognized !

Oh .. and this? This somewhat coherent / somewhat rambling diatribe?

Nothing other than a tangible tale of staying awake all night.

More or less.

Thank you very much.


Happy 4th .. to my family


Princes , poets , painters & princesses alike descended upon Aunt Kathy’s cottage with the intensity of a swarm of … nothing less than : the relatives which they were. Cousins and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles and parents and grandparents alike.

A smorgasbord of shapes and sexes, likes and dislikes, personalities and personalities squared. For Papa Tom’s children were a lot of things : meek and mild wallflowers not being amongst them.

Not .. mind you .. in the slightest uncouth sort of way. For one : that would have never been tolerated. For two : it simply wasn’t in any of the ‘kid’s’ make up. Really, pretty much as simple as that. More so in a happy-go-lucky, animated – not one of his kids could utter a word without augmenting same with some type of hand gesture or another – ‘come, join the party’ – kind of way.

And .. party they could. And did. In the infectious, audacious ‘devil be damned’ teasing and loving sort of way reserved exclusively for siblings who shared a love for each other deeper than any perceived slight or joke that went just that one little step too far.

Oh .. there were moments when this theory was tested. Count on that. But .. aside from some raised voices double .. possibly treble their usual intensity and volume .. everyone always kissed and made up soon enough afterwards.

I can remember thinking .. as the ‘kid’ I was at the time .. just how special was the bond these 5 siblings shared. As I simultaneously tried to picture MFS, Sue – ‘ie My Favorite Sister’ albeit ‘only’ sister ..but.. regardless.. } and I one day taking our rightful positions at ‘the head of the table.’

But .. alas .. there would be plenty of time for such introspection at a latter date. For .. there were Italian sausages to be grilled .. big, fat rolls to be warming up on the side .. salads of mini-marshmallows with bits of cut up oranges to marvel over .. and Canadian beers to be sneaked out of the fridge in the garage by us kids ..

And .. after dinner : FIREWORKS ! And . from Grandparent to Parent to Kid to aspiring squire waiting patiently for his or her chance to spin a sparkler after all the Ooowing & Aweing of the main event.

Ahh … yes .. this is what I grew up with. What a most fortunate lad I have been.

Tools of the Tirade


Red light = ? Green light = ?

Odds hover right around the 110% mark that anyone .. anywhere .. with two functioning eyes {and equally functioning brain} who just .. read the previous open-ended equation .. quite capably solved it without having felt the need to consult with either Mister’s Funk, nor Wagnall.

IE Red light = stop. Green light = go.

How about this one?

‘She Loves You .. xxxx, xxxx, xxxx ?

The conductors .. The Engineers of this particular concatenation of consonants and the like .. that little band from Liverpool, England – The Lads / The Fab Four / The Nerk Twins / The Four-Headed Monster that remains ……………. The Beatles.

Among simple, straightforward equations it would also be fair to say that .. as posited by the Lads themselves some years after having written the lyrics ‘Yeah, Yeah, Yeah” …

“One and one and one is three.” Followed up by the bit less straightforward : “Got to be good – lookin’ cuz’ he’s so hard to see.” With “Come Together .. right now .. over me,” adding just the right amount of ‘huh?’ to serve simply and succinctly as the caboose tagging along on that particular quite possibly illicitly induced train of thought.

So esoteric, yet equally easily understood were the Lads that Timothy Leary {a name as ingrained into & intertwined with the ’60’s nearly as solidly as are The Beatles} once said:

“I declare that The Beatles are mutants. Prototypes of evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with a mysterious power to create a new human species. A young race of laughing freemen.”

Leave it to Mr. Leary to simultaneously declare the Beatles’ omnipotence – even, other worldly status – while also saying so in such a way as to be able to be understood only by those who were already so incredibly tuned in and turned on by the Lads as to render his or any other so called ‘scholarly’ analysis of the Lads .. a tad pointless.

Yet .. they weren’t always as quite well known …

The Cavern Club .. early, early 1960’s .. Taking the stage at the time as ‘The Silver Beatles’ playing for hours and hours and hours. Each note .. each improvised-on-the-spot solo / segue / synapse of the guys getting increasingly honed and perfected and cataloged for future use.

The place was small. Dark. Dank. Dingy. But oh so alive with this English-accented infusion of nothing but – nor less than – the personification of pure passion. It was impossible to hide nor not pick up on .. feel .. have it resonate with your … soul.

The message being: ‘These guys are the real deal. Simple as that. When something is simply ‘Right,’ its aura cannot be contained nor looked over nor simply go unnoticed. It’s too hot .. too big and bold and ‘Rah Rah .. Go Team Go’ to fade unnoticed into the background.

The auditory avalanche first heard in ’62 .. stayed with them / they stayed with through the entirely of their career. As screams gave way to more ‘adult’ attempts to define just who / how these four lads from Liverpool, England were able to create that which they created: Nothing Less than profoundly original .. and equally brilliant in its searing searching Gob-Smacked .. appeal.

Appeal soon merging with / into flat out Adoration.

Adoration .. which manifested as .. screaming .. adoring .. yet oh so … distracting ..

Hindering .. hampering .. haranguing .. Creativity.

It became Studio Time …

John, Paul, George, Ringo .. plus .. George Martin .. Geoff Emerick .. assorted other people and innovations permutations .. an incredibly precise combination of people .. precisely .. that which previously simply did not exist..

Birthing such brilliance as :

  • Eleanor Rigby
  • If I Fell
  • I’m So Tired
  • Mean Mister Mustard
  • & …
  • Abbey Road ..

Years of innovations .. palpitations over newly stumbled upon creations .. Songs for no less than The Ages. Today .. all but 60 years ago .. “It Was 60 years ago today .. Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.”

This .. even with … One quarter .. one damn important quarter of the band .. meeting a new friend. Who he just couldn’t get enough of / from.

And she, he. It’s easy to imagine : your dear old friend .. whom you cherish to / with your very soul .. finds a new friend .. Good .. Bad .. Either or .. One Way or Another .. The Pure Unadorned Chemistry shared / created by John & Paul .. from the Wooton school .. to Hamburg .. to the studios at Abbey Road .. became compromised. As a foreign element began increasingly taking root.

Creating a Beatles Sub-Set of Sorts .. Not music-wise. Oh no no no. Just .. mentality-wise / outlook-wise .. we’re going to be in the spotlight anyway so let’s capitalize on it wise ..

They went to bed. Sang about nothing less than Revolution. In a peaceful .. loving ..

How Does It Feel To Be One Of The Beautiful People .. kind of ways …

And all the while .. All they were saying was :

“And In The End … The Love you Take is Equal to the Love You Make”

And .. so strong was the bond between these four Beautiful People that their music always was able to keep things in perspective and .. always simply .. knowing .. where to go / what to do .. next .

In the beginning .. “Live” was their thing .. out and about in their black leather Teddy Boy personas. Black leather with a beating heart .. as if the particular bull whom donated his very hide to provide the lad’s jackets continued to live on and on and on. And up and up and up ..

Up to the roof of Abbey Road Studios. An event every bit as monumental in the minds of many as …

‘That’s .. crackle static .. one .. small .. static crackle . Step for man .. One Giant Leap For Mankind …

& c.

These four old friends .. just people like you and you and you and … yeah.

Just four people.

Two of whom who enjoyed a most ridiculous chemistry.

“It’s getting better all the time,” sings Paul.

Happy. Optimistic. Positive.

“Can’t get much worse,” John adds.

‘I’d like to say Thank You on behalf of the group and myself ..

And I hope we passed the audition.”

The End … hammersaaaspoonaaabbss.jpg

Happy Father’s Birthday Day


‘Here .. hold it and shine it over here.’ I can ,,, just about … if I close my eyes … hear you saying to me as you went about starting to fix this that or the other.

Yep. That was my job. To hold the flashlight – to shine some light on this .. thing … that needed fixing, mending, replacing … so you could determine just what option might prove to be the best in each scenario.

And .. I must have been damn good at it … because … whatever might have been in need of fixing, mending or replacing .. you were always able to fix, mend or replace this .. thing .. of which I had been shining the light on.

And .. in some oddball kind of way .. maybe I internalized your subtle message .. IE that I indeed had an active hand in said fixing, mending or replacing .. to the point where .. these days – Yeah, Dad .. your boy can fix, mend or replace just about anything around the house – or outside of the house – which isn’t quite working as it once did and should.

The concept of same is as natural & comfortable to me as .. Ha .. sitting around with you .. Sunday after Sunday for years and years on end .. and watching our beloved Buffalo Bills .. lose.

“For the Christ’s Sake,” you’d say after one blundered and boneheaded play or the other. Not sure even HE could have helped us out during our blackest performances .. but sure would have been a Hoot to see HIM try .. “Hand off to Jesus .. HE’S at the 10 .. the 20 .. the .. Oh My God .. {sorry} did you see the move HE just put on that guy ?!”

Which just got me laughing as I sit here and write this to you, my dear old Dad. Laughing and crying and remembering and reminiscing and … Thanking …

Papa and Big Ma .. and their parents .. and theirs .. and …

For ….. YOU ….

Happy Father’s Day, Dad .. & .. Happy Birthday too ..

How do you like that ?

Happens every Now & Then …

A somewhat Phenomenon I’d like to look into a bit deeper ….

Shine  a little light on …

Would you hand me the flashlight ?

Oh My Gosh …

I Love You , Dad …

Come visit .. any time …

Love, well .. you know who … 🙂

A Conundrum Solo


In response to two .. celebrity .. suicides this week …

This week two hugely successful – by any definition of the words – people, chose .. no denying the appropriateness of that word : ‘chose,’ .. to take their own / end their own / discontinue living their .. heart beating / breathing in and out and in and out and .. / laughing / ruminating / planning / busy / hectic / monstrously successful by any definition of the word (s) .. lives.

Anthony Bourdain. And Kate Spade.

Not a huge exaggeration to say that their personas – to some degree – decorated if not the imaginations of a great majority of the population of our fair planet, at the very least: simply the consciousness of same.

Thus .. distilling the so-called ‘Average’ person’s understanding of the ‘why’ behind these two separate but similar self inflicted suicides down to a mere combination of three letters. Simply : WTF ? Or words: ‘what the fuck ?’ Why ?

Both .. in a much stronger that mere literal way .. LIVED their lives. Achieved a level of ‘success’ – pretty much however one would like to define the term – reserved for that rarest of individuals. Reserved for .. in actuality .. only those individuals intimately in touch with their own … selves / psyches .. down to the actual atoms underpinning said selves and thoughts & c.

These two : Anthony Bouirdan. And Kate Spade

Each achieving a level of success and wealth small countries aspire to.

Each :

  • Living their passion
  • Delving deeply into an aspect of .. life .. which grabbed them by the\bal …. well, I can’t say that – at least literally .. but .. Figuratively ? Damn so seems that way. Does it not ?
  • While .. simultaneously .. receiving .. now, check this out: receiving – FOR .. let’s remember this little tidbit .. receiving for nothing less that Living their Passion .. Multiple millions of dollars.
  • Along with ..
  • Fame, fortune and everything that comes with it .. I thank you all. {Queen}.

Each climbed to the toppermost of the poppermost of their own personal Everest. Looked around .. down, actually .. broke out into their own personal version of a happy dance .. and then .. decided they were too happy ? Too successful ? Too out of the ordinary ? To continue living such a plentiful existence.

Each having climbed to the top of their own Mount Everest .. and then .. wham bam thank you ma’am .. jumped off the top of the fucking thing .. into their own physical demise. Having jumped into both the nothing and everything .. all at once.

Ending their personal relationship with their own success. That self same success which .. intentionally or not .. propelled each into the realm of the household name. A rare, most often enviable, achievement.

Each essentially ‘won the race’ & the round .. the inning .. the quarter .. the most minute of measurements .. in whatever / however way one might desire to both qualify and quantify ‘winning the race.’

  • money ? Ahh .. that would be an affirmative ..
  • power ? One would assume so
  • prestige? No way to truly quantify this concept but …
  • notoriety At the very least

Qualities / conditions / outcomes of endeavors the brain behind each single eyeball processing these words at this precise moment .. it might be fair to say .. aspire to. Whether actively .. or simply fancifully.

So .. why o why o why o … would selfsame brain upon recognizing its own achievements – which ITS OWN SELF aspired to – decide it was too .. unable ? Ill-equipped ? Undeserving ? Un what the fuck ever ? To accept such accolades ?

“Thanks anyway. Changed my mind.” A somewhat dark, inside joke between person and mind if, indeed, the two could be separated.

It’s a conundrum wrapped inside a coconut. A bewilderment tucked into a banana. A head scratchier / mind thrasher .. potato masher .. .alli alli in come free .. go to the head of the class , sir. Quandary on a stick …

  • to achieve to ..
  • to fight and deal and connive and conceal
  • to .. ‘There it is !” manifest each own’s destiny ..
  • and then .. what ?

Decide it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be ?

How does that work ?

Does anyone understand how / why this would happen ?

Why these two hugely successful people would essentially – punish themselves to the extreme final degree of ending the very life which brought about said success?

Do you have any thoughts on this you might care to share with me?

I’d be most curious / interested to hear them …

And / or .. if nothing else .. I so hope that this little impromptu writing of mine resonated with you and you and you and .. yeah .. on some level ..

Many thanks for reading ..

And a few more on top if you were to write out a thought or two of your own on this …

Best of Everything, Peter / approx. 3:am / 6/9/’18

The Fruits of Labor


by Peter Runfola

{Parameters} 400 words / begin each section with ‘It is raining.’

It is raining! Screeched the twins Ed & Mary at a moment as in sync with itself as was the DNA which made them the fraternal twins that they were. Look alike? Act alike? Think alike? No. No. And .. a resounding ‘No.’

Nonetheless .. technically and truly … ‘twins’ they were. Enjoying not only the same birthday but .. the same {more or less} birth moment. With Ed being the ‘older and wiser’ of the two by mere minutes.

Two moments in time etched, stamped, tattooed and otherwise engraved in their mom Chrissy’s mind – and body – as indelibly as the physical scars she now bears – and … dammit .. she was going to enjoy these two little graffiti artists responsible for them.

She started chanting .. barely audibly :“Rain rain go away come again some other day …” Then just a wee bit louder .. and a wee bit more. Until .. first, Ed joined in .. then – pretty much just like the moments of their actual birth – Mary, just a scant moment later.

Soon, the entire living room .. from floor to ceiling .. seemed to come alive .. sparkling with the bright, fresh, crispness of an apple just off the tree … two, really .. the twin apples of her eye.

* * * * *

“It is raining! It’s snoring .. the old man is pouring” a voice from the hallway began singing .. louder and louder as it came closer and closer.

“Daddy!” the twins screamed in a unison as perfectly aligned and in tune as was their inception into this world. In other words: more than just a wee tiny bit chaotic Which is to say ‘close, but no cigar.’

“Fee Fi Fo Fum,” Billdaddy – as Chrissy liked to call him – huffed and puffed in his most exaggerated scary Giant voice.

Eliciting one of the – if not ‘thee’ – most precious sounds known in the entire Amalgam of Anything Audible : the frittering, lilting, squeaky clean window offspring of Mr. Magic & Mrs. Love : the laughter of a child.

Saying exactly what it sounds like it is saying .. without, per se, actually saying it: “I LOVE YOU.”

Unlike .. as in the ‘real world’ 99.9% pure or natural’ / ‘may cause violent hiccuping’ or some other ridiculous CYA disclaimer.

No .. a child’s laughter is both 100% natural and 100% disclaimer-free. For the simple, straightforward reason that : they wouldn’t know how to be anything but 100% … its what kids – in general – are: 100%.

And .. in this household … it’s more like 100% cubed.

On the other hand


“Other than that?” asked the man in the crowd with the multi-colored mirrors on his hobnail boots.
“Other than that or on the other hand, there are five fingers.”
“Sorry, sorry .. uncalled for, I know.” But, I’m just having a spot of trouble trying to wrap my head around the fact that it was just your overactive uber-imaginative imagination running away with you.
I mean : ‘Please, Mister Please don’t cut down those trees.’ They’ve been their for eons and eons …through the Revolutionary War .. Suffragettes and the great depression .. Peace Love Understanding and all the tens of thousands of wet, muddy blankets and sleeping bags ruined beyond repair at Yasgurs farm. The Space Shuttle : 3, 2 , 1 & … “Oh My God” In the blink of an eye – what IS .. now merely WAS.
And that’s how it happens, little brother. THIS will make a blip on your radar screen. Surely as will it’s cousin and counterpart: THAT. THEY will do their best to inundate intimidate obfuscate even, now close your eyes as I say this next word: ‘masturbate’ your senses – all five – while simultaneously needling and nudging twisting and shouting .. any and everything they feel might have a fighting chance .. for them to gain access to not only your head and brain but .. your very soul.
For ‘THEY’ have no conscious. No soul. And will do not only ‘anything’ to gain control of such, but indeed ‘everything.’
It’s fate a complis in their twisted imaginations. That THEY will win out. With THEIR imaginations strong and steady and stout. For THEY are indeed YOU. YOU may feel – rightly, even so, at times – that no one else is here .. no one else is in your tree. And most – if not all – would most likely agree.
The others simply would agree to disagree. Regardless, the equation is simultaneously immutable inscrutable and as open to interpretation as is the age-old ‘what is the meaning of life’ question.

That, little brother, I’m sorry I have no answer for but … If you let this resonate .. permeate your person .. you’ll be on your way to understanding all that needs to be understood:
And One and One and One is three.

Oh yeah.