April Fool

for our mom – gone 50 years ago today


Who is Wolters
and what did he do
to have a fort named after him
in Mineral Wells
where the sky’s not cloudy all day?

Loading up flatcars
‘cause we’re gonna keep
some Asian domino from fallin’
so Ho don’t get new digs in Sydney
cause it’s better to fight them over there
than in Ojai
Who is Uncle Ho?

First Sergeant says
“Go home son, your momma’s bad”
so I catch the orange Braniff
and rush to see momma
at the Imperial Coney Island Hospital
for the Poor and Destitute
with no view of the Ferris Wheel
‘cause momma ain’t got no insurance

And on the day
Chaucer’s vain cock Chanticleer
is tricked by a fox
“Syn March began thritty dayes and two”
momma died
she is gone longer than she was here.

So after three days mourning at Torregrossa’s
with it’s red velvet drapes and grandfather clock
ticking life away
where you could get spaghetti downstairs between viewings
before the health department put a stop
to mixing antipasto and funerals
it is time to go.

Daddy is anointed with Caesar’s falling sickness
so Major Domo says
“You don’t have to go with the flatcars son;
We’ll save Asian domino without you”
Stay here safe and warm and send a green Army car
with ranking officer all dressed up
to tell the n.o.k.
 their hero is coming home
in a flag draped box.

Name his friend to escort his body
present his medals to his family
render all assistance
Do your duty soldier;
The dead wil be counting on you
to bring them home.

And so the flatcars left without me
while I stayed safe and warm in the summer sun
sending out the green Army car
bringing words of death
dashing hopes and dreams

No one ever shot at me
that summer long ago
Some one else went in my place
‘cause momma died on April Fool’s

It would have been easier
to face the bullets.






About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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4 Responses to April Fool

  1. beetleypete says:

    Another riveting and poignant personal memoir, Frank.
    Fifty years, and never forgotten. There’s a lot to be said for that.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. sojourner says:

    You faced the bullets, Frank! You faced them, after they had done their deadly work!


    • toritto says:

      No Sojourner – I didn’t face the bullets. I spent 18 months knocking on doors bringing the bad news home to the families of those who did. Regards

      Liked by 1 person

      • sojourner says:

        That’s what I meant. To me, what you had to do, was as hard or harder than taking the bullets.

        But of course, only you know that.


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