shattered in the fountain

the moon
shattered in the fountain
swings west while we sleep
and dream:
the moon is shattered in the fountain.
let's wake the poet
with so many dreams
he will have things to say.

I have no idea when this was written, or if this is even Patrick’s. It was at the top of the file called poems.doc, which contained a collection of his writings. 

Nathaniel Hawthorne has a book called The Shattered Fountain so perhaps this is the reference, or perhaps even a quote.

For what it’s worth, I’ve been told that Nathaniel Hawthorne was my great-great-great-great-great-grandfather. (Not sure how many “greats” belong there but I think it’s five.)

It’s Christmas Day

it’s christmas day.
the wind is up a bit,
clouds are preparing a total invasion – it’s been blue skies for weeks.
long live merrie, and happie kubrick

already the days are a few seconds longer than last week;
that always encourages me to get my wind up,
to take a new chomp at the biscuit of significant living.
like a prestidigitator, the mind pops out of the hat
the world as we have known it, large as life,
sitting in the sun on the St Marks square,
scarf flapping in the breeze, smiling or bite your beard.
you in your kitchen in freeport making simple soup
then, whoops
a morning in the blue room in salisbury on the way to tampa,
light playing in branches outside the window,
f with a cup of coffee looking askance at the slightly uneven keyboard of
the piano, and whoosh
my brother in dark glasses in the airport bar, plotting murder,
mari leaning against marble fluted columns at the temple of aphrodite
somewhere in turkey,
her white skirt blowing (does that photo still exist, you wonder),
but this vision is run over by a red mercury convertible on a dusty road,
or left in a minimized window
when fred clutches his right(?) hand under his armpit as the swelling begins
and we all jump
into her car and puncture in our haste the oil pan,
and so on and on,
a veritable pride of kodaks in this and that apartment or field or why not,
the smell of a street in athens, where the roasting meat makes memory
salivate for more?
the wind howling in kushadasi…
marvel at the gigabytes we have in common memory…

and yet we are all puzzles to one another,
most of the pieces scattered in the many years of silence and no contact

soon our satellite will leave the influence of the sun – think of it!
it seems whatever we find, we have space for it under our skulls

where did i see this: like a sponge too drenched, the mind when saturated
with grief spills and thus we created tears

also: when soaked with such splendid shared time, we overflow into smiles
and lungs swollen with exhilaration as if we could breathe life into each
other and the universe itself, merely by saying robert, fred, italy, greece,
doug, leftittown (to prequote robbie), tree, rose, red clay, green fields,
mother earth

as 9-year-old yoji in soller said if god is everywhere you and i are god

Lots of love from
together with you on this celestial RR (pace e.m. forster)

From Patrick on 25 Dec Y2K

Hope you all had a happy Christmas.

I sent this to a couple of friends who are older than I am, Fred Young (in North Carolina), and Robert Dreicer, now in Florence, Italy. We all met when I was teaching on Long Island, and they met all of you, and Donna, so I thought, you might want it, since it is in a way, part of your history, too.

Now we are all so much older, and hopefully some of the sorrows of then have been healed. Some, I say, because never can all be cleansed. Each of us has deeds to regret, and mine are awful and inexcusable…

Still, much love to you all, and may you prosper in this new millennium.

Your father,


And from 29 Dec Y2K

Yes of course [you may post it]
It was composed on the spot
and sent without further thought- –
which one day I might regret:
but not yet.
Have a good blowout
but not on your Widget!

Beside the Dardanelles

The Black and Marmara seas breed gypsy souls
Among the Turks.  The brown and umber shoals
Of shade, beneath the parrot green or blue
Feathered waves, shivering to spew
Onto land with raucous breakers, flicker dark
And light like wrinkled, laughing eyes.  The blades
Of sun in slashing arcs like Dervish swords
Go mad in colors that the nomad hordes
Had never dreamed in barren hills by Bor;
Here by Troy each man becomes a song
Of red and yellow like the single birds
Whistling in the open air as they  soar
Toward the pines at Hissarlik where goatherds
meet at dusk, a dusty harlequin throng.

Izmir, 1962

Sunday Morning

He bought a fresh loaf
The baker swathed it in a square of paper
pinched at the corners
good to carry under the arm
In the street he smiled
from the depths of his seventy-four years
and praised the arrival of spring.
            A new note, this,
            since a stroke of mortality
            (is it already?)
            four years ago
            he has touched gingerly
            the world he feared to leave
But Sunday hope was there in his eyes
like two cherries out of three
for the jackpot
Emotions out
like products of the soil
delivered through his soul
to the bosom of your own heart
            He would come, soon,
            to hear us play
as soon as the days were a little longer,
his bones sucking up the damp at evening
Now he lived so near the cemetery
            good he could stand in the sun
            and let his skull grin through
Now: suddenly,Wednesday
            snap your fingers
            whole days are gone
when you can remember three score and ten
as a flicker of bird flight among the live oaks
back to boyhood when forever
still included you
            Suddenly: it's Wednesday
And he has walked into our past
            halted in the midst
            of a hope or regret.

Deià, April 1984

John D Dillon, RIP, 28 Years Ago Today

John as a young man handing out gifts

On 22 December 1990, my adopted father John D Dillon passed away. He was Patrick’s first father-in-law, Donna’s dad, the man I called Granddaddy when I was a wee tyke.

After my adoption when I was 12, my new parents and I sat down to discuss naming conventions. I’d been calling him Granddaddy but my mom Willie seemed too young and glamorous to have a name like Grandma and we wanted their names to be of the same pattern. Since I was already calling her Willie (short for Wilma), they became “John and Willie” from that point forward.

Meanwhile, they asked what I’d like to do with my own name. I was originally John Patrick Meador. I gave it some thought and finally suggested tacking on Dillon at the end. (Gretchen, Jennifer, and I were all born “Meador” because we popped out of Mother before Patrick discovered the error on his birth certificate.)

Now that I have a grandson, I asked the kids if I can be “Granddaddy” to baby Max. The term is doubly endearing to me: it’s an expression of love for Max, and for John as well, another one of those “circle of life” moments that will carry me through the coming days and years.

John D Dillon at the Mellon Institute about the time I was born (March 1956)

The Nightingale Express

How many springs is it now
that Tomeu pretends he has heard the first song?
And I dispute his word?
The trouble is
Tomeu is native
and I
a stranger with no such bird
in the land I knew.
But so strong is my wish
I cannot shake my faith:
There must be a wind to bring them
up from Africa – such small creatures
need the charity of a gale
to find the lemon tree
outside my window.
you remember.
Last night only the draft of the woodstove
and the torrente in the bottom
inhabited the silence.
An abrupt squall
drowned the water sounds,
trees buffeting.
The shutters strained their latches
and then instant stillness fell.
we both questioned the air
our eyes met
mouths round to wonder if…
In the renewed hush of pitch black morning
the notes at once rang the valley
like a glass bell declaring
after miles of sea
the joyful dominion of a thicket.
Tomeu of course, heard one last week.

Deya 1980

She Is Happiest

She is happiest
facing the morning sun
among her snapdragons.
Or with the pregnant cat
on her lap
while she reads.
Or trimming the bramble
on our path.
Or playing the flute
listening to the owl
Or when we are alone.
Whatever she is doing
she is happiest
when she is doing it.

Deya, 1980s

Mayfair Burning

It was the Great Depression, and we, like all our neighbors, were forever short of cash money.  It was pinto beans and mashed potatoes all week, and on Sunday stringy meat which made my teeth shift in my gums.  It was burnt bacon and pan biscuits for my father’s breakfast, and flour gravy over biscuits for ours.  Mother did the best she could, and our clothes were well mended but faded from many boiling washtubs.  Old Mrs. Reiner delivered the milk in quart mason jars. She wore knee-high rubber boots and pulled a child’s wagon from her farm a mile up the clay road.

 By the time I was ten, my brother seven, and our sister five, we were sent away on Saturday afternoons to see a double feature movie, a couple of cartoons, and a Batman serial.  We were given eleven cents each for the tickets, and an extra nickel for sweets. Five cents went nowhere at the concession inside the theater, whereas at one of the grocery stores along the way a penny would buy enough whip licorice in red and black to make a cat-o’-nine-tails, a roll of candy coins in all flavors, and little peppery hearts for Sue.

Continue reading “Mayfair Burning”


It was only after his live-in partner left and he began shopping and cooking for himself did he notice that the food packaging industry basically had only two marketing models: couples and family size. This was a little more than annoying. Either he ate a lot of creamed spinach at one sitting, to use this dish as an example, or he kept half of the thawed package in the fridge until later. Often he did not want to eat the same dish two meals running, or even two days running. This meant the risk of shoving the leftover to the back of the shelf as other dishes accumulated in front of it. More than once he forgot about the spinach, and mold spread like crabgrass over the dish.

He hated to throw food away. Nor did he like repeating a dish just because he could not saw the frozen package in half. The obvious answer, in the case of spinach, was to buy fresh spinach and make his own version. But the fresh spinach came two ways: already washed, in a plastic bag, or in a bunch bound by a rubber band. In the end it was the same problem. Either you cook it all at once or you steam half the package or bunch. This sometimes lead to black leaves and rotting, unless you use the stuff right away. Of course you can prepare all of it, then freeze half of that, if you really get down to it. But the fact remains that things are packaged for a minimum of two, or for one person who endangers himself by overeating.

Continue reading “Coupling”