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Sonatas V

Pieces of the Past Fall Away

Words by Brendan Quirk

The past will stay with us, if the connections we keep.
The changes accumulate, we take them in stride.
When the glue dissolves, when the central tie breaks,
The Pieces of the Past, Fall Away.


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Sonatas V-1 (adagio) Sonatas V-2 (adagio)
In through this door; this house, ours,
contains all of the pieces, now and then.
The place that ties it all together,
just as the spirit that is within.
Here is the guiding spirit, the force resident.
From her eternal throne, she greets you,
“Come, see what we are all about!
Hear what we say, as it now falls away!”
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Sonatas V-3 (adagio) Sonatas V-4 (adagio)
In this room, tall bed overlooking the outdoors,
triple bunk reaches the sky – heads learn to duck.
Three in a box, close, but each in his space;
a connection not entirely lost until the end.
Old driveway first, then the place to play outdoors.
Fixing bikes, rolling newspapers, bouncing balls, eating out.
Now the alley cats find it their home,
the ivy on the walls like the fur on their backs.
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Sonatas V-5 (adagio)  
As we romped through the yard,
covering the space all in a flash,
players blend through the eras.
That toddler with his “difficulty” is now cooking our feast!


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Sonatas V-6 (andante) Sonatas V-7 (andante)
Heading for school: the neighbor’s houses watch.
Some we knew, some were always mysteries.
Who lives there now? –
Do they tread the same sidewalks?
This building is exotic – not like our house!
Older, different; apartment people.
What is it like inside?
Cramped, dark, gloomy; but elegant.
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Sonatas V-8 (andante) Sonatas V-9 (andante)
Meeting the guys here for the walk to school.
The two Kings; Gallagher; Faulkner; the rest.
The group changes and reforms;
the stage stays the same.
Dentist’s office sitting brooding on the corner,
walls spread to ensnare if you get too close.
Don’t go inside, dark cave of concern;
inflicting “dental torture”, or so we imagined.
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Sonatas V-10 (andante) Sonatas V-11 (andante)
Former white painted walls,
holding “Sullivan Real Estate.”
Two blocks away: "He’s coming home for lunch!”
Launching pad for climbing up in the world.
Remnant of what was, and what could have been.
Business hopes, and business dreams;
now past, ended far too soon.
This piece will always remain visible to us.
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Sonatas V-12 (andante) Sonatas V-13 (andante)
The “Fourth” as these stores were known to us.
(144th Street was its name, treats were the game.)
Drugs, dime store, delicatessen, cleaners.
Just spaces, where now shops have died.
Through the lot, up the stairs, rush through the station.
Can we make the train – I hear it coming!
Heading downtown, or off to caddy.
The people may change – but not this!
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Sonatas V-14 (andante) Sonatas V-15 (andante)
The train embankment, once covered in trees and mystery,
filled with trails, and hide-outs.
The concrete rises like stairs for giants.
Never considering the risk – lucky us!
Lining up, for church or school:
all the action on the stairs; friends, family.
Crowds back then; who goes there now?
Others, not us; wish them well, still!
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Sonatas V-16 (andante)  
“May Crowning”: The girls pretty, the boys restless.
Here we stand, in lines so obedient,
just our little piece of pageantry.
Small towns, small statues, gentle memories.


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Sonatas V-17 (scherzo) Sonatas V-18 (scherzo)
Out of Mass, or maybe class is over!
The “Good Humor” man at lunch can be met here;
or head home, a short walk for most.
These ways engraved in the mind’s map forever.
The way to and from school; this church lies across the path.
Methodists – they are not Catholic!
Who are they? I’ll never know.
Watch them fuss as we cross their yard.
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Sonatas V-19 (scherzo) Sonatas V-20 (scherzo)
The walk home from school, the last turn and corner.
Play awaits; or maybe just TV.
Hope no chores are planned.
Maybe we’ll dawdle just a bit more...
The ball games, tag, romping wild.
The pools we swam in,
the rear door – the one that really counts!
The true focus – in the back!
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Sonatas V-21 (scherzo) Sonatas V-22 (scherzo)
Come! Look closely!
It will all pass away.
The pieces are already going -
See them while you can!
Climbing trees: four once, two then, none now.
Eating lunch in the branches;
no cares, and always free.
The trees mark time as they go.
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Sonatas V-23 (scherzo) Sonatas V-24 (scherzo)
Here the veggies grew,
and the kitties were buried when their days were done.
Is that catnip in the planter? Treats for the new ones,
where the old ones were planted.
Down the alleys came a host of disturbances.
“Is that just a storm, or maybe a tornado?”
said Barbara to Peggy.
This alley always meant vulnerability.
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Sonatas V-25 (scherzo)  
Cracked floor, and peeling walls,
the garage was always a box of mystery and exploration.
Are you smoking – don’t get caught!
See the baby’s footprint in the concrete – is she still here?


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Sonatas V-26 (allegro) Sonatas V-27 (allegro)
Here’s the way, up the road.
School, stores, anywhere we go.
Off for the day -
stay on the sidewalk, though!
Up the alley to explore on our bikes,
clear to Indiana Avenue, and places beyond.
Gone all day; journeys in place and time.
The back ways make our highways.
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Sonatas V-28 (allegro) Sonatas V-29 (allegro)
“Streets” of just sidewalk, no cars.
What an odd sight in suburb land.
Riding up to deliver papers,
wouldn’t it be cool to live here?
The park, the field house, “Story Hour!”
Preschool one year, rebellion the next.
Five-year-olds don’t always go with the program.
Waiting out front for judgment to come!
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Sonatas V-30 (allegro) Sonatas V-31 (allegro)
Cool “modern house”, not like ours.
Do they watch the skaters in the park?
A bit “Brady” to our stout Georgian.
Is the furniture blue and orange?
Waiting to “hop” the trains,
the most dangerous game we knew.
Challenge can make you heedless –
some paid a harsh price.
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Sonatas V-32 (allegro) Sonatas V-33 (allegro)
The trains control our town,
the industry, our movement.
No way out without a crossing;
but hear the whistles – La! La! All night!
School Street “Hill”!
Sledding for the young,
not our territory, but fun.
Looks so small now.
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Sonatas V-34 (allegro) Sonatas V-35 (allegro)
The old Riverdale Drive-In –
give me that rota-ser-y and broasted chicken!
Wonder where you went?
Who makes your delicacies now?
Going for the rewards after the game;
at the canteen, “treats” for us!
Signs tell us how to be – did we see them?
Still feel their call, though.
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Sonatas V-36 (allegro)  
Little League Field – little field of dreams.
Sitting in the dugout – can I get in the game?
For some, every moment engrossed,
others, just dreaming.


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Sonatas V-37 (espressivo) Sonatas V-38 (espressivo)
Back in the alley, friends across the way,
tossing stones over the wires.
Who has the better arm?
Boys must compete!
When I go, the ties are loosed,
all the threads will unravel,
the structure will melt.
All the Pieces Fall Away.
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Sonatas V-39 (espressivo)  
We’ll leave as we came,
through the doors that were home.
Let some others build their future,
and may all their pieces cleave together.

Copyright © 2023 Brendan J. Quirk