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Jerry Vilhotti
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by Jerry Vilhotti


Ever since I had known my parents they bickered; always taking opposite sides of an issue; using their words like needles against one another as if mending all the bad things they had done to one another; hoping a new whole cloth would emerge to stop their hostilities.
One time they really scared me when I thought they were going to fall into a death grip One upon the Other.  I was not even a teenager yet and tried to get in between them –nearly being squished to death!  It began when my mother told him he had done a real stupid thing when he painted the wall pink that he had built for three weeks after coming home from work in the chemical factory that every so often had explosions going off—keeping all the workers on their toes.

The workers had signed their union contract that promised since they all would take a  four dollar an hour cut in their wages and the company promised to forever pay theirs and their family's health care needs too but did not.


While I was in their midst—my mother had to add that all the other walls he had built on the street looked better than his own wall which was really true in that my father took great pride in his work which he did for other people—was when he went into his Cincinnati pitcher's Ewell Blackwell's windup sending his half full cup of coffee against our white kitchen wall creating an image that looked like a group of people looking at us with distorted shocked expressions.  


 I cried which made them stop "fighting.”




All the Broken Dolls


by Jerry Vilhotti



“I did want you to become and it made no difference that another mouth to feed during the days of little food made no difference to me and I also wanted your older brother Tommy Tom-Tom to be born whole, though God put a bad sign on him when he was six months old, giving him polio, and God also took our Nina when she was four years old, fourteen years before you were born, of the poor people’s disease called diphtheria,” the mother said.


She did not tell him she thought the Divided States of Scam populated with so many people with no souls, heart, and compassion whom she called half-men and half-women, was going to swallow them all up with guns, shooting young children who would look like broken dolls.


Dead. Dead. Dead.






Art by Cindy Rosmus 2017

You Got a Friend

by Jerry Vilhotti

(A tone poem)


Tom would call Johnny his kid brother by six years, born in the same decade, and ask him if he could go up to their place in Connecticut to eat their Easter dinner with them, as his fourth wife Rhoda said he couldn't go with her to the City of Brotherly Love, since she suspected he was an anti-Semite, and despite him saying he didn't hate all Semitic peoples, for some of his best friends were Jews and A-rabs, and so he couldn't go to Yom Kippur, and Johnny would say yes, despite all their past relationship: Tommy tom-tom throwing him out of his apartment that hovered twenty-one flights above Williamsburg that could see into the eye of Manhattan—right up to Broadway, when Johnny was finishing his fourth years’ teaching at Bedford-Sty, where Lena Horne was born, while his wife and one-year-old son were staying in Connecticut; waiting for his coming back to their new home in the Litchfield Hills. Johnny had been asked by their mother to do a "brother's keeper" over him and watch to see if Tom were going to go on another journey to find Christ in upstate New York by the Finger Lakes and thwart him from such a dangerous thing, and years after, Tom would tell Johnny how sorry he was for all he had done on him and they became friends. Johnny said he was welcomed to eat with his wife and their three children—a boy and two girls, and broke bread. Tom cried. 



Art by Ann Marie Rhiel 2018

Flying Away


by Jerry Vilhotti


Ever since I’d known my parents they bickered: always taking opposite sides of an issue, using their words like needles against one another, as if mending all the bad things they had done to one another, hoping a new whole cloth would emerge.

I had to wait until I was nineteen, when I left to marry my love of loves, who managed through her full meaning of love, to rid me of ninety percent of my macho man, to down to forty percent that a man could love almost as much a woman could.

I realized a woman could mourn better than a man when my Linda Ann passed away. She is in my mind, soul, and heart every day and will be till the day I fly away in a plane I wanted, but my father could not buy me, due to his being laid off.

I flew in my imaginary plane all over the East Bronx, and into my love's gentle arms in Connecticut.

Edit Text

Illo by Kenneth James Crist 2018

Sky Toucher


by Jerry Vilhotti



"Papa, can I have it?" five-year-old Gianni asked, standing before the window of the Fordham Road Toy Store.


He thought the plane he saw could really fly. He could fit his whole body inside the cockpit and have enough room to spare, while shooting down Nazi and Nip planes piloted by sneering blond guys with scars on their faces and buck-teethed guys wearing very thick glasses; looking like they didn't know how to fly. 


Later, as a young adult, he would find out Wernher von Braun was planning a plane strike to kill little kids in New York City.


No, Gianni, but with the war just started, I will be working more, building ships in the great navy yard, and I'll get you two planes to fly!"


Gianni wanted only this one. This plane he would dream about many nights, flying up past the clouds, and he would tell anyone who came near him and his plane that he was not lost, and he would announce his address to the fierce, shouting winds several times before doing a mighty climb to get to the lightest part of the sky that was way over by the warm sun. It was the same sky that he wanted to touch when his father lifted him up towards it.


On the way back home, Johnny let go of his father's hand and ran a few paces ahead of him. Jumping over a fire hydrant, he looked up as he flapped his arms like wings buzzing and humming; reaching the free clouds that floated above him, high in the sky.



Jerry Vilhotti ( graduated from the only college that won the NIT and NCCA basketball tournaments in the same year, but more importantly than that, Jonas Salk, who helped rid some of the world of polio with his vaccine, was also given the opportunity to contribute to Mankind and graduated from the same NYC College that’s called in some circles: “The poor man’s Harvard.” This, and the fact that there was a place of higher learning that indeed gave every race, nationality, and creed an opportunity to play in the game of sculpting a better world, gives him greater pleasure, and as good fortune would have it, a nice publisher has accepted two collections of his: Gods Depicting Pastime (You have to like, or dislike, baseball to enjoy), and Specks in the Eyes of Seeing, that follows a toddler's journey into manhood. He thanks you for your time and dedication….

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