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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Giving Thanks at Work...

I wrote some of this back in May of 2011. We have added to the cast, and some members have retired or transferred to other units. Giving thanks for the new as well as the Dan and Wilson, Juan and Franklin...and Jeff, Joe Cat...also the new girl who traded positions with Natalie. To Jorge and always...thanks.

This is about the retired Bobby Hodges...

Tall man with broad shoulders and a booming voice. To be in his presence is to be secure. His unflappable experience, his absolutely explosive temper in the face of injustice and stupidity alike, are forces of nature.

I watched him write his resignation letter this morning, coaching him through the technicalities of a Microsoft Word Document, but the sentiments expressed were simple, sublime and entirely is own.

He compliments me on my writing and defers to me as the better scribe, but I beg to differ.

"With great trepidation and anticipation..." He began without the aid of spell-check, a new and wondrous feature he never imagined existed.

I could not help but be moved. This is one of the people I have gravitated to in the squad. I have only been to the homes of a hand full of my coworkers. His was one. A more giving and generous person you will not find. I have been very fortunate to be welcomed into the night Squad by the likes of Damon Boccadoro, Lloyd Cropper, Lenny Asaro, Tom Zurica, Russell Smith, Tony Carbone, Frankie Cosimano, Willie Blake Scofield Smith, Gary Apostolo, Denny Randazzo, Tom Ward, Don Gittens, Vinnie Cerrcone, Dominick, Mario, Johnny, Davey and Robert "Bobby" Hodges.

I have been able to craft an honest living while trying to face my own fears, short comings and prejudices to help where we are able to make life better in New York.

It has been a privilege to work side by side with such people. It is a truly unique job.

As Bobby says "it is never boring".

Mark Ransom
Supervising Inspector
Emergency Response Team

Highlights from the past year include the award for excellence,

Sco-daddy's retirement...

Johnny and Davey get a big write up in the New York Times for their work on Sandy recovery in the Rockaways

All in all a banner year here.

Thanksgiving, much to be thankful for.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I Remember James

There are no photos from the early 1990's when a huge turning point took place in my life. I bought a microphone and a PA amp, hooked up an acoustic guitar and declared myself a blues singer. Not because I had any musical talent what-so-ever, but because I was wounded to my core and I needed healing. Having the blues does not make you a great performer, but it can make a so-so performer perform better. And so I took my turn in a down-on-its-luck part of town and played my heart out to a few world weary travelers. This is one of the stories from those days, my lost years. Not because I lost that time in a haze of self induced dementia, but because I was Lost...until I found the Amazing Grace of my current life: my wife, my current job and...and now I see.

I remember James (sweet James)

I remember James
And Alex
To my blues renditions
Of Sweet Jane
And When the Levee Breaks
At a little joint called Tippy’s
Tippy's cafe

West of the wild side
A guitar
And raw emotion
Inspired by
My personal tragedies
Expressed for the
Intrepid company
Who found a place
Named for
The owner's dog

Maddie May
under age
Tending bar
In a New York
Now long gone
Taking care of
Us All
With Rolling Rock
And a smile
She lit the decadent dark
As a parade of sexy
Took place nightly
Right outside

I remember James
As a man of quality
Who cared deeply for
The craftsmen
And integrity

I remember James and
His intensity
How he could not

I remember James
And his neon blue eyes
That saw only
What could be
When people focused
On perfection
And how that
Would set us free

I do remember James
And that fateful
When he asked me to
stay, linger, and talk
Just for while

But I declined
Siting some
Early work day
With such short sight
For how was I to know
I would be the last to see him
Before he took his life

Dear James,

I will never forget you
I will keep your spirit alive
Singing your song
To everyone
Deep into
The perfect night

Friday, November 22, 2013

50 Years Ago

It was 50 years ago today, long before Sargent Pepper taught the band to play, this country went into a tail spin. Deep in my core the wounds suffered then by the ruthless murder of a charismatic man, a man who promised so much, held promise in the palm of his hand, made me a jaded and cynical boy.The first of three devastating assassinations, the first recorded on a visual medium where details of that act of violence can neither be exaggerated nor diminished and thus have become etched unforgettably onto our collective conscious. It was as vicious and cowardly an act as flying air liners into buildings. The price we paid? The turbulence and civil strife of the '60's? The decadence of the '70's? The greed of the '80's and '90's? What happens when faith is shaken? What happens when the dreamer awakens? Roll up your sleeves. There's work to do.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I Miss My Father

I miss my father
In the winter
When bone is chilled
And wind is bitter

I miss my father
In the spring
When he did
Make his hammer sing

I miss my father
In the summer
When this city
Sweats in swelter

But I miss my father
Most of all
When green leaves turn
In the fall

My dad was not a veteran, too young for WW II, too old for Vietnam...his wars were fought at home...with his demons.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Theater as Classroom


how my heart moves

when you are near



I have decided to take my study of theater to the source this season. Starting with the great production of Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams; quite possibly our American Shakespeare, then diving into a total immersion of Bard-olatry with Donmar's Julius Caesar at St. Ann's, then to a symposium at the Pearl on Shakespeare's verse, then to Macbeth most appropriately on Halloween as this heavily tech-ed up version not only includes all the witches and Hecate, but they and their minions become a featured attraction. Then to the sublime and period authentic Mark Rylance in Richard the III. True students should not miss one of the two productions in rep at the Belasco (a great theater for Shakespeare). Every detail of a Shakespearean era play "Striving for Authenticity" is considered from fabric to musical instruments.

My further study coming soon is to see Waiting for Godot with Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Billy Cruddup and Shuler Hensley...then on to the Public Theater's reprisal of Good Person of Szechwan by Brecht, rounded off with the Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry Twelfe Night.

After that...I think I can call it a semester.

Happy Birthday in Heaven Dad.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tattoos on a Hirsute Man

Intricate and subtle
Fine Filigreed lines
Bold brush strokes depicting
Ocean voyages
Sea monsters and

Acts of noble heroism
Chivalrous and kind
Bravery of every ilk
Adventures dangerous
Terrors terrible

Suffered and faced down
By knight and Vassal alike

Stories told in colored

Bad is Beautiful
4 Ever Love
Mother Rose
Skull and Cross Bones
Jolly Roger
Stars and Bars
Eagle sharpens his claws
Talons of mercy
Sons of Anarchy
Celtic Cross
The Boss


My nature
By nature


Monday, October 28, 2013

"Unreal city...Teru..."

Some say T.S. Elliot was pretentious and verbose and that may well be true. This amalgamation or words into a line seems to effectively convey my emotions during yesterday's trip over the Williamsburg bridge. Eliot wrote about 19th century London. I experience 21st century New York. At sunset, the towers of Manhattan seemed to be night fall...the Bronx was burning.

Monday, October 21, 2013

for Papa Joe Ciulla

Today at 6:17 PM

I am a Veteran
Of Willowbrook Road

There is something
About. A hometown
When you roam streets
Once familiar in youth
Now vaguely strange
In the bright light of
Future. Soon present.

Now past.

Somethings the same
But I...

I Am


Reflecting on those
Who are gone

Sweet smiling faces
Look down and back
From beyond
Martling's Pond

And all fond memories
With that sentimental
Soft focus glow
Tread dirt paths
I used to know
The deep dark soil
Where I used to grow
My imagination

Where everything
Was a dream

And the impossible

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Great Trip to the South Kingdom

It was raining pretty steadily for the first few days of my trip to see Jennifer in Orlando. But on Wednesday, (or was it Thursday?), this Rainbow we spotted as I was driving my wife to work made all that gloom worth it. The trip was bright from the moment I landed because I got to be with my honey. By the weekend it was like I was a Central Floridian. We went paddle boarding, and I watched the UCF Knights fall to South Carolina on TV. We cooked, we ate, grilled, and ate some more... I built her a chair from a kit, it was like we lived together or something.

Oh, yeah, that's us, just like riding the subway with no hands...only better smelling.

We jumped for joy...we did not fall in, not once.

I also got to see a great performance of "The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later" at Rollins College. A great piece appears in the Orlando Sentinel.Copy and paste the link into your browser to read the review!

Watching the sunrise from 30,000 feet above the eastern seaboard of these amazing United States this morning, I thought of how lucky I am and how truly blessed to live in this place (or these two places) in a time where travel of a thousand miles at the speed of sound has become so routine. I am back in time to go to work this afternoon. So-long September...hello October and the second fall of living sucks more than last year, but we are proud to be able to pull this off and know that to plan our future together properly, this is the right thing to do. Thanks for checking in on me. Love to you all.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Though time will end someday for me, while I live I will never forget.

Happy Birthday to my uncle Carlo...this would have been Aunt Jo Ann's birthday, she who just moves forward. Today is a day for me to pause and reflect on the moment that changed my life, the lives of so many. Five years ago today I stood and spoke at my father's funeral in Arlington Virginia. I thanked my sisters for taking care of our dad and giving us all the chance to see him laugh with his grandchildren. 12 years ago I was in the beginning of my third year with the Buildings Department. I was on the 14th floor of 60 Hudson Street and I heard the first plane pass and explode into the North Tower. My thoughts and prayers are with all who lost loved ones on that day.

Though time will end someday for me, while I live I will never forget.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

DAVID J RANSOM November 4, 1930 - September 8, 2008

So yesterday I'm sitting in our local sports bar and the Yankees are getting pounded by the Sox...and the beer is cold...and the afternoon light is coming through the windows in just the right way so as to make me think of my dad, and how much I miss him... and it occurred to me that if a man wells up in the eye with tears remembering his father...shouldn't you order another round and drink to the memory of the man who... The man who taught you..taught you everything you ever needed to know... even if it has taken most of your life to realize it.

"He was a man, take him for all in all,

I shall not look upon his like again"

Act I Scene 2

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Leaves of Grass

One day I lay in tall grass by the sea
My single lens reflex with me
to capture a
representation of the light on a day

I lay

In tall grass

My eye one with a sky blue sky

I touch, in my mind, that day

by the sea

So limitless

So free

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day

God bless those who work the land with their hands, the sowers, the reapers, the watchers and rescuers, the builders and those who maintain this artificial world of intelligence, with pride and diligence. God bless the tillers of the soil, and the miners of the unknown, those who explore the deep, dark places, and those who create light where there was once only ignorance. God bless the Mechanics. God bless the machine. God bless the fruits of our Labor.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My World from Brooklyn Bridge Park

"Cities are like beautiful women...

They are all the same...

Certain to break your heart..."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Sidewalks of New York