A Radio Good Night

The lonely and creative hearts come out to play

No longer hushed by the glare of an unforgiving day.


The graveyard shift,

That’s what they call it

The graveyard shift,

a place where

they bury the dead

and other undesirables.

In radio

And other lonely places

The graveyard shift,

Creeps on.


Midnight to six am

Where people drift

When there is no place left to go.

For me, it was my voice, my opinions

and my music that was my shovel.

Losing myself in thoughts

Alone in the middle of the night.

Ideas and music flowed like wine

And I lost all track of time.


Then the phone would ring

Oh no, not a ring!

You can’t have things ringing

in the “On Air studio.”

A red flashing light

Endlessly flashing, flashing, flashing,

Becoming a scream

Refusing to be ignored

Answer me

Answer me, answer me

Phone call

Phone call.


And so many flashes later

I answer.

The voice said

My name is Tobey

Would you play a song for me?


A wonderful world happens after midnight

The lonely and creative hearts come out to play

No longer hushed by the glare of an unforgiving day.

So, do the strange

and deranged.

a cross-section of life begins to drift

In and out

On the graveyard shift.


The musicians finishing up their gigs

Dropping by because

Where do you go after two am?

When there is no place to go but home

And home is no place to go.


We had that in common

The night people

and me.

And I tried to

Keep us glad to be

night people.

It mostly worked.


Tobey was neither a lonely heart

Nor a musician

Just a night soul on a quest for tomorrows meaning

And yesterday’s reasons

A late-night spirit who came to listen

Not just to the show

But to this lonely gravedigger

And then she listened some more

More about this lonely

drifting voice in the dark.

 Me, both the ringmaster and the clown. 


And through so many passages

Of my life, she came to listen

Again, and then


Helping me through the

The long nights of the emotional soul

The journey from one growing old

To growing older.


Dreading the dimming of the light.

Cursing the flickering flame

fading in the middle of another night.

And years later

She came and cared again


I guess I never really let her know

How much she had my life

A possible dream

There on the graveyard shift.

A clear and moving stream.

Pushing time along

her memory will go with me


Thank you for all that could have been

And for what was

Good night Tobey.


Once upon a time

As the story is told

we happened

Knowing our love

would never grow old

No Soft-spoken whispers

Just cries of longing

Taking each other by storm

For once feeling like belonging

In all our desperate cries

Of yearning

We knew our time

Would not last for long

For like the summers burning

One would soon be gone

We threw off the guides

And let go the tether

Making the most

Of our fleeting

Summers together.


I’ve had a theory for a long time that as years pass and we look back on our personal history and at the people and events that have come and gone in our lives, we develop something I call compressed remembrance. It’s a feeling that something that occurred many years before happened only yesterday. Time collapses and years become weeks, weeks become days, and days seem like only hours.

On Friday, November 22, 1963, I was in history class, and it seems surreal that I would have been in history class on a date that will be read about for hundreds of years. I have no idea what I was thinking about before the news was delivered to the classroom. I probably had my mind on the upcoming Thanksgiving football game and practice after class. I’m sure I was not listening to Mrs. Loffler drone on about the Magna Carta or the Louisiana Purchase. I don’t remember the names of most of my high school teachers and fewer names of my college professors, but I remember Mrs. Loffler because she was there that day. That was the day that John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas.  I can still hear how her voice changed as she gave some brief explanation and told us that school would be ending early.  I remember feeling very detached from whatever new reality was taking place and annoyed that whatever this event was had suddenly disrupted my well-planned afternoon and weekend.

Quickly now it’s 21 years later, November 23, 1984. I’m no longer living on Staten Island, a naive teenager dreaming of gridiron glory. I’ve resisted a war, lived in the mountains of West Virginia, and been to prison. I’m back in radio and living in Boston. The Boston College Eagles are playing the University of Miami. There are 28 seconds left in the game, and Miami is leading 45 to 40 when some too-small-to-play quarterback guy named Doug Flutie dropped back and let what became known as the “Hail Mary” touchdown pass take flight. It traveled 48 yards, taking what seemed like forever to go that distance and reach its target, Gerard Phelan, and gave the football Eagles a 47-45 victory. I remember it like it was yesterday.

Fast forward. It’s now 2017, and I am watching what will be remembered as the greatest Super Bowl ever played. My granddaughter is about to become the same age I was on November 22, 1962: Sixteen, a magical age full of hopes and dreams but also fear. She was born into a time when the world seems to teeter constantly on the brink of disaster. I’m watching a man named Tom Brady who is leading the New England Patriots to a mind-blowing come-from-behind victory over the Atlanta Falcons. No team in history has ever come from 21 points behind to win a Super Bowl, but in the last quarter New England tied the game and went on to win in the first Super Bowl overtime in history. I saw people laughing and cheering and watched, even if only for a twinkling, the cares and troubles of their everyday lives dissolve away. I was proud of my city of Boston as they danced in the streets, not one-act of violence and no arrests. I have a few more years to keep that memory.

We live in a world where smiles and good times are difficult to come by, and we don’t have many years in a lifetime to make memories. I read somewhere that someday we will only be a memory to someone, and we should do our best to make sure it’s a good one. Trust me, I’m dancing as fast as I can.


The Poet, Not the Politician. Please Pass the Idiom.

I have also decided that you cannot make a political essayist out of a poet, at least not a happy poet. I have spent the last few months primarily writing about politics and particularly

Connors and Brooksby farms S3ptember 2015 020 goatMy mother regularly used the expression you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, an expression I’m sure most of us have heard in one form or another. Its general meaning is that you can’t make something good out of something bad.

I’ve been thinking about idioms lately and where that particular one originated and discovered there’s a lot of conjecturing as to just where it did begin. The range is someplace between the devil and the deep blue sea, from the dying words of Hamlet to the Reverend Jonathan Swift in 1801, but an English satirist named Stephen Gosson seems to have made a like statement centuries earlier in The Ephemerides of Phialo in 1579. But one thing I do know for certain is that my mother used it time and time again. Usually, when I wanted something better than what I had.

I have also decided that you cannot make a political essayist out of a poet, at least not a happy poet. I have spent the last few months primarily writing about politics and particularly about my disdain for and fear of Donald Trump who might possibly become president of our country. To be perfectly clear about this, I have in no way tried to make a silk purse out of him and would never insult a pig by any comparison.

In my attempt to convey how I feel about this demon who struts and frets his hour upon the stage, I have all but lost track of who I am. I am a person with a proclivity for poetry, prose, poems, promulgation, and apparently alliteration, and that seems to make me happy as a clam. (If you’re wondering why clams are happy, this may shed some light on that. The original version is “as happy as a clam at high water.” Hide tide is when clams are free from predators.)

My politics are similar to my religion. I consider myself a spiritual person but almost never go to church, but I pay attention and I do pray. I consider myself a political person but never campaign for anyone, but I pay attention and I do vote.

In last week’s podcast, I had a meltdown. As I said then, I was sick of self-obsessing about Donald Trump, and it was true then and it rings truer now. I also realize that mostly I am preaching to the choir because most of my readers already agree with me and the ones who don’t have left me high and dry. (The phrase “preaching to the choir” probably had its origin as “preaching to the converted,” first cited in the works of John Stuart Mill. He used the phrase in An Examination of Sir W. Hamilton’s Philosophy, 1867.)

Now as we approach the eleventh hour of the political process, I have decided to let sleeping dogs lie and return to the poetry, prose, music-loving, storytelling person I am and have my blogs and podcast be what I have always intended them to be, informative and fun. I hope and pray and will vote that Donald Trump is here today and gone tomorrow.

On the shores of Rambling Harbor, there will be a few more idle thoughts on one thing or another and some rock and roll history, but of course, that’s not carved in stone. I hope you’ll join me there.This way to the shores of Rambling Harbor

Copyright © 2016 Daniel (Dan) Sanders. All rights