Papa’s hacking cough awakens me in the darkened shadows of dawn.

He removes a whistling kettle, sips a glass of tea soothing his throat,

sucking noisily on a domino sugar cube.

Children shiver in front of a hot cast iron stove as crackling kindling

ignites mounds of jet black coal in the gray morning light.

A huge pot of simmering oatmeal percolates, plopping along.

The chip, chip, chip of the iceman’s pick cracks off a block of ice.

Heaving it on his shoulder he trudges up well-worn tenement steps,

filling a golden oak ice box standing at attention in the

pantry with polished brass hinges, catches and latches.

The chirping and tweeting of starlings fluttering about a lone

Sycamore tree in a courtyard below, perks up the ears of a

cat purring in front of the stove’s glowing red embers.

Echoes of a milkman’s wagon reverberate in empty streets,

steaming deposits of horse dung fertilize fields of asphalt.

Frozen cream pushes through tops of ice cold milk bottles

waiting for a mother’s eager hand on the doorstep.


Awakening from an ambien induced sleep, discovering that

the R.U.R. futuristic world of tomorrow is here today.

Clattering whirlybirds hover overhead monitoring clogged

roads as a parade of roaring jets drown out the din and chatter

of cable  television’s morning palaver.

A sterile stainless steel kitchen where gizmos of Westinghouse

and Whirlpool spin and splash creating a cacophony

of teeth-gnashing noise, a vibrating sub-zero fridge builds

to a crescendo as an avalanche of ice cubes descend.

A beeping microwave, pop-up toaster and super-flush

Champion toilet sabotage breakfast conversation.

“Robotniks” are on the loose, stomachs rumble as digestive

enzymes stumble and migraines are born.

Missing the placid  murmur of silence, wishing we

only had fountains at home where silence sings,

and we could listen to the sound of no-sound.

Milton P. Ehrlich