A Man on the Cusp of his Life,

One week from turning 25,

Father of a newborn child,

Is no longer alive.

No more chimes gently blowing in the breeze,

Nor hummingbirds darting through the trees.

A Man on the Cusp of his Life,

Promising, next time…

To get it right.

No more innocent smiles cast his way,

No more breath for another day.

A Man on the Cusp of his Life,

Unaware of his fate,

Until, it was too late.

No more crazy vaccine theories,

Of tracking chips, or other murderous

Lies dripping from the lips of ghouls.

A…


Image of my own reflection, taken at World Trade Center site, 9/11/2021.

I am a ghost.

My memories are quaint, dead.

I want people to mourn quietly,

Cellphones banned in sacred places.

Selfies, taken with luminescent gravestone towers of light, illegal.

I want Frank Sinatra impersonators,

And souvenir hawkers,

And religious zealots

And boom boxes

And Chick Fillet eating millennials

Not alive when the Towers toppled,

To be kept away from the WTC site

Where my soul was scattered asunder.

I am a ghost.

I want the two symbolic towers of light

To come from the Tower footprints —

Now the eternal waterfalls of memory-

Not from a parking lot blocks away.

I am a ghost.

I want the truth.

I want others to feel our pain,

And not use 9/11 as a reason to party,

Or to mistake the two spotlights

For a movie premiere.


From the wall of the tomb at the 9/11 Memorial. (photo by SteveVillano)

It’s one of life’s oddly poetic moments to be back to NYC for the 20th Anniversary commemoration of 9/11, in the very same week Derek Jeter got inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and the very same weekend the Yankees were playing the Mets in a subway series. It was Jeter, after all, and the Yankees, who picked up many of us New Yorkers, after we were numbed by the death and destruction of 9/11.

The Yankees were having a banner year in 2001, headed for another World Series after beating the Mets the Year before, and the promise…


The Gratitude Tree

Not too long ago, I gave my oldest granddaughter a “Gratitude Tree.”

It resembled a punch-out, paper doll tree and came with many little, paper green leaves, each no bigger than a thumb-print, on which notes of gratitude could be written, to remind us of what we can be thankful for each day.

I promised my granddaughter that she would earn a dollar for each “gratitude” leaf she completed. She asked if she could enlist the help of her younger sister, age 10, and if they could split the proceeds. …


Photo by Steve Villano, taken in Assisi, Italy, at a Peace & Reconciliation Conference.

When I am at a loss for words, or reasons why things did or did not happen, I seek out solace or guidance, or both, from authors whose work has slapped me across the face, or broken my heart. One such writer is Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Sympathizer.

During the final days of the United States 20-year War in Afghanistan, I turned to Nguyen’s book “The Refugees,” to deepen my understanding and feeling of what thousands of Afghani refugees were experiencing, desperate to escape their country now back under Taliban rule, 20 years after the…


I woke up this morning in August, 2021, in Kabul — or, more precisely inside the powerful, prescient play, “Homebody, Kabul” at the New York Theatre Workshop, 20 years ago — surrounded by Tony Kushner and Roma Torre and Carol Villano, and I knew I had been here before.

Barely a few months after the World Trade Center Towers, where I spent 6 years of my life, were destroyed, and nearly 3,000 humans slaughtered in the attack, we ventured back to Broadway, or, Off-Broadway to be exact.

It was only because a new play from the brilliant Tony Kushner was…


Andrew Cuomo hired me to work in New York State government — in the Administration of his father, Mario M. Cuomo — 37 years ago. Now, it’s time for Andrew to leave the service of the State he has long loved, and to which he and his family devoted their lives to for over four decades.

I am both sad and infuriated that he has put himself — and many of us who have admired and supported his ability to get good things done — in this terrible position. I am pained for his mother, the magnificent Matilda Cuomo, his…


Republicans just don’t get where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s inherent authority comes from.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — the first female Speaker in American History, and the first Italian-American female and grandmother to be the most politically powerful woman in the country — has given full-blown fits to Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, Kevin McCarthy and all other aging, shallow, soulless, corrupt, white men in Washington.

Regardless of the issue — from Obamacare (which was pushed through by Pelosi and should bear her name), to Impeachment, to pointing her finger at the ManChild in the Cabinet Room and scolding him for having gangster friends, like the punk Putin, to schooling the dummy…


Harry Chapin & JFK, Jr: 38 years of Inspiration; Lives Worthy of Imitation.

By Steve Villano,

Chapter 4,

Copyright, 2021.

***

They were always there, right in front of me: Harry Chapin, and John F. Kennedy, Jr., linked in death on the same exact date — July 16.

They died 18 years apart, their age difference, when they were both killed in terrible accidents at 38 years old.

Chapin’s brief, shooting-star-of-a-life ended in the fiery crash of a small car on the Long Island Expressway; JFK, Jr.’s, …


The 40th Anniversary of Harry Chapin’s Death — the same week when the historic US Child Tax Credit is implemented that will cut child poverty in half — is the perfect moment to renew efforts to secure a Harry Chapin postage stamp to keep America’s focus on ending hunger and poverty.

Harry Chapin: Hope, and Life, After Death

By Steve Villano, Chpt. 3

Copyright, 2021

(It’s fitting that the largest tax credit in US History — a monthly payment for children (childtaxcredit.gov), which will lift one-half of America’s children out of poverty — is being implemented this week, which also marks the 40th Anniversary of Harry Chapin’s death. Chapin — inspired by his older brother James; the great anti-poverty champion and author of The Other America Michael Harrington; Harry’s spouse & partner Sandy Chapin; and his friend and former Catholic priest Bill Ayres, who followed the progressive Catholic Worker teachings of…

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