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Quotes tagged “kindness”
At the Detroit Metro Airport
with the turtle-hours to spare
between now & my flight, there is
such a thing as the kindness
of the conveyor belt who lends me
its slow, strange mollusk foot
as I stand quiet, exhausted, having been
alone in my bed for days now, sleeping
in hotels, having spent months, now,
without seeing the faces of my family, somehow
its slow & quiet carrying of the load
reminds me of the kindness of donkeys
& this kindness returns me to myself.
It reminds me of the kindness of other things I love
like the kindness of sisters who send mail,
wherever you are, &, speaking of mail, there is
the special kindness of the mail lady
who says, 'Hi, baby' to everyone, at first
I thought it was just me, but now I know
she says 'Hi, baby' to everyone. That is kindness.
Too, there is the kindness of windows, & of dogs.
& then there was that extraordinary Sunday
back at the house, I heard a woman screaming
about how she was lonely & so lonely
she didn’t know what she’d do, maybe kill
herself, she said, over & over like a parrot
in a cage, a parrot whose human parent
only taught it that one sentence. I looked out
the window & saw her from behind, the way she flung
her arms like she was desperate & being killed
or eaten by an invisible predator, like a tiger or a lion, in the chest.
& her voice seemed fogged out with methadone, I don’t know,
something, & I walked away from the window
& sat, angry with her for screaming, & sad,
& not long after, I heard her saying,
What’d you say? What’d you say to me?
& a man’s voice, low, I could not tell if it was kind.
& she said, I’ll kill myself, I’m so lonely.
& did I tell you, yet, that it was Mother’s Day?
Flowers & mothers, flowers & mothers all day long.
& the woman saying, I’m so lonely. I could kill myself.
& then quiet. & the man’s voice saying, It’s okay.
It’s okay. I love you, it’s okay.
& this made me get up, put my face, again, to the window
to see my landlord’s nephew outside, just hugging her so, as if
it were his mother, I mean, as if he belonged to her,
& then, again, quiet, I left the window but sat
in the silence of the house, hidden by shutters, & was amazed.
When the front door of the brownstone opened up
& let the tall nephew in with his sad & cougar eyes,
handsome & tall in his Carolina-Brooklyn swagger, I heard
him start to climb the stairs above me, & my own hand
opened up my own front door,
& though it was none of my business
I asked him, Do you know that women out there?
& do you know what happened next?
He said, No. The nephew said no, he didn’t know
the woman out there. & he told me Happy Mother’s Day
as he climbed the rest of the stairs. & I can’t stop seeing them
hugging on the street, under trees, it was spring, but cold,
& sometimes in the memory his head is touching hers
& sometimes in the memory his eyes are closed,
& sometimes she is holding him
& singing to him I love you. It’s okay.
I mean to tell you that everywhere I go
I hear us singing to each other. This way. I mean to tell you
that I have witnessed such great kindness as this,
in this, my true life, you must believe me.
I mean, on a Sunday, when nobody was supposed to be
watching. Nobody at all. I saw this happen, the two
of them hugging, when nobody was supposed to be
watching, but not a secret either, public
as the street, not for glory & not for a joke,
the landlord’s nephew ready to stand there for the woman
like a brother or a sister or a husband or son,
or none of these at all, but a stranger,
a stranger, who like her, is an earthling.
Perhaps this thing I am calling kindness
is more simple than kindness, rather, recognition
of the neighbor & the blue, shared earth
& the common circumstance of being here:
what remains living of the last
two million, impossible years…”
Michael Corleone: Oh, Miucci. Who's Miucci?
Joey Zasa: He's the Italian American who invented the telephone. He did it one year before Alexander Graham Bell.
Michael Corleone: Oh. And this is the reason you have come to my home on this day.
Joey Zasa: I have a stone in my shoe, Mr. Corleone. A two-bit punk who works for me. Who thinks he's related to you. A bastard.
Al Neri: He's here. Vincent Mancini. He's at the party.
Michael Corleone: Well, bring him in.
Joey Zasa: I think it's good that we talk. I have a problem. Now I have to find out if it is my problem or your problem.
Michael Corleone: Joey, your business is your business. I have no interest, no percentages. I'm out.
Joey Zasa: Good, then it is my problem.
Connie: [Connie and Vincent enter] Michael, you know Vincent Mancini. Sonny's boy.
Vincent Mancini: Hey, how you doin' Mr. Corleone.
Michael Corleone: How you doing.
Vincent Mancini: I'm doin' good. How you doin'?
Michael Corleone: Good.
Vincent Mancini: Nice party.
Michael Corleone: Oh, you like it?
Vincent Mancini: Yeah, I had to sneak in.
Michael Corleone: Well, you dressed for it. What's the trouble between you and Mr. Joe Zasa?
Vincent Mancini: Just trouble. I'll take care of it.
Michael Corleone: That's foolish of you.
Vincent Mancini: Foolish of me? It's a little foolish of this guy don't you think? Right? RIGHT!
Michael Corleone: Temper like his father. Vincent, Mr. Joe Zasa now owns what used to be the Corleone family business in New York. Out of the kindness of his heart he gave you a job with his family. Contrary to my advice you took the job. I offered you something better. Something in the legitimate world. You turned me down. Now you both come to me with this bad blood. What do you expect me to do? Am I a gangster?
Vincent Mancini: No, no, you're not a gangster, Uncle Mike.
Connie: Michael, that's Papa's old neighborhood now it's a sewer. Zasa runs it like a disgrace the ladies told me.”
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