Tears, Unexplained
Why do I cry at music?

No, not always, but enough to wonder.

I offer a reason, which might come close to an explanation.

Could be place, maps, names, air ….

The huapango three-man groups move hundreds of stomping feet

In Xilitla, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Misty hills, gray clouds, high voices and screeching violins.

Off mountain farms, into town to shop and dance,

Those who aren’t “across” in the United States.


They dance.

They bang.

They sweat.

Rain nears.

And I cry.


Hundreds of cars and trailer trucks on

The Marine Atlantic ferry dock in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The ferry rocks in blue water,

Sun bright.

Quebec and New Brunswick French couples are off to Newfoundland Labrador.

A military reunion.

I ask a woman to slap a French accordion and fiddle CD into her tape deck.

She does.

I start to dance.


So do the men and women.

The reunion, many dead in Canada’s wars.
And I cry.


A cool Friday twilight in an old church –
Harbor Grace, Newfoundland Labrador,


Choppy bay water down a hill east,

Shrimp and crab boats secured,

Monthly music night,

All performers welcome.

Newfoundlanders rich with oil money back from Alberta.


They’re restless.


The old – their relations – stay hours.

“Foggy Foggy Day,” is sung repeatedly.


Away and missing.


And I cry.


A cold fog in Spaniards Bay, Newfoundland Labrador,

On a hill, “Lassy Days, ” called such from the molasses paid

Loggers and fishermen a century back.

Dead-at-sea and lost-love Newfoundland ballads,

Irish accents blend off the stage,


Greeley’s Reel, a hard driving band.

Arms linked, I dance with back-home-now Newfoundland women.

“Wonderful,” one says, “We’re having a time, ‘a jig and a reel.'”

And I cry.


French and English tents at the Newfoundland Labrador Folk Festival –

Steep hills above St. John’s harbor.

Each tent, a fiddle, a voice, a tale.

Rain and wind a day.

Sun the next.

Words, words, the past.
And I cry, and I cry  – tent to tent.


Port aux Basques, Newfoundland Labrador,

Another ferry rocks in a sunset.

A three-man group plays “Foggy Foggy Day,”

My request.

Passengers, no boarding yet, stop listen.


Night settles.

And I cry.


Back stage at a northern Mexico theater,

I hug sweaty Mexican rocker Jamie Lopez,

His all-over voice,

His killer guitar.

Moved fans line up,

Lyrics of sexual hope in Mexico’s hardness.

And I cry.




Nothing new these tears,

A North Carolina black church in mountain rain,

Fifty years ago ….

What sounds await ….

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, mid-Septmber 2013

Author: Gene Novogrodsky

Eugene “Gene” Novogrodsky, a Brownsville resident for nearly three decades, writes North American border slices, from eastern Canada to central Mexico, and in between. He is one of the founders of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center Writers Forum in San Benito. He sometimes participates with the informal Resaca Writers Group in Brownsville. He prefers, however, to read to two or three attentive listeners – when asked!


One Response to Tears Unexplained

  1. joepremont says:

    Some would surely call it a blessing, this ability to let yourself be touched. I think you’re one fortunate dude who keeps working at it.

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