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The Dream

I must scribe the dream before it is no longer part of me

I am with Bobby – who is passed – at a countertop somewhere, maybe an airport lounge, looking over the racing form, I had just previously been reviewing the race with someone else , who also liked the 10, as Bobby did, and we agreed strongly on the 5 in the second, so I suggested a 10-5 double, which Bobby didn’t care for, and then my Dad – also passed – shows up and starts talking with Bobby, and then suddenly notices that I am there as well, and he is upset and asks why I’m not in Europe like I had told him, and I say that I was but I’ve returned, and I realize that’s impossible because it’s been less than a day since I told him and a return trip would have been most difficult, and my Dad is very disappointed in me as I stare at his face backlit by very strong light coming from the large pane of glass – a vista of glass behind him – and Bobby is upset and distances himself from me because he respects my Father very much, and so I leave, knowing that I have to make it to midtown Manhattan, and I can see the sign from the airport windows for lower Manhattan, with the road that leads there, but I can’t get there from here, and I ask someone how to get to the road, and they point to steps that lead to the street, so I descend, stopping to pee at a bathroom I see on the landing below, though not before having to search out an available urinal. I wash my hands thoroughly and continue to descend. When I get to the street, I join in with a throng of people also walking to the lower Manhattan exit, a huge green sign that looms on the horizon but seems to never get closer. To save time I think about cutting across the grass, but instead find it littered with insects and dead animals. So I stay on the path which now is covered with inches of soot, similar to the way it looked when I evacuated the morning of 9/11. Then I remember that I came with my car, and that will certainly be faster than walking. (To where I am not quite sure, but it is mid-town, not lower Manhattan that I need to get to). So I return to get my car and ask the attendant where is the entrance for mid-town and he says there isn’t one, only lower Manhattan, and I realize that my hopes are dashed as traffic going cross and uptown at this time of day is so heavy that it will take hours to get where I need to be. My friend Jack shows up – not passed – dressed looking like a character from Baywatch with a boat and tells me to hop into the cabin, he will take me. I get in and suddenly bright searchlights pierce the darkness of the cabin from behind where there is a yelling mob. I scream at Jack to floor it and he does, and instead of the boat taking off, Jack begins to ascend as if he is parasailing, up and away, at first large and looming like a Macy’s Day parade float, and then recedes till he is small and colorful and beautiful in the vast blue sky over the crystal clear emerald water that separates me from Manhattan.

Chagall 2020

Thoughts from Avenue B

There are songs I can’t sing without crying,
poems I stop reading seized by reverence and wonder,
roads I walk where I think only of home, where her face prevails

My mind is a jumble of now and then, I am son and father,
mother and daughter, rolled into one on a timeline that wraps
around itself, coiled – unlike a serpent – more like an amulet

I cry for them and for how they cry for me, I assume someday

Brother and sister in a field afar, away from whatever is to come after,
holding hands, silent in a ring, their palms adorned by the signet that binds them,
one for all, yet the many for whom?

There are psalms I can’t sing without crying,
scriptures I stop reading gripped by profound desire
to understand the road we are on, homeward to where we are heading

Chagall 2020 Health, Peace and Love to All


there are countless stars,
each moment a new one appears
as its light completes the journey
of light-years to my retina

makes itself known
first upside down
till the optic nerve
makes it right

at the same time, another star dies,
collapses on itself of its own making,
mass so dense – earth the size of a pebble

no longer at that point
of our realm

there are countless moments

Chagall 2020

The Father’s Hands

the streets are empty, but difficult to navigate
with the piles of dreams left at the curb
for Monday pickup

ticker-tape confetti parades of digital photos torn in cyber space,
an iTunes chorus eternally repeats

till the juice dies
the time flies
nay – it zooms

everywhere everything falls
streaming frenzied spawns
against the current, across the grain

in the end I’ll remember the warm rain
hand-in-hand in puddles with you

(remember reading the world was mud-luscious?)

but now I pray
for the third day

the spirit committed
the return uncertain

Chagall 2020


maybe the world’s hatred manifests as virus,
the reaping of what is sown, after all
these follow the seasons
just like

Chagall 2020

Ci Vediamo

to the man behind the camera
who captured all my sunny daze,
the moments for which I’d be
most proud

who knew enough
to put it down when I needed more

with a mystique still
such that I question ever having known him,
his ever having been at all

so fleeting are the days
these days

Chagall 2020

E Lucevan Le Stelle

I told her to forget about the electric guitars,
bring only the acoustics with nylon strings,
along with the beans, the millet, the jerky

And your great-grandmother’s Caruso records?
she asked

Where we were heading, there would be no technology,
no way to ever hear again the century-old sounds

So I said
Take those, leave half the rounds of ammo behind

Chagall 2020 – E non ho amato mai tanto la vita

Dark Screens

under the blankets
deep dark, thick air

I burrow,
search for a heartbeat
once there

I feel
the earth in freefall

the ground rushes up
gravity pours down
heavier today

(in the home movie she is young again, runs with her kite,
the long string trails behind her, goes from slack to taut,
she laughs with each lift off the ground, in flight
sometimes for only a moment, the tail gracefully arcs,
banking on an old wind)

Chagall 2020

Psalm 18

with my bible and the Book of Chords
I hunker down to write new psalms

praise to the unfailing mountains,
the rocks, the fortress, the deliverer

the chords of death encompass me
as I reel and rock these nights away

the brightness of the day turns dark
in a rain of guided arrows

I brace my body against the stone
reaching up, no rope just hope to guide me

a mere piton slip away from the fall

and we are rewarded
according to the cleanness of our hands

blameless and righteous
for real, humble
for whom is a rock

Chagall 2020

3 – No 4! – Wishes

I wish I could stop running
hot water all over my hands
to wash away the tiny invaders

I wish I could stop caring
about who is breathing
down my neck and in my space

I wish the most important item
on my shopping list was once again
confetti non-pareils

I wish you all health and safety
for you and loved ones

Chagall 2020

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