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on days when my mom gave me a dollar bill - for spending,
and a tissue - for blowing into (just in case), 
she'd also advise not to put them both 
into the same pocket

I once heard my grandfather posit that 
a friendly rival of his should be buried standing up,
a prayer - I guess - for eternal cramping of the calves?

my grandmother made everything germinate on her windowsill, 
even apricot stones and pineapple tops

my mom's younger brother, my Uncle,
learned to run between raindrops
while aboard ship in the Navy

he could light a Zippo in full headwind

he was on the water looking into Iwo Jima
while my Dad was face-down in its black volcanic sand

spearhead battalions
Marines atop aquatic vehicles

if not for 2 older sisters and a miscarried boy,
who would have been my older brother, but not the oldest,
I would not be here

meaning there was incentive for my parents
to give it one more try - have a boy

keep at it 
my father's father came to my mother in a dream,
he died a month before she gave birth to me, and said
You will have the boy, and Millie will have the girl

as if some prophecy were coming to bear on the world

once my Dad threw a rubber ball 
into the sky, so high

and it hung there for moments,
the most beautiful pink
against blue

cc: Chagall 2021

Please Split Yet Again

So motivated was I to see my granddaughter and her offspring grow old,
that I resolved to live for two hundred years, setting my mind, my heart,
and my spirit goals, on a specific - albeit distant - day in the future.

A daily, if not hourly, reaffirmation of this - live, live a long time - 
advises the cells of the proper pace with which to advance,
slow down, we've got a ways yet to go

You must set the proper expectation for yourself, for example:
Once upon a time, I aspired to live to be 100 years old.  
I was born in 1957, and so I targeted 2057 as my horizon.  
Then one day, after considering my granddaughter and 
wanting to see her as an 80-year old, and her children, 
I realized that living to 100 would be inadequate to accomplish that.
I picked 2100 as my new horizon.

Everyday, every hour, I acknowledge 2100 as the target

Psychologically it readies me
and makes cohesive all of my subconscious 
and unconscious systems

the we that is me are all pulling in line to make 2100 happen

A 60-year old with a life expectation of 100 is 60% of the way there,
while a 60-year old intending to party at 143, is only 42% along.

So we consider our self less than halfway there

Our telomeres will oblige us,
I am certain

you'll see

cc: Chagall 2021

Beguiled Again

I find that the blue dream
only takes me so far

cc: Chagall 2021

Theme from an Imaginary…

There's no story really

one day, it was just cold in the band room, and I yelled out
turn up the the heat, let's get warm, let's rock
and we all sort of looked at each other and 
we tuned up and that's pretty much
how the song was born

cc: Chagall 2021

7-10 Split

she was unequivocally
of two minds

cc: Chagall 2021

Please Give Him This

Thank you, so much,
the marigolds are lovely,
they fill me with joy - 
their promise of
what Seasons bring 

They remind me of that day, the heat of the beach - the evening hours, 
cooling under moonlight, we emanated, throbbed the day really, 
and marigolds were everywhere

It's funny how you'd confused wax and wane,
the light versus the darkness sweeping across the moon,
until we talked that night 

Now, even I am not so certain, 
things are not so plain,
meaning is lost, line to line,
for want of a misplaced breath

Eyes glaze over when stars craze distant lovers,
so much magic in the rising mist,
still to this day

My howls to the night are angled such
they will ricochet to you off celestial objects,
my yearning travels farther as the air grows
colder, time descends faster

I question should I jump,
will I land softly

Will I jump,
shall I ?

It's better not to know
and to brace less

My father used to say
soft hands to keep those
from breaking 
during a fall

cc: Chagall 2021

Hi, My Name is Carlos

a tear will fall and shatter,
a bead in flight - with the same gesture upon impact
as hands emanating from the navel 

a there expressed to the world 
as a splay, a flourish, a fantail of cards

I keep myself entertained with a lot more
facial hair today than I used to have

I wear black and blue and black again - often

My jawbone and eye sockets feel the same settling in
as they do standing up

In bolder relief than now, I came upon the world once,
I laughed and danced mostly, certainly more than now

And you?

cc: Chagall 2021

For Olga

I think my Mom was a dreamer
who was never quite sure whether
she was to wake up or to lie down

to rustle softly as if in a breeze,
where I see her there still in a
picture window, golden and deep red
leaves in shadows of tinted glass

the sun at the end of day an inch from hot,
so beautiful in its endless stretch of light
made evident as rays by other light,
colored pink and ocher

cc: Chagall 2021


it made more sense to me 
to learn what you couldn't do - 
what wouldn't sound right - 
as there was less of that
and so that would be easier

that's what I would say
if I was a jazz hipster
shooting it from the hip
during my interview after
having been questioned 
about my approach 

and I wouldn't be lying

if all the colors are going to work, essentially 
then to what degree will they not?

if any "you" will do, 
then when will you not?

when must it be just you,
only these colors, this light, this tune surrounding us,
this time...

this dance - this grand waltz - these lace veils flowing,
this stairs, this golden case, this spiral rail;
these elegant steps we walk with graceful assurance

in bows tied just right - tight at the waist and Adam's apple,
just enough wear on the soles and the heels, we dance without care,
no fear of slipping or falling

down can be a long way, or a long time coming,
on paper - and in real life - the arrow will appear to point up

I once likened it to digging oneself out of an avalanche,
only to find that one had been upside down all along,
and a reader commented that she freaked out over the thought,
and she got me freaked out over it, so here I re-conceive the concept
to get it out of our heads

it is like thinking that one is fully in love, only to find
that continuing to fall more in love backward and under, 
there are even greater cushions - billows of feathery down - 
upon which to fall, these caress you, and kiss your cheek, 
bring warm palms to soothe your back and hold your head above the spring grass, delectable morning dew and a welcome sear of heat from an early sun, raring to go as we...

and somewhere a climber dances in an ice castle
upside down in a world where light dims thin,
songs sound the same though
and such a fine echo should not go
so under-sung so many unrung rafter to rafter

and high hopes ring better as a chorus
than a soliloquy for one, unless of course it's in refrain
or part of the overture

I once wrote that I'd often been so sure,
I wrote about it - hell, I even telegraphed it,
here's my interjection on my internet connection:
we have convection because the hotter airs rise
and cooler minds stay lower

so low like a crystal marionette 
dangling from a stalagmite, 
ballet atop a tight frozen wire

angelic pirouettes
are no longer in fashion,

my love had an Uncle 
who was a seamstress 
specialized in ballet shoes

he brought a very tough love and care
to the durability and the functionality
of the shoe for the dancer

material that was always fresh on the feet
with superior glide and grip you could turn on
like a foot brake

I am not certain that he himself was ever a dancer,
but he did play various string instruments, and 
was surrounded by music - it appears - growing up

my point, I guess,
is that angels require a fine shoe with which to execute the turns
and leaps that we have grown to expect from them and the dancing cherubim
...the angelic hierarchy...a hierarchy and a history, by the way, that we do NOT understand

Uncle Rocco had a small seamstress space where he custom-tailored
exquisite dancing shoes for the finest dancers:
pointe shoes, ballerina flats, beautiful bindings and split soles, 
ribboned and pleated in shades of sky and clouds blushed by the light of the day as it passes from morning on through to stars

it is a wonderful thing when
the anatomy of the shoe meets the anatomy of the dancer

Aunt Senita  - she pronounced it as Santa, as would Claus - made
wedding gowns to order, with heavenly lacing, full tulle or flowy chiffon, 
a bodice of intricate beading, Senita's gowns flowed seeking the long lines
of the same graceful angelic dancers as Rocco

Aunt Senita was not married to Uncle Rocco, by the way,
two separate stories, one flow - her workspace and his 
share similarities, in my mind, ditto their natural talents, 
as does their love for their work and for their customer

in that way they are one

if you get this far buballah, gimme me a shout out below,
be sure to have bialys added to your spell-check
along with coffee no milk nor sugar

perhaps, some 2% froth, and that 
small spoon of cinnamon

choice of cake
something with flaky yellow crumbs

oh my God - is there frosting too?
she says in slow motion,
drawing the sheet to her shoulders,
but now higher up her knees

dimples and freckles

and I am lost and I am found 
in every song that is played, with lovers in mind,
in every afternoon that was to be saved

some photographs hold so much light from the moment they capture,
these serve their time well, this response to a triggered finger on film,
light through time through glass, to the eye and the heart once again there in time

in my stillness the moment lives
distinctly - not ill-patterned,
avoiding the things that don't work,
the 20% effort that gets you 80% of the way there

the chain around my neck begins to float to the ceiling, 
at least what I thought was the ceiling just a moment ago

cc: Chagall 2021

Red Barns, Doors Open

I would cry more in lilac,
pine less in lavender,
yearn greater on the ride over and off the Sad Bridge 
this time should there be a next time
I will feel more over the bumps

if only

and only

a finer young
fern-green and a more tickle-yellow
is a shock of spring in the gray
and she is the meadow -  I have come to frolic,
to play on the heather, in the haystacks,
the heat of the closing day,
leaves to cool the eaves of the taller barns

her eyes catch two separate colors,
in late-day light slants pink                              
and I am awash in the oncoming
amber bathe                                             

cc: Chagall 2021

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