Archive for March, 2013


White dude had it coming.
Shouldn’t park his car here.
Stripped it down in no time.
Gutted seats, engine block,
like pit crews at Indy,
in under one minute,
tripods, jacks, hydraulics.

Tires gone, ornaments,
them too, decals. Santos
went crazy with the gas,
almost blew his ass up
when he tossed the zippo,
got backdraft burnt, the fumes
like a little dragon,
and then campfire time.

Flames. Hola diablo.

Ninth precinct boys in blue
and the N.Y.F.D.,
enjoyed the spectacle.
Fire mesmerizes.
People really don’t care.

White dude came back and cried.
He’d seen napalm before
at the Tet offensive.

Hate me. I hate us all.
Detroit cranked ’em out,
we burned ’em up.  Life goes on…

© Chicheme, March 2013


Me to You

10 to 3,
one too many,
heart to heart,
back to back,
crack to crack,
so to speak.

me to you,
hard to tell
you to go,
when to leave.
so two ponder,
as two do,
what to do,
if to (blank),
(yours to fill).

two to tango,
soup to nuts,
start to finish.
what’s to say?
who’s to know?
you to me,
“got to go.”

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

The Way We Got Lost

It’s snowing outside.
Inside I sow lavender,
native, rosea.

The seeds erupt there,
in the perlite, the clay pots,
by frosty windows.

Cow-blue belles on white,
lace-like, soft green sprigs on foams,
tap cold window glass.

Remember that place?
In open fields beside me,
in that other life?

I will freeze you there
in spacetime, kiss your both cheeks,
cold, smooth Rosea.

Lost in deep embrace,
clinging tight when the pond cracks,
us falling under.

Frantic, in frenzy,
we bubble under the ice.
Boiling cold water

burns in our lungs.
We fight for air, the door back
to the lavender.

The world’s quiet though
fires still burn there along
the way we got lost.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

Fania Old Stars

Joe Cuba? No, coo-ba.
Escucha mi, tía.
Conguero, play salsa,
go boogaloo, chica.

I’ll never go back to
Eleventh and Twilight,
to Mets games and Rheingold,
mofongo and malta,

to dominoes slapping
on formica tables,
out there on the sidewalk,
outside the bodegas.

Dance dance little sister
dance little sister dance
encantadora dance.

Spray me in the summer,
cool by the johnny pump.
Who needs a swimming pool
when Papo’s got a wrench?

I’ll never go back to
Eleventh and Twilight,
but I’m here under sheets
with you little sister,
now encantadora.

Dance little dance sister
sister little dance dance

Feel it swell now big finish, the entire horn section stands up and shouts,
“Look out ol’ coo-ba’s back!”
(stuttering, sputtering drumroll and out. POW!)
“Thank you.  Goodnight Nuyoricans, goodnight.”

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

Monks on fire, ablaze like sandalwood.
We wrap them in scented soft white linens,
like clouds in Katmandu.  Since ’51
haven’t seen the sun in Kham and Ando.

Young Tapey, like rains in Dharamsala,
dreams falling through to the dome, to the glow.
In the palm of the hand, little wings stir
air, a drop falls up, like a feather floats

down.  Sound, light, time, tickles, pulses, the monks,
Where do they go after they’ve burned away?

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

Tea for 1 at 2

It rained today on my anthology
of James Merrill poems, the spine splayed face-down,
open to The Black Swan. Works of Billy
Collins? Dry inside on the barrister.

Tonight I watched the moon carve sinuous waves
on the surface of the tea in my mug.
Auburn, brunette, in the depths of pekoe,
faint light from above etched vibrating strings
there in the circle, the pool formed in space,
rimmed by the edge. Breezes in the high boughs
like the roll of surf, pesky spry zephyrs.

I sip, swallow, small helpings of starlight,
two sugars, cream. I watch a steady stream,
low flying planes, each tipped by strobing light.

Like Doppler’s, people come, they fade away,
peak loud when near,
then trough, then go, then leave,
then go, then dream, then go,
then cry, then go . . .
. . .

© Carlos Chagall, 2013


The 60s, Tompkins Square Park, Manhattan,
my dad, in khaki slacks and black Ban-Lon,
arced his frame, unleashed a tremendous throw,
straight up, launched a 50 cent stickball
far above the rooftops, o’er tenements,
it’s pink receded to a point, a dot,

hung there in perfect blue noon; hangs there

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

Haiku to Dahlia

Dahlia coccinea,
on white oak polished tables,
lean in, to the light.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

It’s a sad life looking
for likers, approvers,
ascenters, thumbs-uppers,
yes sir-ers, yes ma’am-ers,
5 stars, atta boy, side kicks nodding,
who you no-bodies, way to go kidders.

Certifiers, ratifiers,
rapid fire follows
Formaldehyders. Come
out, come out, wherever you are!

Applause, acclaim, esteemers,
like clams,
esteem boat willie,
hot esteem from hissing pipes,
pressure on loose seams,
welds that don’t hold
exploding brass fittings
like shrapnel
across barren landscapes
marred with blue ribbons
and broken glass,
where the beats of the night
give way to the soft melodies of advent.

And ascension validates your existence,
gives you back the cup.

All will be fine,
all will be well,
all will be good,
assuredly, three times, ere the cock crows.

© Carlos Chagall, March 24, 2013

Pavan, The Wind

I'm sorry I failed to keep you safe,
 to protect you from the Ancients.

Perimeter breaks,
 shrill sudden screams,
 faces white, kabuki,
 powdery pounding, dawn dissolved,
 you aloft and me alone,
 in drizzle.  

I sleep
 in shallow arcs,
 in quiet domes 
with deep regret.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013
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