Archive for May, 2013


Baton Relay

By myself, talking to myself again,
the spirit moves me to tongues, jibberish,
shot from the hip, to some point, encircling,
a knee jerk, a spasm, catatonia,
asleep atop a tightwire. Tympani?

Are those really steel drums that are playing?
Or is it just the hum of song machines,
there behind the walls? The underground trains
speed, fluorescent murals, painted blacklight
tunnels that rocket to bright midday sparks.

Hot; starched curtains, white; edged lemon cotton.
Key lime pie and peaked, sweet meringue rosettes.
Life is easy in the sun; blood orange
juices run the length of your inner arm.
The parrot also blabbers jibberish,

straight from the beak, so to speak, turns a phrase
clean as a whistle or a pirate song.
I wash your arms in clear, fresh, cold water.
Stickiness dissolves, your limbs are refreshed,
renewed, invigorated, and christened.

These streets are ancient; the clay is primal.
The sunlight is primordial. The stars
are the reason for the day, for being.
Raison d’etre. The way it’s to be.
“Marcello!” In the fountains, once again.

Your place has large sculpted window boxes,
arcs, smooth plaster, your own personal asps;
so much fun to kiss in rooms well tended,
in classic southerly light, long lean rays,
from ceiling to floor, in lofts in Paris,

light caught in seams of wood planks, sock-varnished,
colors ride steamed mist, swarms of bees take hold,
so much space between me and the thing seen,
which is you, grace and splendor, at its peak,
where the oxygen is too thin, miles high.

You can gasp all you want, you still can’t breathe.
When you mistake up for down, more than once,
is it time to buy champagne by cases?
Accelerate the deterioration.
Kill brain cells in droves, fly ’em to the moon.

There’s a wind that blows when you’re not around,
scented of nectar suckles and honey,
combs of thick syrups, agave, sugars,
lustrous caramels, burnt deep sienna,
It rains and lifts the mocha,  brew of loam,

rich in mineral, organic matter.
You’d be proud to be associated.
Everyone agrees, nothing but wonder.
Smells that evoke another time and place.
Melodious aromas shadowbox.

Mardi Gras and everyone is elsewhere,
despite being right here, smack dab in it.
I am so sorry to have to do this.
i capture the light, a strand from my lips,
small fibers connecting there to her own.

Not yours. There’s something wrong; I feel feint, spent.
It’s another earth, I’m so sure of it.
It’s that other me, I’ve kept under wraps,
a subtext, a prelude to sanity,
an idiot in the making. Save me.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

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You look so familiar under the brim,
sun-warmed straw hat,
Panama Blue, foamed
white clouds, nothing but
horizons.

Tan sand warm,
cinnamon, toast.
Sweet samba,
how you walk!
Swept, spectacular buttocks,
on the upswing,
always.

You can never have enough limes:
repeat that three times.
I’ll wait . . .

I cut you off at the sink,
and we dance a quick
1-2 and
end in a kiss
to punctuate the up-beat,
the turnaround.

You break, your own time,
to whirl barefoot
on terracotta,
snap you fingers, close your eyes,
shake, rattle, roll,
in private, pondering,
your own reverie.

I gulp big palmfuls
of healing water,
cold ladles of quenching, drench
over parched tongue,
lips and palette.

I twirl you
in white rooms,
underneath silks,
wound up like a top,
in emerald,
teal and rose.

I pull your puffy lips
with my own, release,
they snap back,
emboldened, laden with
blood, alive.

Your frame,
head through neck,
wriggly shoulders,
down the curve of sides,
meringue hips.

Swing, long body!
In the wind, in the night,
lean and pose,
poise, stretch
tight, grace,
ease into a self-arc.

You are a time from before,
you bring me back
to salty winds,
high spires in glare,
too bright
to bear.

Surf, roll over me,
endless slow shoosh
of shaving cream
echoes, royal.

You, like a shark,
swimming the surface,
under deep violet skies.

Cutting your arms
in perfect vees,
all along the waterlne.

Propelled,
as if floating on air.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

Abaci

It’s the last day, all the pieces away,
the board packed up, damp paperbacks adrift
in time, on shores, pages stuck together
like wonton wrappers, floured fingers pry
each paper-thin layer loose, like a scab
pulled from the ages, the times when
summers’ lights warmed barefoot girls
dancing ska, dark rums and tabla
keeping beats that only seers felt.

Tornadoes the size of fists grabbed at us,
sprites from nowhere, pixies to beguile
even the most steadfast non-believer
among us, temporary lapses in sanity,
slow to vanish like the aftermath
of bright flashes, instamatic power cubes
before digital, when low light meant
wide open apertures and long shutter speeds,
avoided shudders that would disrupt the flow
of light to film three hearts on the mend.

I rest my chin in my hands, coy there prone
along the footlights, casting a large shadow
on the back wall, a Chinese lantern,
a lava lamp, a strobe, dancing shoes
hanging on a peg, on the wall above your bedside,
powder blue silk ballerina, how you’d slide,
glide on dust, on chalky planks,
spin, and toe, and hold, arabesque.

A kiss in total darkness, where the self is all,
on a flat plain, lower than the highest peak,
arching and craning our necks to the sky,
modest in majesty, purple prose and monotone
gypsies sing in distant choirs,
reverberate in the canyons around us,
while spectral howls rise high above the timberline,
and each drop is sheer, straight to the point.

This is the moment we talked about,
before the re-entry, after the last time,
promising one another to remember the other,
there was no way we wouldn’t once beholden,
but that was then, before the inevitable
disappearing frame, where it’s harder to find
perspective, unlike the clarity we hold
in the interim, at the way-station between beads
we pluck from the string across the canopy.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

To Those

The earth shook,
rumbled steady roll,
like the subway leaving Chambers,

heading for the Center,
sky turned night, came down.

Debris,
soft quiet,
snowfall, deserted

ancient Manhattan,
the southern tip,
where east meets west

at a point
where neither

is what it was,

along gaslight streets,
immigrants stroll,
sing silent carols,

forbidden hymns
for fallen angels.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

Sebastien Greco, all vocals
Carlos Chagall, guitars
DD Rivera, bass
Bambino C, percussion

Words & Music by Carlos Chagall, 2013

I have a number of wonderful binders –

a half-page green
marble com-
position, wide-rule;

a handmade leather
sketchbook unlined
from High Peak Craft, Tucson, Arizona, complete
with a leather loop to tie around
a post, to tassel shut;

a traditional 5-
subject $2.59
college-rule
with pocketed dividers,
perforated pages

– to name a few, in which I collect,
scribe and pray.

I occasionally doodle en obscura,
white space
I cordon off, masterful strokes,
black felt-tip markings, marginalia
that I intend to evolve someday.

Snippets, idea-ettes,
need water, vigorous nurturing
to imbue them with form.

Each one on their own not much,
but collectively a definitive assortment
of their own reckoning.

The words concise, intentionally imprecise,
neatly contained in inches, blocks sized
two by two, or four by four,

like so many
synapse
whistling
a happy tune
along
the
dusty
trail.

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

Sebastien Greco, vocals
Carlos Chagall, guitars
DD Rivera, bass
Papo Cuadrado, percussion

Words & Music – Carlos Chagall, 2013
Just this side of spoken word – near beatnik
– to all those who remember the Shower House – for Johnny W.

The Stylus

Salt rims her eyes,
where tears had been.

Mascara runs on
jacquard cheeks; Pierrot.

Pale lips part:
shells, hollow,
pinholes,
twilight.

Luminous anemone,
fluorescent trails,
miles of blue in green.

God, her aroma
sweet, incense,
sweat, essence
hot on the exhale.

Nothing so soft
as the space between her eyes.

Ride her nose,
down dimples,
for lips.

Arabesques ’bout her lobes,
carve the neckline’s
long mortise.

Filigree atop her skin,
dampened, one continuous kiss,
without time nor need for air.

I yell for the world to “Clear!”
a time for fibrillation.
(I’m thinking maybe titillation?)

Or getting to the point:
distillation.

I lose myself in her,
double our hulk,
our girth.

For every front,
a back. For every figure,
a ground. For every pull on the string,
fluttering wings in the palm.

For every locked gaze
lays a walkway.

A john boat, a fair, the tunnel of love,
caramel, candy apples.

We coil together,
we roll and we tumble,
play-doh, rock, and sinew.

And in the end,
she’d prop up on elbows,

she’d say,
“You’re my favorite people.”

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

Unnamed Poem


The nougat,
the payload,
essence, Persistor,
sturdy like a solder weld,
planting me,
center of all things.

The outskirts of heaven
halo my awareness
arc the balloon-tie top
of my dome,
a distance I traverse,
easily, boldly,
with a sure,
strident gait,
leaving stars in my wake,
like glitter falling
from my sequined socks,
sparkle and glow.

Archetypal patterns
establish themselves
according to plan,
protons and photons,
“Oh My!.”

That gel,
placenta inside,
me, traces,
the shape,
nebula, I carve,
hover, envelop,
I give to,
draw from.

Soul-mate wanted:
Sanskrit,
chitlins,
Wiccan Chicana,
looking for
Banzai barrio warrior.

Who knows that she would

like to swing on a star,
carry moonbeams home in a jar
.

Sitting at a small table,
eating sweet cereal,
watching early morning
cartoons, the man
in the moon,
big smiley face,
above the horizon,

compressed, telephoto,

pre-school

memory.

Th-th-th-th-th-th-that’s all folks!

© Carlos Chagall, 2013

Thought You Said

Sebastien Greco, vocals
Carlos Chagall, guitars
Dede Rivera, bass
Papo Cuadrado, percussion

Words & Music, Carlos Chagall, 2013
Just this side of spoken word

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