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7-10 Split

Ironically,
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
tada! 

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

Anti-Curriculum

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,
alas

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
yum

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
everywhere!

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
surely

for 
if only

and only
once

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

And One Hail Mary

when i take my mother-in-law to the cemetery
i remember to bring along a small handful of gifts

a guitar pick to leave behind for Uncle Rocco - 
those are special for him to come by

he can play his mandolin and the others can dance
oh man - the bounce of his younger year
spry arpeggios - now an angel's flutter
about ears, naught to do but butter the air

Uncle Rocco enjoyed a smoke and a glass of red wine when he played,
he wore a gray wool vest with a white shirt, sleeves rolled up,
spectacles at the bridge of his nose, sight-reading the lead-sheet off the stand

Uncle Rocco's playing invited people to sing, 
although he never sang himself,
he left the space to chime in

I once left him a Marlboro Light and a fresh book of matches

for my mom i bring dark chocolate nonpareils,
cherry cordials, and a Whitman sampler of assorted
delights, how excited she is to push past the fancy paper and
the sponge-board to the hidden candy underneath

she also likes Irish creams

i bring my dad the racing form, especially on sunny dry days
when the track is fast and chalk horses fly past the wire with profitable regularity

a beer and a dog at the paddock-concession for old-times sake

and my Grandfather loves his TV Guide, the gateway to viewing pleasure,
a grid of events aligned to time and channel coordinates, 
a study in multiple dimensions

cc: Chagall 2021


Persists

a sunray makes a rainbow
in a tear at the tip of a lash

until it falls

the rainbow descends
prismic in midair

for a moment

once on the ground
it's gone

but leaves
colorful stains

cc: Chagall 2021

Summer Flash

a turquoise porpoise attached to a jade-colored rope
looped through a rectangular placard - a replica of a wave - 
that was her bookmark

in summer wedged between pages

pulled taut the porpoise would ride the top ream there at the binding,
the thick thread (did i say rope?) hidden in the vee of the long fold

amid the tiniest kernels of sand, warmed beach sand
scented of summer oils

and whatever was on the sheets, and the soaps,
and the candles

the sound in the air

cc: Chagall 2021

Sort of Like Clark Kent

I find it very strange
that wherever starlight is
nearby you will find hope
and sadness both

and these always find
their way into eyes
make people howl 
and coo

no nighttime-silhouettes
without starlight

I saw love shoot across the sky once
in pursuit of a single beam of star,
mistaking it for full starlight,
the forest for the tree

cc: Chagall 2021

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