Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Color ?





Color? 


why is the sky blue?  asks the child

is the sky blue? asks the philosopher

why is the earth brown? asks the child

is the earth brown? queries the scientist

in all manner of shades shimmering on

the wings of birds in flight, dipping into

seas and lakes, streams rippling over

rock, toads sitting on lily pads, insects

buzzing on fields of flowers, 

mountain tops and graveyards, 

infant skin and elders’ hair, 

conflagrations and quiet meadows, 

savannahs, and crayons 

throughout the chaos of this life

pulsing with blood, bone and 

imagination … throughout it all

color runs, flies, crawls, seeps,

bursts, or ...  does it? 

is all a mere inking over the 

raw lines of existence - yet...

should the spectral spectrum of 

brilliance shared be so – 

does it finally fade to black as

do we? ...

Is all tint, but a human construction 

for this otherwise bland world?


What is real? What is color? 

Is death the absence of hue ... 

Or...?


Perhaps there shall come a 

conclusive, cosmic, collaboration 

of color, a klieg lit nova of luminescent 

illumination, formerly elusive,

entirely incomprehensible 

mimicked by mere mortal imagination -  

only unlocked with the loosening

of physical coil      

beyond 

any rainbow

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Safe




Safe 

 

in the arms of a parent

curled on one’s side

tears wiped with a 

cool cloth as stutter

sobs recede ..

breath slowing

breeze gently blowing 

the light cover soft 

cocooning 

in the arms of a parent

 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Water under the bridge



Water under the bridge 


True as you say 

there is a great deal 

of water rushing under 

our bridge

Yet, seems to me

that as long as we

are standing on the

bridge looking at

the water – 

as long as we

take care 

neither to fall nor dive in – 

I believe 

I believe 

I still continue to believe - that

we can cross to the other side 

Together. 

The water flowing 

Sparkling … forward 

After all.  

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Everlasting




Everlasting 

 

She was twenty he twenty-two new wedding bands on fingers

to the islands they flew 

Landed and she entranced pulled into irresistible dance after a day or 

two in her soul a certainty knew … she called home:

 


Bride to her father 

 

Hi Daddy, yes all is well – I need to talk to you

Things are not just okay – they are fantastic  

As soon as I stepped off plane it felt like I was home 

we’re going to stay 

 

A second or two ticked by frangipani air 

sweet and heavy drifted in from the open veranda

there she sat on the edge of the bed - a stream of hotel 

AC lifted her just from the beach- showered hair – 

she took a sip of her frozen drink – waiting for him to think  -

his answer came swift and fast – 

its portent intended and would everlast

 

“Baby, said he, is there a cemetery in town?”

 

Yes right in the center down 

 

“When you hang up go there and take a walk around inhale deep and see

it comes awfully fast - follow your dream and be .. 

I love you”

 

Her heart swelled –breath caught, tears fell

To be understood and loved so true, so deep and well

By a father who could let her go 

Though the decision had to be a shock you know. 



Groom to his mother 

 

Mom, Hi …

 

Uh , fine, yep having a good time

Uh, Ma we figured maybe – Uh we’re going to stay

 

The receiver drops

“No No No … No way! 

Hang the sheets on the mirrors my son is dead to me “ *

 

Her newly  minted father-in-law picked up the conversation -

 

“Your mother is upset she thought you were just on vacation

Take care of yourself you hear

Goodbye call and ask for yourself it’s long distance the cost is dear” **

 

She could hear the wailing as he hung up the phone

Lit a cigarette, poured a drink, picked up a towel and walked out alone 

 

She understood the love thrumming in both those calls 

the winds of support the wails of pain 

It all washes over her, warm and refreshed time and time again  

 

Parenthood -Love – Life - all right there…. 

Spilling, sparkling, in Caribbean air 

 

 

 

*A Jewish tradition of mourning included covering mirrors with sheets

**  In the days long prior to cell-phones when long distances rates exorbitant for many – some devised a method of letting a caring party know of an arrival by calling ‘collect’ and asking for oneself. 

Friday, December 15, 2023

Remember when






Remember when


Remember when

you snuggled in my arms

tiny hands on my skin

and I the safest place

in your Universe?

 

Remember when

I held you by two hands

you took toddling steps

and one day let go 

 

Remember when 

we laughed at soap bubbles

and tickles on your bare feet

the way the waves came and went

 

Remember when 

I kissed your toes and you 

hugged  my neck so hard

I was breathless

 

Remember when 

You brought me hibiscus blossoms

from outside our house 

the sea sparkling behind you

 

Remember when

Lexi Shepherd slept next

to your big-boy bed

your fingers twined in her fur

 

Remember when

you started school 

surprised me with tears

holding onto my legs

before you let go 

 

Remember when

you would fold the newspaper

to the crossword puzzle

for me when I came home

from work

 

Remember when 

your best friend Sean

was killed on the corner

run over by his kindergarten school bus

 

Remember when 

you said that you 

knew that G-d was 

all the people together

that had ever lived

 

Remember when

you called to me for a towel

though you already had one

lifted your arm to a single hair

 

Remember when 

you put on shades -

stepped up into your 

Jeep Wrangler and 

drove off 

  

Remember when 

you had a lovely college

girlfriend who wrote poetry 

and had long brown 

hair and wore your sweaters 

 

Remember when

you graduated college, 

flew cross country to law school, 

and came

back again

 

 

Remember when

we went to DC 

you in a dark navy suit

and after swearing in 

walked around the Capitol 

 

Remember when 

you with your cool

dark shades walked behind

me and pretended I was

somebody and you my 

secret service 

 

Remember when 

you opened your own practice

and moved into a fancy

apartment and I was 

part of it all 

 

Remember when 

we met for Saturday coffee

at Starbucks and talked

about life and philosophy

particle physics, and poetry

 

Remember when 

you got your first flashy car 

asked me to go as you 

decided between colors

 

Remember when 

you were asked to join as

partner in a bigger firm

with a big office 

 

Remember when 

you made football understandable

by comparing the ball to a 'baby’

that needed protection

 

Remember when

we would watch games

at your apartment

sometimes with your friends

every Sunday 

 

Remember when 

the Jets won a game or two 

the spread that you’d put 

out and the corner of the

couch where I’d sit 

 

Remember when

you fell in love and doubt

and talked with me for 

eighteen months about 

whether or not to marry

 

Remember when 

you were deciding which ring 

invited me to go and see

and made a plan for proposal

 

Remember when 

you went off to a sweet warm spot 

with hibiscus and frangipani

had someone film your private tea-lit

dinner proposal on the beach at sunset

 

Remember when

I picked you both up at the airport

how we all hugged together 

in a circle laughing

 

Remember when

we danced at your wedding

and two years later you showed

me a sonogram 

 

Remember when 

you passed me your newborn son 

named the baby for my father

and let me hold him close

 

Remember when 

his tiny hands were

replicas of your own  

grasping my finger


Remember when 

you had two other

little boys and I

got to meet one

and not yet the other



Remember when

I am sure you remember 

the latters and have no memory

of the beginnings 

 

Remember when

you thought you would

care about me forever


I do. 

You don’t. 

 

Remember when

this silence from you

was incomprehensible -

when counting years up to 

this unfathomable age

me shunned -disallowed

from creating any new 

memories was unthinkable 


Remember when 

I was certain 

you were my legacy 

my slice of immortality

the memory of all I was

secure in your love 


 

Remember when?


Then, Now and Forever

I shall, with bewilderment,

confusion, and shimmering 

love. 


Remember when?

Impossible to forget -

Vivid and unreachable

As age irrevocable and steady

turns me slowly to the star dust

from whence I came -

 

Remember then

the star dust sparkling over

the burgeoning horizon …


Sentient and ever...

Remembering …


Thursday, December 7, 2023

I think it is all in that tree







I think…

I think back 

sun dappling through wafting

willow weeping -  boughs over us,

Father and daughter

I shall never see …

the grass cool beneath

our backs –      breath

easy and safe-

A poem

Written in the air

Lovely as a tree

Held in my forest

of forever memory

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Once I wore armbands and marched with flowers in my hair -





 


Once I wore armbands and marched with flowers in my hair

Left the battle-ground tearing the nation and traveled to an island far from the hatred

sputum streets thronging there - 


Left my armbands, kept my flowers – found a place where there was pure treasure in simply living the hours –

Possessions were few and completely unnecessary when crystal waters flowed and there was gentle harmony -

Where I could in gentle frangipani breezes listen aware 

nod Bon voyage to other materialistic far off voices running the treadmill to nowhere –

 

I yearned for the peace, for the universal kindness connection and believed with allmy heart it would come to pass – that I could step out and into a worldly nirvana and without guilt let the years pass –

 

I inhaled sheer beauty each day, taught bright eyed little children their letters and numbers, bore a child of my own, sailed on boats, talked of the world through the night 

with those back from ‘Nam and those who had refused an unjust fight.

 

Once I wore armbands and marched with flowers in my hair

believed, in a new world order seeded, ready to blossom with care

 

It never occurred to me that once this movement danced and sang in ardent passion as one glorious teeming mass. 

All hues and beliefs marched, loved and lived in ardent certainty that we had breeched the stultifying morass .   

The beat went on and on and on nothing, absolutely nothing seemed out of scope. 

We brought wars abroad and home to a halt, everything seemed possible with this power of hope - 

and as all transpired and we rose above fallen and slain – 

burgeoned by new optimism, believed in all that the entire planet would gain.  

All the while of this time we listened, and respected the clarion call of Mother Earth – 

it never, ever, for an instant occurred to me that any of this could spin in reverse.

 

Now –

Many decades have flown and I am beyond all conceits - fully grown -the proverbial flowers have faded, dried and in the wind blown  – 

there is nothing as sad, depressing and desperate as aging in place – 

when there seems little hope sparkling on the horizon for this too often inhuman race – 

Too many overfed, privileged, greedy, and such, others struggling starving, the continuum vast and wide, 

Horrors spreading as a bloody overall haze, but worse, even worse than all horrors is this  heinous malaise

 

The malaise that accompanies the grim reaper calmly irrevocably counting out our days with a smile that is cold.   

We are old. We are old. 


Revolutions need the power of belief – need stable institutions against which to rail – 

we stand on unsteady limbs in the tarnish of age that is no longer gold 

too much that glittered steady in a state of declining or absolute fail–  


No, this age no longer gold we sputter and cannot find the words to inspire ourselves or the young -with the tales once told – of a time when belief in each other was strong – 

in the power of the people and the future in each song.

 

And yet, and yet through this fog of grim, dim, hopeless carnage and ache –

there are those crumbs of joy that still remain one day when the soul screams in hunger for pleasure to take.

 

And yet, and yet, moving out, and above, soaring from perspective on high, this may very well be a time when the poison of hatred toxic and putrid runs through the lands and eventually runs dry.  

Perhaps, if we rise, far beyond our elusive, impossible, dreams of individual change, we will see that the seas rising, the bergs melting, the temperatures, quakes, tsunamis, all sorts of catastrophic things are simply the water pounding the rock

 

 

The rock that is stuck in our throats and our hearts, the rock 

that seems to be an individual and global immovable block-  

but perhaps it is true – in a beat of the sand and sea 

that this revolution is a question of evolution whirling about us, confusing, us, into thinking that rapid change we shall see come to be. 

 

In the beat of the sand and the sea and all that shines through darkness – we are but a speck of stardust - but stardust collected illumes the darkness shooting light through - 

whether we shall see the ultimate cosmic revolution is beyond all we can possibly know. 

All we can grasp with both arms, a full heart and soul is that ..

We are the wave

We are the flow

and as Belafonte sang long ago 

... soon the rock must go -


Harry Belafonte - Paradise in Gazankulu 

 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Swing low sweet chariot




Swing low sweet chariot

 

Swing low sweet chariot -

at three my father sang 

the words to me and soon

I sang with him,  his large

basso velvet voice and my 

little one merged together 

echoing off the tiles at bubble

bathtime – or in our tiny living 

room, wherever the mood to 

sing struck him, and I his

willing duet partner de-

lighted to fill my lungs

and revel in the fill of 

words in the air – the

thrum of some sort of

big feeling I could not name

in my chest

 

Swing low sweet chariot 

Comin’ for to carry me home

A band of angels comin’ for to me 

Comin’ for to carry me home 

 

As a teen we still sang together

all sorts of show tunes ….

Carousel and Porgy and Bess – 

that sort of thing and we were

in my memory quite good together

belting out in full voice 

 

I looked over Jordan 

And what did I see 

Comin’ for to carry me home

A band of angels comin’ after me

 

We never stopped singing that song – 

Though time and geography grew –

college came and I went, a too early 

marriage and some years lived in the

bliss of the Virgin Islands - 

Where, there, in the shower – 

in the evening at sunset –alone or

later dancing with the infant son

I bore, I sang the familiar words

 

Swing low, sweet chariot 

Somewhere I knew he was singing too 

Comin’ for to carry me home

A band of angels comin’ for to me 

 

And one hot day years later on that

forever marked, shimmered August

afternoon – sunlight pouring over

him as he lay shivering in the heat

I pulled the puffed white duvet up 

to his neck, smoothed cologne in his 

black hair shot, watched the sun glint

on his threaded strands of  platinum – 

oxygen hummed in the corner – as I 

sat on his bed and sang as he whispered ….

 

Sweet low, sweet chariot 

Coming for to carry me home 

A band of angels comin’ for to me

Comin’ for to carry me home

 

His eyes closed, his lips cracked

dry – but still in that quiet room – 

in those last days, each time I sang, 

and sang, and sang, over and over 

and over again -

 

Swing low, sweet chariot

Comin’ for to carry me home ..

Each time, I knew that from 

the beginning he had taught

me, had scripted his leave-

taking, softened his ending with –

 

A band of angels comin’ for to me 

As he was carried away with song