Riding the Cyclone

cyclone milliethey say you can never go back
she did, at 79
the magic of optimism
in her breast
returning to Coney Island
for the ride of her life
a young man locked her in
brave nana, kneecaps knocking
beneath that padded bar
she didn’t look back
only forward
at the dropping parallel lines
stomach lifting steel
smiling, laughing, screaming
on this Halloween
she leaps another year to the right
considering each 365, a dazzling gift
nothing about her has changed much
her remarkable passion
her boundless spirit
why, in 80 years
the only thing that has changed
is the ticket price
her first ride cost twenty-five cents
last month, the Cyclone was twelve dollars

shy party doghappy birthday, mom
xoxo
millie at 79

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and frolicked in the autumn mist…

Well my friends,
Rocky our loving Shepherd has moved on to that big white kitchen where all are welcome. We are heartbroken, but damn if he didn’t enjoy life. So today my family and Rocky’s sidekick, Mojo the Dachshund are celebrating how he lived. And my friends he lived brightly–that dog lived oh, so very brightly…

Peace, love and light, my sweet canine companion
Rocky.post“Puff the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Hanalei
Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Hanalei”

rest now, my furry friend

Holidragon

These Faces

Did I ever see my children
as these faces I see now
My eyes periscope across the ocean of manila brown desks
I’m thinking many thoughts
especially how to remain afloat today
and not sink like a sub
The endless falsetto voices lost in the banter of youth
are not affected by the tepid grey tile and dull institutional cinder block
as am I
On these first days
when teachers gaze across that sea of bright, clear eyes
do they see my children
as I see them
Not evaluating as an instructor
but visualizing with the hopeful heart of a parent
I wonder

Max and Caroline

Max and Caroline

painted oh, so long ago

In my six years as a substitute teacher for all grade levels, just about every teacher I’ve had the honor of working with goes above and beyond what is expected, in an ever changing educational environment. Teachers are a compassionate group. Many educators’ patience is wider than an ocean of manila brown desks.

Birthdays and Band-Aids

We cannot protect our children anymore than we can make ourselves less vulnerable to life. The best we can do is arm them with self-confidence so when their young, conflicted minds step into those ‘precarious’ fields the mantra, “I’m better than this…,” whispers like a gentle school bell, muffled beneath piles of internal clothing.
maxThe big son is still young. He turns fifteen this week. Like many others of his ilk, he enjoys sports. ‘We’ made it through another wrestling season uninjured and now it’s on to football. The big son is a gentle soul by nature–a pacifist at heart. I know it’s impossible to ask for such a divine favor as to keep one’s child completely safe while playing competitive sports, so I’ll just ask that he has fun and only requires a Band-Aid from time to time. And of course, I also ask that every child participating in sports this year remains safe. I know it is a tall order and a selfish prayer.

Last year the big son said to me, “I’ll feel bad if I hurt anyone, mom.”

I responded quite motherly, “Then tackle your opponents with love, son.”

I glanced up at the sky and prayed, “And God, I hope my son is tackled with love too.”
Love TackleLove Tackle, created last year with Prisma pencil.
Partial post previously published around this time last year.

Happy Birthday, Max!

this time of year

may I call you out
it’s time
the nights are growing colder
the mornings chilly
leaves are weary and falling
the trees want to sleep
their shadows have cooled
and something is pressing in the wind
like a secret around the corner
this time of year
the minute hand seems to
overpower the hour
transitions
stepping through that next door
another calendar to markup with activity
summer is worn out
it’s time
for the harvest to begin
though
every time you change
I wish they could stay the same
and play with dolls just a little longer
Gallean with ragdoll
Galeen on a ‘shroom painted on paper a few weeks back

our blue boys

the mantle has been empty far too long
I’ve been meaning to create another portrait
what else is an empty fireplace wall for?

it seems an eternity has passed
since working with a linen base and liquid pigment
pencil and paper are sometimes sorry replacements

on August 3, I set out my paints
and selected a canvas
large enough for a big dog
yet, not overwhelming
for a little one

our last Shepherd, Chama was a regal type
her stoic beauty typified her grace
I did my best to present these qualities
when I painted her formal portrait in 2002

Appreciating

our current dogs
hmm
Rocky the Shepherd
Mojo the Dachshund
what is it about this dynamic duo
that makes my family laugh often

they are quite goofy
yet, they can be fearless too
as small dogs usually go-
Mojo’s 13 pounds sees 90 in our Pella glass door
and
while a Shepherd cuts an intimidating figure
most times
Rocky acts quite silly

when conceptualizing a portrait
there is but one goal–
doing justice to
the subject(s)
outlook(s) on life
natural as the air they breath

in the case of Rocky and Mojo
I’d say joy
and since purple was not quite right
I chose the colors of a
blissful sky, a wistful ocean,
an icy fruit-sickle on a steamy day

our blue boys…
blue boys.largerBlue Boys, acrylic – 3′ x 2 1/2′
finished a few days ago, in between doing loads of laundry – ah, if only they could help with the chores, now that would be something 😉

Chama (Chama the Shepherd looking at her portrait), oils – 2′ x 1 1/2′
painted in 2002  (sorry for poor photo quality)

maternal nightmares

scary baby masklittle witch babies and tormenting black skies
gusting wind
long dark dresses swinging like death bells

a frail newborn with antlers growing
crying out as it tries to lift its weak neck
ocean-deep in salted sweat
those early months

panicking…

a pink infant
without bony deciduous growth
or skull-sunken cheeks

seventeen Halloween moons gone by since,
those first seconds
one more fall harvest
until her
perfect little face departs

dreaming…

scary baby mask, mixed media rendered a few weeks back…
the first time I was pregnant: during the first trimester, I had many bizarre dreams–some were nightmarish, others surreal like Dali paintings…my oldest is now 17 and college planning is on, lots of positive dreaming 🙂

eyes piercing

dad-hsback when men were men
silent pain and strong hands
I remember other agents gathering around him at parties
women telling him what a handsome figure he cut
he smiled in his broad shouldered frame of 6’2
eyes piercing as was that deep voice
terrifying as a child
now remarkable
listening to his life stories
mesmerizing in detail, poetic in delivery, exciting in fact
an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation
as a kid staring up at him
I believed any criminal in my father’s path
immediately surrendered themselves

rather than deal with this larger than life, slice of human
friends called him Bill, the rest–Vito
judicious and fair before earning the law degree
an amazing and prolific career
mafia cases and colorful gangsters
the temper, he still has it
no patience for silliness, but all the time in the world for family
not a day goes by
when I don’t think of him
of the exceptional driving force
his charismatic personality has infused
and continues to…
dad coast guard  dad-shooting rangeHappy 84th Birthday, Dad
dad and mom

shy party dog

shy party dog

top photo – Brooklyn Tech, 2nd – Coast Guard, 3rd – firearms practice, 4th –  my mother-in-law on left, dad center, mom on right

Shy Party Dog created last year for his 83rd B’day 🙂

independent together

repetitive pops in the distance
rapid fire noises
hot air popper blips bring me back
to college dorm days
sucking caffeine at 3am
studying at 4
sleeping at 5
waking at 7
firecracker practice
airborne bubbling sound bytes
too feeble for thunder
the kind you visualize with hydrogen kaleidoscopes
from my porch the night sky is void of color
cheap firepower like my thoughts
July Fourth
United States Independence
always thought being independent together was interesting
Grandma Gulli was born on July Fourth
she was independent together
her husband was an angry alcoholic
she had bigger problems than putting on successful fireworks
why don’t I think of her much anymore
I remember hot air popcorn
my mom visits her mother’s grave
and remembers
it was difficult for a long while
their lives were like firecrackers
bursts of noises
screaming
popping
hollering reds and oranges, flaming yellows
crying blues wet
Grandma Gulli used to work at a paper factory
I wonder if she ever thought about setting fire to the paper
watch it crackle
maybe take away the pain
diffuse her broken heart
with smoke signals
this July Fourth
I will remember Grandma Gulli
I will remember those who would have been tried for treason
I will be independent together

eagle/Prisma

eagle/Prisma

Eagle done in 2008 – original donated to raise money for local high school (all night party)
geez, I’d like to go to an all night party;)

Doing my ‘dad’ post for my father’s b’day – early July

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all you DADS out there!

lessons earned

you’ve gone about halfway
so close
righteous peppers your tongue
your decades of experience
shower unadulterated minds
your determined suggestions
penetrate virginal ears
then the moon flips
your waxing tongue is stifled
nature in her amusing way
has pushed you out
and laughs at your wrinkled brow
she flawlessly accepts
what you won’t admit
children are whirlybirds in the wind
and the only thing you control
is where to sow the little seeds
in your vegetable garden
Caroline and Max spirit

zebras/Prisma

Photo – delicate daughter (now 17) and big son (now 14) standing in front of mural their mom painted in 2004.
Zebras prisma penciled in 2008