‘The Iceman’s Helper,’ new poem published for a New Year!

thrilled to have this piece published in a beautiful journal – authors of Italian heritage  (click here to visit the first new edition of 2020!)

I wish my dad was still around – he would have loved this! Proud to be included in Ovunque Siamo
my poem “The Iceman’s Helper” was inspired by my father’s wonderful childhood stories, and the inset photo (my dad Vito W between my grandparents, Vito D and Grace). For Vito❤️

’tis wrestling season, my eyes close for 2 months


I listened last night
cresting waves
you
a ship
the gymnasium floor
covered in ocean blue and harvesting gold
home advantage
there you were
every time I closed my eyes
imagining the sea
rather than watching you twist and be twisted

my heart opened them
I must be like you
brave
put myself out there
on the mat
face my fear, my folly, my foe, my friend
when did you become so you

my son

the little boy
I must one day
release into a hard world
with no soft wrestling mat beneath
should you fall
maxmy max is on the right, gold-stripe
so very difficult watching these wrestling matches
hoping none of these kids get hurt
but they do
must keep my eyes open

side by side

we hope our children view the world through rose-colored glasses
shades
pray they live well, so their buckets won’t need lists
green bucket
we’ll try to respect their deep-seated thoughts
car leg
and teach them to respect those who have gone before
pray
they must always believe they’re more magical than mermaids
lil mermaid
and understand playing dress-up is fabulous, as long as they remain young at heart
money bat
we’ll tell them it’s okay to think upside down
Caro upside down
and they’re the apples of our eyes
apples
and when the world gets too big, they can hide under a blanket
eyelashes
and that same big world is full of wonderment
max laugh
we’ll let them sit in a red chair and do absolutely nothing
max red chair
and tell them they don’t have to smile all the time
painting image
as long as they keep their heads above water
max head above water
we’ll hope they love each other enough to hang out upside down
upside downand sideways
butt heads
but above all that they’ve learned–
love simply means standing side by side
carmax hugwith Caroline attending college this fall, and Max a high school junior come September, I’ve been waxing nostalgic
I published this post last year but have been thinking about it lately
damn, time wearing his ankle wings and over-priced Nikes sure does fly
xmas 2105

Spirit mural

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

The Magical Last Light

I’d like to share something that I’ve selfishly kept to myself for many years. It’s free and it’s beautiful.

My favorite moment occurs when conditions are just right: the sky is a foreboding grey, the sinking sun is well onto closing down for the day, and a gentle wind lifts the tree leaves like fluttering butterflies.

The moment begins when the sun’s last rays illuminate just the tree tops. Then it happens–lasting only a few surreal minutes. Nothing else can describe this sight except magical–the magical last light.
trees ligthIt’s truly spectacular. The interior light in my studio softens even the dogs take notice.
dogs studioIt’s like leaving Kansas for Oz…
color treesI hope you enjoyed this moment as much as I. If you take the time to seek out this light, you too will be reminded that all things are possible–even peace on earth…

Reworked old post from 2014, I thought fitting for today 🙂

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)

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 🙂