that I cannot do

Tell me how
you make it look so easy
They follow you like puppy dogs
that, I cannot do
I’m the one in the corner
watching all the tails wag
If we were in Rome
they’d be your dancing harem
I’d be off in the market
flattening papyrus
or washing sand from between my ink-covered toes
head wrapForlorn
drawn today while subbing

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

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.

Fa11en

Originally published 9/11/14

For Americans, September 11th has become a day of reflection. On this day we remember the fallen, the injured, the loss, the lessons, the heartbreak, the world…

On that pristine cloudless day in 2001, the New York skyline was blackened. Americans were shocked by tragedy. What happened afterward was nothing short of spectacular. A collective spirit rose up like a phoenix. We grieved a long while then began rebuilding the fallen stone.

After 9/11 many of us looked for ways to help out. I painted hundreds of beach pebbles then planted myself in front of the local grocery store. I sold these rocks for $1 but many teary eyed people donated so much more.
9:11 rocksThrough the generosity of many, I was able to donate over $1,200 to FDNY Rescue 1. They lost eleven men, half their company. The portrait below is of FDNY Rescue 1, Firefighter Gary Geidel (44 years of age), lost 9/11/2001. This portrait went to his mother.
Gary GeidelThere are many parts of the world that can’t look back–their lands are still war zones. I pray for worldwide peace. It is very, very difficult…but not impossible.

For those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001, my thoughts are with you on this sad day.

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)

no mint breeze in the rain

many have written about rain
how the rain makes you lonely
endless drops echoing in an empty chest
the cold of them creeping up your shirt
shudders into the back bulge
the obvious dullness of the sky
over-burdened clouds unable to ease the mind
wind maybe, no breeze
delicate mint leaves collapse
they don’t know the end of it
never do
endless repetitive pings on pavement
no playing on the drooping lawn

  sucking mulch beds
engorged suburban septic sours
the smell can be bad
so the rain
it is wet
it is sad
it is dark
for a big-eyed kid waiting for the storm to pass

boy with green glowing eyeswhy this face? I’ve no idea…more crayon playing and yes, it was raining.
For Fawn – may rain come your CA way
(there is happy rain, I was in a melodrama moment-perhaps I shouldn’t write while drinking red wine 😉 )

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 🙂