Portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Mifflin (Sarah Morris) by John Singleton Copley, 1773 (detail)
A hushed voice, so faint and tender I had to strain any ounce of mental fortitude internally to decipher the song. I didn’t want to I was tired; I am always tired. I tried despite my own reservations. The voice began to hit a point of clarity as I watched my feet take turns hit the ground. Her tone was so soft and her register was low and I imagined she may actually be a cello; so melancholy but so sweet.
I wish I could see her face, just for a moment catch a glimpse and maybe fall in love for but a second. In my terse musings that lasted for only seconds at a time I painted her beauty on a canvas of buckling brick and her eyes were manipulated in pains of leaded glass. Glass that was thick bottomed, flecked, bubbled, foggy white; always on the verge of tears. I walked on her dress, torn and no one sewing it up. Her bodices’ boning exposed, prickling, pointing, and stabbing out into the gloaming. Her voice was now resonating all about, her bustle began to sway, her hair all the while falling to the ground, golden hues, reds, aubergine at times. So brittle. I want her to hold me in her arms, and keep me safe, I imagined that she is my grandmother’s grandmother; she knows me and knew I would find her. I want to pick flowers and put them in her hair, pin the remaining curls back into place, and paint her cheeks, why the long face I ask, fill up her wrinkles with straw and paste. Her eyes are grey and she is still singing to me as I look up at her; mouth contorting with each note. For a second the sky was my home, and I knew peace.
Her hands were now large enough to hold me up in her palm, my eyes shut, and my mouth against my minds better wishes began to smile.
Marilyn photographed backstage of Madison Square Garden, 1955.
Tissued wings so easily ruined by midday’s tears
Wet months causing precarious flight
A more decorated Icarus I guess
My family’s history lifted; nameless to my father
The ether that my grandmother has now become
exists only in the believe that her wings are as ornate
and beautiful as her spirit once was
an orphaned child orphaned now by the universe
destined to reveal herself as fleeting bursts of summer flight
The night of winter wakes up, her specter is gone
The scent of flora decaying mixed with the new chill
It ushers me to a time I didn’t know
A time when she peered into her stars
The constellation of her heart, a legacy in question
She prayed to her Theotokos
Her prayers have been answered
If only this moment, the breath of her love circles my father
Need Any Help?, 1953, Willy Ronis
I carry my boulder, you leave it be. I will give you magic, I will drain it; I will sing you my heart’s song. I will break my cross and build a house for you. Decorate it with wings of many colors. A northern town will throw us a ticker tape parade and we will become historic.