I CAN FLY
In the morning sun
I watched a Robin
walk back and forth
across my sidewalk.
I asked him, why walk,
when you can fly?
He asked me
the same question.
But I canÕt fly, I replied.
Yes, you can he said.
Let your wings unfurl.
Realize who you arenÕt,
and you will fly like me.
With no self I take off.
BROTHERHOOD SAVES MY LIFE
On the first day of spring
I hike up the Major Welch,
the tallest mountain within
60 minutes of New York City.
Half way up to the summit
a hungry black grizzly bear
emerges from hibernation
and confronts me directly.
I try to remember my choices
I learned as an Eagle Scout:
Stand your ground, maintain
direct eye contact—donÕt yell
or scream, speak in a soft voice.
The bear embraces me like a brother.
I even thought I saw him smile.
I forgot IÕm wearing my fatherÕs cap
inscribed with TeamsterÕs Union,
After the bear scampers off,
I realize heÕs a reincarnated
TeamsterÕs Union brother.
Buddha got it right.
We all get recycled.
MY BIANCHI MILANO BICYCLE
When we were young kids,
John Flaherty and I rode out
to Laguardia Airport to watch
planes take off and land.
We made tomato sandwiches—
mayonnaise on Silvercup Bread,
on Cross Bay Boulevard at Point Lookout.
Golden blue dragonflies landed
on our mouth-watering sandwiches.
A good omen, forecasting our success.
We caught flounders, flukes and crabs,
and once hooked a drenched NYPD cap
with the embroidered letters, POLICE.
Since JohnÕs father was a police sergeant,
he was spooked, and never told his folks.
MY OCULAR HALLUCINATION
I see a montage of my world falling apart.
An earthquake rumbles in the sky—buildings crash down
in an avalanche of crushed skulls.
ItÕs a quagmire of Houdini-like deception—
shocked faces peer out of falling windows
at the sight of embezzled money floating down.
My eyes roll around, turning inside out in pinball gyrations.
Antelopes roam across clouds, nuzzling each other nose to nose.
Able-bodied men lower women and children into lifeboats.
A fog horn blares as a ship sinks into the sea.
Galaxies clash, lightning cracks yellow-green over a black sky.
Kamikaze pilots plot peace—diving down for breathable air
and drinkable water to a place where thereÕs a there there
as real as the love of an infantÕs first smile.
THE NAZIS IN MY CLASS
In 1940, two snarly classmates, George Larosa and Lawrence Marrineli,
joined the German American Youth Bund so they could dress like storm troopers
and sing ŅDeutschland Uber AllesÓ— which still rings in my ears.
MarinelliÕs parents kept a banner of the 22,000 American Nazis
who gathered at Madison Square in February of Ō39
that read ŅStop Jewish Domination of Christian Americans!Ó
The classmates werenÕt even German, and had to lie about their ancestry
to join the ŅFriends of the New GermanyÓ and attend Camp Siegfried in Yaphank, N.Y.
They must have figured if Hitler was good enough for Mussolini,
he was good enough for them.
These kids were brainwashed to promote antisemitism.
As the Chief Justice of the student-run Supreme Court
and the only Jew in our school, I was a conspicuous target for their rage.
After school, I ran as fast as I could—hitching a ride on the back of a trolley car
that ran down Fresh Pond Road. I evaded them by running in the back door
of my grandmaÕs dry goods store on Grand Avenue.
To make matters worse, they were jealous of the beautiful Natalia
who liked to corner me with her prematurely prominent bosoms.
I never ran away from her.
© Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D.
Bio: Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D., is an 87-year-old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Taj Mahal Literary journal, Antigonish Review, Ottowa Arts Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.