Monday, March 31, 2014

Separate things

(Magritte, Infinite Gratitude - 1963)

As for who I was
leave it in the past
together with 
the settled dust
and the leftovers.

As for who I am
take it out for dinner
and journeys to places
my feet have never been to
not even in dreams.

I learned this

I've searched the night
five weeks in a row
for traces of you.

There is a sleepless man
for every dog
barking in the neighborhood.

Each howl connects
to a soul's cry somewhere
in muted desolation.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

To the first man who left

There are things
we kept secret after
growing up and apart.

Because they were
so dear to our hearts
they became treasures.

My most painful cry still
dwells on the very corner where
you announced you were leaving.

I never watched the stars
or the city lights with anyone else
from our spot.

I visit it occasionally and
you might be glad to hear that
birds live in our place now.

Someone planted a tree there
and its undisturbed shade
reminds me of your arms.

Friday, March 28, 2014

On Walmer Beach

My first encounter
with the sea happened
in southeastern Kent.

Had there been other people
on the beach, I would have
felt foolish for crying.

The water and the sky,
a gray-blue mix
of quiet and solitude.

The spots of poppies
among the pebbles,
the smell of licorice.

On my first encounter
with the sea we sat speechless
across from each other.

There was calm,
timid love in the waves
for me.

(Last night I dreamed of the sea, which I don't know, for the first time.)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Meant for the fire

Gli adulti (the adults) were always having 
conversazioni di adulti (adult conversation) while 
we sat around them and played 
with the flames of the old oil lamps,
i bambini della mia famiglia (the children in my family)
lost in long conversations
with the salamanders.

Se ti bruci, ti spacco la faccia (if you burn yourself, I'll break your face)! 
- a loving promise.
Lascia soli i capretti (leave the kids alone)!  
- a protective cry. 
Le donne della mia famiglia (the women in family)
were all too busy 
for the fire spirits.

But we danced together and
learned some beauty from them:
that we can bear any inferno (hell)
that skin cannot be our only belief, 
that a great deal of self-awareness is contained in pain,
that we are born from a quite unique spark
e siamo fatti per il fuoco (and we are meant for the fire).

(Written for Susan's Midweek Motiff: In two or more languages, I'm having a bad moment with my mother tongue, that's why I chose to go my third language, Italian. This poem is also shared with The Imaginary Garden)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

To the naked eye

Was he the original Tom
to be blinded by Lady Godiva,

the last thing he saw
was freedom in nakedness

which he immediately embraced,
his eyes painted with dazzling whitish awe.

The liar paradox

Maybe that's because
you still visit my mind
when I am alone.

I think of how often
I would pass up my plans
to rest a song in your arms.

No one, no stranger 
would take notice of my 
absolute sense of emptiness.

“I'm very scared, Buster. Yes, at last. Because it could go on forever. Not knowing what's yours until you've thrown it away.” 
Truman Capote, Breakfast at Tiffany's


(Written for Margaret Bednar's Play it again challenge on The Imaginary Garden. My pick was #2 Kerry's challenge to write a poem inspired by a quote from Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's. The title is a reference to the line 'this sentence is false' in Gödel's first incompleteness theorem.)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Little Miss Red Hair

(image from my personal archive)

I follow Little Miss Red Hair 
around the yard and am visited
by Rousseau's ghost:

if she wants to take off her shoes,
if she wants to eat a a flower or two,
if she wants to chase the dog

among the garden plants,
if she wants to lie on the stairs,
if she wants to play with bugs,

if she finds the charcoal bag,
if she wants to climb the guava tree,
watch for traces of a younger you.

(Written for Herotomost's challenge over at The Imaginary Garden. Corey, I haven't been around much, but I've watched the children in my family play on the same yard I grew up in, I've watched them explore the corners of my little world and touch the magic in it. Your mention of Lewis and Clark reminded me my world got a lot bigger, but it's this yard my heart and mind will always come back to. For the record: the little girl on the photo is my second cousin.)

Friday, March 21, 2014


When I die,
make sure
my obituary

she laughed,
and wrote.

(shared with The Imaginary Garden)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Aries and Gemini

The airless days of March
produce the clearest nights.

I know a girl who traced a map
going from Hamal to Pollux,

so her favorite boy on Earth could
always find his way back to her heart.


a star is missing
no one will notice.

It's impossible to tell
when it was last spotted.

All this light in the city,
a man can easily lose the sky.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ready to grow up

We have more than
the words we've imprinted
on each other's bodies.

There is a story of us
which told often
would help me dream.

Two or three times
I hesitated,
two or three times,

to climb that tree
up to the highest branches
to see the world eye to eye with you.

Had I not known
how far from the ground  I was
I might have gotten hurt.


There was silence
above and below
there was silence

around and within:
Today the sky was
quieter than usual.

That is where
the eyes saw the truth.
Send me back.

Because I am weak.
When you can't love me
I wander off.

Send me back.
This heart won't change
while you sleep

and soon no road
will take me

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Happy place

Get home
cook for one
and eat alone
in the kitchen

longing for
the nights I'll rest
inside the stories
I'll tell my children.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

We are always searching for home

In the end
this is what I was.

I was someone
you could always come to

with a question or silence
at three in the morning -

you'd find me there.
watching your sleep,

being protective of you.
Like a loyal dog.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Since a very early age,
they told me that I was meant to serve,
that I would grow among people to heights
much beyond theirs but I should never forget 

where I came from - 
Use your strength in favor of the weak.
Learn to heal scratches.
Never get too attached.

I have taken names for the sake of true love,
I have cried reading over people's shoulders,
I have witnessed deaths and births,
I have been embraced.

I once fell in love with a man
who sat on the bench nearby and 
observed me for hours in silence.
His breathing around me felt like completeness.

(Written for a writing game with Matthew Temple)
(Note: the persona in this poem is a tree)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A space to disappear

Go for a swim in the deep waters
of your blue eyes to make friends with

the creatures living in your darkness
I know roughly nothing about you

but I have learned your waves
I have met your calm

when in a dream you came close
and gently touched my feet

leaving me on the sand
a space to disappear.

(To Matt)
(Shared with the Imaginary Garden)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Instead of sheep

cutouts from the day,
tomorrow's to-do list,
my choice of outfit,

unlikely romances,
happy endings under
unusual circumstances,

random fears,
the darkness of years,
monsters under my bed,

lines that will never make it to poems,
names for the children I won't have
reasons not to be sad:

A collection of things
on my mind late at night
instead of sheep.

(Shared with The Imaginary Garden)
(Edited four or five times - too much in my head...)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


it all starts with me
learning new improved ways
of making the same mistakes

and then being unable to fix things
with the people I deliberately hurt
to avoid getting hurt myself.

(Posted to dVerse Poetics)

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Eve of War

Not an early bird.
10 a.m. Sunday
I skipped church
for extra hours
in a soothing dream.

Up in five minutes -
brush my teeth,
repeat after me:

I am not
the man in the mirror.
English breakfast.
Call Dad.
Fresh tulips.

The ground under my feet
has already been painted red.
Buy milk and bandage.
Work the night shift.
Watch Ms. Revolution's sleep.