Saturday, August 27, 2005

Poetry eight (Sestina: A Soldier's Song)

Sestina: A Soldier’s Song

All young men as they feel Solitary,
Find their hearts want for fame, thus they Hope.
Seeing life’s daily news excites always War,
And like bread and sleep unreported passes Peace
Thus a soldier’s name might fan across blue Sky
To satisfy his call to glory, a wish in all Innocence.

Can we blame for this Hope?
Hometown boredom can’t compare to War,
Where stars inspire desire set in the Sky.
What can life offer to souls not at Peace?
Looking ’round he laments: Passing, my youth’s Innocence!
Thus excitement lures lives so Solitary.

And so they are sent to foreign War.
In the life of nations none retain Innocence:
States and economies profit not by Peace;
In business and competition none can remain Solitary.
While greed and ignorance like clouds cover Sky,
Our son thus off to battle- not to die, his first Hope.

Mission after mission praying first to the Sky:
If this be the day I might find death’s Peace
Before our maker also my enemy calls in Innocence,
Each alike in task, and before fear, a soul Solitary:
Just a death complete is my secret Hope
And not half a man returned from this War.

Yet sadly, received home he rests in final Peace.
A family grieves their tattered Hope,
Yet consoled: he’ll always be a hero of War.
Though in each passing year, a grave’s cross Solitary:
Earth, by her indifferent Innocence
Forgets our soldier lying silent under the one Sky.

And now- where are songs of Hope?
Bombs and mourning still score the Sky!
Our nations divided, truth is hardly Solitary
Where the choice of violence reigns over Peace.
Brothers fight brothers on the fronts of War:
In the sand runs equally their blood red Innocence.

Thus, where be found true Peace
When tongues spoke many a different Hope?
War never plants love, though love remains under a yearning Sky.

Bologna, Italy August 27, 2005

Monday, August 22, 2005

Poetry seven (for Cindy Sheehan)

(click on images to enlarge)

sending your sons to school
Where were you
when they learn allegiance to a flag
in the schoolyard they choose sides
Where were you
Daddy is downtrodden at the supper table
Were you there
Your sons lonely on the bus
they feel baited and belittled,
bullied and beaten,
with fists
learning things men do
heroes killing, glorious sacrifice
Where were you
They’ve become hard and cruel
your sons
What did you tell your sons
softness, the ways of compromise
Did you show them

to be proud of tears
patience and tenderness
When you went off to work
coming home tired
filling your empty houses
giving your best
or just enough
'till hearts drained vacant
waiting for your men Mothers
Was there time to teach them
Did you buy them guns for play
With no stories passed from your Mothers
in their stead you gave them TV
Surprised were you
they speak of adventure
hearts dreaming exotic places
exotic women, celebrated missions
I‘m not blaming you
But of warmth from your breasts
remains barely dusted memories
Your sons have chosen
did you not warn them
You’ve lost them now,
Mothers, your sons
Your sons are killing now
in foreign lands
sons of mothers killing
killing sons of other Mothers
Here at home too
Only grief is winning
tears unseen
and the dead are silent, blind forever
may your moans echo far
to the palaces of states
to peoples
Awake: daughters
and their sons
O new Mothers!

Bologna, Italy August 22, 2005

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Poetry six

Stuffed Tunisian Salad


towel wrapped
salty wet sticky
blown and bodied
glancing that shadowed
Balzac figured robed
severe unoccidental trying
brow beaten desires
light on Tunisian forms
he eats pizza pondering
piously encamping
solitude against pronouncements
of loneliness
while Bon Jovi raves in Djerba
some intoxicating elixir this


and these
Ulyssesian lamentations
untrue Penelope
unloving love in lovers too many
unheroic glories
unacknowledged rescues
people’s TV’d stories
silence of deities
a Muse’s indifference
unfollowing ‘cept in death
yet blooming thunder
in ears of dark men
jasmine scenting reminders
in pleading songs of sorrow


she watches him watching her watching his train leaving her dry field animals and black plastic sacs take veil in two corners of mouth fronting teeth heat grimacing porting piles unbelieving sticks weighted bented watching future training by her slow heavied past present swimming in full dress flowing fullness and flesh signalling stranger eyes deep green pure or black recognition longing escape to sink slip toward virginal safety bloodied night sheets waiting the passing of youthful momentary gasping flopping on freedom shores new shopping list his-story leave what behind you take the rest


the pragmatism of
men who build sloppily
brick edifices to cover
most elegantly in surfaces
a smoothing over of
a spiritual base not of
platonic form
toward appearing
grace endures


for you
john’s descendents ours
clients of Africa
seduced your french franc strong
forthing smiles goods and graces
she lifted her asshole high
for us seemed to enjoy
plunging her continental divide
any position servient you like
(don’t touch that part)
her pink dignity retained yet
in spite all enticements
last laugh who
capitalicking progression toward
that intimacy over
no thank you now out
still have babylonian guards
you’re finished when
oh tourismo evermore
buying selling
how much for
who’s the whore


a son
to a father’s no more
his playful graces
turning on bestial punishments
by the child mirror
haunted he
kindred blood race unto death
fleeing the follower

and the filial launching
finding father’s same markers
arriving visions of sameness
heeding grieves
mistakes regrets
a thousand river and sea crossings
all one hell
codified tongues of ghosts
in shallow ports of call
from wind
extracting answers


all white his garments
sun leathery lined faced
millennium wisdom
grandfather’s double
reaching out he
non parle franchese timid me
refusing his cig shaking my finger
he takes my water
I drink after him

Silence and
scorched journey
parched rock sparse paled plants
mountainous vistas monotonous
cinder block villages
dust and waves of heat
children barefoot smiling dirty faces
arriving we share separation
placing hand on shoulder
an eternity
pasts rush meeting presences
futures backsliding
death’s call stalled
turning toward it remembering
tearful goodbyes many


waking in 45 degree night heat
hooded drench
sweater jacket shirt pants socks
chills revolving on hot vomiting
closing in
ephemeral slippery consciousness
battle waging
sotto terra
his body a field
trying to watch
in the wake of images
corporal records
Rome destroys Carthage
Isis dodging Osiris
revenge of sons
immortal’s tormented pleasures
captain’s Penelopian doubt war
electron captive to nucleus
cells’ outputs coded hieroglyphs
hot bath Vivaldi back to bed
tremor unrelenting
elemental icebergs in desert mindstorm
he’d hope later death’s arrival
not like this
power driven auto-viral-pilot
utter chaos
a fortnight passed
or only hours
then blood and pain
furthering remembrances


And the world before him
I don’t say that John will realise all this
same old story Aleous
universe never ending
carded four times in one
face of fear in every
power prestige and caste
blown to smithereens
hell US push peace talks
viva Italia magistra artium
we shall overcome
evil I fear though I walk
Imodium AD don’t leave home without
those dark Aitalyians
go where the wind blows
the mind’s wanderings
bounced him right back to where
nothin’ good t’say don’t
how the other half lives
take your medicine
grin and bare it
such soft spoken women
loud Americas
I felt like an object
do I see you really
Pole Star frigerator in every
donkeys are embarrassed by their
a stuffed camel
Palm Sundies
your profession wait here
tangled web
mia seconda casa
m’casa dove
the grandyear that was Rome
money is time
I don’t say John will
we tolerate incredible dullness
it looks poorest when we are richest
wandering ’til the truth be know

Tunisia and Napoli August 1-9, 1997

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Poetry five

Margherita’s remains

Margherita’s remains
just words
etched images
tracing across my mind’s landscape
Like highways over your Piamonte
they outline

a map of passages
an indication only
of a journey’s complexity
Turning to the light
and to the dark
away from all you had
all you could have had
unable to hide your pain
you carried Death on your shoulder
for all to see
We saw our own fears
in your sorrowful solitude
and self-consciousness
in your willful abandonments
So it’s the good fortune
of the dead
(especially the young dead?)
to know
who remembers
who used who
who loved
who even cared
Answers we confronted
at each taste
to unutterable questions
I can’t now for sure
recall the last time
I saw your blue eyes
though I expect
like a dream
arriving remembering
slipping in then out
like your life
I’ll see you
when I’ll see you
Or not?
O how we failed you

Napoli December 1997


Fragile Joy

In the searching
between souls
for intensity of feeling,
and from feeling,
the wheel of my heart turns
its revolutions
honest sincere,
struggling against separateness and loneliness,
carrying me tearfully
an ever so fragile joy-
like your embrace,
yet remaining imprinted
in folds of experience,
always close
to an essential truth of my being.

Rocchetta Ligure, Italy September 22, 2002

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Poetry four

War Song

You think a lot about war, don’t you,
asked she, as I stuck another forkful
into my mouth.
Oh, once or twice a day, I understated,
when I read the journal.
This day’s news
the heart of junkie poet stops,
His haggard face, edgy and high-
those battles too fought I.
And another tsar, old, pushed and pulled,
by generals and CIA tipping cheerfully glasses,
As boy soldiers, two hundred, fighting, dying.
We’re lucky, she, me chewing,
another 30,000 innocents wasted.

thinking this land
we feed animals abandoned
to dry dusty struggle in heat.
My orders: stand head-up breathing
waiting focusing aiming.
My energies war-like I attack the dirty floors.
If they came for my land
though I’ve none nor want.
Those bombs bullets blood
whose war- our wars.
A dead poet’s war.
But the women-
this woman, sister mother lover:
Send the boy new
a child-man
soft, unwarring
needless and transcendent,
his victory unfought
in being.

Cagliari, Italy

August 11, 1996


Old dog how do you know love so well....

Old Dog

Old dog how do you know love so well.
Old dog your ear in amiss
the ticks still your blood
eyes thick and smoky
Not eaten in days
patiently you have this meal
And call your cat friends in then.
Old dog calling, keeping the watch
your master’s left you-
greeting all equally though, your eyes giggling
My I jealous even.
Old dog how do you know so well
this thing a word I call friend.
Old dog why are you sad
is it that you, knowing too your end
needing to consider.
Old dog my Doctor
from where did you take this wisdom.
Old dog slyly will you sound
down impatient Death’s road
your quiet smile
and easy gait fearless
though you bring your pain.
Old dog tell them in Heaven’s recovery room
you saw some of us.
And more listening now are we.

Cagliari, Italy

August 18, 1996

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Poetry three


layers upon layers…
Where sleep the molecules of memory…?
How awakens their captain bringing to the light of horizons
sightings of messages
moving thoughts…?
Is it desire blowing through deserts
of loss
of pain
of confusion-
or the nostalgia of joy and pleasure-
that spark flames of feeling,
who if fed forests of wanting
would blaze uncontrollably…?

And if retreating in time
I go to meet that past-
the present receding
(not being among the heart’s favourites)
-to arrange, shuffle
examine and relive
layers of excavation-
what new land
amongst the many islands of unknowing
could I inhabit…?
Returning from such a journey
would not opaque separation still reign?

Rocchetta Ligure, Italy August 6, 2003

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Poetry two

Sky Bones!

in perfume of yellow-
first summer defiant flowers-
of earth mineral
and watered air molecules
I sense the pungent smells
of your sweat
and salty flesh-
green vegetable
and blood garlic,
bone of fruit sky.
Through these gifted days
of sacred blooming mystery
my body breath and skin-
distanced objects to comprehend-
focused back toward this self,
is meaning constructed.
Building this I,
fabricating this you,
as you raise your I
to some created me.
how crowded this meeting
of feelings longings uncertainties.
We craft friendship and communion
across the pains and joys
of days and nights- alone, separately,
trying to avoid the crumblings
of doubt and suffocation
as palaces of human dignity and honesty arise-
fall, rise anew.
With what relentlessness of effort
do these wild flowers
suffer the waiting of rain
and death-
extending deeper,
roots of being-
exhaling scents
inhaled by insects and lovers
initiating thought fluids and pollinates
of (universal) desiring substance.
And these bones....
sky bones!
Don’t I see your feet are large.
So I will have loved
and lost
and cherished the loss
of your bone smile
in the clear flowing residue
of folded brain memories,
etched from some protean template
on the changing timescape called self.

Sadali, Italy June 14-19, 2002


Little Old Town

Today in this little old town
I saw your back with desire.
Today I made a wish at the well
to kiss your neck.
Today we laughed together
while I fumbled words to you.
Today we talked to an old man
in this little old town.
I only understood “dolore……contentezza…….
Paradiso…..O la vita!”
I looked at his wrinkles of time worn days.
I looked for his death.
I looked at your living.
I saw my own limit- my end.
Today in this little old town
we saw buildings fading,
heard of days separating, growing in distance.
We heard of stories and memories passing.
And then, in this town the crisis of a moment:
Passion renewed, yet, also passing, lost.
And as others still leave,
as I leave alone again,
always in this little old town
is echoing: “Ti volgio bene…Ti volgio bene….”.

Asti, Italy June 1996

Monday, July 11, 2005

Poetry One

Elena’s Last Train

Our last train-
Pisa to Firenze-
her last train.
The last time seeing.
And this train today I go alone,
as I dreamed alone,
returning to save her- warn her.
And the earth shook,
opened up,
a protest against detouring her destination.
So I awoke,
like I awoke at today’s reckoning,
our crossed paths again parting,
a sense of finality always,
these ‘fare thee well’s’.
‘Until 2036’, we joked.
Me at seventy-five,
closer to death,
moving toward my ultimate aloneness,
asking myself again:
‘If I could have loved you more, then….?’
‘If I could have said to her, Stai attento’, then….?’
And in those tears,
in my approaching,
in your leaving,
in Elena’s taking-
in death’s goodbye?

Firenze to Avignon, July 1996


poppies free!

poppies free!
unfarmed not your sisters
in Afghanistan CIA’ed bulging vulva-ish poppy
cumming coming poppy ooze
reaped for trapped junkie’s desire
squeezing off blood poppy syringe

poppies pink poppy orange
sprinkling fire light over green trainscape
blurring poppy vision
of hot breathing eyelust

poppies poppies
crashing battle harmony
with brother yellow
over a thousand thousand shades
of rythymed greens

poppies poppies poppies
licking my eyes
seducing turning me
arousing reminding
your death dance mocking me
in fading blissful poppy carelessness

poppies papavale poppies a piacenza
tra i binari poppies
who’s thinking of you poppy
humans courting poppy perversions
fluids wetting seeds inseminating
sticky ecstasies of poppy season

poppies poppies
I see her sex in petals of poppies
of glistening morning dew
oh poppies do you know
the blue of my lover’s eyes
raise your poppy lips
to her open sky azzurro

oh poppy sweetness
her kisses
poppy caresses
in day’s fading light
embracing in poppy darkness
enfolding poppy sleep
poppy dreams….

Rocchetta Ligure a Bologna 30.05.02