Songstress on Primetime Italian TV
Songstress what songstress
I see svelte teenage girls
in bikinis gyrating
while men watch
& women clap hands
in time to the band who
are all men
no they’re definitely lip-synching
in fact not even
next up there are svelte teenage girls
in bikinis suspended
from meat hooks
while men in butchers’ hats
slap price tags on their arses
well not really from meat hooks but
you certainly get an idea of something
Daniel Roy Connelly was born in England but has spent much of his adult life being educated in Italy, India, Bangladesh, The USA and Scotland. Formerly a British diplomat, he has been an academic since 1999. He is currently an assistant professor of English Literature and Theatre at John Cabot University and The American University of Rome.
In Memory of Brian Donovan
Always – perhaps not always – you were genial
In imitation of now-gone personalities, perhaps
Drunk – that described person – and yourself, so
Much that it hurt to laugh, although strong beer
Gives a hint of perfection, jollity while standing
At the bar, not sitting – that would be passive
So that when recounting a quiver of passivity,
It was “up” the humor, quick as booze, standing
Or sitting, the wit had a lure of more than beer,
But whipping humor brought forth dexterously, so
Ironic, sharp, pointed as a stiletto, perhaps
Gone in the past, your New York roots genial
But observant as a professor of the past in a genial
Mood bought through alcohol, not always, perhaps
Not as mirthless as a desert or stone, so
Rampant is the need for lightness, froth through beer
If only in the brain, distorted pose while standing,
Drinking, elbows of the raconteur, not passive.
The opposite of vocative is not always passive,
Nor are the cymbals of talk had through standing
Alone, but with company. There, Brian, beer or no beer,
You were without peer, as if learnedness, a Ph.D. so
Unambitious could get you loved, possibly, perhaps,
But you said: “I’m not marriageable.” Still genial,
As if an aura of bachelor knighthood was your genial
Flag, no misogyny intended, you remained perhaps
The embodiment of time concealed, not yet forty, so
Unconcerned with time passing, not a reader, the beer
Of career goals – you were indifferent, as if standing
At the bar, reconciling the past could remake the passive,
The instance, now that your dissertation left passive,
Undecided, “an open question” – sitting or standing,
With a bloody mary or hops distilled as expensive beer,
The wraparound of years when I first knew you, so
Elemental in manner, undisturbed, I thought, perhaps
Keeping close to one’s home was more congenial.
Two weeks ago, was it, perhaps three, the genus of time
So forgotten, beer or wine, sitting, standing, hardly passive –
& then your heart expired in hospital, Wednesday evening last.
James Naiden’s third novel, The Chafings of Mortals, was published in 2011. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota and is a regular reviewer for IS&T.Read More
In the Hallway
A girl pressing her cheek against a door,
doorjamb, or wall beside a door.
Crying probably, possibly
mumbling. That’s it.
Her face is turned away,
you can’t see if she’s pretty.
Which would make a difference
in your quotient of empathy
divided by reluctance
to get involved plus eventual impatience.
And if and how quickly
you escaped the sense
of not being a plausible
savior (someone she’d find
attractive when this is over), or –
long-cherished, firmly-held –
of helplessness. A novelist
cases the hallway, the smells and light,
social class as revealed
by her dress. Or should.
For my part, I (not making this
about me) check
the decaying file, the yellowed partial volume
of memory. Not finding her.
But she exists now, therefore always did
and will, and is both punishment and forgiveness.
Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. Other poems in print and online journals. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.
Place beyond Place
She snuck out
(under the warm cover of covers)
and you were snoring,
and you reached to feel the sliding curve of her hip,
but thought you missed
turned over again
(this is where she left her skin).
Now she’s—hopping through a field above a house you grew up in
where the oak trees are black with pitch
and the grass cuts at your ankles
tough from the sun.
She is just a dot on a map
winking through the stars
blowing the bathroom door open
wrapped in silk not flesh
bound up in the twisted corners of your smile as you lie
Rosalie Wilmot has a degree in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. She has lived and loved in the cities of Seattle and Denver but now calls Chaiyaphum, Thailand home (base). Her words are regularly published at http://curiousescapades.wordpress.com/.
Fred, Half Dead, Beethoven In His Head
You can’t talk to Beethoven
on a bus stop in Chicago
because you’ll just get lost.
Lauded as a genius,
he can’t give good directions
because he’s dead.
Ask Fred about Beethoven
his hands waving wildly with excitement like
the vibrations coming up through his feet.
conducting symphonies in an empty room.
Fred will tell you how planets hum
give directions to angry flocks of pigeons
lecture on string theory
like harpsichords, and how Beethoven was more
of a transcriber than a composer.
I picture the two sitting together
lost in deep conversation.
Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis, Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes for the Minneapolis school district and writing classes at The Loft Literary Center. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Tampa Review, The Comstock Review, and the St. Paul Almanac, and she is the 2011 recipient of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her most recent published books are Walking Twin Cities and Notenlesen für Dummies Das Pocketbuch.