Poetry: Selections from Livio Farallo
does nothing but threaten.
look at it.
blue or gray,
a war always,
stark or heavy bone.
and i’m not talking about sky,
that’s a universe drifted away
from you and me.
but right here,
in the crystal music,
in the bright resolute that burns
into silence with any timid wind.
the house moves its muscles.
if you watch
you can see it lean
as sure as voice and sweat move trees.
listen closely to the rumpus,
like a kennel of midnight dogs.
grope only thick things:
you can smell the whine of sawdust
sprayed in a mist from not too far away.
new stairs for rotting footsteps,
aged as cheese,
crumbling as a chewed scone.
he has a five-day growth of hair
on a scalp burnt outside in.
a shining sun glistens up wet -
stapling shingles on a porch roof.
spitting down, he is
dancing in the howling air.
i think, therefore nothing
what do you think of the mountain growing there
peaceful as an unsqueezed trigger?
rancid thoughts are useful as penicillin:
i think there is nothing real about the moon
nothing dear about you
thrashing away on a gaff
i am sure that cognac sloshes in your mouth
like carried water at the ends of a long pole
and imported dishes must be kept away from dust
and the large bellies fingering food with their lips.
and their sweating is so much unquenched
they would drink the liquid hell of piss christ
and gladly manufacture sin.
i think i will have to go out of my way to go home,
untortured with gout, savage and docile when left alone -
it is when wind makes me a mercenary, that i kill for peace.
it is never my fault that the huge whisper of money
is a white-gloved magician’s hand snapping its fingers
in my ear, custodial to no one, sanitizing to all.
i think i have done my homework and know that the height
of smokestacks, the drift of effluence, the bungee cord
of heat, is a shit taken on the kitchen floor
while scallops and red peppers simmer on the stove.
i think that gametes englobe the human race
declaring chromosomes perfect and omniscient and even
in gender numbers – one for me and one for you and one for
the little girl who lives down the lane – and i think
traits are sprouting too tight and too low and too
interchangeable and all-too-beautiful to see.
we met at wendy’s though i never ate there
i could hear her
charge down the night,
in muffled stampede
with high-heeled sandals
strapped on; with thick
she waited in
like watered broccoli
in a supermarket, pinched
or twice: she was
too old for that.
i could hear her
sobs from the mechanic’s
smoke down the
street; from the knock
saying come in; from
that look of hers
that could flood the
floor unspoken, bunching
up inside her umbrella.
and when we shuffled
like old decks of
and dogs barked like
and laid face down and
stupid in wine.
end of the pipe
hunger at our lips
than a flask
in odd throats, long
and circumspect, words
already burned out from the promises
if he could, the little boy
would be anything
but a little boy.
soft weeds crunch under
his military boots.
they are loud yawns.
they are neither here nor there.
they are the fingers of wedding cake,
new rings on each hand; the gray
beard rocks from side to side, already.
and a sky gets bloody,
smelling of shadows;
it works its way happily
into our first and last night,
between imperfect visions.
the horses will not come back
after war. the parts of the sun that glow
are blind before they vanish.
night happens without darkness
and spills over most of the world.
one day there, camouflaged as
the fastest bullet,
a child with a toy gun
is not the same as peace.
phineas and the rodent
the legs flutter for an instant,
tail whipsaws silently
from a rump thrust up.
rail workers flicked ash
on tracks they didn’t vote for
which should’ve made them pound
a retreat to a more truthful world.
but something more than money pulled them
the smell of where they were going
was the instinctual tug of a baby
in bottomless hunger, crying and attended to,
because one day, he’s a quiet giving man
with kind eyes fed and muscles working.
and another day
the trap settles. the head crushed
under the bar with more than a fleeting moment
of emptiness and death understanding an embrace.
they lost each other that day.
Livio Farallo is co-editor of Slipstream and Professor of Biology at Niagara County Community College. His work has appeared or, is forthcoming, in Helix, Rabid Oak, Brief Wilderness, Landfill, The Blue Collar Review, Otoliths, and elsewhere. His collection Dead Calls and Walk-Ins traces his work as a taxi driver some years ago.