Poetry: Selections from Salvatore Difalco

Abortive Performance of The Trachiniae

The chorus appears, masked

& unbearably muted.

The noise of the wind & noise

of the audience & hum of the universe

create an impossibility.

It blankets the performance,

negates the Minotaur

waiting to devour the maiden.

She wears white robes

& red roses in her hair.

But the roses could be flowers

of blood, clotting in the open air.

What have they done to her?

The chorus remains reticent.


The heated words that follow

militate against the closing act.

The Court of Death welcomes

debate insofar as it ends  

with a proper feast & the Minotaur

picking petals out of his teeth 

with the splinter of a cranium.





In those times becomes a thing.

In those days.


Sliced in half, brains looked the same.

The minds, on the other hand.


We look back then, back then.


Your mother lived on apricots and figs

under a roof of sun-dried drowned men.


Aeons full of hegiras 

allow for the creation of characters


living out their pony lives

in rustic spaces sketched by hand.


The poet knows himself

& considers the length of the fingers


measuring all things,

bing bang, is explosive in this moment


with a snap, snap, for a man in toga

comes wielding a tray.


Everyone hides their mouth.


Teeth imagine teeth.

We can happily float backwards


toward the blue islands

& their sun-brightened bones.


Imagine how many alive

at once in the mix, slashing & such.


Imagine the morning after.


Ecclesiastic Fugue 

The elders spoke for hours.

They spoke until the fire died,

never any strife or contention.

They polished their silver knives

& told their stories. In spring, 

men liked to garland themselves

with freshly gathered blossoms.

You would see a group of them

thus ornamented frolicking

like children together all day

with nary a cross word spoken.


Meanwhile the women corseted 

with whalebone & rawhide

stiffly moved about the commons,

some humming songs of old,

the words long forgotten,

none smiling, as though 

committee made it taboo.

Yet they generated vibrations

of gentility & wisdom not to

be vouchsafed by the flowery

dynamics of the menfolk.


The manners of this diorama’s 

inmates, when studied, enforce 

a forward or plus impression.

One would ask for perpetual

hilarity were the brain one size

smaller perhaps, but acceptance

of the norm becomes the norm.

The hours trip along as one

takes notes & sketches out

a form or two for context.

But nothing is new under the sun.






All the lies prove to be straightforward,

never mind moral truths or unexpected depths 

of sleep—night truth is not beatified.


The knife-to-throat trick preludes      

a limb roasting over a fire no sooner

than a table enters the household.


Avenging flames—is that a thing?—      

master the rant-breaching silence,

the loud howls, stifled speech & foaming.    


The blood of despair wets the hair of my arms;

vestiges of their former incarnations—

now brittle & greying. 


The face remains the same, 

the glittering eyes, the savage

lack of reserve & air of revenge. 


Sworn to pay the penalty

he deserves shining, crackling hammer blows

not another wrist-slap or a back clap. 





After all the hair-pulling, broken teeth

& unbearable robes of horsehair,

I can’t swallow anymore—

a python strangles me as though.


Later, I envisage a ship on the water

listing under a huge wave:

fish out in numbers, all speed

their rocked faces.


The point where thrust stage 

presents a man & woman 

sword-fighting yet able to verse

all the blood in the world won’t help.


After the show, can’t say we were

there when our connections 

ran into trouble—now we miss 

their fungal smell & opus caementicium.

Salvatore Difalco is the author of an illustrated collection of microfiction, The Mountie At Niagara Falls (Anvil Press). He lives in Toronto, Canada.