Namesakes

Ala

To be born in flight,
Composed of wings,
Letters whirling in orbit,
Its own echo and rhyme
Flying through time,
Between heart and mind,
Language and landscape,
At the edge of a cliff,
Off the tip of the tongue,
Like a wafer of light,
The first spring wing
Doubles to find flight,
Closes to be invisible,
To make art visible
And peace inevitable.
Poetry mirrors its flight.

 
Salvatore Alas

Alas reincarnation.
Alas eternity, paradise,
Being one with the all,
Waiting for a messiah,
Interrupted at rest.
Alas the Atman—I disown you.
Alas animal vibrations,
Consciousness, an afterlife.
Alas empirical evidence,
Philosophy and history.
Alas food and alamodality,
Friends and community.
Alas the wound not festering,
Recovering, beating odds.
Alas axioms and equality–
Justice, charity and mercy.
Alas music and dance,
Peace and progress,
Alas hope and truth,
Children and happiness,
Alas love, laughter and life.
At last, alas creation.

 
Salvatore Alalia

His mutism is metaphorical.
His decreased receptive language
Created the condition
For poetic intervention.

Even though his teachers
Suggested he had speech delay,
He was hearing the words
In the spaces between them,
Learning the structure of things unseen.

He was born into a second language
Like a guitar string is changed
And must hurry to catch the tune.
If he is not always fluent
It is because he is like a family
Of Italian poets all speaking at once.

 

Salvatore Marsala

The wine of intoxication is like his moon,
His sun and moon and cup of light.
Transparent gold pours from his mind.
He holds out his hand and grapes appear.
He casts the image of no image. Sol Invictus.
An old man appears out of a young man.
The young man goes back to the vineyard.
No one knows what becomes of the old man.
The process, like wine, is in perpetuum.
Leafy vines join his body to the earth.
When it’s time to burn the wood
Clouds glow about his head like sunset.

Crow Feather Totem X

The days have changed spirits,
Rage grows unseen,
Hatred can’t see itself in filth,
The lie is truth and truth defiled.
Why today should I find
Such a feather from the first sky.
Why today this immaculate thing
Like the infant feather of a cloud,
To offer me the light of the moment
For having kept my own mind.

À la Sicilienne

My father cuts hair at Cinema Paradiso.
I see him in barbershop mirrors
Like time is repeated on eternity’s reel.

My cousin owns a purgatorial liquor store.
As it was on earth, wine and rapture.
As it will be at rebirth, wine and rapture.

My grandfather shivers like a boy
Even though he’s crossing a lava pit:
Empedocles between love and the void.

My aunt knits ground snail covers
Fit for the gardens of an earthly nirvana
And cradles of dead, infant, elder brothers.

My mother is like a Greek statue
Who gave birth to music in stone,
The triumph of death in the mirror of bone.

Beach Stones

“The insolent quietness of stone.”
                              Robinson Jeffers

To gather beach stones is to catch the eye
Beneath transparency receding in a wave,
And reach the sand before your hand
Draw up the dark margin of the empty wet.

There was one from the recesses of rock.
Another tumbling as in the prime of life.
Others as though sounding out the lake,
Seem older than the geologic clock.

And when I dig one out of the sand
It is to shake the grains from the sky
And see the stars of many million suns
Alight from the alluviums of night.

Something of myself each seems to take
In whatever aggregate, color or shape.
My erosion compliments their insolence.
My quietness is like their perfect lake.

Flower of Insomnia

The flower of my insomnia
blossoms on the back of a clock
it grows in the soil of a family cancer
it flowers like I’m buried alive
as though a heavy snowfall
thaw to bright air and exhale its pain
a shred of rest wavering in spirit wind
the flower of my insomnia
a Venus flytrap for my blood cells
feeding my anxiety back to me
my night inspiration and inward light
that lack a season
the Queen of flowers
the white rose of the black hours
the death mask of Keats with petals open