Thursday, June 29, 2017

Poetry by Carmine Giordano

Points of Purpose
by Carmine Giordano

*                 *                *

giant Atlas 
holds the world 
on his shoulder 
Rockefeller Center
in New York City
kneels before
the cathedral
across the street
frozen in the 
grandest pose
across the bridge
lesser gods 
little points 
of purpose
move things 
here to there
brush teeth 
comb hair
select shirts
pants shoes
put them on
take them off
eat talk
over and over
every day
life like this 
all the time
holding worlds
until it stop--
amens here
don't you think
some applause

*                 *                *

by Carmine Giordano

You find them there 
in their remanded quarters
the old folks 
potted dry and shriveled
like salted cod 
the kind my mother 
used to soak for days
in the stockpot under the faucet 
in the porcelain sink 
propped on the skinny legs 
drip by drip in the dark 
of our Brooklyn cellar
in that house where the 
shuttered windows and
the tight streets of the old world 
made it difficult for anyone
to ever breathe new air easy 
the father blistered from his labor
the boy seeing Virgins on the wall
the girl flaying layers off her skin--
but even there was sometime resurrection
when rising from the basement 
of her glooms my mother
would make that dead fish sing
command it like Lazarus out of its pan
toss it with parsley capers and sweet tomatoes
mingle it with raisins anoint it with oil--
baptize it baccala!

*                 *                *

by Carmine Giordano

my wife is a woman
of great virtue
generous to a fault
though she does not
like him very much
she's the person
Jesus called Bartholomew--
the truest Israelite
in whom there is no guile
she simply cannot lie
she cannot make excuses
she likes the simple things
some costume jewelry
matching earrings 
and a bracelet
half and half in coffee 
mahjong with the girls
cranberries in her salad
polish on her nails
she worries that 
the basil plant needs
watering says we have
to shop for eggs 
she has some
birthday discount cards
to buy a blouse at Chico's
there are always
when she laughs
bouquets of flowers
forges of iron
anvils of steel
when she loves--
she'd think too 
too out of place
pictures she
would not want
upon her wall

*                 *                *

Father's Day
by Carmine Giordano

Who would have thought then
looking for touch and spoken kindness
that love could be articulated by a bicycle
my father inarticulate rising before the sun
pedaling through those silent Brooklyn streets
to bring reviving fire to the coal cold
furnaces of America this immigrant sixth son
of a fisherman himself sailing fatherless
across the far ocean fathering me now
on this memorial day remembering
the morning journeys the shoveled embers
the blistered hands un-solaced in those
basements honoring you now, Antonio, 
your long and solitary rides

*                 *                *

Small Steps 
by Carmine Giordano

Mine is an other face
to the other faces
we pass in the crowd
a blur of clothing
a piece of conversation
all of us on our way to
the somewheres we
want to go those points
of private times
and places from here
to there that make us
for the moment matter
the laundromat the barbershop
the clothing store the grocer's
the walk to the house of a friend
these small steps for man
no less important than the moon
we needing as much courage
to come and go
to make our daily rounds
to journey them with magnitude
to live the ordinary extraordinary.

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