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14. Featuring: Alessio Zanelli

+ Brian Blackwell + Joseph Scorselo + Gordon Scapens
+ Terry Dammery + Zoe Alexandra

The Gullible Climber

You wanted to climb
this donjon of ice—
you never turned back
and never looked down.

Arrived atop,
the eyes replete
with frozen tears,
now you watch
the coveted moon,
miserably unable
to either touch her
or climb back down.

The lady in velvet—
who instilled pride
and boldness in you,
not a grain of wisdom—
is spying your moves
from a midheight slit
of the facing keep,
a malevolent smile
just pictured on the lips.

I am waiting here below,
the face upturned,
the moon in the eyes,
the feet firmly on the ground.

Pending your final decision,
any your movement whatever—
the thaw is weeks away,
but I have long arms,
and really strong.

Venomous

Sneak up on me
and bite me
quick and deep,
don’t let go
till all that’s
in your glands
is gone.

My skin is thin,
my flesh is soft,
my antibodies
maybe are sporting
well away
from where
you’d sink your fangs.

Seize
this passing
ease of mine,
do your best
and do it now,
you won’t have
a second chance.

Third Millennium Crèche

There we are, back again,
touched, imbued with goodness,
by the humble manger
where God became a baby.

All is peace, amazement, bliss.

Ecstatic fugitive instants,
then the spark of human bane
shoots up, once more,
fatally punctual, ineluctable.

We stand aghast amid wild havoc.

Unheard, the baby cries in the crib,
and anon no man is left in the stable.
Our dream of greatness falls to pieces
as the whole shebang is blown away.

Tireless hands will soon be at it anew.

I Am Not Earth

It is no use your chiding me
for my being an elusive stuff
slipping still out of your hand.

In vain you keep on grumbling
I had better be more concrete,
steadfast, tangible, consistent.

My true nature shuns your senses
every time you think you hold her
after long pursuing my semblance.

Whatever you try at my essence,
she vanishes like a sunset shadow
stretching out and out before dying.

You are looking for your mainstay,
a ground to rest on to look around
without ever losing your bearings.

But what I am is chilly air, I am wind;
I am water and the salt dissolved in it,
yes, please, convince yourself: I am sea.

For all you strive you can’t change that,
I am really nothing you can stand upon.
Indeed, nothing you can grasp or tread.

Over Misty Plains

first published in Avocet (CA, USA)

Who ever was this tiny man
who used to run against the wind,
through the fog,
in the rain,
on snow-covered paths,
towards the sun—
away from his own shadow?

Nobody knows the truth.
Because nobody keeps clear memories,
each intent on their little deeds.

And the ground keeps no footprints
of him who ran this humble scope
for decades far and near,
adding miles to miles
enough to round the world.

The wind alone will always bear his mark—
some hardly audible swish adrift
over its continuous subdued moan.

The abandoned shadow
roaming forever
over misty plains.

Screamings

first published in The Journal (UK)

She wakes each morning
with spall-tears in her eyes,
the iris the color of rough sea,
a pale moon prisoner in her face,
the weight of mountains in the arms.

A deep crevice in her bosom
from which unchaseable demons
yell out all their malevolence at her
heals up through sleeping hours
to reopen at each awakening.

They scream it’s just another day,
not too long for her to stand up to,
but she’s alone pinned down by gravity,
no escape from blinding light in sight,
no rest until again the dark arrives.

Surprise Cart

You can never know what you are actually buying
when getting ready to do the supermarket shopping.
Each time you take a chance on cramming the cart,
with both the items that were in the shopping list
and sundry stuff you’d never imagined you’d buy.
It so happens you get back home and only then realize
you’ve just stocked up two-months supplies of everything,
from the latest soft-fruit-flavored chewable toothbrush
(even though you make use of a self-cleaning denture)
to the ultimate electrically-driven indoor mosquitocide
(even though your blood is the best natural repellent),
and to the lowest-calorie cola ever displayed on a shelf
(even though you’re as thin as a rake and drink but soda).
But indeed you find yourself at a loss what to say or do
and feel someone pulling the rug from under your feet
when along the aisle you run into an abandoned cart
with only a little sobbing panic-stricken child inside.
You keep on asking him where mom or dad could be,
yet he doesn’t speak a word and keeps on whining
with his big wide-open eyes begging you for help.
Then you begin to question whomever you see in vain,
till you understand the child must be the latest doodad
of some anonymous collector of extravagant knickknacks,
the unaffordable useless gadget of a shameful consumer,
furtively left in a blind corner reckoning on the confusion.
And so such a lovely priceless item now rests in a crib
in the large pediatrics ward of a metropolitan hospital,
waiting for some affluent foster purchaser to pick him.

The Nowhere-Leading Circle

How many nights
spent in the dark
alone in bed
to ruminate life,
thinking about
impossible pasts,
fancied presents,
unlikely futures,
nothings and alls,
could-have-been everythings,
whatnots and what-an-events,
my filled-up little empty room,
the universe and what …
like a would-be puppeteer.
Night after night
the foul daydream goes on,
there’s no way out
since all there is to move along
is an ever-circling route.