Gabriella Garofalo – Three Poems

g3Born in Italy some decades ago, Gabriella Garofalo fell in love with the English language at six, started writing poems (in Italian) at six and is the author of ‘Lo sguardo di Orfeo’; ‘L’inverno di vetro; ‘Di altre stelle polari’; ‘Blue branches’.


Grieve not, sister, for the invisible

Grieve not, sister, for the invisible,
The hard-toiling wind, the grass hikers trample,
Death’s ashen brother, the sleep,
Don’t fall prey of tangled thoughts,
You know she has an attitude
And gives it the large, you know her –
Trust me, soon the mist will rise
From the blind, the leaves
And drive us down a light breeze
Where white stars wander through the garden paths:
We’ll be home at midnight sharp to shelter
A naked flame against spreading branches,
Invasive flowers, all gone astray the bloody truths,
The trees, the ships, in deference and awe
We’ll steal from life what she owes us,
The unrelenting past, the sodden years
And fling our souls to the sky just as ravens
Fly to the dreams the dead were force-fed
When begging at the gates.
Easy flesh? Amen, sister, amen.
Now, let’s cut it out and talk serious staff
Shall we let the snake in and get tense
On tough questions and intrusive remarks
Or have just a few words with the bouncers?
But what if the newlyweds in love
Go all mushy gushy and sneak him in?
Gosh, it might trash the garden party
With the poshest mobs having a blast
Among flowerbeds, striped marquees,
Lovely gazebos, champagne, oysters, small talk –
The garden, yes, the good ol’ stuff –
Funny God never stroke a matricide dead,
Funny the revelation never pushed the skies
Against the fires of a November afternoon –
Funny the golden gates are locked,
Hey-ho, outsiders can only stare
At the forbidden romps, if they are lucky,
Even get a glimpse of some orchids
Tainted with scars and red –


A Cain’s mark, perhaps?

To A.

No way you can save them
Even if prayers fly faster than gales,
Men smash women sometimes,
Simple as that –
No way you’ll win when playing your hand
With the jaded old rower, yeah, Charon,
That’s him –
No harm meant of course,
Of course not, a sly grin,
The mag goes mad, the bullets blast
And off she runs in a blazing flash,
No fuss, no flap, it serves you well,
You meanest cat in town –
To think that once we were close friends,
Would go for a chat and a pint,
Believe it or not –
Yes, I’d so like to meet her again, just once,
My friend, light, only they say
you’re always so busy abroad, they say
pewter skies are temping for you,
No thanks, I don’t need useless skies,
I need light –
I know, she sets the woods ablaze,
Runs with the wolves, gives her lovers
Wild horses and bimbos galore
While I’m cursed to lend my soul
To tree-laden boulevards –
Of course they forget to give it back
When I need it most, bloody careless trees!
Of course they cast the blame on Father
When souls get lost in the fires and life shouts
‘Never mind, no’ –
Wait a bit, see those ladies chatting the lunch away
Among the Mondrians, the breezy silk curtains,
The mahogany furniture –
Listen, come next month the pretty tall blonde
Will be done in, yes, she’ll be spared the juiciest bit,
Great job indeed!
As a forlorn old king once wept
That’s the way madness lies,
So do my thoughts as I’m limping off
To a forlorn chapel:
Is light reliable, shall I trust my candles?
Dunno and nowhere to hide,
But enough with doubts,
Enough with my renegade mind –
No use for them, so what?
I might as well switch off that film,
Rely on my dicey helper, even light
Some wavering candles.


Twilight –

In a dingy cafe the young cashier
Smiles like Mona Lisa, is he snooping
As my soul and I are having a spat?
Maybe he thinks I’m right, maybe not –
Point is she’s fed up with long night vigils,
With hunting for herself,
All her life a wonderer, all her life
Tasting woes harsher than raw blackberries,
Now the hell with searches, she wants to stay put –
Well ,isn’t dear mind a wanderer, dunno why
But her words remind me of Nana telling
Those who need light most
I was a child then,
Are the damned and the wanderers –
I was a child then, to be honest,
Now I’m not that sure:
Light? Pray, Sir, what sort of light?
The sabres angels carried many years ago
To smite darkness on a cold winter
Or the loud flashy light
From trees, frills and trinkets,
Haw far have we gone, haven’t we? –
Oh, c’mon, sabres, Christmas lights,
Everything but the comets who call in,
Stay a bit, then see you later, bye:
How can you trust a light always on the move?
Listen, it was the only light I was ever given,
Sparks I can’t keep, let alone relive
And no help from retired head-teachers
Who spend the days knitting scarves,
Or wistfully shaking their heads
At my attempts to turn into a light
Good at sneaking off without words or reasons –
Only dead stars stand still, they lecture me:
So what? Dead they may be, but their radiance
Is the only I trust and love
And now, dear Moon, beloved celestial bodies
Please stop babbling and go back to yarns and needles,
Go stuffing food in your cheap totes,
Leave the pros to chart the soul’s darkest gorges –
Me? I’ll stuff mine with mirth and pewter skies
And no, afraid I can’t share when kiddos from afar
Give us words ‘cause I’m sleeping sleep foul,
Not for me running like a cheetah after her prey,
I just sleep foul while my soul argues
She can’t waste time on hunting and existential safaris,
So first she flatly declines, then shouts,
We two putting a sorry show in a dingy bar,
The only audience being ambivalent smiles
And a sorry twilight.

 

 

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