February 6, 2023

Deux Poèmes from Deux Poets

Deux Poèmes from Deux Poets

Today, Fictional Café introduces two fine poems from two fine American poets in our virtual magazine. Please let us know what you think of their work in the Comments section at the end of this post.

Frank De Canio

Language Primer    

I might as well become a child again, 

since my substantial English goes as far 

as what my senorita comprehends. 

As such, my native tongue becomes a bar 

against pronounced exchanges with my friend. 

She understands enough of what I say 

to stumble through the meaning I intend, 

but not enough for me to get my way. 

Yet, speaking fluent Spanish to her peers, 

she leaves me feeling witless in my age, 

while she with rapid fluency endears  

herself to those in the proficient stage 

of verbal mastery.  And I must wait 

on textbook training to communicate. 


Morose Measures

This author narrates fanciful conceits 

of intimacy. It’s the reject’s tack 

of getting warm and cozy in the sack 

by way of rolling pens on crumpled sheets. 

A lush, consummatory image cheats 

the senses of the amatory smack 

on lips and palms off a poetic snack 

of tawdry metaphors and metric beats  

instead. For how convey an aggregate 

of fleeting opportunities that taunt 

a bard who’d redline an auspicious date? 

I’m left with the imposter’s bent to flaunt 

credentials pilfered from the fourth estate, 

although the body of his text is gaunt. 


Born and bred in New Jersey, Frank De Canio worked for many years in New York City. He loves music from Bach to Shakira to Amy Winehouse. He attends Café Philo philosophical meetups in Lower Manhattan every other week. 

R. T. Castleberry


Early May sinks us, 

sends vines creeping to 

blooms ascending on terrazzo walls; 

chases battering winds 

along canopy sidewalks, 

through beggars on bikes 

bartering in desert camo. 

As I stand at a Belleville corner  

watching my prospects fade, 

church bells storm 

a steel shutter boulevard. 

I buy a book from a kiosk 

beside the Hotel Scarlett. 

Two newspapers headline 

high-rise murders, a third 

pleads cash for kidnap ransom, 

for families of staff lost to plague. 

Out of place, out of line, 

my Hong Kong mistress smokes 

her evening opium, Lambrusco at hand. 

A ruby pendant, a silver link bracelet 

glimmer with each pose, 

each sardonic wave to a soldiers convoy. 

Sly and laughing, we met 

at the Dragonfly bar. 

Taking a turn, we sold our narratives  

over French 75s and bruschetta. 

I followed her to Portugal. 

She flew with me to Paris  

when I took a position at Le Monde

In a linen shirt, she cuts my hair, 

sleeves turned on slender arms,.  

We share the hash pipe, afternoons at 4. 

In a cold, wanting sleep  

we drowse in denial of dreams,  

a decade of futures. 

Ambulance corps and staff car pass  

below terrace lavender and lily. 

The war advances through the border parishes. 

There is nothing we know to add. 



I start the day at the balcony rail,  

tracking the mailman’s morning route. 

Cardinals skip along power lines. 

Robins flutter the garden hedges, 

sun-stroked lines and diagonals of 

Mediterranean, Colonial, ragged four-plex. 

Single motherhood takes its toll 

rotating holidays, every other weekend. 

I’m discouraged from  

daily calls, romance bouquets, 

staying beyond Friday into Saturday morning. 

Spread-eagled in the master suite, 

you’re naked where you fell.  

Stripping to bathe, I step around you, 

mix a mimosa for my shower. 

Kneeling to kiss your brow, 

I email last night’s photos from your phone. 

Other nights bring other men. 


R.T. Castleberry, a Pushcart Prize nominee, has work in Steam Ticket, Vita Brevis, As It Ought To Be, Trajectory, Silk Road and StepAway. Internationally, he’s had poetry published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, New Zealand, Portugal, the Philippines and Antarctica. His poetry has appeared in the anthologies: Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, and Level Land: Poetry For and About the I35 Corridor. He lives and writes in Houston, Texas. 


#ageism#Hong Kong#intimacy#poetry#soldiers
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