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
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.
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
WE MEASURE AFTERNOONS IN SMOKE
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.
WHAT I SEE OF WEARINESS
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.