Michael Volpi

Poetry

Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

They’re going to rip up the carpet
in the halls over Summer Break, re-
place it with fresh yearning for scuffs
as ghosts of gossip slip secrets
out of lockers long after the dividers,
permission slips and torn text pages trashed
in soon overstuffed lawn leaf bags. 180 days’
worth of groans heard around security
cameras awaiting the custodian to silence
them through a cracked door, lead them out,
back to their bodies housing those throats
that now laugh in game rooms, and reclaiming
those feet that again prop plushily on pillowed idols.

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Poetry

Photo by Taylor Grote on Unsplash

When the days begin to list toward the borderless —
as though an anarchist’s exhortation to fearless
featurelessness was summer’s bomb
threat exacted — there is no other general
practitioner’s prescription to follow: do not
worry about too much white rice, bread; ice
cream, hot dogs suffocated in homemade
nacho cheese; bloat, running to fat. Yesterday
is today, and tomorrow is history, so never
mind the lawlessness of a water-weighted body
that walks all it wants (less so than it needs) hours
at a time, to nowhere, nothing, against the sun-
stung backdrop of ponds, fairways, invisible holes
and removed flags. The only way to keep clean, light,
is to wait until tonight, celebrate the crescendos of Pop!
and Crack! as though you were a thunder- and fireworks-
terrorized dog, and melt away as you pant and shake.

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Photo by Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash

The chicory steam from the coffee
maker suffuses Sunday afternoon
loneliness with a ghost of this morning,
bitter vapor lapping the kitchen sink
windowsill. If you had just returned

from a weekend away, what would you trace
after shutting your eyes and muffling your ears?
After a deep breath? The culprit: a whiff of dead
sympathy flowers (the cat’s ashes asleep under
the glow of a taciturn moon, in the guest room)

with a hint of an early-bird supper from the hours
cooled oven. And then, there it is, the recognition:

memory of match struck after match
struck strikes the scream: “Fire!”

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Photo by Daoudi Aissa on Unsplash

Light

In drops the sky
as droplets to the eye,
during dawn partly beamed

Water

Can there be too much
of it — of a good thing?
Fire cannot be out-burned
by fire; what seems to be just
enough is just enough
in which to drown

Stone

That turquoise around your neck tastes
like an arrow shot from the centaur’s bow;
his heartbeats as feathers against tongue

Crystal

So let creation, then, soften,
melt to a pool of ether
that shocks like lightning
to the touch
before it returns as rain-
fall from the sun

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https://303magazine.com/2019/03/cassady-kerouac-sculpture-denver/Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Cassady

We will take the time we need
to pretend we can forgive each
other’s bruise of deletion, 25 years
as, apparently, phonebook entries — and nothing

more? Other? Tell me: When you swirl
the head-forming bits at the bottom
of your Sunday afternoon barbecue
bottle (What number is that? No more

than three?), don’t lie to yourself to me:
That night at the Old Point, Dry Dock,
darts then Salty Dogs, as we were quizzed
by the ferry passenger on the useless knowledge

of knowing whether the song playing belonged
to Rubber Soul or Revolver, did you believe
in yourself, Dean Moriarty, as a lover standing
over me, Paradise? Someone needing to return

to a future wife and woe?
Or did you need me simply
to drive you home to Denver,
have you be my beatific boy forever?

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https://www.nola.com/archive/article_4dde2d84-9782-59fb-aaa9-afd5bea481bd.html

As you and he and the other
couple friends merry-go-round
around the horse piss puddles
in the tourist trap streets of my home-
town, hand grenade exploded smiles
made night permanent until y’all’s vaude-
ville hook impulses move you from whistle
wetting watering hole to true swimming
dive, I’ll be vacationing like a summer-
time school boy at my adopted beach
town library writing about fantasies —
infidelities — and infinite acts of penance,
reading The Cantos with a companion guide,
smiling too as I recall my debit
PIN: the year of the wood goat

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