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Three by Corseri

The Space Between 50 and 20

by GARY STEVEN CORSERI

 

She leans into her needlework and sees

Assisi rising in the silken strands,

her body like a question mark, at ease,

as though she wove her answers with her hands.

Then, with a thought, she rises into flight,

leaving the air quivering behind her,

so one might guess that she were made of light,

dancing around a memory’s whisper.

She comes back nonchalant, with a bouquet

of nothing but a smile, and youthful blooms

she places in a vase—as if to say,

These are my selves, whose fragrance fills these rooms.

And then her slender fingers weave, and know

the years between us, gathered like the snow.

 

 

Sunflowers (How Language Is Learned)

by GARY STEVEN CORSERI

 

“Girasole,” Italians say, accent

on soul; “g” as in gyro; the last

syllable, lay–a medieval song.

 

In my uncle’s garden there were many

(heads taller than I, taller even than

the tomato plants he trained to staves

 

heading towards trellises of overhead vines

from which he squeezed—sweet!—

grapes’ wine-dark blood).

 

But these were golden, star-petaled; serene,

somehow; yet…, eerie–how they tracked the sun.

(I thought—in my six years: They track me, too!)

 

If they could know the sun’s intent,

know where to turn, compassed to light,

easy to know a small boy’s wondering!

 

Behind their sheriffs’ golden badges

atop their tall, green stems,

they knew I looked; looked back;

 

and looked beyond.

And I thought: They are pieces of the sun,

dreaming of returning.

 

Now, in my dreams’ carousels,

spinning their mutable, chocolate-clock faces,

they turn in the words learned without learning:

In il cuore del mio cuore–i girasoli–

(in the heart of my heart—sunflowers–)

turning…, returning. …

 

 

Rilke’s Angels

by GARY STEVEN CORSERI


Rilke’s angels, in the hovering air,

just beyond us, whispering, stir

 

curtains of memories, parting to reveal

the ever-present, ever-loved, who will

 

us toward them, as toward a destined shore.

We cannot see, or hear, how they implore

 

our footsteps, or how they intervene–

brushing with diaphonous wings unseen

 

contrarieties–, only feel their presence

in the timeless, in the glimmering sense

 

we share, as master and apprentice.

There, in the falling sun’s gold-garnet space,

 

fringing the clouds, they wait, weaving,

like sunbeams–themselves, and us: the living

 

and the dead (or, more-than-living); with faith,

filling our lungs with their wings, like breath.

Gary Steven Corseri has taught in US public schools and prisons, and at US and Japanese universities. His prose and poems have  appeared at The New York Times, CounterPunch, City Lights Review, The Village Voice, Dissident Voice, L.A. Progressive and hundreds of other periodicals and websites worldwide.  His dramas have been produced on Atlanta-PBS, and he has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum.  He has published books of poetry, and the novels,  A Fine Excess and Holy Grail, Holy Grail.  He can be contacted at Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.

Editorial Note: (Please Read Closely Before Submitting)

To submit to Poets’ Basement, send an e-mail to CounterPunch’s poetry editor, Marc Beaudin at counterpunchpoetry@gmail.com with your name, the titles being submitted, and your website url or e-mail address (if you’d like this to appear with your work).  Also indicate whether or not your poems have been previously published and where.  For translations, include poem in original language and documentation of granted reprint/translation rights.  Attach up to 5 poems and a short bio, written in 3rd person, as a single Word Document (.doc or .rtf attachments only; no .docx – use “Save As” to change docx or odt files to “.doc”).  Expect a response within one month (occasionally longer during periods of heavy submissions).

 

Poems accepted for online publication will be considered for possible inclusion of an upcoming print anthology.

For more details, tips and suggestions, visit CrowVoiceJournal.blogspot.com and check the links on the top right. Thanks!

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Gary Corseri has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has published novels and collections of poetry, has taught in US public schools and prisons and in US and Japanese universities. His work has appeared at CounterPunch, The New York Times, Village Voice and hundreds of publications and websites worldwide. Contact: gary_corseri@comcast.net.

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