Three Poems by Laura Manuelidis

Blue rimmed by morning



Snow infuses the bright spirit

of this moment

as it keeps falling

On our inebriate tilting canvas of earth

So it can gently stroke

its cleaned forehead

and stiff its straying

Hairs with crystals:

Prisms curve/d

through which we focus

the growing distant

Sleeping sun, barely raising its nose above the horizon


to carry my shovel

my shawl

my shroud of fundamental crimson

Before the footprints of the less fortunate






wherever they may go then



Pity the gull dragging its broken wing to the edge

Unable to plunge either blue.



Pity the lost ship without its compass gull

Heading home :        Sailors at the brink.



Pity the severed spirit that does not see the children

Delivered into perpetual orphanage



By whatever is worst that drives men to control

The reins (I mean time’s) that they never can.



Pity death itself, though naturally flawed by varicosities of pain

Is not enough to thwart the ultimate joy of our conjugal earth :



Pity that our species does not merely luxuriate

In each wingspan of unrestricted beauty



wherever its flights may go



Skulls retain a color of the mind



Absolute citron

Oh, this Mandarin absolut!

The French neurologist in Salpetrière

waves his wand

round the orange beard of van Gogh

although it grows from a different head

Right there, floating in formalin

Revolution fixed well:     One glass jar of time.




Think of the beer in Göettingen:

Charm of medieval scrolls preserved on walls

while angels prance stepped roofs

jingling fairy tales in silver buckled shoes.



Beneath the waiting chairs of the bright new hospital there

Lie plastic limbs of red and blue


To be replaced

if people stand and wait their turn

like ghosts of tinker toys

with little joints that neatly snap

To give a kind of pleasure to non-souls

Attending, in white coats.



Everything is always perfect and orderly

Above the museum of preserved phrenology

for criminal schizophrenia :

Measurements of the coronal—

and please note—

a certain lack of imagination in the saggital.



Now in our prisons with foreign names

We don’t even bother to measure the remains

for under hooded black hats

we  straightened them out

in our watery vats

Since every citizen must be correctly diagnosed :

for Questioning

[from the recesses of neuropathology

                         Salpietrère, hospital of Charcot, brain diseases]


Laura Manuelidis is a physician and neuroscientist who has contributed scientific articles in the fields of chromosome structure and dementias. She has published poems in diverse literary journals including:  The Nation, Oxford Poetry Journal, Innisfree Journal, Evergreen Review and Pirene’s Fountain. Her first book of poetry Out of Order has an introduction by Y. Yevtushenko (that is better than the poems). Currently, she is finishing another collection One / divided by Zero, that incorporates the poems above.

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