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From Eye to Eye:

"Spaccanapoli" and "Two Doors"

"David’s Blade", "Tango Room" and
"All but the Serpent"

"Models & Marie Antoinette: Two Escapes”

“Ferdinandea”

From American Gothic, Take 2:

"Summer Soundtrack"


"American Gothic, Take 2"

"The Cashier Screams 'Void'"


From A Secret Room in Fall:

"Artist 'Anon'"
(Atlanta Review/Pirene's Fountain)

"For Blanche, Who Named the Colors"
(Willow Review/Pirene's Fountain)

"Allergy Season"
(Perihelion)

 

A SECRET ROOM IN FALL

From a chair beneath the oak tree,
you see minarets
in the leaves' shadows,
acorns like onion domes, a few drops
of gold light splashing through

like a revelation:
summer is over. Farewell
to motives transparent
as glass and the blankness of mind
you mistook for enlightenment.

Cardinals and blue jays at your feet
are weaving a pattern fluid
as a Persian carpet that you must ride
deep into the maze named Fall.
Behind unmarked doors

expatriates from summer who fled
years ago are propped against pillows
in the permanent amber haze
of  back rooms. They'll serve
mint tea steeped black, whispering

that you, too, can make a home
in this once dazzling quarter
always on the verge
of corruption.  There are worse places
to live with your secrets.

So take the tea, their tips, the keys
to your own concealment.
Even now, plots have been hatched
and scouts fan out
from the winter palace.


THE EGYPTIAN QUEEN GIVES DEATH THE SLIP

Found: two boxes of wigs in my tomb
and a stash of makeup; considering my rain-
soaked sail to the other side, you assume
a queen needs to freshen up.  But no, I changed
looks to slip by unknown in last century’s hair style
and dated powder shades like bronze and clay.
You’ve seen my “death mask” in the museum’s Nile
wing by an artist I hired myself.  Pray,
do I look dumb or weak? When you stared
into my black-winged eyes, weren’t you first to blink?
Taking flight is my talent. Let Death play solitaire,
or else play with you his eternal, stinking
game of boredom. That’s not for me. I’m everywhere
and nowhere, which is why you found my casket bare.



From
The Bodies We Were Loaned:

"Ghost Frescoes" (Poetry)

"After You've Saved the Bird" (Verse Daily)

"Heart Murmurs" (Editor's Picks, Web Del Sol)

"Gu
lls and the Man" (excerpt from the art book Seeing America)


YOU’LL BURN IN HELL, THE PRETTY
WOMAN SAID, SMILING

and the man who had dared to steal a look
across the subway aisle hooted. A bible small
and square, forbidding as a padlock on a jewel
case lay over her trim lap.  The good book
tells me you’re damned because you seek
the body’s pleasure. Her trumpet voice blasted fallen
souls--him and every one of us.  I was enthralled
by this prophet in flame-red lipstick,
but the man’s laugh was just a grin now, a gag
pulled tight against his whitening skin. Die,
devil, she hissed, watching him struggle to lift
his heft from the well of a plastic seat. When he sagged
back, destroyed, she leaned into him, a perfumed bride
of Christ, tract in hand, face anointed with bliss.


“THE IDEA IS TO HAVE HEARTS ON A SHELF”
- Biomedical engineer quoted in a newspaper

In the fullness of time (a decade, they predict)
and money (5 billion, give or take)
and scientists’ damned
hard work (the calculation of minds that knew
from the getgo the heart’s eternal power
to raise funds, rally even the wary;
in short, its public relations value
over liver, kidney and spleen)--

hearts will beat on a shelf.
It could have been otherwise. Left alone,
stem cells might have chosen
another path, bloomed
as muscle or vein, but were induced
in laboratory light to this--a pump organ
tuned to nonstop celebration.

Soon they'll appear in a glass showcase,
labeled, plumped up like a pasha’s
rarest pillows.  Take one down--carefully, now!--
and feel the satin flutter against your skin,
insistent whisper of a heart wanting in,
the rush of your hidden
city, its roar and raging heat, the wild
dark needed to become human. 



Links to Other Poems:


Mediterranean Poetry



Listen to the Poetry

---On NPR:
"After You Saved the Bird"
---"Ferdinandea"
---"In Hiding"
---"The Weather Channel Preacher"




Maria Terrone, ©2007 - All Rights Reserved