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Scritta da: Silvana Stremiz

In ascensore fino al cielo

Come dicono i pompieri,
non prendete mai camere oltre
il quinto piano
negli hotel di New York:
ci sono scale che vanno pi˙ su
ma nessuno ci salirebbe.
Come dice il "New York Times",
l'ascensore cerca sempre da sÚ
il piano in fiamme
e si apre automaticamente
e non si chiude pi˙.
Sono questi gli avvisi
che dovete dimenticare
se volete uscire da voi stessi
fino a catapultarvi in cielo.

Sono andata spesso oltre
il quinto piano
salendo a manovella,
ma solo una volta
andai fino in cima.
Sessantesimo piano:
cigni e pianticelle piegÓti
verso la propria tomba.
Duecentesimo piano:
montagne con la pazienza di un gatto,
il silenzio in scarpe da tennis.
Cinquecentesimo piano:
messaggi e lettere millenari,
uccelli da bere,
una cucina di nuvole.
Seicentesimo piano:
le stelle,
scheletri in fiamme
con le braccia che cantano.
E una chiave,
una chiave enorme,
che apre qualcosa
(qualche utile uscio)
da qualche parte,
Vota la poesia: Commenta
    Scritta da: Silvana Stremiz

    With Mercy For The Greedy

    Concerning your letter in which you ask
    me to call a priest and in which you ask
    me to wear The Cross that you enclose;
    your own cross,
    your dog-bitten cross,
    no larger than a thumb,
    small and wooden, no thorns, this rose

    I pray to its shadow,
    that gray place
    where it lies on your letter... deep, deep.
    I detest my sins and I try to believe
    in The Cross. I touch its tender hips, its dark jawed face,
    its solid neck, its brown sleep.

    True. There is
    a beautiful Jesus.
    He is frozen to his bones like a chunk of beef.
    How desperately he wanted to pull his arms in!
    How desperately I touch his vertical and horizontal axes!
    But I can't. Need is not quite belief.

    All morning long
    I have worn
    your cross, hung with package string around my throat.
    It tapped me lightly as a child's heart might,
    tapping secondhand, softly waiting to be born.
    Ruth, I cherish the letter you wrote.

    My friend, my friend, I was born
    doing reference work in sin, and born
    confessing it. This is what poems are:
    with mercy
    for the greedy,
    they are the tongue's wrangle,
    the world's pottage, the rat's star.
    Vota la poesia: Commenta
      Scritta da: Silvana Stremiz

      Unknown Girl In A Maternity Ward

      Child, the current of your breath is six days long.
      You lie, a small knuckle on my white bed;
      lie, fisted like a snail, so small and strong
      at my breast. Your lips are animals; you are fed
      with love. At first hunger is not wrong.
      The nurses nod their caps; you are shepherded
      down starch halls with the other unnested throng
      in wheeling baskets. You tip like a cup; your head
      moving to my touch. You sense the way we belong.
      But this is an institution bed.
      You will not know me very long.

      The doctors are enamel. They want to know
      the facts. They guess about the man who left me,
      some pendulum soul, going the way men go
      and leave you full of child. But our case history
      stays blank. All I did was let you grow.
      Now we are here for all the ward to see.
      They thought I was strange, although
      I never spoke a word. I burst empty of you,
      letting you see how the air is so.
      The doctors chart the riddle they ask of me
      and I turn my head away. I do not know.

      Yours is the only face I recognize.
      Bone at my bone, you drink my answers in.
      Six times a day I prize
      your need, the animals of your lips, your skin
      growing warm and plump. I see your eyes
      lifting their tents. They are blue stones, they begin
      to outgrow their moss. You blink in surprise
      and I wonder what you can see, my funny kin,
      as you trouble my silence. I am a shelter of lies.
      Should I learn to speak again, or hopeless in
      such sanity will I touch some face I recognize?

      Down the hall the baskets start back. My arms
      fit you like a sleeve, they hold
      catkins of your willows, the wild bee farms
      of your nerves, each muscle and fold
      of your first days. Your old man's face disarms
      the nurses. But the doctors return to scold
      me. I speak. It is you my silence harms.
      I should have known; I should have told
      them something to write down. My voice alarms
      my throat. "Name of father--none. " I hold
      you and name you bastard in my arms.

      And now that's that. There is nothing more
      that I can say or lose.
      Others have traded life before
      and could not speak. I tighten to refuse
      your owling eyes, my fragile visitor.
      I touch your cheeks, like flowers. You bruise
      against me. We unlearn. I am a shore
      rocking off you. You break from me. I choose
      your only way, my small inheritor
      and hand you off, trembling the selves we lose.
      Go child, who is my sin and nothing more.
      Vota la poesia: Commenta
        Scritta da: Silvana Stremiz

        The Double Image

        I am thirty this November.
        You are still small, in your fourth year.
        We stand watching the yellow leaves go queer,
        flapping in the winter rain.
        Falling flat and washed. And I remember
        mostly the three autumns you did not live here.
        They said I'd never get you back again.
        I tell you what you'll never really know:
        all the medical hypothesis
        that explained my brain will never be as true as these
        struck leaves letting go.

        I, who chose two times
        to kill myself, had said your nickname
        the mewling mouths when you first came;
        until a fever rattled
        in your throat and I moved like a pantomine
        above your head. Ugly angels spoke to me. The blame,
        I heard them say, was mine. They tattled
        like green witches in my head, letting doom
        leak like a broken faucet;
        as if doom had flooded my belly and filled your bassinet,
        an old debt I must assume.

        Death was simpler than I'd thought.
        The day life made you well and whole
        I let the witches take away my guilty soul.
        I pretended I was dead
        until the white men pumped the poison out,
        putting me armless and washed through the rigamarole
        of talking boxes and the electric bed.
        I laughed to see the private iron in that hotel.
        Today the yellow leaves
        go queer. You ask me where they go I say today believed
        in itself, or else it fell.

        Today, my small child, Joyce,
        love your self's self where it lives.
        There is no special God to refer to; or if there is,
        why did I let you grow
        in another place. You did not know my voice
        when I came back to call. All the superlatives
        of tomorrow's white tree and mistletoe
        will not help you know the holidays you had to miss.
        The time I did not love
        myself, I visited your shoveled walks; you held my glove.
        There was new snow after this.

        They sent me letters with news
        of you and I made moccasins that I would never use.
        When I grew well enough to tolerate
        myself, I lived with my mother, the witches said.
        But I didn't leave. I had my portrait
        done instead.

        Part way back from Bedlam
        I came to my mother's house in Gloucester,
        Massachusetts. And this is how I came
        to catch at her; and this is how I lost her.
        I cannot forgive your suicide, my mother said.
        And she never could. She had my portrait
        done instead.

        I lived like an angry guest,
        like a partly mended thing, an outgrown child.
        I remember my mother did her best.
        She took me to Boston and had my hair restyled.
        Your smile is like your mother's, the artist said.
        I didn't seem to care. I had my portrait
        done instead.

        There was a church where I grew up
        with its white cupboards where they locked us up,
        row by row, like puritans or shipmates
        singing together. My father passed the plate.
        Too late to be forgiven now, the witches said.
        I wasn't exactly forgiven. They had my portrait
        done instead.

        All that summer sprinklers arched
        over the seaside grass.
        We talked of drought
        while the salt-parched
        field grew sweet again. To help time pass
        I tried to mow the lawn
        and in the morning I had my portrait done,
        holding my smile in place, till it grew formal.
        Once I mailed you a picture of a rabbit
        and a postcard of Motif number one,
        as if it were normal
        to be a mother and be gone.

        They hung my portrait in the chill
        north light, matching
        me to keep me well.
        Only my mother grew ill.
        She turned from me, as if death were catching,
        as if death transferred,
        as if my dying had eaten inside of her.
        That August you were two, by I timed my days with doubt.
        On the first of September she looked at me
        and said I gave her cancer.
        They carved her sweet hills out
        and still I couldn't answer.

        That winter she came
        part way back
        from her sterile suite
        of doctors, the seasick
        cruise of the X-ray,
        the cells'arithmetic
        gone wild. Surgery incomplete,
        the fat arm, the prognosis poor, I heard
        them say.

        During the sea blizzards
        she had here
        own portrait painted.
        A cave of mirror
        placed on the south wall;
        matching smile, matching contour.
        And you resembled me; unacquainted
        with my face, you wore it. But you were mine
        after all.

        I wintered in Boston,
        childless bride,
        nothing sweet to spare
        with witches at my side.
        I missed your babyhood,
        tried a second suicide,
        tried the sealed hotel a second year.
        On April Fool you fooled me. We laughed and this
        was good.

        I checked out for the last time
        on the first of May;
        graduate of the mental cases,
        with my analysts's okay,
        my complete book of rhymes,
        my typewriter and my suitcases.

        All that summer I learned life
        back into my own
        seven rooms, visited the swan boats,
        the market, answered the phone,
        served cocktails as a wife
        should, made love among my petticoats

        and August tan. And you came each
        weekend. But I lie.
        You seldom came. I just pretended
        you, small piglet, butterfly
        girl with jelly bean cheeks,
        disobedient three, my splendid

        stranger. And I had to learn
        why I would rather
        die than love, how your innocence
        would hurt and how I gather
        guilt like a young intern
        his symptons, his certain evidence.

        That October day we went
        to Gloucester the red hills
        reminded me of the dry red fur fox
        coat I played in as a child; stock still
        like a bear or a tent,
        like a great cave laughing or a red fur fox.

        We drove past the hatchery,
        the hut that sells bait,
        past Pigeon Cove, past the Yacht Club, past Squall's
        Hill, to the house that waits
        still, on the top of the sea,
        and two portraits hung on the opposite walls.

        In north light, my smile is held in place,
        the shadow marks my bone.
        What could I have been dreaming as I sat there,
        all of me waiting in the eyes, the zone
        of the smile, the young face,
        the foxes'snare.

        In south light, her smile is held in place,
        her cheeks wilting like a dry
        orchid; my mocking mirror, my overthrown
        love, my first image. She eyes me from that face
        that stony head of death
        I had outgrown.

        The artist caught us at the turning;
        we smiled in our canvas home
        before we chose our foreknown separate ways.
        The dry redfur fox coat was made for burning.
        I rot on the wall, my own
        Dorian Gray.

        And this was the cave of the mirror,
        that double woman who stares
        at herself, as if she were petrified
        in time -- two ladies sitting in umber chairs.
        You kissed your grandmother
        and she cried.

        I could not get you back
        except for weekends. You came
        each time, clutching the picture of a rabbit
        that I had sent you. For the last time I unpack
        your things. We touch from habit.
        The first visit you asked my name.
        Now you will stay for good. I will forget
        how we bumped away from each other like marionettes
        on strings. It wasn't the same
        as love, letting weekends contain
        us. You scrape your knee. You learn my name,
        wobbling up the sidewalk, calling and crying.
        You can call me mother and I remember my mother again,
        somewhere in greater Boston, dying.

        I remember we named you Joyce
        so we could call you Joy.
        You came like an awkward guest
        that first time, all wrapped and moist
        and strange at my heavy breast.
        I needed you. I didn't want a boy,
        only a girl, a small milky mouse
        of a girl, already loved, already loud in the house
        of herself. We named you Joy.
        I, who was never quite sure
        about being a girl, needed another
        life, another image to remind me.
        And this was my worst guilt; you could not cure
        or soothe it. I made you to find me.
        Vota la poesia: Commenta
          Scritta da: Silvana Stremiz

          Small wire

          My faith
          is a great weight
          hung on a small wire,
          as doth the spider
          hang her baby on a thin web,
          as doth the vine,
          twiggy and wooden,
          hold up grapes
          like eyeballs,
          as many angels
          dance on the head of a pin.

          God does not need
          too much wire to keep Him there,
          just a thin vein,
          with blood pushing back and forth in it,
          and some love.
          As it has been said:
          Love and a cough
          cannot be concealed.
          Even a small cough.
          Even a small love.
          So if you have only a thin wire,
          God does not mind.
          He will enter your hands
          as easily as ten cents used to
          bring forth a Coke.
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