Saturday, May 1, 2010

Frank Giampietro

Me Spy With My Little Eye

Me and my paper plate of fried chicken.
Me, the hero,
un-jamming the big grey copier.
Me, the escalator? Me take the steps.
Me, and no more fifty-gallon fish tank.
Me in my new hundred-dollar shoes,
and my, if me don’t cut my hair just so
my head looks huge.
Me, my head is huge.
Me, my Dad's ancient, oily face,
me like to kiss it.
Me fold clothes but no, no, no,
me don't put them away.
Me paying too much
for the teeny tiny house.
Me asking for help,
cuz me can't get no cheap flight to Malta,
me all stuck in sassafras.
But not so with you, right?
You're so smart
and so cool, but I freakin' spy you.


It must have been the night
I pulled at your breasts
till they were long enough

to fit into our pillowcases
because that morning I woke
to find the bed sheet had come off

the corners, drawing us closer.
You said, without looking at me,
I wish it was always

blue light in the doorway.
And just as I was about to turn over
instead of trying to gather
what you meant,

a stork ripped a hole in the roof
and carried the two of us away.


As my son watches the fish thwack against the side of the
spackle bucket, I search my tool box for needle-nose pliers:
A Phillips-head, an orange box cutter, razorblades packed
in cardboard, and a broken measuring tape pile like ancient
monument stones on the dock. Gills bleeding heavily, the
crappie lifts easily from the bucket. It has swallowed the
hook. I show my son, beware the fierce, sharp fin. We have
lots more hooks. But does the hook hurt the fish's throat?
he asks as we release it into the dark water. Struggling up
the steep bank, my son snaps off milkweed stems. The
banked willow tree hasn't an answer. I hold onto roots and
dirt with my lying, stinking hands.

Frank Giampietro, Poet

You eat with your fingers
when appropriate. You are a native
with an immigrant mind.
No one mows the lawn like you do.
The blue jays sing from your railing.
You drink your coffee black, like a man.
Why are your eyeglasses always smudged?
Because your sense of smell is so strong,
like your neighbor's dog, Rodney,
the Tibetan wolfhound—
the only one in Delaware, and such a smart dog,
so quiet but playful, not a jumper, very curious—
yes, a genius of a dog lives next to you,
When you work, people around you work harder.
When you're on the set with DeNiro,
DeNiro works harder.
You are in demand. You have a ministry.
You console the living, you honor the dead.
Your headaches are the price you pay.
You speak in cliché, but only when spoken to.
When you are sixty, if you try hard enough,
but not too hard, you will write beautiful—no,
accurate, poems. Some lines will be mediocre,
some genius, for instance:
winter has too many pockets or
it didn't take long for the skywriter to say I'm sorry.
And you may still have a problem
with endings, which may have something to do
with ambition—or Lorne Michaels,
how he's not afraid to drop a cow
on the stage to end the scene.

-all poems from collection Begin Anywhere

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