Category: Poems

Pisa

Pisa

The village people knew

it was not a matter of if,

but a matter of when,

the tower would fall,

its wind-bleached columns

buckling at the knees

under the crushing weight of

its lofty belfry, which looked

out over the Piazza dei Miracoli

—the square of miracles.

 

Having stood in sturdy silence

for centuries, the spiral staircase

stretched its spine

enjoying the pop

of each stony vertebra until

the seventh story struck the ground

in a glorious, groaning backbend.

 

The nearby Cathedral of Pisa

didn’t approve of the acrobatics.

No self-respecting campanile

dreams of calisthenics.

What would the village people think?

 

But it didn’t matter what

the they would think.

With grating blocks in shifting stacks,

and stairs and capitals

and fissuring cracks,

the dust flew up,

then settled down, there

in pieces all around,

the parts of Pisa

on the ground.

 

Peace and Pisa on the ground.

-M.M.

Painting With

 

wind

 

Painting With

 

I don’t like the yellow wind—

all hot and rough, brittle,

fond of sawdust and spinning.

I much prefer the blue wind

that caresses and smooths,

sweeping away the sweat

and the afternoon.

The white wind keeps me up

at night, echoing in my

teeth and unsettling my bones

like salt from the north.

But, the black wind has my respect.

It moves methodically

the wheel of the seasons,

steering a massive rumble reckless

as the other winds bow in silence.

Then it gathers fragments,

scoops them into piles, and

draws closed the bag of time

spun out, till it all but disappears.

 

-M.M.

 

Speak

fullsizerender

 

Speak

 

They say the walls can feel

the hands that built them,

hewed them out of stone,

that the stones remember the songs

they sang when they thought

they were alone, and

nobody was listening.

 

They remember the way they

cursed when they accidentally

chipped off too much, or

hammered a thumb red.

 

The stones even remember the

sun and the moon,

the way it felt to be

illuminated from above.

 

The walls don’t speak much,

but when they do they

carry prayers.

 

When a hymn floats up

from the assembled below

they pass it on,

and pass it on.

 

The stones know that

when you’re praying in the forest

when nobody’s around

the trees may not notice,

but heaven hears the sound.

 

The walls say the hands can feel

the hands that built them.

Hands and walls

Like echoes in a cathedral.

 

-M.M.

Triangle

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Triangle

 

He

built it

triangled:

three                    He

sides and                   said it

three corners.        ought to work.

So                               my                             and

I pieced                        own 3                     dubbed it

   Together                       vertices                             Try-angle.

-M.M.

All Three

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All Three

 

He’s parleying at the ice cream parlor.

A truth, a truce, a tune.

She’s sidling down the silo steps.

A might, a night, a June.

They’re shifting to a seaing ship.

A sail, a soul, a spoon.

And angled high above strung love,

The sun, the stars, the moon.

 

-M.M.

Curtains

img_1542

 

Curtains

 

When heartbeats

cease to make

music,

when eyes turn to

microscopes,

when hands

only count

as abaci,

and when minds act

as balances

weighing heavy things

who can’t fly

away free

in the

end.

 

-M.M.

 

Note: I am currently studying life, both from the scientific and the literary point of view. In the Lithuanian language there are two words that translate into “life”. The first, gyvybė [gee-VEE-beh], describes the being alive aspect of life—biologically functioning, blood-pumping, moving, eating, sleeping, aliveness. The second, gyvenimas [gee-VAN-ih-mus], describes the living aspects of life—how you are doing today, hopes, dreams, problems, relationships, livingness. This poem was born thinking about the possible opposites of both of these words.