portion of the artwork for Gabriella Garofalo's poetry

Bright Blue Shivers: Five Poems
Gabriella Garofalo

I.

Do they see blossoms and flowers
As they eat them? You certainly don’t,
But wouldn’t say no to powder blue afternoons,
To friendly roads when insomnia crops up,
The train stops then floods you
With fever, red bodies, an upside-down breath—
How long? How long?
Never mind, it’ll start again
And you’ll glide underground,
To silent seeds, silent words,
Silent clouds and their questions:
Did she ever meet the sky, by any chance?
He dissolved her father, you know—
Her mother? Not yet,
The flowers paler than her skin
Are kindly requested to wait just a bit:
Charming souls keep cheering you up,
They tell you how to stay fit or forever young—
Actually, you’d like to learn
How to make some light, any tips?
Look, the air is electric, so nick the light
Before he turns up early in the morning,
To look around for bodies, wombs, souls—
Now a father, now a son, he’s always on time,
Never calls in sick, while the town
Dates rain, charcoal clouds,
Or freezes up, darn limbo
Of empty words and deals—
Well, ice too is charming
When dyeing the mirror blue, right?
Thank God she knows hope dies incognito,
A white pencil on the floor,
Thank God she knows once they bite they die—
That’s the nice thingie about bees and fire.


II.

Let reckless flowers rise to your eyes
When shadows live round the corner—
White, very white the sculpture
Where women crash among the azaleas,
Where the first fruits of awakening
Fall on the edge—
Look, there’s a sad story behind:
It was a place of early death for men,
Women got by like wrinkled redwoods—
Grab what’s left, intrusive skies and hunger:
Something’s burning.
Sometimes poets or those in their stead
Wave branches to nourish the soul,
Words for all seasons—
Sometimes, a deplorable accident indeed,
Lips fall down soul and disappear,
Simple as that—
See the trees, the electric wires?
If strangers hang around the sky frets insomniac,
So he cringes and sells cheap,
For a bit of shadow and a scent of words,
The land he loves, sleep—
You say there’s light, there’s light you insist,
Sure, but it’s uncouth,
When you first met she hit God,
Upset new births, growled inside you,
Then you cheated on winter and snow went missing—
Please don’t glim her now blinks an on-off light—
Yes, fireflies showing up, don’t you know they give advice
In the most unusual ways?


III.

Not always a blessing, your keen eyes
Rush through our hidden souls
To find the greenish moss of our sins—
Not that we care, light—
Cool it, you bloody month, stop playing
The brat who shows his many toys,
Then suddenly snatches from our hands
Clouds, skies, and hits us with blizzards, gales—
Stop kidding yourself you’ve got
The guts of hyenas when they creep
Up the horizon to ransack old limbs, old souls in a dump—
You have not—
And you, old moons, stop giggling like bimbos
Do answer me:
Shall I wear blue pearls on my swan’s neck
Or icicles all over my hair?
And you, my sweet friends, my candles,
Stop dreaming light is a freebie
You can hand out to time, souls and minds—
By the by, light, why are you standing still?
Do answer me:
Is this the house where clouds recoil in awe?
My house? Then I’ll light them up, stamp out stubs,
Books, ciggies, the horizon, the last hills,
Deadline tonight, got it?
Translation of my own:
Where have you been, where are you going,
My askew glances?
OK, dear heavenly vault, sorry for my blunder,
But now please leave the kids alone,
Eat something else, fancy some prayers?
We’ve got them, yes, but you have to pay
And pay hard, I mean.
Deadline tonight, got it?
Not clouds, nor hills I’ll miss when I’m done,
Maybe you, light—
I know, you’re so busy, but just for once
Wave goodbye to my bed-ridden mind—
Courtesy matters, agree?
No, you don’t, nor do clouds, hills,
The gods of whatever month.
And yet once a lad hit a giant with a sling—
Was it a cartoon? What? The Bible? Really?
Oh well, I was a child when I read that tale.


IV.

Of comets and mysteries, of prophecies and beasts:
If prophets wander through trees and infinite vaults
If comets ride through the skies
If quasars and words drive through the soul
If names disperse like the sleazy white of waves
If beasts break in through the mind—
Oh, that die-hard habit—
They all get even in the end—
Geddit?
So, let’s not find fault with mothers,
Let’s not find fault with their sap,
They must be crucified as they speak in code,
Even worse light and music breathe—
Okay, okay, it was your first job, right,
You thought “it’s the beginner’s luck”
And went on a binge giving,
Too much life among lowlies and rocks,
Among diseases and dragonflies,
Colours, hate and whatnot—
To think that once we shared
Mirth, pewter skies, words and light
When kiddos from afar gifted us poetry—
Where was it?
Too bad, Father, really too bad,
’Twas where wild things and randomly, a life
Never failed to hide.


V.
To Michael

The three of them, in original:
Mother, daughter, father,
Wanted dead or alive:
No need for blizzards, no need for floods
When fury and anger thrive like vines in rain forests—
The newlyweds sit by the fire,
They’re writing letters—
No dates, no wine, no flowers,
Only tears they can entice,
Tears, a fire that sets the soul ablaze
And a shady town where everyone
Stares in awe at posies, food, dosh,
Blabs trivia, drinks coffee
With twisted lips in a bogus smile,
Darn those sham players
Hustling and bustling
On a pastel stage set—
No names, right, please don’t jinx the play,
Too many times your words,
North, south, east, west, hounded her
No more shadows, the branches will dance,
All night long the wind will laugh last,
But she knew Nature is a mean sniper,
And “Never” was her reply—
So, my fire, please touch gently
The ravaged shrubs, the waning leaves,
While she’s breaking up
Among the vixens infesting time
Like mouldy moss all over stones—
So, my fire, please beware her eyes,
Beware young things riding bikes,
Smiling the hours away—
Good, my warning’s over, to bed now,
A candle, a snuffer, a fretful wait my only friends:
What if dark teams up with elusive scribblers,
Bed-ridden sisters or dead fathers?
Is it that harsh? Bad habits die hard,
You know, shame the town we schlep around
Stares at dark and dangers in sweetest nonchalance,
Shame the sky nods wisely, then hides beneath the clouds
Or the moon’s chitchat.
And now body, get out,
You lost bet for the soul,
You endless time for fat blondes
And snarling warriors:
Is it a smile, a blitz
Or simply a fire forcing itself?
See? All the tat and cheap flames
Already sorted out,
But water gets her goat,
Fresh air is a drag,
And she hates Nature wolfing down
Weak leaves or helpless shoots
No one cares to hide.
Mind, the elite flowers rest in their gilded cages,
The shops where they safely breathe
The scent of a deserted freedom.



Gabriella Garofalo’s Comments

In a way, demise was the begetter of my words.

When I was 6 my brother, aged 3, died. I couldn’t understand why, nor can I now, after so many decades.

What I obscurely felt then, what I am persuaded of now, is that words can give us back the missing, the lost, the lives passed away.

I mean, I write because not a day goes by without that demise staying in my soul—a wasteland where the only streams are words, my reply to darkness.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 51 | Spring/Summer 2018