Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Poem: Cavaradossi's Memo

Cavaradossi’s Memo

To write a poem now would clearly be a mistake
so I won’t


a tempo

Now when the Dots of Bott and
windshield wipers
have opened me up
the lobby swirling around me like
so much perpendicular nonsense
so much other people’s stuff

subito piano

And Maria Maddalena stares back at me with blue eyes.

(I will fall in love with her on a balcony
the wind blowing her hair into my face;
I am forced to place it back
against her neck
and hold my hand there
three seconds too long for

Morning on Sant’Angelo is deceptively clear
the bells coating Roma in jackets of brass
the stars still in their seats
and these nice military gentlemen
who deliver my notes
for the price of a ring

But they moonlight as a firing squad, you know
and they have their orders
their muskets inscribed with the names of great painters
Raphael, Michelangelo, da Vinci
(I am honored but not glad)

I may never finish the opera house
but I offer you this
I know Scarpia is dead and gone, Tosca, but the
sands of Capitola Beach
are no more forgiving than the cobblestones
of Italia

Give me one sure kiss and I will
receive my shots
like long-lost friends
empty myself out to the sky
and listen to your Doppler high C
all the way down from the parapet

First published in Owen Wister Review
(Laramie, Wyoming)

Photo by MJV

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