Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Two Poems by John Casquarelli

Hello, I’m a Mountain Oyster
for Jesse
suppose I threw a love affair
and nobody came?
not that life is inactive
both the cynic and the moralist offer equal opportunity
I know sharing the dark
doesn’t necessarily make me family
but it should guarantee not walking
into a relationship
with an executioner’s hood
perhaps it’s fate
perhaps it’s nature’s strange sense of humor
perhaps it’s a folder full of fragments
that leave my lips dry
amid black-inked comments
and electronic pixels
sometimes a room remembers
how to empty itself
this afternoon
it might feel good to be alive
laugh at the casual iambic oasis
imagine a woman
pressed against her window
each sign a rule
each sign a rule I want to break
it’s selfish to believe my own angst
is exclusively my own
the crackle of the wood clock
in those brief intervals
when I try to convince myself
that I can’t overcome
I am grateful for double stairways
and the occasional changing traffic light
and when she wears her red linen dress
my ribcage rattles
my skin tells stories
of an amber pool
emerging from the bud
of a moonflower

Reruns of Electric Static
love is an old word
we forget every morning
amid mass machine
tendrils of granite
red lights blink over
human tininess
iron brains tied to
overpriced university
we came for something
then disappeared
as if to seal our silence
to haunt the editorial pages
the invisible Niagaras
whose scarred fingers
beg for cigarette
hotel room 4am
rejoice at the last syllables
of a Shakespearean sonnet
here in the face of war
here when the news greets us
with new health scares
here where Montreal
goes unreported
here where our taxes
fund our own prisons
here where visions lie scattered
across car graveyard
here amid the black bubbles
of refineries
here as we vanish in a cloud
of vague generalities
how easy trust can bleed
through acid sunsets
torn from stone tenements
that leave nostalgic aftertaste
wait for glass promise
under the harsh light
of yesterday
and write
on a sheet of paper
how each look resembles
a long absence
John Casquarelli is an English professor at Boricua College in New York. He received his M.F.A. in the Creative Writing program at Long Island University. He was awarded the 2010 Esther Hyneman Award for poetry. His work has appeared in several publications including Downtown Brooklyn, Kinship of Rivers, By The Overpass, Brooklyn Paramount, Pulp, The International Rebecca West Society, and Sun’s Skeleton. His first full-length book, On Equilibrium of Song, was published by Overpass Books (2011).


  1. Re-runs of ecstasy, bubbles of grace-notes boiled in conviction, here amid moonflowers supporting the clouds, poetry unfurls its moonflower petals. Not quite surreal, not quite real... a nexus of emotion and imagery.

    1. Thank you for the poetic comment, Jeff! Write on!