Le altre lingue: Canada (le aree anglofone) – Michael Mirolla

Sesto capitolo della rubrica “Le altre lingue” dedicata al Canada anglofono. Il poeta selezionato da Antonio D’Alfonso è Michael Mirolla. Buona lettura.

Michael Mirolla (6)

The author of novels, plays, and short story and poetry collections, Michael Mirolla describes his writing as a mix of magic realism, surrealism, speculative fiction and meta-fiction. Publications include the novel Berlin (a 2010 Bressani Prize winner); The Facility, The Giulio Metaphysics III, The Formal Logic of Emotion (translated in Italian as La logica formale delle emozioni), The Ballad of Martin B., and three collections of poetry: Light and Time, the bilingual Italian-English Interstellar Distances/ Distanze Interstellari, and The House on 14th Avenue (2014 Bressani Prize).
His short story collection, Lessons in Relationship Dyads (2015), Torp: The Landlord, The Husband, The Wife and The Lover (2016).
Born in the town of Jelsi, province of Campobasso, region of Molise, Italy, and raised in Montreal, Michael now makes his home in the Greater Toronto Area. For more information, www.michaelmirolla.com.

Michael Mirolla – five poems

Trompe-l’œil & the Mother

I watch her dark back, arched into a question mark,
as she stands before the adipose stove. She stirs
jaundiced soup flakes into a roiling pot
coated in blue-white shades of chipped porcelain.
The steam rises, dappling the space around her.
It settles in her socketed eyes, smoothing out
the interstices of a mapped out face.
Sometimes, it takes my fancy to imagine
she’s been standing there before that stove
since … since the beginning of … rhyme … really …
churning the chipped pot with its limp noodles.
Shredded bits that float in a yellow sea.

It’s either this or stepping off that ship
across more than half a century … across
a rotted gangplank that smelled of finality
even then … waves far below signalling the last
transmitted message from the generations
left behind … shards of pottery half-swallowed
in the over-burdened earth. Skin severe
over chrysalis cheek bones, she steps into
the corollary world, gripping a child
in each hand like some logical conclusion.
A proof to be presented … continuity
amid the sudden ripping away of roots.

Or maybe the right approach is to crease
the two images into each other …
to a place where, negating all that came
between (from onyx silences to flashing knives),
they can touch and co-exist without fear
of contradiction. Like a sullen trick one does
by folding back the designs on twin pieces
of paper to create a third. But what
would such a joining look like? Perhaps
the cameo of an old woman holding
a shiny porcelain pot, straight out of the box.
Hand that reaches to coax the gas flame to life.

From: The House on 14th Avenue



At the age of ninety-five, my father
decides on the need for cologne. The traces
hover long after he has shuffled by.
Fresh. Bracing. Effervescent. Eau de.
A perfect cover, I guess, for the cracked
vellum-skin beneath.

———————————————–He splashes it on
in the space where parchment and spillage meet
each morning before a mirror image
he can barely see. And he is morphing,
more comfortable of late with face child-like
and gummy then with ill-fitting dentures
inserted. They rattle inside his mouth,
click-clacking in their painful song to entropy.

At the age of ninety-five, my father,
fearful of vanishing, gropes the dark spaces
for something to do. His fingers ripple
against the waves of gravity before him,
less visible yet thicker each passing day.
He probes tax bills and hot pepper jars alike,
pokes at sweet grapes that trail a nasty stain
like ancient bruises. Like the purple marks
left by prison camp guards.

————————————————————–In the sunlight
that streams through the living-room window,
I see the dust that will carry him off
one day. One day. But, in the meantime,
he reaches gingerly for the blue-tinted bottle
and dabs himself (and the world around him)
with more than a hint of scented blessing.

I can but think of singing “the sun in flight”
and imprecations against an easy dark.

From: The House on 14th Avenue


A Son Washes His Mother. He Does

The long godliness
of death’s curtain grin.
Sanctuary delights
in the All-Hallow crypts
where shiny bones call out
shiny skulls grimace behind glass
shiny roses rise up thru clay
to connect stilted alleys
with cobblestones that settle sighing
after ground trembles.
Blessings from the simple faces out of time
Earth as harsh & cracked as faces out of time
An imprint ironed against the faces out of time
having run out of time.

What do we leave behind? Choose something
to leave behind. Anything.
Images, yes? Images, yes. In reverse
like trilobites … the death masks
of creatures wiggling in the mud.
Images of one hand pressing another
finger to finger pulp to pulp
whorl to whorl tingle to tingle.
The cries from a hospital bed
aching to be released,
aching to be taken home:
“Please … please … please …
if you love me … if you …”
A son’s soft middle-aged eyes
stroking his mother’s flesh
washing the morbid flesh
in the privacy of his thoughts
plunging into an intimacy
few sons will dare to touch.
A bittersweetness in the mouth
a dry gulp that tastes of time
an impossible pathway back to the start.

What can we look forward to?
The chimes at six fifteen
ushering out the “guests”.
The cold, air-conditioned fever
that blows across wheelchair spokes.
The remnants settling back
into all the blank spaces
their eyes propelled by greed, lusting
for a visit, for a son like that son. For the one
who will dab them with a cool sponge
who will whisper tuneful lullabies
who will teach them how to walk
who will stem the flow of blood
who will stuff their thoughts back in
who will bring them closer to godliness
to the long godliness
before the lights go out.

From: Light and Time


Moths and Trees: November in Taylor Creek Park

On a day like today,
ice receding momentarily from earth’s taut brow,
the moths arise from their crystalline sleep.
In the fibrous air, they fumble
on cracked and bitter wings.
They flit between raindrop spears,
dirty pieces of cloud
along the river’s snaky edges.

On a day like today,
the willows hug their broken limbs
draped in polyethylene. High above
saw-tooth ice, the doggie scoop bags
swing in the militant breeze, larval
passengers in their cryogenic containers.
Sniffing the air for rebirth.
Not yet, they cry. Not yet.

On a day like today,
a body carries its own dappled sunlight
through the flash-flood waters. Face down,
mouth agape, filtering the ancient mud,
it searches for non-saccharine truths.
The moths alight for a moment,
glow translucent in the imported sunlight
before rising once more
to cling to rusted tree jackets.

From: Light and Time


The bear

When you hear the sound of scraping beyond
a cave’s orifice to the outer world
think again before you enter. The warmth
the smell the heady brew may invite you
into a place of origin a place
where fermentation lacks but your quick yeast.

Inside you may find luminescent walls
covered with the true signs of art: clasp square
dove vase. And the word: Rückgeburt. Rebirth.
Millennia accordioned into a single moment.
From the rutted plateaus of Anatolia
to the quickbog zones of the boreal north.

Or you may find the creature squatting
in the goddess pose as agonized she
prepares to insert a careless child back
into her womb. And are you next in line?
One more sacrifice to help atone for
that original chromosomal split?

Best to hold back until the scraping ends
the walls pristine the odours turned to must
the cave abandoned to bats and their echoes.
And then to gingerly step in with lantern
in hand to light the intimate corners
where androgyny failed to stop the great divide.

The bones gathered in ceremonial piles
wait for their owners to claim them. Totems
for the journey that lies ahead. A way
out of the maze that threatens to undo
us all. Gather those marked for you. Prepare
to carry them to where they no longer matter.

In copertina: Michael Mirolla.