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Short poem

Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (1949-)


              1The Tropic of Capricorn someone had
              2left on the seat beside me, somewhere between
              3Utica and Albany;

              4Miller going on about twats,
              5about the pasting of billboards.

              6In and out of bus stops, nausea in my head,
              7the toilet smelling at the back;
              8the bus jolting the freeways; nightlights
              9rained on the window

            10the night I honeymooned with America. She took
            11me around like a sweetheart showing off her hometown.
            12We came upon places where Miller had had her
            13before me. We stepped off at depots and she was friendly
            14with old drunks, with sailors.

            15When we passed apple trees gathering frost
            16her eyes softened; she seemed almost childlike.
            17And later, tall mills, saddening her landscape, the way
            18a woman thinks of years with a man she couldn't love.

            19When we passed train yards, she reminisced about
            20Miller in New York, nights they made love by the roar
            21of trains, sparks flying at the folds of her summer dress.

            22The night I saw her for the first time, I saw she
            23was a good whore -- nothing to fall in love with --
            24fond of the young boys who'd grown with her; tall sons
            25of a sort who'd go on to elegize her, claim their
            26corruption by her, though
            27no man goes on to respectable wives
            28after her. She was nothing to sing about, the night
            29she lifted her dress for me.
            30But quietly           all over the world

            31her men return to their first nights with her.

            32Quietly, like small boys stealing apples under
            33furious stars,
            34they remember           with affection

            35the tough romance their hands build nothing without.


1] Tropic of Capricorn: a book written by Henry Miller (New York: Grove Press, 1963).

3] Utica and Albany: medium-sized cities in northern New York State (Albany is in fact the state capital).

4] twats: female genitals.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Copyright Pier Giorgio Di Cicco 2001
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, Living in Paradise: New and Selected Poems (Toronto: Manfield Press, 2001): 36-37.
First publication date: 1979
Publication date note: Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, The Tough Romance (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1979. PS 8557 I35T68 Robarts Library
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/8/10

Rhyme: unrhyming

Other poems by Pier Giorgio Di Cicco