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Short poem

Pier Giorgio Di Cicco (1949-)

That First Year

              1i wrote poems mainly that first year,
              2picking garbage, doing dishes, humbling
              3myself among men who doubted me for having gotten
              4the world's publicity; what did i want with them, anyway?
              5but after a year they saw my touch and needed an arm
              6around them; men without women can use an italian
              7now and again to laugh christ off the cross and make him dance;
              8make the devil look a bit foolish.
              9it was my mission, cheering them after i saw that they had not
            10god in every blessed fork and spoon, and signs weren't everywhere.
            11so i got down to the business of living,
            12of taking one to the zoo, another to a store, a coffeeshop; but
            13always they couldn't wait to get home; after awhile,
            14thrilled as they were to get out, they got
            15fatigued in the world, like inmates, like loonies.

            16i too get tired now, going downtown, the noise and ruckus of
            17portuguese youths blasting and cruising, the correct and
            18their brandies, the traffic money-making rush of decent
            19moms and dads in their illusion of house
            20and car, and literature taking itself seriously and anyone
            21taking something serious to get away from pointlessness --

            22i want to go  back, like a loonie. not made for this.
            23i want to stack chairs with grigoire in
            24the church and go to sleep and stare at the blank
            25wall of the chapel and see christ's face. i want to sing
            26like st. john rieti who became a saint just for singing
            27to birds ...

            28i want to see everything as a sign: something dropped, a cloud going the
            29wrong way; and not in a town where there
            30are signs everywhere, and no signs.

            31stillness is what i crave, like those loonies, who did nothing
            32but look for signs 'cause everything is a sign when you do
            34i want grigoire's bees, anthony's galoshes galumphing
            35past my cell window, the scrape of chairs at breakfast
            36and walking down corridors with space between each
            37other in case the saints wanted to get through.

            38silly things. i want to go home.
            39i wait for everything but god
            40now; like all the others i make use of
            41his creation and forget --
            42to wait for him ... just wait for him,
            43worry that he'll take me, just to get attention;
            44that's what the world is, a sleep-waiting;
            45once i was awake and nothing-doing
            46and when he asked me to get us a coffee, i would --
            47otherwise we would just sit together, god and i
            48with eyes that penetrated.

            49behind trees and things, i feel that world that's ours,
            50and loonie brothers playing hide-and-seek with
            52my madmen, my crazies; like you
            53i can't be away for far too long; wherever you are, waiting,
            54in death or hayfields,
            55call me "in-free" before dusk.


26] st. john rieti (1299-1316), whose day is August 2.

55] "in-free": "Olley-Olley-Ox-in-Free," a cry that signals the end of a children's hide-and-seek game, the moment when anyone who has not been caught can come out without being tagged "it" and can go safely home.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Copyright Pier Giorgio Di Cicco 2002
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, The Honeymoon Wilderness (Toronto: The Manfield Press, 2002): 17-18.
First publication date: 2002
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: 2003
Recent editing: 1:2003/8/10

Rhyme: unrhyming

Other poems by Pier Giorgio Di Cicco