Issue 108 — 

Emilio Iasiello (ArLiJo#108)
Domenic Scopa (ArLiJo#108)

Emilio Iasiello Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 108.




Kissing the Blind

In the park, next to the monuments
whose stark glory diminishes in the sun,
an old woman sits alone on a bench.
Her hands hold a sign — help me,
I’m blind — its letters twisted
in uneven shapes, smudged like squashed insects.
Beneath her naked feet rests
a dented metal cup, silver and copper
loose in its belly. I approach her
as I had approached a sedated lion
when I was six, biting my lip,
inching forward slightly, afraid.

I looked through the dark bars
where the lion sat sprawled out his face
expressionless, vacant. I remember
the depths of his eyes as he watched everything
without blinking, as if his head was stuck to a plaque
on a wall. And yet there was never a question
of strength, the powerful jaws that hung
so slack, the vicious paws, the mane
that caught the wind with its terrible authority.
I ran away crying.


And yet because what I now know
I learned then,
I must go and give her a kiss
the way my brother made me
eventually pet the lion, my young fingers
stretched out, trembling, touching the thick
mustard fur, tickling behind the ears.
And so I lean over the woman’s frail frame
and plant my lips over the lid of each
empty eye, looking deeply into this face I fear
crying the hysterical shrieks a child cries
when he knows he’s been bad;
giving up his tears
until all if forgiven.


Copyright © 2018 by Emilio Iasiello.




The Homeless Eats

The food isn’t there. The fingernails
clotted with grease and dirt
burrow beneath the trash folds
like maggots through a decayed body.
First some orange rinds, some newspaper,
the acrid stench of catfish;
then some scraps from last night’s dinner —
fat, grizzle, maybe an empty tuna can.
The backwash in a bottle if he’s lucky
a mouth-full of eighty proof anything
to hide the taste; maybe something sweet,
something strong. Something worth swallowing
that won’t be thrown up in an hour.

And you have seen this man,
stormed past his bags in the street,
kicked his teeth in. You have
slapped away his cup
with your eyes, pushed him
to the back of your mind,
a vague memory;
laughed at his filth,
cringed under the stench
of his urine, turned your ears
from his ragged voice.

Murderous son of Adam,
you rise against your kin
with indifference;
you murder your brother every day.


Copyright © 2018 by Emilio Iasiello.


About the Author
Emilio Iasiello is the author of the 2018 poetry chapbook Postcards from L.A. He has published poetry in several university and literary journals and written the screenplays for several independent feature films and short films. An avid playwright, his stage plays have been produced in the United States and United Kingdom. He has published a short story collection entitled Why People Do What They Do and a nonfiction book, Chasing the Green.
 

 


Domenic Scopa Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 108.




Found


Two snowflakes can be the same, my student argued
in her English Composition essay.

It snows so much where I am from
I had to stop searching.

As when a father, after decades, gives up on a kidnapped daughter,
because suddenly he understands—He needs her to be dead.

There’s always something lost in the laugher
of a single blackbird, its talons tight around a branch.

Everything is missing. House keys, money,
smiles, minutes, patience. I remember

how my shrink would shake his head,
stare straight at me, and sigh.


Copyright © 2018 by Donemic Scopa.





Elegy at the Nursing Home for the Demented
—for my grandmother


Let the condensation blind the window.
Let the bulb burn out.

Let the darkness believe
whatever it wants.

There is nothing, says the darkness,
I can do about it:

Where we go
is where we came from.

So let me spoon you, please.
Kiss the back of your shoulder.

Let come together
our brief shadows.

Let the starlings sing, like life,
until they tire.

Let me lie beside you—
holding—forever.


Copyright © 2018 by Donemic Scopa.




Buenos Dias


Snowflakes punctuate the darkness, punctuate
the run-on sentence of an early morning,

when sunrise insinuates itself on the horizon
like a Polaroid developing.

On Main Street, a driver slams the brakes,
skidding, tattooing treads in snow,

and workers, one with salt and sand,
the wind discovering their upturned faces,

continue shoveling the storefronts,
the moment snuffed like a match.

There’s so much noise—The neighbor’s beagle
has already started barking.

And we still wake up to each other,
sleepy, thankful,

perhaps a little button-pushy,
because with age, we get more playful.

Roll over, queen, and tell me
if you think this is a heart murmur.


Copyright © 2018 by Donemic Scopa.




Salutation


Snowflakes punctuate the darkness, punctuate
the run-on sentence of an early morning,

when sunrise insinuates itself on the horizon
like a Polaroid developing.

On Main Street, a driver slams the brakes,
skidding, tattooing treads in snow,

and workers, one with salt and sand,
the wind discovering their upturned faces,

continue shoveling the storefronts,
the moment snuffed like a match.

There’s so much noise—The neighbor’s beagle
has already started barking.

And we still wake up to each other,
sleepy, thankful,

perhaps a little button-pushy,
because with age, we get more playful.

Roll over, queen, and tell me
if you think this is a heart murmur.


Copyright © 2018 by Donemic Scopa.




Campfire

   “Fire is the thunderbolt that stirs all things”—Heraclitus

Out of habit you begin to sense the whisper
of fall leaves scraping streets: Burn the past,

and mysteries of loneliness will not concern you
,
even as the family congregates for warmth,

and you might dream about the dryness
of the daughter’s down coat and wool socks.

Weigh the worth of bloody deeds impressed on newsprint
resurrecting into ash, their taste and smell,

the lives of lives you wipe out through the night.
I can’t count all the universes that disintegrate

when you lick the air—tongue-strikes quick as lightning—
but eventually your perseverance will be tested by the wind,

the wind that knows sometime you’ll come undone.


Copyright © 2018 by Donemic Scopa.



About the Author
Domenic Scopa is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry and translations have been featured in The Adirondack Review, Reed Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Belleville Park Pages, and many others. He is currently a Lecturer at Plymouth State University and a Writing Center Specialist at New Hampshire Technical Institute. His first book, The Apathy of Clouds (FutureCycle Press), is forthcoming in 2018. He currently reads manuscripts for Hunger Mountain and is an Associate Editor at Ink Brush Publications.