Mudlark Flash No. 62 (2011)

Tomorrow I Will Be in Rome
Poems by John Paul Calavitta

Tomorrow I Will Be in Rome

I am in Rome
the Jupiter of cities

I only mate with gods

huge limbs with straining finger tips

touch the backbone of the universe

I am a virgin block of stone
that rolls from your feet
like mountain mist

we are safer than we think

The Sibyl Says You’ll Die in Rome

like the implacable soul of a chieftain
slaughtered in battle

something will make you lose your health
you’ll break a dozen ribs or more

in a garden tending flowers
which for a time will be your home

To Those Who Are Born Stone Blind

I’m a rock and every wound a cave

I saw the red-hot city
a fossil scorpion with a sting of stone

people stood like blocks
chipping away their pocketknives:

first names (cut) on a rock
breaking your idiot heart

On Pine Tables with Kerosene

men die like nouns

the parenthesis is a type of fireplace
(my father is not depressed)

what if language is not communication
a conversation with dirt

I’ve been dead for hours

Fragments of Verse, Sandals, Utensils

broken like a line in poetry breaks

the windows of my poetry are wide open
on the boulevards

the object of this poem is to fail

opening a door is narrative
looking through a window is not

Our City Has Sunk to the Bottom of the Sea

that day your head
like a ship with full freight

pushing a green roll-away bed over

pack your bags
or just send for your things

I Fell for the Candle

that opened the shadows
onto a tired god
sick with love
upon a river, field
or in my room

You Bore an Archangel Across Renaissance’ Memory

on your shoulders
in perfume of pain

candles fed the holy forests

I am weak and must be

for earth and wind can match a god

Colossal Breath Sauntered Critically By

like some Chaldean god
smiling in his beard

I unearthed what seemed like
the jawbone of a god

high in the air
where seemed to be his head

a crown of dust

I Crave Some Souvenir of Fallen Rome

like angels with one wing
to reach their heaven

wherever you stand in ancient Rome
there is a shadow

sunshine sending its remains

we pray to this abandoned universe
garments of the mighty

flung away
(I dreamed an angel came late to us)

Nobody Is Home in the Cities of the Future

that built them to crumble

walls, from its looted stones

the refuge of its heirlooms

I use a chessboard for a pillow
to the unlearned it is barbarian

John Paul Calavitta received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is currently finishing his PhD in Eco-criticism. “Tomorrow I Will Be in Rome,” the poem not the sequence, has previously appeared as part of the Elgin Pop-Up Poetry Project.  

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