Archive for the 'Marc Alan Di Martino' Category

The New Yorker Incident

Muhammad Rahmans Kwik Meal #1 in Manhattan

Muhammad Rahman's Kwik Meal #1 in Manhattan

For anyone who missed it, which is most of you, an interesting anecdote appeared in the New Yorker’s Book Bench blog recently. It is a modest tale about a struggling young poet in Manhattan and an ambitious midtown falafel chef. Some of you who read this site regularly (we know you’re out there somewhere) might recognize a warped name or two in all of this.

Shouts go out to Macy Halford, our favorite moonlighting blogger!

Of pleasures gastronomical I sing
Incomparable treasures; everything
Cooked to perfection by the expert hands
Striving to meet
read more!

Time Traveler

You grew and you grew until you stopped growing
And there they planted a tree to mark your height;
Existence was measured in feet and inches,
Infancy meted out with a yardstick..

When you were tall enough, you walked away forever
Returning occasionally for holidays or a wedding
But soon not even those. You lost track of the tree
Standing alone in the yard, an orchard of one.

Then everyone else walked away, too. House and porch
Belong to others now. The cemetery
Is still there at the end of the road, beyond the curve
near the communal gardens, cramped and overgrown.
The dead don’t walk away so easily.

Occasionally, you still pass by. Between the tall pines
Your father planted, you spy on other lives
Unfolding as yours once did. You wave politely. Smiling 
They wave back, welcoming you: stranger, time traveler.

Marc Alan Di Martino

This poem was published in a slightly different version here.

Travels With Lady Day

(From the diaries of Thane Dimatims…)

I’ve never smoked opium, but I’ve traveled
To the Far East in my dreams, aboard ships
Manned with prostitutes and hustlers dressed in white
Each running with his head cut off, in the grip

Of fevers various. The evening wind
Touseled the hair of Lady Day, who lay
In a daze on a blanket by my bed.
The huge Pacific blue lay overhead

Like an ocean upturned into the sieve
of sky (a magnolia in her hair
as always), drenching us in azure light.
These dreams always left me like a siezure

Spent, abandoned to fantastic musings,
Able to pass days at a time in a trance
Of cloak-and-dagger. Like Tom Sawyer, I
Balanced footsteps of my friend’s vitus-dance

Searching out treasure in the sierra
Of my obliterated consciousness.
Nights vanished in the drunkenness of time,
Mothwings evaporated into dust.

Into this doomed cradle my mother bore
Her only child who, by the age of ten
Dictator and diplomat interfamilias
Extraordinaire. Such sorrows from a pen!

The world, the world…who can speak of such things
as “the world”? Who knows the world? Who has lived
enough to have the right to write such words
as “the world”? No, I’ve never seen the world,

only the bright lights beyond the harbor
twisting along the shoreline of my dreams.
These I’ve called “the world”. And Lady Day?
She’s thrown herself overboard…what more can I say?

Marc Alan Di Martino

Packing Up My Library

Condemned by books I haven’t read
To read forever. Life is fear
Of never having enough time
To grasp it, hold it, keep it near.

The books I’ve read I’ve stashed away
In storage boxes in my mind;
I’ll save them for a rainy day
When I am old, infirm and blind.

The continents I’ve mapped today
You will not find on any map;
I am their king and sovereign lord,
The starving infant in their lap.

The box lies open on the floor,
My nostrils swollen from the dust
Of a lifetime bound and glued, compact
Yet boundless as my wanderlust.

Marc Alan Di Martino

It Always Starts This Way

It always starts this way: a poem
buried deep in the pages of a book
by an unknown hand. Then, love.

Love of books, love of poems, love of the unknown.

Everything begins in this way. Everything ends
in an accident we blame on God.

But poetry won’t save us from the end.
One day the pages of the book
will stick together, and to pry them apart
we’ll need a lifetime of nimble fingers.

By then it will already be too late.

Marc Alan Di Martino

Contrasting Views

"Literalism is a feature of boorish translators." Cicero "The clumsiest literal translation is a thousand times more useful than the prettiest paraphrase." Nabokov

The Faerie Queene

"John Ashbery said reading the Faerie Queene was like reading an endless beautiful comic strip." Kenneth Koch

Sigmund Freud

"Everywhere I go, I find a poet has been there before me."


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