Home Planet News Online
                                                               The Literary Review
                                                                          Issue 8

Page 24

                                                                                                                                                                                        Swipe left         Swipe down

Snow Job

Where are you Persephone? Your mother is freezing and taking the rap for you while you’re cavorting with Hades or God knows who in the netherworld. Or maybe you’re enjoying your stint as Queen in the land of the dead. Maybe it’s Demeter, your resentful mother who hasn’t called you back yet from your winter recess to start the process of Spring awakening. Too busy bickering about your abduction. Maybe she forgot to turn the page, as it were, or seething with resentment at Zeus, she’s reluctant to. She more determined to nurse her bitterness in the cold while the rest of us freeze than in welcoming her daughter for the season of renewal. I heard that Zeus had his hand in your abduction. Be it as it may, it’s getting cold up here and it’s the middle of March. Meanwhile, I’ll tell your mother to check her calendar. If you’re not exactly in her house by this time, you certainly should be on your way. Remember Zeus has already sent Hermes to tell Hades to let you go. I know he made you eat that stupid Pomegranate fruit but he ain’t kidding nobody. Zeus wants you back! I want you back. We all want you back, especially in New York City where we’re not used to this kind of weather so late into the month. Are you so whipped by gusts of wintry venom that you forgot the date of your return? Okay. So you’re not yet home. Maybe you got lost, can’t afford a Metro card because Hades is stingy. But your mother and most of the eastern coast is waiting for you. Please give us some of that warmth you’re famous for.

Frank De Canio__


Unfinished Business

If Schubert could do it, I’ll do one better. My symphony’s consummately incomplete from the beginning. The signature in my flat’s the opening key. Nothing to speculate about, no random notes in my music room to be orchestrated by tomb raiders; no posthumous arrangement after my death. No speculation as to why I stopped its inception when I did. Just a long-drawn-out diminuendo that starts legato with no strings attached. The quiet work radiates off the page like a Cabernet’s bouquet. It needs neither baton nor metronome. It’s keyed into seething sympathies. Like loaves of leavened dough, it rises in silence. I give posterity smoked piano on bar lines that aren’t drawn. The chord is my shepherd, I shall descant; retards on my staff, they comfort me in the absence of my melodies. Major sharps are flattened beyond repair. Tacit symbols clash against the passing winds; drums roll into the distance. There’re processionals of pundits parsing empty staves in A flat bridged with ties that boast subdued resolutions. My taciturn score unfolds in schoolrooms, on turned-on laptops, and at business meetings. Its music’s piped into children’s nurseries as they sleep. It’s heard in churches, as Low Mass - between standby lines of the liturgy. It modulates through rosaries of meditation in temples and monasteries. It’s performed by commuters who gaze musingly through bus windows, tuned to horns like patrons of the Philharmonic. My ambitious work appears like Minerva, pulled fully formed out of my dread. Its scales line my face. And designated rests leave grace notes on tombstones trumpeting eloquence.

Previously published in The Puckerbrush Review, 2012

  Frank De Canio__

Post Rosenkavalier

The Marschallin - guess what? She kicked the bucket!
See how they like that, those fat cat aristocrats
purring in ermine furs. Octavian - cock, dead
as the proverbial doornail - shudders; too distressed
over the loss of his erstwhile mistress
to caterwaul duets with Sophie, his bride of so many years.
Besides, he’s saddled with debts. Forget past sonorities!
Sopranos scaling solar heights morph as veiled encomiums
at disconsolate rites. Tears add tepid grains
of rice to Sophie’s disingenuous blush - her girth
wide enough to fill the Met with raucous laughter.
And ravages of arthritis make it easy to forget
the virgin fuss that cluttered up the stage
she’s soon about to exit with Octavian -
sullen witness to her age. See youth’s orchestral swoon
glean shards from a cloud-disheveled moon
that nearly hides from sight the stumbling
footman, his livery a little frayed from use.
No high-spirited dive for his mistress’ handkerchief
to bring the curtain down with crowning ceremony,
but his frown suggests: “Why the fuck am I schlepping this?”

  Frank De Canio__

               © Susan Weiman: IMG_0444.jpg

(of Christine O’Donnell, former Republican Senatorial candidate)

“If he can nurture himself, I mean then why am I here for?” the winsome woman hoots through the wide-eyed gap in her toothsome smile. Poor little thing. She feels left out of the ball game, put on the sidelines, a benched fielder pounding an empty mitt, as it were; a spectator in a play conceived without her. “Give me something to do,” she seems to pine, pondering the conundrum of self-indulgent men.

I mused: “What about standing by him in sickness and in health; till wealth do you smart and ask for a divestment of his assets. Okay let’s not get encyclical here. Actually, you’re there like gaudy blossoms pillowing the earth, so foragers on a beeline for your honey can pollinate your pistils. There you go! You mutated to a true evolutionary biologist. How unwittingly Darwinian, so adaptively proactive: we’re here to reproduce. Never mind puritanical prescripts. Even Jehovah instinctively grasped the full scope of that anachronistic monkey business adjudicating in the courtship rooms of Tennessee. Be fruitful and multiply. Put aside your right-wing leaning dictates on the one hand, or right winging left-wingers who leave Freud on the burner of their percolating concoctions: we’re here to reproduce. You grow, girl! You’ve the right of way into his heart, albeit wrong roots of reason.

Poor little seething cauldron of a pressure cooker. You’re leery of being outsourced by resourceful minds; displaced by the machinery at hand. Look at the blight side. It affords only a small penchant of stock images with minimal interest. It yields no crops, no returns for future generations to profit from. Indeed, no generation. Their consummate executors resignedly bequeath our sun no burgeoning patrimony. Their antsy handiwork’s passively produced, as it were, on fanciful copiers; digital transfers of synthetic pictures on disposal CD’s in a cut and dried rubber plant.

Indeed. What are you there for? You’re Hush Puppies as he toes the line, plush carpeting in his homebody, blooming tulips on the table of his membranes, a noodling bowl of soup to spoon with; a hot cup of meme sweetened with honey, a dash of lemon crossing his T with an eye on his doting sensibilities to aid his misconception. You’re there to keep hm aligned with the species and to mind the p’s and q’s of your suffragette set. You’re the picturesque window opening up to spin the loom of his woolly imagination, clear eyes in stormy weather and the belle’s tether that draws him out of his caged complacency to stalk your wild side.”

  Frank De Canio__

Street Wise

The Drilling Company moved from Ludlow Street’s Parking Lot and I forgot to bring their new address with me. Walking out of the F train down Essex Street, the burly guy I’d marked for assistance walked across the street when he saw me stopping beside him. But I got more than I bargained for when I saw 5 girls conversing on the corner and decided to interdict them to ask for directions. My eyes fixed on one of the 4 white girls while asking for assistance, though my heart was with the black chick who seemed too hip to give me the slip. “She’ll help you, the white girl said as they all continued talking. Then, “What are you looking for?” my Nubian princess asked me as the others dispersed, leaving me in her custody. Maybe they were asking for directions too? “I’m looking for Orkard Street,” I said phonetically. “Orkard Street? You mean Orchard Street,” she corrected me, like a teacher in grade school. I did the same thing earlier with an Asian girl who got me there in the first place. I had to repeat the street I was looking for 5 times before she maneuvered through the thickets of my mispronunciation. “Yeah, Shakespeare in the Park. Yeah, I know it!” she said with cocky insouciance as she rummaged through the options on her cell phone. I was afraid to take too close a look at her, but she was breezily gritty with looks to match. “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot,” I corrected her, while biting my lip, lest I usurped the agency I banked on. It was the only time she fell silent. “Yeah, I know Shakespeare in the Parking Lot,” she countered in defense, “They used to be on Ludlow Street.” My affected shyness complemented the surging interest I took in her. There were bars all over the place, so my guardian and her cohorts must have been of age. But I don’t like subverting the kindness of strangers, so I barely looked at her. Yet, though I saw a chic chick, I heard a teamster. For she was cavalier using a popular 4 letter word, and it wasn’t love! “Okay, this is what you need to do. And if somebody tells you something else, they’re fucking lying!” Her cavalier cusses were filtered through her genial, rough-hewn personality. She tossed them about like dressing on a table salad. Hell, she was Rosie Perez in the body of Zoe Kravitz. “I tried small talk to ease my nervousness as she hustled to get me on my way while 2 of the other girls were signaling for her to join them across the street. She nodded impatiently, as I played up to her. “Yeah they’re doing a play there tonight,” I assured her to allay any concern she might have had about me. “I know Shakespeare in the Parking Lot,” she insisted. “Well, you should come,’ I half jested, knowing she was en route to probably bar hopping. “Maybe tomorrow,” I added to cover my footsteps. She laughed, perhaps surmising that I was rising to the occasion. Or maybe she felt I was easy! “Okay, it’s 112 Orchard St. I don’t know where, but it must be a few blocks down from here and if you ask someone and they tell you somewhere else, they’re fuckin lying! Don’t listen to them. See I can’t get a map with this phone here,” she continued as I made to leave - against my wishes - not wanting to try her patience. But patience she had as she now proceeded to map out the address and pointed it out to me on her smartphone, while advising me what I needed to do. My mind was set to go but my heart was fixed on this pert custodian who was being pestered by her white sisters across the street to cede custody of her witless ward. I reluctantly eased myself from her spell. Was ever captive set free boasting less enthusiasm? I don’t think so.

  Frank De Canio__


Budding Friendship

Now this former face in the crowd’s a voice with a distinctive tone structure. My casual asides are sentences she pins on me like subliminal charges. Her interrogatory air gathers fingerprints from the hand she’ll shake me down with for hormonal glands. I’ve hidden histories with discreet misdemeanors. Disjunctive idioms are beau conspirators she polygraphs for future use. Conversational exchanges give continuity to disparate measures. We’re a work in progress, a symphony in see where it goes from here, after she removes the slip from her sash register. I’m an unstrung gift box, flashing its contents, my house undress tailored to her surmise. My cup runneth over and she drinks deep or tastes not reverberating strings of my heart’s unsung measures. My furtive thoughts morph into phonemes, words and phrases, culminating in self-incriminating surrender. I’ve finished my sentence and, pigeonholed, I’m remanded to her cell, where I get time off for food behavior till her discernment ends.

Frank De Canio__