November 17-23, 2003: Anthony Liccione and Melanie Simms

week of November 17-23, 2003

Anthony Liccione and Melanie Simms

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Anthony Liccione

Bio (auto)

My poetry has appeared in Haggard and Halloo, Wicked Alice, Parnassus, Eagle’s Flight, Poet’s Review, Ariga, Pale Forest, Taj Mahal Review, Biff’s Board, Poet’s Review, Audrie Poetry Press , Cold Glass, HazMat Review, Sidewalk’s End and soon to appear in The Surface (December issue). 

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Nan Byrne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

An Epic In God’s Eye

He knew me It was a dark surrounding,
where voices outside renounced me
And whisper Varnish with flowers and fill with dirt Drop the casket Dig a hole They did all they knew-

My son,
gray touching and receding,
with his son standing above
silent in his soccer cleats
I laid back
having no feeling-
ambiance to pain Metal into metal
and rubber screeched A thrashing force,
we collided Too quick to stop Intersection,
the other car would
run his flashing red,
my light was green
I drove off,
gave the cashier twenty
dollars and filled the gas tank She already at the family
picnic, my wife took her car I was bringing the tuna salad
Retirement finally,
thirty-year dedication Wished me well to my R and R
from the power plant They poured the champagne
as I blew out the candles A surprise party
Fulfilled grandfather My eyes have seen,
a double of me,
Seven hours of labor
a proud father suffered Same smell of sanitary
medicine clung
in the hospital halls Been here once before,
thirty years ago
She gave up her ghost
in the fullness of cat years-
if a cat did have one
hers would be guided
by angels The mound of dirt,
fragile bones laid
under the green grass
in the backyard
A soldier, a man,
my son The Air Force
was first choice-
served him well,
after high school A fine decision
in his twenty year
Youth to adult Now he is crossing
from a boy to a man Just yesterday,
we changed his diaper-
told him to look both ways
when crossing the street 2017
He gave me the smiles
I could not give at his age The wonder,
I thought was lost The magic,
that was dust in my pocket I wanted to give him
what I lacked
Late baptism and much loved A handful with reddish hair Eight pounds eight ounces-
he was delivered We yearned to have a child
We bought a comfortable
house, just small enough for us Student loans to repay,
I took a job at the power plant
She came in my life-
erased my sufferings Money did not matter,
it would come later Just that I was there
for her and she
for me
The years
would envelop sorrow Many homes, many people
many strangers A death in the family,
cut a quarter pie
Came home drunk,
smashed his fist through
the unwanted locked door Wine hiding in the cellar,
an alcoholic disappearing,
living in fear He hit her for control,
wanted to have her soul Throwing silverware
at each other,
around the kitchen table I was five
Amongst three daughters,
a sought after son-
I, the last child
They cut the cord and circumcised Birth Where voices outside pronounced me,
it was a dark surrounding He knew me.

Mayhem In The Coffee Shop

only coffee shop
in town where the smell
of cigarette smoke merges
in the air of bacon and eggs she walks in
high heels, long legs,
newspapers drop
silverware clink and stop-
the broken in waitress
wishing for her attraction
and impression
as she remembers her ambition
before she got pregnant
close to graduation
how she didn’t finish
and had to find a job
after her boyfriend left her-
now known as Anna-
the only girl in the shop,
where the truckers drop in
for desperate conversation,
three, four days of foul
clinging to their body
yellow gritty teeth,
smile at her
for a second refill her son now ten,
for ten years
she tipped that same pot
fetched their food
for little tip all the men turn
heads to peek at
this woman dressed in pink,
think she is too pretty
for this truck stop coffee shop
where the rolling stones
sing of their wild horses;
her perfume scent
making the town’s drunk
sneeze bitter in his wine the men grumble
a few whistle,
never seeing such woman
from their road side kill
hitching a ride and what did it take,
when she ignored the hounds
and made her way to the
greasy counter
asking for a cup of coffee to go,
along with her pretty smile
perfect straight white teeth she tipped her coffee pot
once more for an actual woman never had she beheld a rose
in her nine to five world hair fell in time
caught the tear in Anna’s eye
before rolling off her lash,
as she watched the woman
make her path to the two-way
swinging door the place where nobody knows
the way it’s going to be.


An unopened mind
is like ground beef
stuffed in a bell pepper
With an open mind
I can peel away
four hundred faces of skin
and fit a name for each,
shade in sunglasses
and were both strangers I ever pass my father
I wouldn’t have known
if bump shoulders
I have fallen into a dream
of myself free falling in
open blue Turns into a nightmare
of rapid eye movement,
head planted in two pillows-
sheets strung on pillars of sweat
after I hit bottom with eyes
open blue
and my fear thanks science
for being amiss,
saying I’m lucky
to have waken up But rather
I should have died in my sleep When I awoke screaming
A happy face can be
read in 1.3 seconds,
angry face 1.9 and the
screaming under 2
I open my mind
like a surgeon
under study-
each hemisphere
of the brain
curved in nerves
of consciousness,
I write these words
with the rightness
of heart, there is
a creative side that
most people don’t use,
some would rather
relish on television
or feed the fish with worms
hanging on starving poles
The truth is Olive oil is a fine
source of vitamin E
for the skin and hair Soak it up with Italian
bread and eat,
great on the arteries Pour on your forehead,
and it won’t clog pores I use to know a friend
to have masturbated with it Cod oil could be unsafe
if used frequently
A moon cycle is known
to give signals when full,
and control tides:
the human body 90% water,
could burst when boiled 1500 Finland’s took their lives
when there was a New Moon
There is power in choice It is to my choosing
to accept incoming messages
and to my lack of knowledge
to reject negativity If one wants to find
truth and believe,
he should first begin
by counting the stars-
and when he hits
that certain number
he will come to understand
that life is eternal
Memory could be a curse
for one person
and a blessing to another,
this process is called cognition-
if grounded well in senses
winnowing out thoughts from walls
first must come from pain
and then from pleasure
Notion to notion
word for word,
the tongue
is man’s greatest weapon,
able to revive a coma toast
or pierce the grate and make
one turn in his grave
A young fool
will always die in shame,
an old fool,
will forget and just die.

Melanie Simms


Melanie Simms is a new poet emerging under the mentorships of poets Gary Young, David Swanger, and John Taggart She has been published in various notable e-zines including; Zuzu’s Petals, Poetry Bay, CLAM (UC Berkelely), Penn Literary Review (Univ, of PA) among several others Currently Melanie Simms lives in the “Beatle-less” Liverpool, PA, while jealously, her sister, artist Cassandra Fell, lives within miles of Liverpool, England
Melanie resides with her 14 yr old son (and wanna-be rock star), and 7 month
old white kitten, Isis
At the moment, she is the host of Shippensburg University Poetry at the Ezra
Lehman Library

The following work is Copyright © 2003, and owned by Melanie Simms and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


When we reach the airport, the chaueffer opens
our doors and hands us our luggage You smile at me
and tip him more than you need to
We honeymoon beneath the stars
of Miami Beach where rolling waves caress the sand
the way you caress my skin and kiss my mouth, and
I cant tell the difference between the salt of your kiss
and the salt of the ocean You whisper, “I will love you forever”
Years pass We become two soft La-Z-Boy recliners
in front of a color t.v gazing into the familiar smiles
that grace the pages of wedding album;
the one hand-stitched by my mother It is brown now, and brittle along the edges
One morning you announce between the cornflakes
and instant coffee that you want out I watch you leave, but as the evening fades
I imagine you back in your chair,
I imagine that you have only stepped out
for an evening walk
How has it come to this?
All our dreams
packed away into one little suitcase,
and carried off so easily?

Back to Paradise
-for Gary Young-

She’s new,
polished by the California sunlight
into a brown-sugared sweetness; with
eyes the color of lapis; reflecting a
Pacific Ocean that stretches out
She is touched by West Coast paradise,
and even in these dismal, proper corners
of the East, she delights in sharing smiles,
illuminating a world with a heart that says,
“Follow me; let’s party, catch a wave!”

if these land-lubbers could, these country
farm folk who’ve forgotten how to dance
they would ride that wave with her,
into that sweet ocean of joy,
but she is an enigma here,
a girl outside her element,
defied by an alien sunlight
Sweet child of California,
touched by the light of a much kinder god,
follow Rand- McNally’s little blue roads back home,
back to paradise!

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