December 9-15, 2002: Patricia Fargnoli and Jonathan Everett Maseng

week of December 9-15, 2002

Patricia Fargnoli and Jonathan Everett Maseng

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Patricia Fargnoli

Bio (auto)

Patricia Fargnoli, Walpole New Hampshire,  teaches poetry at The Keene Institute of Music & Related Arts and privately Her book, Necessary Light (Utah State University Press), won the 1999 May Swenson Poetry Award judged by Mary Oliver, and a chapbook Lives of Others (Oyster River Press) was published in 2001 A Macdowell fellow, and an associate editor of The Worcester Review, she’s published widely in such journals as Poetry, Ploughhares, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review etc.

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Patricia Fargnoli and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

At The Mystic Aquarium

Still sun blind, I wheel your chair
through the darkened room to the largest tank
where hammerheads swim in the aquamarine glow, 
the torpedo bodies sleeking
past you beyond the glass
Wanting respite from the heavy pushing,
unburdened time to take in the small brilliant lives
of reef fish, for once, I leave you, brake on and safe
But when I turn away into the milling crowd,
it is I who fall–only a few feet from you, 
tripping over a small girl, my body, 
crashing down on her, her arms flailing,
trying to fight it back
She rips out a cry, and her mother snatches her up, 
snaps at me in anger Sorry Sorry I say again and again
as I try to struggle to my feet,
straining against the dark and the gravity,

thinking how hard it is to rise
from the downthrust of weight and age,
aware of shame’s bloodrush, tears beginning
as if I were the hurt child, 
the one who needed saving
Suddenly I hate
your wheelchair, the knees that will not hold you, 
your blocked heart I want you here at my elbow, your hand
pulling me up, comforts in my ear
But you’ve never even noticed, hooked as you are
to the aqua light, flashing points of the teeth,
the flat, implacable eyes.


(in memory of R.D 1941-47)

At first the snowflakes were so huge
they cast shadows and we walked out,
three children luminous with snowlight,
farther and farther across the field We wanted to know what lay beyond the market gardens,
wanted to go beyond anyone’s care or knowing
What we found in the drained light of late afternoon
was an oak, three-stories, haunted–the only tree
among the frozen ruts and stalks that lined the riverbank
Snow quickened, swallowed the upper branches,
slivered to sleet until the landscape vanished;
last leaves shook dried death rattles We would not say we were frightened
in the whiteout, in darkness coming down
Beyond the sound of any voice calling us home,
we burned with cold as we stood in the glazed
circle of black ice A knothole, cistern-deep
and dark, threatened to pull us in We did not know that by morning
one of us would get lost in the shortcut home,
that the world would be changed forever,
that our first death hung over us.


No one could bury you In the year of no snow–no softness–
the ground froze hard as a tomb You died in the season’s deadlock
In the year of no snow, no softness
until spring you lay in the charnel house You died in the season’s deadlock–
the grass grown brown and sleet-enameled
Until spring you lay in the charnel house–
the roses, winter-killed, earth solid with ice–
the grass grown brown and sleet-enameled Deer froze to stone on the mountain
Earth solid with ice–the roses, winter-killed,
the ground froze hard as a tomb Deer froze to stone on the mountain–
no one, not anyone, could bury you.

Winter Sky over Cheshire County, New Hampshire

You are all blue-bruise and magenta where clouds hunch
above the mahogany tree-trunks
Above them, you fly up, dove-gray for miles
All day I’ve watched you transmute:
lemon, nativity blue, flesh of broiled salmon
All day you shift shapes: buffing-cloth,  rock-field, 
ocean roiling spit and spume
I would paint you
if you could stop, stay pinned on the canvas
of my eye But you
are wily–you leap up, the wind takes you, the turning
earth takes you Oh you are scent of ginger, cardamom, peppermint
You smooth my forehead with a dew-moistened glove
You ring like a church bell
clang two spoons together, bang pans and dance
To keep you, I swallow you whole; my abdomen swells
with your thousand colors, explodes with your light.

When Women Went Downtown

The city was brick and stone in the time
before glass and steel In those days
the city was streets of women They climbed down from buses
in seal skin, navy straw hats stuck with pearl drop pins,
their double-knotted Red Cross shoes,
clutching black cowhide purses, leading the children
They lunched in tea rooms
on chicken-a-la-king and quartered sandwiches
but never wine–and never with men Rising in the smoky air,
their voices blended–silver striking off silver They haunted book rental booths,
combed aisles of threads and zippers,

climbed to the theater balconies, the palaces
where Astaire dipped and turned them
into more than they were In the late afternoons they crowded the winter dusk
waiting at the Isle-of-Safety, for the bus
with the right name to carry them home
to the simmer of soup on the stove,
the fire’s sweet red milk
Evenings, far over the tiny houses
the wind swept the black pines like a broom,
stars swirled in their boiling cauldron of indigo
and the children floated to sleep to the women’s song
zipping the night together, to the story
of the snow goose who went farther and farther
and never returned.

Jonathan Everett Maseng

Bio (auto)

Jonathan Everett Maseng is an eighteen year old student currently enrolled at Bennington College in Vermont His articles have appeared in The New Youth ConnectionTeen Beat and New York Newsday His poetry has been published in Over The Counter and in The National Library of Poetry’s Letters From The Soul Series He lives in New York City during the year

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Jonathan Everett Maseng and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

April 15th

Remembering the night we first met
on that white leather couch,
your flower print denim jeans and little pink hat,
the smile you had on your face
and the radiance in your eyes,
how I didn’t recognize you until
you said hello,
that awkward laugh you gave when you realized
I just knew
watching the images pass by on the screen
slower in my mind then the love passing from me to you
and back again,
casting out my heart and seeing if you’d bite
and the way you took me
and laid with me until the morning
despite all the obnoxious comments
and strange looks,
the fruit that melted in the bowl
and turned to chocolate and honeysuckle,
people brandishing images outside the windows
and burning them up,
leather and lace, and us, a sinning rose bleeding on the snowy couch,
I loved you more every drop we spilled.


In the days when my bike
could still wheel like it could walk
or trot, I’d find myself
sitting in the wheat fields
on the outskirts of the farm
listening to the flowers
and wishing them to speak my language,
my lonely heart of the new moon,
empty and full of hope,
perhaps better even then when it was full of light,
little angel my father would say,
goodnight moon
my red balloon burst and still floating
through the air and towards the emptiness,
perhaps a little piece of my heart and my innocence
floating with it too,
things I lost to the flowers
trying to speak their language.

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