Melancholy Hyperbole

Poetry about longing.

Tag Archive for ‘Al Ortolani’

The Styrofoam of Stuff

I’ve been sitting in this office all morning, trying like hell to keep my eyes open. I’ve even closed them for twenty minutes on the little couch in the cubicle. I found several pieces of Double Bubble gum and wedged the stone-hard cubes into my mouth. I’ve swallowed two cups of really bad coffee. I’ve fingered a dip of Skoal under my lower lip. If I had tea bags, I’d […]

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The Story I Didn’t Tell

I’d been laying foundation, digging the footing for subsidized housing. My father, afraid that I wouldn’t make tuition,   used his connections. The foreman lived with whiskey at a local motel; he showed me how to cut thumb-thick rebar with bolt loppers,   how to use the pick to break clay, how to put my weight into the shovel. He disliked me immensely. That’s how it was.   If I […]

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St. Clare’s Vision of the Jam

I.   Francis plays his invisible sax; Leo stomps like a dervish. Wild onions swell in bulbs at their feet. Each morning is balanced on   the cusp of wildness. All night the creaking cold tumbles on the wind, the wolf in the trees. When every coat is given away,   there are just the stones, the breath freezing in scat. Melody teeters between madness and vision, between blood and […]

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Thumpin’ Algiers

I.   Old Easy Money slurps his snowball while Crescent City slips behind the No Smoking sign. He’s got the mirrored lens going on—tips a cigarette to his lips,   the curve in his Ray-Bans shining with reflection, Canal to Esplanade, hard to port. Head-on is Algiers, pungent with the west bank—gardenia,   oleander, myrtle & rose. It’s a soupy sky, man, the Crescent mildewed like a hymnal, all hopped […]

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January Moth

Yesterday, a moth flew through the open door and tapped the light over the sink. January— touch and go for a moth—even house-bound, the cold climbs onto his wings. Already, he is less than he was, ridden by the window’s draft— the brief warm spell ended, blinds shut. I balance the old wall clock, wind the mainspring and give the pendulum a push. It ticks through the night and into […]

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