by Peter Fortunato
Peter Fortunato’s new book is Entering the Mountain, from which these four poems are excerpted. Fortunato lives in Ithaca in a house he and his wife the poet Mary Gilliland long ago saved from ruin and restored near Six Mile Creek. His web site is www.peterfortunato.wordpress.com. Entering the Mountain and Late Morning: New and Selected Poems are both available at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.
How the Solar
Static electric hairs of her crown,
hair of the calico soft, very bright.
Eyes note at the window bird steps and flutter
outside twin panes. Eyes in my head
whose trigger the sumptuous sunlight is, so
sumptuous married to this, this syntax
observing words also begin where
my hand can caress that warm fur:
in the very sun whose command of her sight
sends the cat after birds who crack seed.
She who eats too as I do cuts of liver
the butcher sends.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOAnd that is how I see
those bloody fingernails: he is a butcher,
the son of a butcher, smiling.
I tell my friend, my friend, my butcher
whose office is surrounded by ribbons
of white and red meat, how the solar so
particular is as my sweet cat
crouching on her pillow of light.
Matters less than equivocal, the thrush
for instance, whose song recalled
promises vernal twilight and dawn.
Or is it sorrow local, reciprocal:
love pains you too because you cannot hold me.
The signature says one thing, the performer another,
so that I love you measures a tempo over the rain,
won’t tell me your secret. But add the mockingbird
and the fact of his song, another twilight,
kudzu and honeysuckle on the air
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOyet by this notation sweet.
The thrush we buried hand in hand grieving
killed by the cat innocently, uneaten made us angry.
Remember borage blossoming, the garden
where we laid in such humus the body,
Matters less certain do not pertain.
Recall the death of a friend before Christmas.
More than one friend.
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOThe iron tree blooms
white feathers dazzling on the blue flaming sky.
Hammered molto, one might even say troppo.
The musical equivalent of the hairy,
a keyboard artist hitting black and white
with precision. This trope then.
But can it bring them back, they who wander?
Learning the names of birds, of flowers, deciduous
trees where we live. Larger than the hairy
the pileated, like a pterodactyl among the ashes,
hammers his poetry out. Prehistoric headed
into the grub-pot of decay
he shrieks with joy, white worms
sliding down his throat.
Score this a metaphor. A man like a bird,
effortless playing, keeps returning, bearing his gift.
Homely economics: the perforated ash
gives itself to further infestation by the beetle,
whose offspring in turn become food.
And what became of the thundering lizards
who slid their skins who maybe
rose on wings like the phoenix?
Exceptional wren, the song torqued
ululation troped: the bird is not a bird
but a bit of feather on the protein chain,
song rising up, announcing its arrival.
Nest egg equals money equals common human
aspiration, ordinary courses, events inhabiting
five figures with grief.
OOOOOOOOOOOO Outside, not necessarily,
the bird chirrups happily.
Adoption not necessarily an option.
Nor for that matter the papa’s shoes filled
with dollar bills waiting by the door one morning.
Overcoat rustling, rattle of French panes
in narrow wooden sashes. Inside this departure.
And from an elm stump home
can it be called a warble? Tail up, shrill
castigation, angry as a wet wren.
Rich as a paycock.
OOOOOOOOOOOOWho is more the beautiful
male for his devotion?
Capital knows no patriotism and
large sums do migrate with criminal stealth.
In the cemetery the tall guy told us he had written a letter to his governor to suggest that he might want to go for a walk in the cemetery. It being a somewhat old and fine cemetery surrounded by highway, a bubbly crick, poison ivy, a cigar bar, and an old house that won’t let anybody in to see it’s basement. Something went on about how his father walked somewhere with the governor’s father. How he knew the governor’s wife likes to go for walks. How his children like to go for walks.
(go to story)
Since I don’t really have anything to tell you, let me mention some things that happened on Sunday, August 20, 2017. I was dropping off a bag of used clothes at The Thrifty Store where even rich people shop for twenty-five cent shirts. Slumming it is big now and everybody loves a bargain. The place was closed and management prefers folks to not drop off donations on Sunday but people do anyway. Which makes it a good day for poor folks to get something they can afford, namely, something free. (Go to Story)
I have read poetry, novels, books that have inspired me, and listened to music that makes my breathing uneven.I hae seen art so powerful that I had to put my hand on a wall to keep from being dizzy (page #2 of this magazine). There is, however, only one time I felt something that came from inside of me; an idea so fully formed I could not escape it. A vision that would not fade. (go to article)
Inspiration is the process of clearing ourselves and bringing in wisdom, guidance, divine revelation, healing energy, or the sacred breath from Spirit. Call it channeling one’s muse, if you like. It is the process of connecting with the divine, getting our human selves out of the way, and allowing Spirit to move through us. (go to article)
Our Poetry section includes some of our favorite poets, click on ther names to bring yourself to special inspiring poems:
Robert Graves -
To the Muse Goddess (visit)
Dante - ‘’Purgatorio’’,
Canto I, lines 7 to 12 (visit)
Peter Fortunato -
Four Poems (visit)
Mary Gilliland -The Language of Bees (visit)
Nancy Cuto - Madragana Wears Her New Name (visit)
The Atlantic, June 1961
The original significance of this word has long been blurred by dishonest or facetious usage. The Muse, or Mountain Mother, whom the preclassical Greeks worshiped on Parnassus and other sacred peaks, seems to have inspired the poet in much the same sense as the loa gods of Haiti now “ride” their devotees. And, although by Homer’s time her invocation had become a mere formality, subservice to the Muse has ever since been avowed by counterfeit poets in the service of politics, learning, or the church. True possession has occurred sporadically down the centuries as a phenomenon that can neither be provoked or foreseen. (go to entire article)
The nine Muses are the offspring of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the Goddess of Memory. Before the invasion of the Olympian gods, the Muses, goddesses or guardian nymphs of springs and groves, tutelary spirits, belonged to a preliterate, oral culture. The original three are the daughters of Mnemosyne, memory, although they were raised by a wetnurse or foster-mother, Eupheme. Even this biographical snippet must be a late revision, since Mnemosyne is said to be the mother of the Muses with Zeus, so is already a literary corruption, the first euphemism. Mnemosyne is a personification: Memory. (go to article)
the Second Attention
(Emphasizing the Recall)
I closed my eyes and immediately recalled the Elders advice.
“Nothing might temper the spirit of a nation as much as the challenge of dealing with impossible people in positions of power.
If you face the uncertainty with impunity, you will acquire the strength to withstand
even the incomprehensible.
And for this, peace will guide your way - then you shall know how to proceed”.
(go to the beginning of article)
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