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Gianna Russo : Two Poems

Photo of Edvard Munch on the Beach at Warnemunde, 1907 |
This Day, Framed in Light

Photo of Edvard Munch on the Beach at Warnemunde, 1907

So painterly, in his scant loin cloth
        there at the edge of the gray scale.
Against parallel lines of surfside and sunrise

his alter-ego mimics him in miniature,
        poised to dart naked off the print,
and abandon those griefs which have only

now begun to claim their grim places
        on his canvas. See how the blackness
of his shadow binds him to his subjects?

How his brush stabs the air like an arrow?
        How he poses with his palette
bright as a funeral bouquet?

view photo here

This Day, Framed in Light

        —For Jeff

The room is a vast impermanence,
mere sea mist and Atlantic blue.
The desk dreams of Van Gogh; the dresser disrobes
for the mirror. Fuschia, orchid, scarlet, bronze
light carousels through passion fruit and traveler palms.
Beneath a canopy of black net the bed is white
as wedding cake. Icing sheets that fold and melt,
slide inside the breath of you.
The room froths around painted mermaids,
sure of themselves as eels.
The windows quiver with voodoo.

I'm aware what betrayals are hooked to our bodies.
I wonder what frightful visions you own—
like the vanity wrestling its usual nightmare
of turpentine, razors, boxes of paint.
Those times when your eyes fret beneath wakeless lids
as if Vincent were toying with your own ear.
Or as if your mother were mouthing your name
futilely and last through cancer and morphine.
You thrash in a sarcophagus of memories
where passion fruit hang like distinct regrets.
There is no way for me to soothe you at such times.

But this day your slumber stretches out like so much joy.
The room is shabby and temporary:
mere walls, an impression of sunflowers.
Operatic voices bloom in from the hall.
Light tumbles across the exhausted garden
as you open to sleep, a museum of god.

Poet's Biography:
  Gianna Russo has had poems published in The Bloomsbury Review, The Sun, Poet Lore, The MacGuffin, Calyx and Tampa Review, among others. She is the two-time recipient of a Hillsborough County Artist Fellowship and of an honorable mention for the 2000 Florida Artist Fellowship. Her non-fiction essays appear regularly in the St. Pete Times. She co-directs the creative writing program at Howard W. Blake School of the Arts in Tampa.

© 1999 - 2005, by the poets featured herein.