Dreamers' Songs: Nancy Bevilaqua's Poems

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“Imagine”: A Poem for My Son on the Night Before He Starts College

My life has, over the past few months, changed in some monumental ways. My mother died in early July; we had our issues, but now if feels as if an enormous presence in the world has gone (or, as Springsteen puts it in a song: “I woke up this morning and something big was gone”). I miss her.

And I’ve decided to move back to Hoboken, where I belong. I’m in the process of buying my first home.

Finally, my son, Sandro, is moving into his college dorm tomorrow. Middle school and high school were tempestuous for us both; Sandro weathered so much with grace and dignity and perseverence, and it’s finally time for him to see for himself that, as they say, “It gets better.”

Not that high school didn’t have its (really) high points–it’s where Sandro really started to discover his talents as an actor, a singer, and a guitar and piano player and, more recently, as a composer.

The following poem is one I wrote shortly after I saw him sing a solo at his school’s Spring Chorus Concert. I think that I was about as astonished as I’ve ever been in my life when he began to sing–I’d had no idea what a beautiful voice he had. And the song… Parenting doesn’t get much better than nights like that.

So, as a tribute to my incredibly talented, kind, smart, honest, funny, and so many other things son Sandro, as he heads off into (as he said yesterday) the beginning of the rest of his life, I wanted to post this poem:

Imagine

            (For Alessandro)

 

Wise is the child of disaster.

 

So silent in the mornings now, all day

slow to speak.  He’s been sighing at the way

the world behaves, the human way it’s done.

Crisis in his core of dream: he’s fifteen.

It had to come.  Not that he can hear it now,

 

not from me, but he’s the boy whose infant eyes

of all the neon facets of First Avenue

addressed the patient ghost of moon,

child who saw the silent songs of daffodils

defiant of the snow, the frozen

unrelenting dirt below.  He blooms too, voice

 

a revelation as he sang

Imagine, for three minutes gone,

ascension, glory and misgiving

in an auditorium and all was hushed

and stunned and dark around him

and he didn’t even know.  I would say,

 

if he could hear it, Let it go, let it go.

Take the Les Paul, the daydream drift of mind

that touches everything, prismatic

intellect and young boy’s eyes.  Find God’s voice

in the certain currents of your own,

take your fix of grief, your smarting hands,

 

get to where the strong stars overslip, master

your music, goad with outrageous compassion.

Hit the road.  Misread notes of the indifferent songs

you’ll be told to play, walk offstage,

strive to get the way it’s done

absolutely wrong.

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My Poem “Rabbi” in the New Issue of Hermeneutic Chaos

The March, 2017 issue of the literary journal Hermeneutic Chaos (whose editor, Shinjini Bhattacharjee, is truly wonderful to work with) went live today, and my poem entitled “Rabbi” is included.

As usual, it’s a stunning issue, and I’m especially pleased to find my work alongside that of poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha.

Read (and/or listen to) the whole thing!

http://www.hermeneuticchaosjournal.com/rabbi-by-nancy-bevilaqua.html

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)

This is one of the very few organizations (in large part because I generally don’t have a lot of money to give) to which I make donations when I can. They work in the West Bank, Gaza, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. This seems like a very good time to pass along information here about what they do and how to help.  Please take a look, if you’re interested:

https://www.unrwausa.org/faqs/

My YouTube Poetry Channel

I’ve finally gotten around to doing something I’ve wanted to do for a long time–I’ve started to make and upload to my YouTube channel videos in which I read my own poems.

Whenever I’m working on a poem, I spend a lot of time reading it out loud to myself; the sound and “music,” if you will, of what I write is at least as important to me as what I’m writing about. And I’ve always loved doing poetry readings–I just don’t get many opportunities to do that down here in north Florida.

And so, if you’re interested, please visit my channel (and subscribe if you like). So far the video aspect is pretty awful, but I’m working on that part. In any case, I’m more concerned about how the poems sound than about what I look like when I’m reading them!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvOMW831DwrQktWmPJ0bRUg

New Poem in the New Issue of Up the Staircase Quarterly

Editor April Michelle Bratten got in touch with me late last night to let me know that my poem “Thanksgiving (1997)” is now up in Up the Staircase Quarterly‘s gorgeous new issue.

All of the poems in the issue are accompanied by visual works; for my poem Shell Myers’ perfect “Her Compassionate Hand” was chosen. I love it.

To make things even better, I’d just heard a few minutes earlier that my son Alessandro had just won Honorable Mention for a piece of music he composed in the first composition competition he’s ever entered (http://www.musefriends.org/ycc2016). If you read the poem, you’ll understand why it seemed like such perfect synchronicity to have the two events happen on the same night.

http://www.upthestaircase.org/nancy-bevilaqua.html

Poem for Freddie Gray Up at Atticus Review

I just found that this was posted at Atticus Review a week or so ago. It’s another one of my “Dream Poems,” written shortly after the death of Freddie Gray, which followed his arrest by Baltimore police. It started with a dream about my paralyzed pigeon, Cleo, who died a while back after 12 years with me.

https://atticusreview.org/ministrations-dream-poem-30/

AND a Poem in Whiskey Island

April’s been a wonderful month for print publications! I was so pleased that editor Amber Taliancich Allen chose this poem from among the ones I submitted, as it was really my own favorite among them.

If you’re interested in purchasing an issue, or submitting, go here:

http://www.whiskeyislandmagazine.com/

 

Poem in West Branch

I’m SO proud and happy to have had my poem “For the Albino Deer Shot With a Crossbow By an 11-Year-Old Boy in Howell, Michigan” accepted by this journal, and very grateful to editor G.C.Waldrep.

You can buy a copy or a subscription to West Branch here:

http://www.bucknell.edu/west-branch-wired/print-magazine.html

 

 

“Backwater” in the Latest Issue of Tinderbox Poetry

My poem “Backwater” appears in the new issue of Tinderbox Poetry Journal, alongside a lot of other gorgeous work. Grateful, as always.

 

http://www.tinderboxpoetry.com/backwater

My Poem “The Day After Easter” at Stirring

The journal Stirring (Sundress Publications) recently published one of my “Dream Poems” (most of which will be part of a manuscript I’m putting together for a chapbook entitled A Heaven For the Drowned).  Here it is:

“On the Day After Easter” (Stirring)

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