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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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

My Kurt Cobain Poem on Atticus Review

A few weeks ago the wonderful literary journal Atticus Review published one of my favorite (if I may say that) of my own poems. Needless to say (and yet I’ll say it), I was thrilled.

http://atticusreview.org/one-of-several-dreams-and-the-requisite-dream-poem-about-kurt-cobain/

New Facebook Page

I’ll be posting poems and links to poems (my own and others’), as well as updates on my various books, on my new Facebook page from now on. If you’d like to follow me (without–pardon me–the B.S. “I’ll follow/like your blog if you follow/like mine–even if we never actually read anything on the blogs” interactions), please go to:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-BevilaquaDreamers-Songs-Poetry-Page/315038911981818

Thank you!

Blues

It’s when you don’t think–
in the hands of the One.
The church of everything–
it’s in the blues.

An Interview With…Me

Poet “eLPy” just posted her interview with me on her website, Little Face Publications.  She asked some really great, insightful questions that were useful to me because they made me really give some serious thought to my poetry and how I work, my books, the way I’m raising my son, my relationship with my late father, and more!  She’s also got interviews of other poets, book reviews, and her own work on the site–it’s worth a visit!

Here’s the link:

http://littlefacepublications.com/2014/05/interview-poetauthor-nancy-bevilaqua/

Night and Morning Voice (Music)

Night and Morning Voice (Music)

I am music
outside your time
the time outside
not even eternal.

Just me,
and the petals now.

 

(For audio version please see next post.)

Man at a Window (text)

Man at a Window

…from here

let’s get these bastard

bottles cleared like

that a cigarette a match

playground’s full of brats already

candied voices carry up

through leaves through heat but such

is hell the season doesn’t change I spent

the night between the window

and the shade saw the sky fill up

and fade the sunrise

steaming from the dust of dawn…

…a splendid song rasps

from the kitchen all night

radio drifted from station

to station food that never got to where

it might have done some good

dries on plates ashtrays overfull

bottles rolling on the floor the motel

on the Merritt can’t compare last time

she found me this way there not quite

in fact like this not so sober not

so cool not the sense of purpose I have

now she came because I called can’t

fault her there won’t call again

I saw her wish

she saw my body shrivel down in lime before

I took another breath another hit

a splendid song Lester Young

or someone

goes on too long sax

makes passing reference to piano

piano staggers sadly underneath I know

this one used to know it

let’s lean out and have a better look…

…toward Harlem there’s a haze the greens

and reds of stoplights snake along the park

a cake of ether clouds a false door

through which snows come raging

pigeons panning paradise

limitless…

…a holiday out there and this

is how I honor it spraying my demands in quiet

reeking breaths into a maze of brick

no one’s called in weeks God damn

the windshield flashes from the street

eyes of cattle turn to me I never thought

I’d be a man who

never thought

I’ve never seen a silence stronger than that sky.

(Hear the audio version of the poem in the post below.)

 

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