Monday, June 18, 2007

Welcome To Pygmy Forest Press

Welcome to Pygmy Forest Press and the poetry of Leonard Cirino. I hope you enjoy the poetry. If you find time, comments are welcome. This blog will be updated irregularly, but hopefully weekly or bi-weekly. Thanks for dropping by.

Thirteen Knots

Poems 2007

after C├ęsar Vallejo

His dreamknots, purple wounds
whispering for pale afternoons,
a moon waxing and yielding,
with an eagle feather dusting
earth and sky, with the real
solved and absolute, as he
hawks a quilt, or shadows
the dome of trumpeting sun:
knots from this dumbfounded man
lame of femur and shin,
wide at the skirt of the waist,
looking like leprosy, a flower
decomposing, angered by wind,
chased by storm, one eye blind.


Yellow cutthroat sun, bloodknot
letting spine, impaling brain
with the dust of spite and spin
between the distance of the earth,
the rough and ragged froth of sea,
and the immaculate stone of a beyond.

Deliver us from gain, to the absolute
rain and storm, from the dance and song
of modern poems, the this and that
of neurotic charm, their bliss and tedium.

Blow away a dam, burst a bureaucrat,
blossom the bomb, a universal storm.
Give us tit for tat, not some sweet tart,
explode the goddamn thing insane.


This is the meat on which he sups,
a fist of malt and grit to mouth.
He's mild-mannered to the max,
smiles and shows off yellow teeth.
Miles ahead in mind, and far behind
in time, his loss is gain. His body
masses, searches out the truth,
he loves the mystique of the Mass,
loves the music of 'Trane and Monk.
He teaches nothing. Too short to dunk,
his sport was track and he won with grace.
Years ago he lost his mind. When all
was done and known, he'd committed
a tragic crime. A dime of heroin
fixed his habit; he filled his veins.
Fame debunked by beauty, myth-
now his dream is art and truth.


He toasts the flesh as he would
a loaf of bread to crumbs,
massages with his mind
and tender hands what he knows
of love. And for sport he kisses
death with his most fatal wishes.
Still, he moves his body out,
motions the one he blesses
with caresses, and tiny nips
of bud. He boasts his love
is hard, excites the blushing belly
and the nipple. He sups and sips
on lonely skin, profound
yet doomed, loves back in kind.


Blissninnies with their snotnosed dreams
of wealth and fame, with their fancy clothes
and cars, their fairy myths and future
trophy wives. To hell with them, he says,
the curses coming from his twisted mouth,
oaths that cut like welders' torches
through the false truths of their faith.
Put them to task in labor camps,
let them swing from lampposts.
Let them know what it's really like
to be stickfucked by a prison guard.
Have no mercy on their souls,
these sniveling pimps and whores
who have no idea of their coming hell.


Armed to the tooth, he slaps
his palm and raises fist
to his so-called journey, quest.
His is a tale of sheep and fish.
O Christ, he asks, why do I desire
so? O Buddha, he says, how do I
get out of its grasp? My body wants,
I need touch back, what is this thirst
that heaves my chest, pulses heart,
and absorbs the mind? Could I just
leave the pain behind, should I pull out
my eye, behead my neck? And my brain,
how do I deal with that? My dreams expand
the realms. What to do, on whose command?


He has hopes, but knotted
in his throat the phrases lie
compound and fractured
by the fast-food burn,
the shock and awe of modern
poems. His are the storm
and thunder of the classic
myths, made personal
in his life of grief and chaos.
But, he wonders, what if
he wrote of the blooming
pear with its pale flowers,
his time of youth when he had
the answers, without illusions?


He hates with hope. He learned when young,
You're known by your enemies as well as friends.
The gates open and a ghost appears.
He hates himself for that. He hates the bureaucrats,
their token crack for the ghettos while they snort coke.
But what does he wish? To approach his last years
with a kind of peace, with thoughts unleashed
against the corporate shills. With mind askance
at the distance he's come, arrived, and been at home.
At best he's happy when alone. At worst
he's crowded in a bunch. His physics teacher told him,
There's no such thing as a free lunch. He hates
mob rule but hopes for riots in the streets.
His drugs are cigs and coffee and his diet is sweet.


Raw veins in the hands of doubt,
blue and restrained with a touch
of faith and little hope, gather
and pool in the palms sloping off
to the wrists and up the arms.
Dope in the shape of a heart,
a pill or fix for what's not right,
left over from youth, or a life
spilled over from the actual truth
of asylum and prison, now versed
in the classics and beauty,
but still damned by thoughts
of murder, mayhem, caught
in the chaos and cut deep.


O ye with little knowing, minds
as small as ants, and fear everywhere
in your daily humdrum, with thoughts
as limp as Tennessee Williams' wrist
flagging down a trick or flaring up
to strike that bitch, the morphine
in his heart and veins. What faith is this
with his seductive masters? What fool
could he love most? It's just that
In The Winter Of Cities is at its best
when he is at his worst. How to suffer
his unsympathetic jests, the curse
of language brought forth with beauty
by one who hosts the flesh?


It seems strange, but his life is three-
quarters gone. At times he still feels young,
others, old and tired and pained. He's gained
weight the last few years, his hair's long gone
as are over half his teeth. With one eye blind
and a swarmy grin, he looks as mad as he really is.
It seems strange but he welcomes the end.
He began blessed, went through some storms,
emerged in a relative calm. He's broken
all the Ten Commandments, yet he remains
religious. Nearly dead long ago,
he gives thanks for the love he's known,
for his mother who's now ninety-three,
his family and friends, and Ava, his dream.


He's said it all, he can't say more.
He's told the truth with little white lies,
he's laced with salt the wounds he wished
he'd never done. He's dreamed and sung
this choir of sorts, one could say a minor Mass
or tiny concerto. He's tuned the drums
and timpani, blasted out the brass and bass.
Never one for opera, he scans the score,
shrugs, and says, It's Greek to me. Sometimes cool,
at times a geek, he tells tales but not quite literal.
He masques the face of truth and myth,
covers his path like an escaped convict.
He slaves away but with no honors. He'd like
to think he's van Gogh or Flannery O'Connor.


He loves his dog, he loves her fleas.
He loves his cat and Ava's knees.
With his mother at 93, Ava's the one
he loves the most. He toasts them both
with wine and song, but, down deep,
he thinks he's doomed. Ava Lynn,
O Ava Lynn, you're the one who brings
him hope. You tame his dreams
and love his skin. They almost seem
like two in one, happily coupled
but not in need. He's the steed you ride,
you're his swan and make him grin.
He's loved many but not like this,
you make him shout and twist.
He loves your moods, he loves your wings.
They are together and each other's twin.


Kenn said...

Well, Leonard, finally got this up and running for you! Whoopeee! Hopefully there will be lots of visitors and lots of great comments. Glad to be of some help in getting your poetry on the web, where it will hopefully get some much deserved attention.

Luis said...


I did not know you had this blog.
This is great, I agree with Kenn
and Marc's sentiments.

Evelyn said...

People should read this.

Robert of the Redwoods said...

Thank You Kenn for coming up with the Pygmy Forest Press site ! Leonard was a dear tru friend
and His poetry is His legacy .
There is also a Leonard Cirino
site on facebook ,

Robert Vaughn