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Wild DreamsThe Best of Italian Americana$

Carol Bonomo Albright and Joanna Clapps Herman

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823229109

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823229109.001.0001

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(p.241) Poetry (p.242)
Wild Dreams

Carol Bonomo Albright

Joanna Clapps Herman

Fordham University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This 1991 poem by Brian McCormick is about “the night Neil Armstrong impressed the thin dust on the moon, I made my meld in diamonds, playing pinochle, two decks cut and sussed with my foster family, Italian Americans, all now dead...”

Keywords:   Brian McCormick, poem, Neil Armstrong, moon, foster family, Italian Americans

(p.243) Inside the Inside of the Moon

Brian Mccormick (1991)

  • The night Neil Armstrong impressed the thin dust
  • On the moon, I made my meld in diamonds,
  • Playing pinochle, two decks cut and sussed
  • With my foster family, Italian
  • Americans, all now dead. Mom Vecchio
  • Fears treatment in ignorance, her breast black,
  • Malignant, eclipsing her aureole.
  • Her sixth grade schooling in science inexact
  • While on the TV screen Galileo
  • Is proved correct by golfing astronauts.
  • Armstrong's hop from module videos
  • To earth: Mom Vecchio lays down a heart.
  • She asks, “When is he going to go in?”
  • This puts a stop to the conversation.
  • Again—“When will he go inside the moon?”
  • “Inside the moon? He's on the moon's surface.”
  • “I mean, inside the inside of the moon.”
  • “Inside the inside of the moon?” Nervous,
  • I try to divine what she sees inside.
  • “Inside the inside where the moon-people
  • (p.244) Live, the way we survive inside our sky.”
  • She made her meld, her mind made wonderful
  • To me, that she could live inside a shell
  • Around the earth, the firmament made real
  • By faith in this Apollo miracle!
  • Planets, moons, traversed by NASA's angels,
  • Instantly transfigured, flown by foster
  • Love of God, she trumps with Pater Noster.
  • The phone rings. My brother sounds far away,
  • “Did I kill a black baby as a boy?”
  • Calling from his shelter in Rockaway,
  • The sunspot interference fades his voice.
  • “Did I burn it in the oven roaster
  • Because I went crazy, because I'm bad?”
  • Sea of Tranquility, golden visor!
  • “You're thinking of the oven used by dad,”
  • I said, “when he threatened to throw us in,
  • Clicked his heels, called us Jews, and lit the gas.
  • Now get some sleep, you're imagining things.”
  • Invisibles explode us into space
  • The flag flaps in vacuum, and we salute
  • The black baby inside the inside of the moon.

(p.245) Why I Drive Alfa Romeos

Kevin Carrizo Di Camillo (1993)

  • Because most people think it's the name of an Italian
  • clothier, or they spell the first part in Greek
  • and pronounce the latter in Shakespearean.
  • Because Alfas have the aura of a priceless antique.
  • Because the gauges read wrong and commit sins
  • of inaccuracy every other day of the week.
  • Because the logo is inscrutable: a man
  • swallowed by a snake and a cross, red as a cherub's cheeks.
  • But mainly because I drove an Alfa
  • around Nantucket this past summer.
  • Roads smoked with sand, Maria was with me.
  • Listened to the only music: Verdi's operas.
  • Engine kept tempo like an unflagging drummer,
  • driving towards the sun, ocean, and Italy.

(p.246) Walking My Son on the Beach

J. T. Barbarese (2003)

  • I smell like an engine housing
  • with my arms around his ribs;
  • his sweat tastes like her breast-milk
  • and something else—something his
  • and his alone. The tang of his hair,
  • the sweet cedar bark of his skin,
  • whatever my days have left out of me
  • in him has found a way in
  • and leavens the sweat that sweetens his cheek and leaves it tasting of brine
  • and all the somethings drawn from me
  • as he was becoming mine.

(p.247) The Skeleton's Defense of Carnality

Jack Foley (2003)

  • Truly, I have lost weight, I have
  • lost weight,
  • grown lean in love's defense,
  • in love's defense grown grave.
  • It was some concupiscence
  • that brought me to the state:
  • all bone and a bit of skin
  • to keep the bone within.
  • Flesh is no heavy burden
  • for one possessed of little
  • and accustomed to its loss.
  • I lean to love, which leaves me lean till lean
  • turns into lack.
  • A wanton bone, I sing my song
  • and travel where the bone is blown
  • and extricate true love from lust
  • as any man of wisdom must.
  • Then wherefrom should I rage
  • against this pilgrimage
  • from gravel unto gravel?
  • Circuitous I travel
  • from love to lack
  • and lack to lack, from lean to lack
  • and back.