Guest Poet Gaetana Cannavo

3 A.M. 

I was writing in my diary. 
There was so much I was unable to say 
and little time to try. 
It is true there is much I block out now. 
Some of it better forgotten.. 
Like the last quarrel we had. 
You'd raked leaves all afternoon, 
made them into a symmetrical pile 
as mathematical and balanced as you. 
Then I came along childlike 
and tossed handfuls 
into a playful wind 
chasing the whirling flecks, 
speckled reds, oranges and yellows 
into the setting sun. 
You blew, 
your words exploding like rockets 
into the deepening sky. 
And I so foolish in my stolen moment. 
Weeks later, it steals into my mind. 
The scene unchanged, 
the stage larger, expanding 
filling in all the unexpected places 
where our lives touch or clash. 
In this house of racing time 
I shun more than I care to remember. 
Sometimes writing heals the maul of memory 
and differences seem as little as anything else, 
as you asleep and I in pursuit of words.

November, 2000

Gaetana Cannavo's Questions:

Is it clear that the other person is asleep while I am writing?

Should I mention that at the beginning or is it clear from the title and the ending?

Is the poem too obvious? Poetry should have some ambiguity.

Am I making too much of the event in the poem? Is there any prosey sound to the lines.

Thanks much.

Improbable Sunday

After an improbable rain,
an improbable sun
waited to emerge
from a bank of nimbus clouds. 
An intemperate wind
transformed our breath 
into a luminous stream. 
Fallen leaves clung to wet grasses. 
Our stroll on Walt Whitman walk 
all but improbable. 

Unexpected, friends came and left 
after Sanscerre wine, 
pates on crusty bread, 
and a cylinder of Stilton 
for a midday Sunday snack. 
Conversation settled on 
been and done, the price of gas, 
slanted hemlines, and 
whether the soul is immaterial. 
Then, at teatime, Fresca, 
your first cousin once removed - 
a Josephine of the provinces, 
wanting to be Marie Antoinette 
with the wit of Madame de Stael. 
A character draped in affect 
and studied responses, 
craving audience for her 
charm school cynicsm 
and tales of her price tag lifestyle. 
In the tinkling of teacups 
and purposeful sighs 
I found refuge in equivocal dreams -- 
strawberry rain over the Ganges 
caramel figs melting in the sun, 
and pelicans wading in the Potomac. 
Noblesse oblige, you persevered, 
fought off sleep 
till your in-law kinsman came 
to claim (to his regret, 
I could have sworn) 
our most unwanted guest. 
The farewells said, 
the dishes cleared, 
so rose and set in rain 
the ten thousand first 
of our ever after days.

November, 2000

Gaetana Cannavo's Questions:

Are the lines too short?

Are any too prosey?

Does the poem have a point?

Is the word improbable out of place in the poem?

Is it tight enough?

The Albany Poetry Workshop