That First Year

Original Text: 
Pier Giorgio Di Cicco, The Honeymoon Wilderness (Toronto: The Manfield Press, 2002): 17-18.
1i wrote poems mainly that first year,
2picking garbage, doing dishes, humbling
3myself among men who doubted me for having gotten
4the world's publicity; what did i want with them, anyway?
5but after a year they saw my touch and needed an arm
6around them; men without women can use an italian
7now and again to laugh christ off the cross and make him dance;
8make the devil look a bit foolish.
9it was my mission, cheering them after i saw that they had not
10god in every blessed fork and spoon, and signs weren't everywhere.
11so i got down to the business of living,
12of taking one to the zoo, another to a store, a coffeeshop; but
13always they couldn't wait to get home; after awhile,
14thrilled as they were to get out, they got
15fatigued in the world, like inmates, like loonies.
16i too get tired now, going downtown, the noise and ruckus of
17portuguese youths blasting and cruising, the correct and
18their brandies, the traffic money-making rush of decent
19moms and dads in their illusion of house
20and car, and literature taking itself seriously and anyone
21taking something serious to get away from pointlessness --
22i want to go back, like a loonie. not made for this.
23i want to stack chairs with grigoire in
24the church and go to sleep and stare at the blank
25wall of the chapel and see christ's face. i want to sing
27to birds ...
28i want to see everything as a sign: something dropped, a cloud going the
29wrong way; and not in a town where there
30are signs everywhere, and no signs.
31stillness is what i crave, like those loonies, who did nothing
32but look for signs 'cause everything is a sign when you do
33little.
34i want grigoire's bees, anthony's galoshes galumphing
35past my cell window, the scrape of chairs at breakfast
36and walking down corridors with space between each
37other in case the saints wanted to get through.
38silly things. i want to go home.
39i wait for everything but god
40now; like all the others i make use of
41his creation and forget --
42to wait for him ... just wait for him,
43worry that he'll take me, just to get attention;
44that's what the world is, a sleep-waiting;
45once i was awake and nothing-doing
46and when he asked me to get us a coffee, i would --
47otherwise we would just sit together, god and i
48with eyes that penetrated.
49behind trees and things, i feel that world that's ours,
50and loonie brothers playing hide-and-seek with
51butterflies;
52my madmen, my crazies; like you
53i can't be away for far too long; wherever you are, waiting,
54in death or hayfields,

Notes

26] st. john rieti (1299-1316), whose day is August 2. Back to Line
55] "in-free": "Olley-Olley-Ox-in-Free," a cry that signals the end of a children's hide-and-seek game, the moment when anyone who has not been caught can come out without being tagged "it" and can go safely home. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
2002
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
2003
Rhyme: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright Pier Giorgio Di Cicco 2002