The Weakling’s Register – Canto 36

It had to be explained that black eye
not normal they said in a child of that age.
He repeated a fall, an accident on the stairs

coming home in the afternoon
but the neighbour heard the screams
and the mother denied everything: he’s a child a bit careless

cuts the corners when he’s playing.
Pale blue arms in the pool
blended with the water

and no one saw them and no one talked of them
since a child is a bit careless
and the extreme consequence is normal

if seen in other shapes.


Registro dei Fragili
translated from the Italian by Anthony Robbins

The Weakling’s Register – Canto 30

Are you happy to come on this ride he said standing at the till
with the queue of people waiting to get on the carousel
and he held him by the shoulders to stop him going off

while all around the attractions, all the sounds of the funfair.
I don’t understand your decision he asked him in a murmur
wanting things that stand still with so much else to try:

look at the Big Spinner or the Vessel of Death
those are the real things not these horses’ lip-curling
not this sissy music

but the thrill of the void. He pointed to the horizon
he showed him the Thunderbird insisting
that when you’re a man some things are better

not these sissy merry-go-rounds and he asked
shall we have a go?
The child said nothing but shook his head a little

he remembered the year before he’d already been up there
and the emptiness in his tummy this thrust that empties you
as everything whirls around and you don’t know where to hold on

as the emptiness is growing and the pitching continues
as you’re gasping for air and he started to be sick
and his father was shouting, took him to the toilet

to wash off the shame, grieving for his manly son.


Registro dei Fragili
translated from the Italian by Anthony Robbins

The Weakling’s Register – Canto 1

image credit: pedro valdeolmillos

Order in dressing is needed, coherence in deceit. He repeated this
smoothing with his hands the edge of his jacket, the lapels,
the shirt untouched around the collar

too tight and yet just right for the image in the mirror.
A sweeping gesture, a touch to his hair perfectly groomed
and all the rest: perfection, he repeated

posing confidentially with the face learnt from the man on TV.
I am better if you look closely, more true too:
he looked at the reflection of his eyes, the agreement

of the image with the side he wanted.
His skin too, the right colour, the tone acquired in time
in the solarium a step away from home. Perfection, he repeated

presenting himself in the doorway to his wife already dressed.
Hand in hand without speaking. They never said anything any more. Too often
they couldn’t think of what to say. Looking closely he couldn’t find other things actually

most of all a reason to stay.


Registro dei Fragili
translated from the Italian by Anthony Robbins

Sun-dried Cherry

Sun-dried cherry moist
deaths in gold sun-lit day
dancing warm shadows
baked in your wet clay

Before you, then I writhe
in cherry-coloured taste
paint me you in red ink
drawn blood in haste

my own, then you
sift through me like sand
twirl me, circle me, you
in the soul of your hand

Taste me, come now
lick salt-flavoured lies
sketch you then shadows
between your charred sighs

Knead me, seek me
you come in the dark
leave me, then you
your own pained mark

Breathe me my moans
you, sang on your tongue
give me little deaths
in cherry-flavoured tones


Bone window
I am coming through
in sin, bearing seed,
vertebrally, I stand
with structural faults,
held by blind nails
hiding the salt in the marrow.
I cruise through blue veins
with murderous intent,
through delicate cartilage
and mucous membrane,
to cup a hip or breast
I am sexed.

Promised Lands

Unblinking like the dead
goldfish floating
He stands staring
with his one good eye
at the neighbours
their bathroom window.
Tied up, mouths stuffed
his envy turning
into a slow concern
The thieves are having
fried eggs for breakfast
on the patio. Three
Young boys with
happy eyes thinking
already about the
latest Nokia
the electric bill
imported pampers
for the new baby.