Three Poems: John Casquarelli

Tribute to an Upper West Side Evening

somewhere there must be a road that

leads away from muffled voices &


buses blowing smoke      a place where

we hear the ocean’s whisper & the


rustle of palm trees      whether from

lust or imaginable tomorrows


becoming new with the waves

she coaxes      eyes that lead a


moonlit chorus      though happy now

life is brief      ask the dragonfly


yielding its purple wings to autumn

beneath a veil of frost & fire


ascending with tenors or laughing

children who grasp shadows


dressed in gypsy petals

explorers etched in moments of


release in the hollow of violins

measuring time under stars & branches


though it feels like forever      such days

are resisted only momentarily


slow raptures of now that outline her smile

drowning in its desire to be everywhere


at once in its endless variations of

pre-war homes & urban renewal



primal backtrack though not too subtle hands wash

footstool where brokers eat tuna sandwiches & yell

at migrating ducks to duck from that little crumb of

bread I paid for with my student loans disparity old

friend burst the bubble hypoglycemic with antennae

mouthpiece to replace words with particle waterspout

nervously forming the fire in the silhouette in some

earlier orbit non-duality sienna side street bookstore

where the story went on & on & on & on & outward

to solitude antidote ripple years past though still

recognizable plankton origin avoid the waning gibbous

at all costs & break the redundancy hitch-hiking giraffe

in Alachua County lemon juice acorn plastic bucket

blossom softens the blow of continuity cathedral object

on magnolia tree floating in the ether thinking of the

women we would marry & divorce white nightgown

staircase mid-afternoon sunlight bookmarking days

that ever-eluding hour popcorn seed terrain wireless

remote with a channel for everything except my sanity

oblique Neolithic tool for dampening our imaginations

a funny joke Chris left on the kitchen counter next to

the pepper shaker glorious yesterday of our brotherhood

laughter & mischievous longings link longitudes that we

felt deep in our bellies roaring mastodons of another age

when it was possible to stand on rooftops & greet the

horizon with a sigh



Windmill Dialogue MCMLXIII

for Luis

Dijo el insigne Cervantes Saavedra

“Quien no habla bien el español

Es sin duda terco como piedra

O es mas baturro que el sol”


though the attempt may be difficult

full of imagination        surprises & blunt

instruments        rhythm takes him to another

country to greens & summer evenings


La Real Academia con gusto censura

A aquellos que sólo dialectos hablan

Y parace que tan sólo hablan basura

Sin lógica o fundamento o ladran


he remembers the child who tried to arrange

words outside the margins against his

previous patterns of blotched business

suits & endless rituals by quasi-maniacs


Pero todos olvidan la realidad

Sobre lo cierto y sus razones

Con que España apunta la verdad

Siendo la Madre Patria un mosaico de naciones


a bay where boats sit on mud & jagged rocks near

churchyard benches amid twilight shallow impressions

where drifters grieve knowing nothing more

than their own will to understand language


100_6433John Casquarelli is the author of two full-length collections, On Equilibrium of Song (Overpass Books 2011) and Lavender (Authorspress 2014). He is an English Instructor at CUNY Kingsborough. In addition to teaching, John serves as Editor for Otter Magazine ( He was awarded the 2010 Esther Hyneman Award for Poetry and the 2015 Petite Kafka Award. His work has appeared in the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association’s (HETL) anthology, Teaching as a Human Experience (Cambridge Scholars Publishing). Other publishing credits include Storm Cycle: Best of Kind of a Hurricane Press, Suisun Valley Review, Ginosko Literary Journal, Pyrokinection, Visceral Brooklyn, Flatbush Review, and Kinship of Rivers.


Copyright © John Casquarelli, 2015. Banner image © Jo Mazelis, 2015.