Three Poems – Joseph Fasano

The Kingdom

                          in response to WB

When my life grows small with unreal
fears, and I wake in the night
in the new moon,
my son’s hand
grasping at his shadow
like the long, black hair of his mother;
when I hear in me the voices
that don’t matter, I walk out

through the garden of the darkness
and lie down by the dark edge
of the river.
Son, you will come this way
in your own time. You will think your life
is a silence
or a great crime; you will ask the wind
to rinse you, on your knees.

No more. No more rivers.
I rise again
and drift back through the willows
and climb up
to lie beside my child
and let the shadows
grasp us in their passing
and laugh with him

in the long hair of the new
moon, the new moon
that is no one’s, and
is going,
and for a moment, in the blazing
of those changes,
we belong again to the same bonds
and are free.
The Fields Variant #6 by Robert Frede Kenter, green and powder blue abstract shapes, vibrations, trees, a landscape.

Genie Wiley

                                        “The house was completely dark; all the blinds were drawn
                                         and there were no toys, no clothes, nothing to indicate that
                                         a child of any age had lived there. The child’s bedroom was
                                        at the back of the house with the window covered. The furnishings
                                        of the bedroom consisted of a cage with a chicken-wire lid
                                        and a toilet chair with some kind of homemade strapping device”.

                                        – Sgt. Frank Linley, after discovering the “feral” child known only as
                                       “Genie,” who had spent the first 13 years of her life in almost total

They say I do not know the word
for love.
I do.

I know the little singing
of the blackbirds through the blackened

glass, the little wings
of my own heart
in darkness. I know

that what was done to me was not
me. I know

that something ending
makes no sound.

to the furious birds
this morning.

They are powerless
not to sing out

to their hunters. They are troubled, troubled
into telling.

Tell it: You, too, were a music.
You waited

in your little heart of darkness
and you had a song

that not a soul
could know of.

I know, I know, I know now.

But how can I tell you
how to tell it?

Go down
into the wild heart
of the darkness.

Listen. Listen. Listen.

What silent
song, what wordless,

certain burning

will your one hushed life be singing
                          when you’re found?

Joseph Fasano Reads “The Whale Skeleton on Long Branch Beach”

The Whale Skeleton on Long Branch Beach

No one has woken with the gull-song.

You are still here. You are still alive
in this country.

These are things
you can do, still,
in the ruins:

unmake the bitter
walk out to the stripped ribs
where a heart had been

and climb in
and lie back
in its apses.

This shattering. These wildest
This earth.

Tell it. Tell it. Tell it.

Imagine being
so broken
and so lonely

that you thought you were
the wild song in a wild thing
calling like the dark heart of the darkness.

Or that you forgot you were.

Author photo Joseph Fasano standing looking into camera in front of a half empty  book case. Black cowboy shirt, grey jeans.

Joseph Fasano is an American poet, novelist, and songwriter.  His novels include The Swallows of Lunetto (Maudlin House, 2022) and The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing (Platypus Press, 2020).  His books of poetry include The Crossing (2018), Vincent (2015), Inheritance (2014), and Fugue for Other Hands (2013).  His debut album of original songs, The Wind that Knows the Way, is available wherever music is streamed or sold.

Fasano’s honors include the Rattle Poetry Prize, the Cider Press Review Book Award, eight Pushcart Prize nominations, and a nomination for the Poets’ Prize, “awarded annually for the best book of verse published by a living American poet two years prior to the award year.”  His work has been widely translated and anthologized, most recently in The Forward Book of Poetry 2022 (Faber and Faber, 2022).  He teaches at Columbia University and Manhattanville College. Twitter: @Joseph_Fasano_

Art: The Fields: Variants 2 & 6, from a visual poem series by Robert Frede Kenter (c) 2022. Twitter: @frede_kenter IG: r.f.k.vispocityshuffle.

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