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Cold-Weather Poems

Cold_World_Tullio_2014

night vision

snowflake
galaxies whirl over the frozen pond

white sparks
stream from an old coal shovel

standing
straight up against the wind

I see light
everywhere

from across
the universe

photon embers
of the big bang

fill the sky
to the edge of the moon

a deer on the
ridge

looks into my
eyes

we share a
breath

in that cold
moment

between two
lives

*

The End of the World

On my way home I pass a man.

He stands on the roadside with a sign.

“The wisest man in the world.”

White hair, standing there,

he looks harmless enough.

I’m curious. I stop,

roll down the window,

and feel the cold.

“Where you headed?” I say.

“I’m headed to the world’s end.

Looks like I found it.”

“I don’t think so. This is the middle of Pennsylvania.
It’s not the end of anything, much less the world.”

“Well, if you let me go along with you for a while, I’ll show you.
I’ll get out then.”

“I have about 30 miles to where I’m going.
I’m not going out of my way.”

“No problem,” he says.
He gets in, shoves the sign in the back seat.

We drive on.
“Your sign says you’re the wisest man in the world. Is that so?”

“Sure am.”

“OK. What’s it all about, then?”

“It’s the middle of winter. That means we are all dead. And we won’t wake up until spring. We die all the time but we don’t notice it because we all die at the same time,” he says.

“Do we all wake up at the same time then, too?”

“In a way we do. But that’s just a figure of speech.”

I’m thinking my passenger is clever, but he’s not the wisest man in the world.

“That’s it.” he says. “Don’t think another thought. I’m getting out right here.”

I bring my car to a stop. There’s nothing on either side but an old cornfield. He gets out and walks up a slight rise through snow and corn stubs. As he reaches the crest and descends, he seems to disappear. Just before that he drops a small piece of paper.

I have some time.

I pull over, park, and follow his frozen footsteps.

At the top of the hill I find a folded note.

He is gone.

Back home now.

I bury his sign

and read the note:

I am old and I will die

It is time to come clean.
I woke up at an early age.

I lived a normal life.

So that you believe me

when I reveal all.

I will do that now.
It is not comforting to know

Hearing this will not set you free.

Freedom is not for us in this life.

We cannot be other than we are.

We pass our time with useless things

As if we live forever.

It is our bodies doing this.
Our minds know very well we die.

But our bodies refuse to hear of it.

Our bodies desire the useless things.

We go about our days in service to these dumb limbs

Serving them endless amounts of what they desire

But does not sustain them

Making them as comfortable as possible, as they demand it

Because they refuse to accept they will die.

Our brilliant minds are filled with petty annoyance.

That’s our lazy bodies talking

Constantly forcing us to confront ourselves in mirrors

So we can see the damage we’re doing.

And while we know love is the answer,

We are faced with the hard fact

We can only be loved to the degree we love ourselves.
And we do not love ourselves.

We are our bodies.

And because they are such stupid brutes

They are utterly unlovable.

I am good looking enough to know looks are worth nothing

And wealthy enough to have figured out it has no value.

I am intelligent and know I can never be smart enough.

I see far enough to see an end.

Waking up is like this.

Once it is yours you see right through it.

And you know

Like everything else

It is nothing at all.

The secret of life is life.

We all possess it for a while.

The world ends.

It is time to say

When.

We know it then.

We were already dead.

*

Cold Spirits

If spirits roam

In small spaces

Between slow burning suns

And the inexorable slide of gravity

They see our bodies

Living breathing steam

It freezes white in solid air

As if our souls are there.

 

Getting gasoline

Out cold in orange-yellow bays

Great bright stalls, greasy ice

Where we stand

Shocked by the knowledge

Of our predicament

Driven to wander

Risking everything

Going home

*

brain freeze

Words are frozen mind crystals.

Sentences are chunks of ice.

Once they are formed

That part of the brain stops thinking

And just repeats the words

Over and over.

We end up with titanic icebergs

In our heads.

*

Image: Cold World – Tullio – 2014

Words and Image by Tullio DeSantis

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Winter Studio 2018 – Natural Light

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March 12, 2018 · 9:47 pm

Winter Studio 2018 – Black (UVa) Light

 

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Fall Studio – Tullio – 2017

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November 27, 2017 · 10:11 am

Fall Poems

Fall Poems

Whitetail

four million years moving through this hidden place
deep in your blood knowing it by heart
it has always been yours but now I share your secrets
you are everywhere these barren days

sex-crazed leaving traces on hard ground
on trees
making mistakes
showing yourself is your fatal flaw
you’re giving yourself away and you don’t know that
you cannot help yourself
I understand this behavior in my own flawed heart

sensing me in your space
I sense you in mine
we will both die here
you are more beautiful
and this is why
you are first to die

Forecast

To the mantis on the wall
I’m a shadow cast by clouds
cool stillness
interrupting the warmth
of autumn’s fading sun
Lithe green conscious machine
400 million years of insect evolution
unfazed by my superior intellect

Caught in that moment
of self-doubt
and sensing the presence
of an ancient predator
I retreat and anticipate
the uncanny evolution of empathy

September

once, sound was all above me
buzz of crickets, shrill cicadas
shook the trees

absent now
instead it’s the sharp crunch
of insect bodies
mixed with acorns
beneath my boots

old leaves too
one day they’re tree-bound and wind-rustled
and the next day they show up
down here

this transference
seems fraught with some meaning
it is beyond me
like the warmth that slips farther
away each day

I know it is gravity
that does it
but it seems
much heavier than that

Late in October

Playing the odds of one more warm day
the last katydid is hanging tough
while a mantis prepares for hara-kiri.
Nervous chipmunks pool intelligence.
They’re drawing up secret maps
and hiding them in burrows.

I hear each year they forget
where they’ve stashed them
and so must struggle like the rest of us
blinded by frozen eyelids
stumbling, falling
toward utter hibernation.

Squirrels are in my face
staring right through me
peering for nuts I may have hidden
behind my ears.
I guess I’m no threat now
compared to what’s coming.
The ones who can’t take the pressure
throw themselves in front of cats.

Fault for the Fall

You’re just being cruel
We did all we could
To pretty things up
Trying our best to clean up after you
But it’s a lost cause and we know it
Tree-loads of leaves are down

Seeds strewn around
Berries rotting on the ground
The sidewalks are all sticky
With odd fruit no one wants
It’s cold
Getting fat is making sense
Already, some of us have given in

Ice on the sunflowers
Is scaring the birds
You’re holding summer hostage
Isn’t that enough?
Not only that
When I walked out the door
You threw my hat in the dirt

And your killing spree
Goes on and on
I know for a fact
The doe on the highway
Was innocent

-text by Tullio DeSantis

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Entangled up in Love

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Entangled up in Love – Tullio – 2017

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The Brain in a Grain of Sand

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The Brain in a Grain of Sand – Tullio – 2017

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