Conflicted Excitement, by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

 

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Conflicted Excitement by LindaAnn Loschiavo

LindaAnn LoSchiavo’s debut collection is an Italian memoir about coming to America. It traces the first footsteps to a country that would become home. The sense of belonging proved to be elusive for her immigrant grandparents.

“Fit in!” advised her husband. Neither did,
Unnoticed by America’s embrace.
–Merletto [Lace]

Setting up roots would be reflected in the efforts of her grandfather, affectionately called “il nonno mio”, growing fig trees in Brooklyn. In fact the poems about her grandparents endearingly anchor this collection.

Her poems—peopled by her grandparents, parents, her sister, her relatives, her friends–engage us in an effusive warp of story-telling. Sometimes one gets the feeling of being wrapped in a cocoon of Italian babble but thankfully there’re translations to get us through them. For of course one brings one’s own language along with oneself, and LindaAnn’s poems reflect that. We also learn where she got her gift of narrative from…her father! (See “The Wizard of Words”).

Along with her native language, religion is weaved through her personal rite of passage, enabling her to cope with death and the question of eternity.

Where Jesus, spotless, guiltless, is then beaten
For others’ sins returns me to my oyster
Shell, hard home where I dwell with grains of sand,
Intruders I coat with a glaze to make their
Existence not so scratchy, making it
All easier to slip around till I’m good
And ready for that opening up.
–A Little Choir Girl at Passiontide

For us then, the poems are secret musings of oneself, but it is when she makes leaps towards the sublime that “Like death’s jewels, feathers fell from pelicans.” (“Aboard S.S. Guiseppe Verdi”).

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Sonnet to My Former Dance Partner, by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

Sonnet to My Former Dance Partner
by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

How perfect was your choreography:
Those steps that led away from me, the waltz
Of loss. You shed your youth, which didn’t halt
Your appetite for living. Legs slowly
Refused your body’s gracefulness. Your knees
Rebelled. Bright hoping failed to see assaults,
Damage within. A dance card filled up, no fault
Of nurses. Healers bowed apologies.

Assigning places to emotions, you
Would spin around the numbers: the hours
Remaining for your performance.
A dress rehearsal, a final curtain drew
Closer. Time had me fooled. Love lost power,
Escaped routines. Youth never learns this dance.

Process Notes: When the most graceful individual in your life dies, you give your sorrow to the paper and pray the Petrarchan sonnet becomes a hyphen between the silences.
.
Native New Yorker LindaAnn LoSchiavo has work forthcoming in Literary Manhattan, Flatbush Review, Indian River Review, and Adversus Press. Her chapbook, Conflicted Excitement, is a forthcoming release by Red Wolf Editions. Blog: https://MaeWest.blogspot.com

The Wake, by Linda Ann LoSchiavo

The Wake
by Linda Ann LoSchiavo

The funeral’s assemblage–standing room
Full–humid honeycomb of black-winged veils
Amid a lone queen bee who, rumors say,
Is now quite wealthy, stared as the young priest
Recalled the life of the deceased, a man
He never met.  In air arranged by gnats,
This widow might feel the scourge of jealousy
Of wasp-waisted blonde mistresses who sought
The secret bin of sweetness avidly
But dreamt a better end to this affair.

Anonymous bouquets surround his bier.
All roses have been shorn of thorns as if
Transgressive floral displays might cause tears
Throughout the endless swarm from honey-house.

An accidental overdose occurred
Before her husband could file for divorce
As planned.  Conspicuously, her eyes close
While mourners pray or check their buzzing phones.

Her mind is cataloguing shameful stings
Of infidelity.  Son of a b.

Native New Yorker Linda Ann LoSchiavo is completing her 2nd documentary film on Texas Guinan [1884-1933] and dodging gun-molls in Shubert Alley and in decommissioned speakeasies. To revive her spirits, she puts pen to paper.
101 Fiction, Hawaii Review, Ink & Letters, Metamorphose, Measure, Mused, Peacock Journal, Windhover, and Nous are recent credits.

Snow Drops, by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

Snow Drops
by LindaAnn LoSchiavo

We planted snow drops right before Leigh died,
His way of coming out next spring, the first
Who’d muscle through tough ground, out-stripping Lent–
Hard-packed with Christ and crocuses each place
You looked, as gaudy gay as Mardi Gras.

Leigh never lived white life out loud, his name
Changing like Easter bonnets, pegged to who
Was listening. He took me to a church,
Cried at my cousin’s wedding. Someone told
Me, “You’re next.” We suspected Leigh, best man
To spoil my soul, help me rehearse my loss,
Try out my strength. Love showed me hard things, Leigh,
Last snowfall your sworn downfall. Snow drops, Leigh,
White-stamped your final passport–just renewed.

Process notes: Recently, there was a death in my family; my favorite aunt died Jan. 28, 2017. Also on June 15th, 2017 there will be a memorial concert for poet-violinist Kate Light, who died of cancer at age 56. Talking to the organizers about the event and Kate’s last days bring back memories of all the times I featured her at my long-running NYC poetry series. The people in the poem are not Kate nor my aunt–but I have been in a “funeral state of mind” lately.

Native New Yorker Linda Ann LoSchiavo is completing her 2nd documentary film on Texas Guinan [1884-1933] and dodging gun-molls in Shubert Alley and in decommissioned speakeasies. To revive her spirits, she puts pen to paper.
101 Fiction, Hawaii Review, Ink & Letters, Metamorphose, Measure, Mused, Peacock Journal, Windhover, and Nous are recent credits.