Castlerigg Circle, by Nancy Iannucci

Castlerigg Circle
by Nancy Iannucci

A howling sound of sorrow
wound around each stone
surged by the blow of the
great northern wind,

echoing in remembrance
of a tradesman’s aching

breath, a Neolithic gasp
that exhaled from primeval
lungs in heated, penetrative
spirals encircling his maiden’s
long, moss-scented neck;
he pursued her silken hair
like a Rapunzel trail through
busy Beltane trade gatherings.

One year he constructed a
small platform of stone
in the center of Castlerigg’s
bustling fair on which his maiden
would dance and sing for all
the days of the gathering,
a performance he stopped to watch
before bartering his chisel and scraper.

Year after year after year
he paused to see her
graceful spin atop
his stone like a wind-up
music box, around, around,
and around until the gatherings
ceased and the two

disappeared
only to resurrect, transformed
in an excavation of
rubble language spoken
in dust, axe head, and bone.
Learned linguists pen specious
tales of Druid altars and
virgin sacrifices ruled by the
mood of the moon.

In vain
The winds off of Thirlmere
and Helvellyn endeavor
to disclose the unsung truth
of a tradesman, his stone stage,
and his beautiful maiden performer.

Process notes:
I am drawn to myth, fairytales, fables, folklore and legends; therefore, I often find myself conjuring stories in my head in connection to ancient sites such as Stonehenge and Castlerigg. Who knows, perhaps a tale such as this did take place.

Nancy Iannucci is a historian who teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. She has always been entranced by the mysticism of life and the fine line that exists between our world and the mystical. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Three Line Poetry, Red Wolf Journal, Rose Red Review, Faerie Magazine (FB photography), and Mirror Dance. She is currently working on her first chapbook.

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He Leaned, by Nancy Iannucci

He Leaned
by Nancy Iannucci

unnamed

Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam, 1969, Unknown photographer

He leaned elegantly against a viscid wooden beam as all suave men did at the Post House back in 1966, flipped on the winning bait like he was flinging pizza margarita dough six feet into the air catching it dexterously with one hand. His Neapolitan accent & Sal Mineo looks reeled them in on Saturday nights, but tonight he was determined to win this one; he had been tracking her with stealth ornithologist skill through marshes of people, tables, and empty Schlitz & Lambrusco bottles. He finally made his Mediterranean move.

“You looka lika Brigitte Bardot,” he said, as he leaned against this auburn-feathered bird whose lipstick was the shade of ghost that had the death drained out of it. She laughed & sardonically lifted a penciled eyebrow to an adjacent friend. She knew he was full of shit; Bardot’s hair was blond but she gave him the benefit of the doubt induced by his Plato-Rebel-Without-a-Cause innocence, and she later learned his name was, coincidentally, Sal.

The Yardbirds rescued his broken English; “For Your Love” shook her up like an electric shock and they found themselves on the dance floor. He shadowed her groove for his gallant mannerisms ebbed as fast as a tsunami; dancing made him feel nervous.

They continued to pull each other out of their comfort zones for the next three years until one spring morning he left her for Vietnam.

Months of silent nothingness drifted like a specter until a photograph arrived addressed “To Brigitte.” She went hazy like the image and could feel the oppressive heat and perilous unknown emanating in her hands but was comforted to see his Plato smile as he leaned alongside a lone palm tree that stood rooted at the edge of Cam Ranh Bay.

“That lean, the Post House lean,” she whispered, reminiscing.

He was still leaning for her, still watching her, longing to make his move in the midst of jungle chaos.

Process notes: I never knew this photograph of my father existed until just two weeks ago. It was taken by an unknown photographer who was documenting American soldiers stationed at Cam Ranh Bay during the Vietnam War, so naturally I was taken by this never-before-seen photo of my dad, and so started writing.

Nancy Iannucci is a historian who teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. She has always been entranced by the mysticism of life and the fine line that exists between our world and the mystical. She feels, at times, like she inhabits some place in the middle and expresses herself through writing trying to reconcile her own existence in between these two realms; her work has been published by Performance Poets Association, Three Line Poetry, Red Wolf Journal, and Faerie Magazine (photography). ​

The Storm, by Nancy Iannucci

1880_Pierre_Auguste_Cot_-_The_Storm (1)

Pierre Augustus Cot, The Storm (1880)

The Storm
by Nancy Iannucci

We kept walking one
warm Wednesday morning,
woefully walking,
conversing, traversing
away from the city of Toulouse-
distance was a shield from prying eyes,
eyes and mouths attached to crowds
who longed to separate us.

We reached our favored
meeting place under
a canopy of draping trees
miles from the road.
Side by side we sat
like primitive cave dwellers
who lacked civilized restraint.

I’m the shepherd, but she tends me,
maneuvers my soul into a swell
of honorable indecency;
I’m a doltish man under her touch
as our thighs gently grazed then pulsed.

She came
to agree to leave France
with me
after weeks of furtive
meetings.

I brushed the sweat
from her golden hair-
Euphoric-
under wafts
of her sweet
lavender scent.

She took the horn from my side
and impishly blew a farewell tune
to Toulouse;
dark clouds instantaneously
rolled in like the French army.

“We should leave now!” I said
draping her yellow cloak
over our heads as if to
parachute away to the gods.

Our thighs pulsed once more;
my shepherd instincts dominated
as I tended my luscious lamb towards safety;
airily secure under her alabaster slip,
my hand steered below her left breast.

And so we loped
not from The Storm
but from this cruel city–
together.

Process notes: I was captivated by Pierre-Auguste Cot’s paintings many years ago while sitting through my first art history course in college. There was no turning back from that point on. Each painting evokes a powerful feeling of romance, mystery, and enchantment. I want to live in his paintings.

Nancy Iannucci is a historian who teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. She has always been entranced by the mysticism of life and the fine line that exists between our world and the mystical. She feels, at times, like she inhabits some place in the middle and express herself through writing trying to reconcile her own existence in between these two realms; her work has been published by Performance Poets Association, Three Line Poetry, and Faerie Magazine (photography).