Tag Archives: Poetry

Appalachia

27 Jun

(Amy Tornabuoni)

The car is packed yet again
for yet another unknown destination
another place I’ve never been.
Another town where there are only two Italian restaurants:
very expensive
and Olive Garden.
Wouldn’t it be nice to just…
live somewhere?
Maybe longer than a year?

But…

10% doesn’t seem like such a big number until you’re part of it,
and your mother handing you a cup of coffee
says
“Don’t worry, you’ll find a job.”
Every day,
for months,
while you notice the coffee getting weaker.

And “you can’t eat beauty,”
Zio said.

My mountains are in my heart
just like the sea
which I’ve never laid eyes on.

Coal mines
combine slowly in my mind’s eye
with tomato stands
Oaks
with Olives
and Ford trucks with their Firestones
with the donkey
stereotypically assigned them.

My mountains
and the burnt out factories I pass
where Nonna came
to make fire-safe irons from asbestos…
driving by
the open sea
waves beating me back
as I seek
My own Golden Door.

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Machismo

24 Jun

(Amy Tornabouni)

1.
“When your cousin gets here, can you ask him to move some chairs to the garage?”
Smile
Nod
Wait ‘til Nonno leaves
Move some chairs to the garage

2.
“What are you talking about?” I had expected this to go differently.
“Maybe it’s the machismo we grow up with…”

“We’re Catholics.” I am so confused.
“Remember when Zia met your Great Grandmother?”
“No.” I hadn’t been born yet.
“She hugged her. She said ‘Good for you’.”

3.
“You’re such a stereotype,” she says
when I light up my cigar.
I admit,
I feel a little ashamed…

Not so!
because I’m a girl
and cigars are a boy thing
like being named about your great-grandfather
like I would have been
if I were a boy

But then she got sick
and I made eggplant…

So I suppose she’s right.

Everybody Loves a Sicilian Girl

20 Jun

(Amy Tornabuoni)

I wish I could still
spend hours in her kitchen.
Espresso stains on the pages
of sketch paper sprawled before me.

Flour adrift
A cloud over my vision
and settling on bowls of ricotta
the god among cheeses

I wish I could still
hear her shout
“Mangia! Mangia!”
as though we needed the coaxing
to partake of the breaded veal
and mounds of meat sauce smothered ravioli

or explain the reality
of our own Palermo story
to this third generation
that hardly smells
of fish and olives any longer
and so desperately longs to

So Tony can travel there
He has the money
And Lindsay can date someone a little more “ethnic”
With darker skin
That perfect nose
An unaltered last name
And Michael can pretend to be a gangster all he wants
Pin-stripe suits and machine guns in his Halloween and senior pictures

Instead, I shall
bury my nose in a dictionary of a Tuscan vernacular
tote my Mario Puzo novels
make Biscotti Regina the way she used to
and make up my own mind.

Nonno

20 Jun

The day I was born
he said of me,
“We don’t have girls
in this family.”