Gregg Orifici / Poetry Spring, 2015



Here and Now

It’s darkening early now.
My timing is off. I’ll never make it
back from walking the dog,

blind to whatever
is crawling in those leaves,
within me, scratching my shoes

against the damp earth, half
burying my invisible trace.
A storm-darkened grid exiles

its own light.; stars
hunger more brilliantly
for their distant kin.

The evening hard stretches now,
limbering fires and primordial meals,
each one a forgiveness, a reimagining—

derelict now
that you
are no longer here.

Here, where all the warmth
self emanates and even my dreams
are deported to an unchartered place,

I long for a slow start, a dark shade,
a workday chiseled down to essence.
A return to that persimmon time

when longing would flicker
only ever so briefly—
the trapped whine

of a winter mosquito,
a leftover piece of pie,
the spark of sleep.

What difference does it make?
Those old revolving skewers of change
prod and stagger me forward.

Our Father

who art, by now, in heaven
—I hope and pray—

you stepped out on us,
shallow-rooted after all, just
when we needed you most.

Flush with corny charms
and undisclosed reserves,
you traded us in
for a foreign convertible—
a pearlescent two-seater
you never dreamed
of having.

You held top down grudges
against your mother-in-law
that lasted longer than she did.

We were teenage captives
to your bikini-clad stewardess
—bluegreen eyeshadow,
overcurled hair, lips pursed and pouting.
Driving, you’d pore over her slideshow
pressed up against the windshield, daring
us to look, or disapprove.

What sorry looked like you never
mastered. The other woman
gold-necklaced you, #1, and that
was all it took. For you to forget.

Were you happy? Or
was it all bluff and swagger?
We weren’t angels, we took sides,
We cold-shouldered.
We just wanted what we had,
while you wanted something

The blame hardened as it shrank,
over time, and lodged itself, indigestible,
in your gut, as it did in ours. Sometimes
we forgot it was there. Mostly we acted
as if it no longer mattered.

How did we end up, even now
after you’re gone, still, what if’ing?

Zeitgeist Unplugged

Ecstatic, my hat rides
the brilliant waves
of the northern lights,
a whole hemisphere
but mindful
not to suck the life
out of neighboring stars.

In this rapacious age
of all you can eat ego,
an unrehearsed smile,
a bit of je ne sais quoi
is an undisputed,
about-time act of rebellion.
You may speak
in tongues and witness Jesus,
but, I ask you, have you grasped
the bedazzling mystery
of magenta?

Never before have I
sailored so naked
or burlesqued at midday.
Now I rise
like the Freedom Tower,
sashay down Bourbon
like a Mardi Gras drag queen
and seed the uncut
meadow wild
with weeds.

Without a thought
for the cocoon, follow me
sojourner, as I butterfly


rsr pic 4Gregg J. Orifici is an MFA student and international educator at the University of New Hampshire. With a neglected law degree from Vanderbilt University, he has lived and worked in Europe and across the United States, and travels whenever possible. He plants trees and gardens obsessively and has lost his heart too many times to count. Fascinated by misunderstanding, longing and serendipity, he writes poetry and essays.


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