Thursday Sep 21

GioseffiDaniela Daniela Gioseffi is an American Book Award winning author and has published fourteen collections of poetry and prose. She's presented her poetry for NPR and the BBC and has appeared twice on the Poet & The Poem radio show of The Library of Congress, N.E.A.  Her verse is etched in marble on a wall of PENN Station NY with that of Walt Whitman. She’s won the John Ciardi Award for Lifetime Achievement in Poetry and the OSIA NY State Literary Award. Her sixth volume of poetry is Blood Autumn, Autunno di sangue (VIA Folios, Bordighera Press, CUNY, 2007). Her first book of poetry, Eggs in the Lake (BOA Editons, 1977), was followed by five others, and she has edited two ground breaking anthologies of world literature: Women on War, International Writings (The Feminist Press) and On Prejudice: A Global Perspective (Anchor/Doubleday), She founded the National Bordighera Poetry Prize, edits of www., and was a pioneer of The Poets-in-the-Schools program. She created the First Brooklyn Bridge Poetry Walk in 1971 with a grant from The NY State Council for the Arts, from which she has also received two grants in poetry. Gioseffi has published three novels, the latest a biographical one on the life of Emily Dickinson with a non-fiction afterword upon which the novel is based. She is with the Dickinson's Scholars Registry and has taught a colleges and universities all around the NY City area, where she has lived for forty-five years.

   Heart Attack

   The tiny humming-bird with wings fanning
   eighty beats or more per-second lives
   merely three or four years

   and dies in flight dropping to earth from its
   pristine height—a heart worn out in mid-air,
   broken from flying to feed itself the sweet nectar
   of flowers, consuming twelve times
   its tiny weight daily to survive.
   An aggressive word, “attack”— sounds like war.
   Did the muscle in my chest pumping blood attack,
   or did I attack it with too much passionate
   knuckle-biting intensity through seventy years
   of living in a fast-paced city?

   Cardiomyopathy sounds as if my heart
   is near-sighted. A weak left ventricle
    at only thirty-eight percent of capacity,

   oxygenates blood, then sends it back
   to the articulating lungs. One out of three women
   over fifty has heart disease— every heart wears out
   eventually, and here I am plastered to earth
   eating lean fish and multi-grain pasta
   that grandma Lucia would wonder at
   considering her ragu with red meat
   and semolina, rich in fat and starch.

   Since everyone’s heart wears out at last,
   it’s a matter of sooner or later.
   I’ve got to take this philosophically.
   What does a weak heart mean?

   That I can no longer risk orgasm, passion, anger?
   Can I not care “full-heartedly!”
   Yet passion’s what drove me,
   passion for justice, love, art, ecstasy!
   Must I learn to live quietly, contemplatively,
   calmly— give up being an Italian?


   Toward Ecstasy
   —for Emily Dickinson

   Masked in white,
   locked in the nectar of your sorest need,
   how much you gave in feeling ink
   to butterfly or sacrament,
   Resilient Woman.
   Animal eyes stare from your soul
   bright with female anguish.

   In cups of artificial drowse,
   bereaved of lover,
   within the quiet of your room,
   I see you touch your body
   and hold a dialogue
   with your cobwebbed breasts.

   I see your lips part and hear
   the breath press out between them.
    I feel your tongue move

   in the ocean of your mouth,
   “Empress of Calvary.”
   Fluttering in your tightening cocoon
   with that “dim capacity to fly
   toward ecstasy.”


   Having Sex with the Rain

   After the long drought,
   thirsty trees bend in wind.
   Fierce light strikes and flashes.
   Raging thunder rumbles.
   Rain hammers down.
   Branches sway. Leaves dance wildly,
   making me want to live forever.

   The irrepressible nature of it
   makes me feel alive
   facing death, hugging life closer.

   Lightning flashes like God’s
   fickle grin. Wind whips
    like the Devil’s whip

   making hair stand on end.

   Thunder roars Hell fires.
   Heaven’s thick drink pours down.
   steady throbs on my skin,
   sensual thrill.

   Alive as can be,
   I’m small, helpless under
   heavy torrents, facing death
   with this hurricane

   that comes when
   it comes against all will
   flashing electrical, wet
   orgasmic thrill.