Three Poems by Chris Stroffolino

by: Chris Stroffolino

There is subtle magic in Chris Stroffolino’s sonnets. While the music of his language instantly engages the ear and tongue, his poetic sleight of hand allows him to do almost anything inside this fixed form: downshift the level of diction, question and complain, wonder, quote, refute, and confirm. His readers get to experience the pleasure of being the “backseat driver in the car of love.


Sonnet 109: (I’m trying to remember I can fit)

I’m trying to remember I can fit—
There’s a kind of hush you need a self for
There’s a kind of love you need a car for—
That I can meet you not just where we sit.
A driving contentment that needs a form,
A noun not easily rendered as verb,
A birth that can’t give birth without what swerves
If not a cold that must scald to be warm.
Backseat drivers in the car of love
Have lead us here, but they won’t take credit.
So replace love with me for the edit.
That fast car’s really stalled, so should I shove
Or kneel in thrift-store nakedness before you
To grow into these clothes who adore you?


Sonnet 118 (“To let yourself wonder what it was like”)

To let yourself wonder what it was like
back before bread starting meaning heartland
back before whale oil was needed for lights
before earthquakes your house couldn’t withstand
and folks were more like blades of grass, could bend
and bounce back when stepped on by Disaster.
There’s limits to my nostalgia, my friend.
But the past haunts these metal and plaster
boasts of sustainable paper-free tech.
Imagined Edenic simplicity
before the fall brings air to glut and dreck
that forgets the sun is more than pretty.
So what will you do when the power goes out?
Might it be like a newborn mother’s shout?


133. In The Waiting Room

Savage Love! Let’s see what he advises.
“A parent can provide an antidote
to the child’s loud urge for immediate
gratification that advertisers
prey on to gain at our expense.”
Many a parent has surely wondered
How they snuck under our watchful lens
To rebuild the town from drone strike plunder,
The block buster released on her birthday.
So heavy! Where’s my “Stroffolino sparkle?”
They’re learning to trust their mind in class. Yay!
I get to be the smart crazy uncle.
It may take a global pillage to raze
A child, but love can meet beneath the haze.


Chris Stroffolino is currently in Oakland, CA. Recent essays on culture and art can be found here.
And, on his blog. Feel free to contact him at

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