Three Poems by John Califano

These three poems by John Califano draw from personal experience and reach deep into the bowels of raw emotion. Visceral and visual by design, they are intentionally unambiguous, aimed at dilating the reader’s imagination and igniting parallel experiences and emotions. As one writer/colleague of Califano’s aptly noted: “After reading them I drove away, all the time thinking, ‘Jez…what’s under my hood?’”

by: John Califano

Rush Hour

riding
on a hot
crowded
subway car
I held on
for dear life
eyes closed
sweating
and swaying
deliriously
from the memory

of

your

kiss

 

Mother’s Day Revisited

mother screaming on a cool cantaloupe night
it was her nature
to stay in the foyer
as I watched her bleed through crack doors
making sure her pain would never hit the ground
I ran
to catch it
with cupped hands
I’m yours. . . I’m yours
to crush
crushing
crushed
until I could no longer see
but feel
my fingers against her vanished cheeks
oh feed me! feed me!
I cried
as her demure salt covered lips
gently kissed
my open wounds
and I, somehow
loved her
praying
she would never
stop

 

Loving the Alien

in catholic school
I died daily
buried
under
the stations of the cross
where my innocence
was crucified
and hung

out

to

dry

+++++caged

on my knees
hands clasped
handcuffed with rosary beads

+++++choking

from the hypocritical
stench of incense

+++++I prayed

to a bloody alien

my

true

fucking

sin

 

John Califano grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and lives in Manhattan where he works helping at-risk parolees transition back into the workforce. He’s worked as a writer, actor, visual artist, and musician, and has performed in clubs, art galleries, feature films and Off-Broadway productions. He recently completed “Notes from Down Under,” a collection of poems, and “Johnny Boy,” a coming-of-age novel. His work is featured in The Broadkill Review, The Willesden Herald’s New Short Stories Series (UK), Adelaide Review, The Writing Disorder, Poetry Super Highway and Embark, an international literary journal for novelists.
For more information visit: www.johncalifano.com.

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