The three poems by John Muro are all biographical, and serve to illustrate events that have occurred over the span of his life – from adolescence to present day. They are portraits of childhood whimsy, adolescent remorse, and later-in-life setbacks and challenges…
by John Muro
Vertigo Grateful for ninety-degree walls strong enough to prop up a man stumbling from his bed, using panels of ship-lap for ballast. It feels as if all of earth’s listing, before I’m betrayed by bureaus and thickets of doors. Then heading into the hamlet of hallway, where objects confound and blur, and I’m soon grabbling forward like a marsupial trying to keep its head still, unsure of whether God has granted me two legs or four. I’m in an alien world where light’s distorted, the final destination is unknown and my time of arrival is a bad guess at best. I may yet rise, though, and become an enfeebled Ptolemy, able to posit the theorem that we do, in fact, sit at the center of chaos.
Summer at the Quarry The next best thing to love, you insisted, wasn’t the delicious trespass or even the precipitous fall, but leaving land wingless on legs, sun-red to the knees, for some point of near-distant air just beyond the fingertips that gave way to howls and the sudden, panic-stricken plunge into a shock of cold water leaving one of us with a desperate need for breath and a hunger for one last chance to take in a summer sky that had just transformed into a fire as large as a county with contrails of cloud expanding like the luminous remnants of some cosmic explosion that delicately burnished brownstone walls and spread across the water’s surface in an iridescent slick of laurel-pink and purple oil, and leaving me, in your view, unable to distinguish the purely pleasurable from the beautifully tragic or reminding me of my perverse want to favor the empty allure of the ephemeral over the cruel, reckless and desperate beauty of the here and now.
Dear Denise It hurts all the more knowing I never meant for the hurt to stay, or sting, but I’m near-certain that it did, and from this vexed and ravaged abscess of heart I wish I could reach back and offer up something that might pass for salve, having been witless enough to think I could exile the past and that the spurs of adolescence would have been worn smooth by now, and yet I’m the one, decades disquieted by a hurt that’s like a canyon still deepening, who’s lost and laboring over the one-too-many mishaps that can befall a hapless and untidy life.
A two-time, 2021 Pushcart Prize nominee, John Muro is a resident of Connecticut and a lover of all things chocolate. His first volume of poems, In the Lilac Hour, was published in 2020 by Antrim House and it is available on Amazon. John’s poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Barnstorm, Euphony, Grey Sparrow, River Heron and Sky Island. His second volume of poems, Pastoral Suite, will be published by Antrim House this spring.