Sunday, March 19, 2006

Chris Tonelli

Why Poems Can Be More Like Paintings

The present murders us for the past
having barely grazed the word.

The word—a seagull, high against
the overcast sky, winking

like a fake moustache. It thinks
the factory is the sea. A river-

bed: great depths to receive, great
depths to give away. To the ocean.

for George Mazzoni

There is a place
I can't get to
because he is dead.
I want to live at
the ocean because
he did. I will go to
his town even, his
house. But what
will I go there to
receive? The junipers
unpruned? We think
of trees as places
and as defining
places. I had never
thought of him as
defining a place.
Maybe people should
have been trees.

Bedroom in Arles

My friends say that they
would like to see different
furniture in my poems. That
after the umpteenth bird
or tree, they start to feel
less and less for them. I
think of Van Gogh and how
my friends must be right—
it is nice to see a bed
once in a while. A chair.

Chris Tonelli lives in Cambridge, MA. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Verse, LIT, GutCult, New York Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Sonora Review, Asheville Poetry Review, and Redivider. His chapbook, Wide Tree, is available from Kitchen Press.