Temptation of Wood exists in three worlds at once: a fabled yesteryear, an aching present, and a tarnished tomorrow, with poems that roam endless highways and shadowy cafés filled with mythic memories of Beat poet nights of neon and hope, of desperation and delicacy – a gripping journey through the dark night of our modern reality.
— James H Duncan, editor of Hobo Camp Review
Excerpts from Temptation of Wood
Taxis to Nowhere
I have to go! I have to go where I feel most happy & right now here isn’t it. IT is __________ (depending on his fixation, IT could be Italy, Florida, California to name a few). He staggered into the taxi & gave me a reassuring wink with one of his black eyes. We watched him clutch a brown paper bag so taut I couldn’t help but think of Linus & his blue blanket. Funny, he was cast as Charlie Brown in his eighth-grade school play. He reached down to scratch his left ankle bloated with a sandwich bag of secret Sweetarts. I knew he was checking to make sure it was still there. I’m alright! I won’t do anything stupid. Believe me. As the taxi sped off for the third time in two days, we turned toward the house like zombies.
his girlfriend dropped him / on a whim / he sat still on his SMA Natas / defying the wheels underneath / Belgian blocks bordered his sweaty back / he stomped on his wet reflection with his left Madrid Fly / tears filled the cracks in the mirror / the pluviophile in me welcomed the precipitation / I sat close to him & shared the puddle / socks on the grass / we waded together / savoring the salty rain on our lips / it tasted just right / I stirred his back with my hand / sister-like / always sister-like / he rested his head on my shoulder / he was seventeen then going on seven / warm in my chicken soup.
You sat white-lipped, pearl-shimmer clouds
below lightning bolted eyebrows.
Twiggy thin, legs crossed in a provocative
pretzel twist with a White Russian in your grip.
Mod fringe, aloof & innocent, you had no
idea who the man was sitting to your right.
I can’t think of his name now; was it Emile?
You asked as if I’d know; you were
an antelope in his eyes, fixed & hunted,
but you wore the boots, black Go-Go boots,
a follower of Zod, feminine mystique aplomb;
your second-wave head turned to face the camera,
undaunted. I can’t get over those boots;
they reached your thighs. No wonder the guys
sat neglected to your right . Oh! The parties
you attended. I think the phrase
wearing a lampshade was conceived at this one
when dad felt the mosquito sting off Cam Ranh Bay’s
waterways, boots wet in Asian sand as black
& formidable as the Go-Go in your boots,
twisted by the man to your right; he read
your letter & tore the photo. In 1971, it flew back
with him in fragments & all that remains is a
patched-up Kodak with your left boot missing –
the man to your right was saved; my dad was a hero.
licking her lips.
a mako shark
of free shots.
now when her
curls coiled in
gray sea hags.
to him –
Larruping his limbs
Repeatedly – an illusionist
Firefly flees a window.
Nancy Byrne Iannucci teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. Her work is published/forthcoming in numerous publications including Bop Dead City, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Gargoyle, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Riggwelter Press, Poetry Breakfast, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, Hobo Camp Review, Dying Dahlia Review to name a few. Temptation of Wood is her first published poetry collection.
Copyright © 2018 Nancy Byrne Iannucci
Cover photograph by Paul Brookes.
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.
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