Wednesday, December 31, 2008

No . . . Not Ever


Where does a mother's soul begin and end?
Where does that long cord wind
from deep within . . . out to the heavens?
Does her heart find its beat and rhythm
in the eyes of her child?

I don't know, except that
I have felt such love immortal
and tender
so soft as a tiny sparrow
come to rest in my palm
and then sometimes that strange
and quiet sadness
that would tear my heart wide open.

My child
once a sweet tenant
in my womb . . .
once a part of my every breath,
the presence, the knowing
that I was not alone.

Can a mother forget
that first scent of life born free?
No . . . not ever
till the earth becomes her blanket
in the snow one day
not ever . . .

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Ring

She tried so hard that day
to make him understand
the ominous feelings that
kept flooding her mind,
the peculiar hushed sadness
that came over her
every time she looked at him.
Some great dark storm
was rolling in,
to overtake the sweet soft
sunlight that
was playing on his face.

“Don’t leave today”, she begged him.
“Call in sick, they owe you time.”
He smiled that perfect smile and
rearranged the tendrils on her brow.
“I’ll be home before you know it, Babe. . .
Short day today . . . but they really need me.”
“It’s me who needs you” she pouted,
while he planted kisses on her teary lips.
“What’s the matter . . . got the blues?”
She turned around and held him tight.
“Hurry back . . . I love you.”

Ten years ago
on a day . . .
just like today
full of sunshine and promises
he gave her that ring . . .
the ring she lost last year
in Cancun
just like him.
“Don’t worry, Babe,
I’ll buy you another soon as we get back.”

Now, her eyes followed his sun tanned neck
as he walked out the door
and he blew a kiss from the Jeep
just like always.
“Oh God” she thought,
“will I make it through this day?
Hormones . . .Hormones . . . I HATE YOU!!”
she gritted and closed the door behind.
Then it came
the honk of his truck outside
when he backed up the drive . . .
“You’re not going?” she beamed.
“I’m going, no such luck” he said
as he rolled down the window.
“Just wanted to tell you . . .
I didn’t forget my promise.”
He looked her straight in the eye,
“I’m the luckiest guy in the world”.
She held back her tears and waved him on
. . . and that was the very last time.

When the officer came to the door
later that day
She knew . . .
Turnpike 63 . . . she warned him just the other day.
He said it was a shortcut.

All they pulled from the wreck
was his torn jacket.
Oh, how he loved that jacket
old as it was.
She hugged it and rocked it
and wept and the words he said that morning
went round and round in her head.
That’s when she felt it
crushed in his pocket,
a small velvet box
the gold ring he promised,
words carved inside this time . . .
Did some kind spirit warn him too?
It read:
“They say to remember
is to love . . . and oh, how I love to remember.”

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

She Sings . . . Even Though

Red Moon Rising Pictures, Images and Photos

I don't know
where the moon rises these nights
but it does and I sleep
even though
I can hear her singing to the stars.

I have wondered lately
what will become of us
without her light
should she never rise again
in the heavens

I am but one lone soul
among many
who inhabit this earth
why we have come
to rest in this spot of green and blue
floating out here in space
in such darkness.

Why? we all wonder
have we been chosen to arrive
at this our solemn destination
so filled with yearnings
and unimagined greatness . . .still

Is there a puzzle
we've yet to solve
even the best of us?
Is there a song we've yet to hear?

No matter . . .
still she sings of a place
beyond time and dreams
when all was stardust once
sparkling with love.

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hollywood Thief

Outside on the marquis
it shines ~
your name in lights!
How I longed to sit inside
absorbed in fantasy
far from the toils of daily life,
the dark dreamscape of the hallowed theatre
delaying my own life for a few short hours.
It was my intent to get lost in the projection,
rapt in the story ~ undistracted
by the twisted paparazzi photos
and the flurry of half-truths, indiscriminate,
that seem to rise to the occasion
of your every new debut.

My ticket
was to be my entry into fantasy
time-captured . . . undisturbed
by door knocks or the ringing phone.
Ten dollars for three hours incognito ~
three hours just for me ~ a godsend!
But no . . . that wouldn't be for me
this time . . .
No! You thief!
Not because of paparazzi
not because of smut
but because you had to get
POLITICAL!!! You ass!
And might I add . . . NOT on my side of the fence!

Who needs to know if you're left or right?
You're an icon! A film star, damn it!
You get rich playing make-believe ~
and I have a drawer full of torn tickets to prove it!
Your campaigning with MY MONEY . . .
and now you've stolen my rose-colored glasses!

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Spinning Silk


Light and dark have blended into one
and I am caught between them both
at the turning of the sky
from day to night.

I am caught between love and regret
wishing I had waited with my words
tossed them in my salad
and tasted their bitterness
for myself.

That fine line, so erasable
keeps finding its way onto
the pages of my life
coaxing me to see its folly
asking for reprieve.

My legs cannot part on such
distant shores and still belong to one
being who claims enlightenment.
This night I must weave the silk
of my cocoon and hope for wings . . . . .

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Stones Will Remember

Alone on a hill
a young boy stood
deep in the Appalachians
looking out
at the lakes and valleys below
the land his father and grandfather
roamed to fish and hunt.
They were gone now
and all that remained
were their dreams and stories.
The simple life, the good life
of the poor folk and their kin
soon to be a memory
kept only by the stones
that might survive.

Across the ocean
it was coming without a sound
carried by the sad wind
and the dark rain.
He could hear the echoes.

In a far off city
in a dim room lit only by flickers of neon
a woman dreamt of the babe
that would never leave her womb.
Too late she waited, too long to say yes
and now that life would never be.

The sunlight had been gone for weeks
covered by the somber grey dust
left to blanket the earth.

We all knew it would come one day.
Yet, we continued to live as enemies
stealing each other's land and food
wiping the sky with dead promises
building the Tower of Babel
once again without a ladder to climb
killing for the right God to worship~
while the Only One wept.

We grew tired of trying
tired of the machines and computers
we'd built to make life easy.
Now they laughed at us
with garbled voices
closing down to punish us
for handing them the burden,
holding our children for ransom
our children . . .
who couldn't live without them anymore.

And when all the lights went out
and it was finished
the earth was silent
dark and silent
no green fields, no sunlight
just the lonely stones
that still remained
still remembered
the sounds of the creature called man
who once had walked the earth.

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

September Morn


There from our roof-top balcony, in the little town of Sant' Agata ~
Sorrento was quietly napping below in the afternoon September sun. It was the second day of our first trip abroad and we'd finally settled in. The enchanting villa opened its arms and enveloped us in old world charm. Its cool marble steps invited bare feet as we laughed our way down to the welcoming pool of icy blue.
Wine in hand, cheese and bread, fresh picked figs and long-cured olives . . . we were in heaven, our family, relaxed and breathing in a luxury we'd only dreamed of. Oh, how I'd wished at that moment my dad were alive to see this. We'd promised each other "one day . . . Italy"! But he didn't make it and yet, I could still imagine him smiling there under a fig tree, biting into his favorite fruit, euphoric as always.
We only had a week and even that was hard to save for, so we relished every breath of Italian air and the scent of lemons that hung in the breeze that day. Four of my five grown children and their partners, my brother and his wife, and one of my nephews, twelve of us in all, were pouring freely. And as we laughed and splashed, drank and hugged, off in the distance we heard the phone.
Who dared to interrupt our carefree romp? Who is calling now? And who will leave his wine to climb the marble steps and fetch that blasted phone?
It was my husband who took the message from New York. He couldn't decipher what my niece was screaming about and called my brother to take the phone and calm his daughter, saying she's hysterical, screaming about terrorists or something. My brother made his way up the marble steps and took the phone. Moments later, he came grey-faced to the doorway and handed the screaming phone to his wife. "They bombed the World Trade Center . . . New York is under attack!" At the other end of the phone was his daughter terrified and trying to speak of the horror flashing across the News on this tragic September morn.
Numbness and disbelief grabbed at our hearts. Close family and friends were there in New York, our oldest son and his wife among them. They were safe for the moment, but no one knew what was coming next. We shook and held each other as my brother's glass hit the marble steps and the red wine spilled. Blood was spilling too from the crumbled Towers back home. In an instant all had changed. Our joy turned into grief in this happy sunny place as the whole world started spinning. Our hearts, trapped now across the ocean, would never be the same.
There was no way home for days and days. Our efforts were useless. Yet in every cafe' and on every corner of this little village, Italians were weeping, offering comfort, shaking their heads with pity when they realized who we were, the Americans from New York, mourning as if we were standing already at the open grave site . . . lowering the coffins of the innocents.

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I dreamt I sat at the edge of time
holding my five babies
in my arms
asleep across my breast ~
as the full and fertile moon
covered them with blessed light
and my whole being came ablaze
with wonder at how God
could have loved me so.

And I awoke knowing I have been
truly blessed and gifted ~
because the babes I yearned for
in my simple youth ~
the prayer I whispered
in my heart of hearts
was granted ~
as one by one
each sweet wonder grew
within my womb.

There never has and never will be ~
a greater gift than that bestowed on Woman
the gift to bring forth life
not just for propagation's sake
but for that which encompasses
the heart-love yearning
the hope and salvation of humankind
and I ~ who once was barren,
have seen the wonders of this universe unfold
each time I gaze into those globes of light~
my precious children's eyes.

Joanne Cucinello

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

While All the World Was Sleeping


Last night
we were young again
you and I
forgotten by the winds of age
tempted by the flames
of younger days

The stars were closer
than they'd been in years.
I could see them in your eyes
and the moon herself
inside my breast
was blushing.

Your arms embraced
the girl I'd left behind.
You brought her back
~ all of her ~ all of me.

Your warm lips roused my heart
and found me once again.
Yes you, my love,
always the one who held the key.

We were young last night
while all the world was sleeping.
Just you and I
in each other's arms
in love's enchanted smile.

Joanne Cucinello

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Birth of Aphrodite


A fierce tempest
was brewing in the heavens
The ethers above the earth
were dripping with the blood
of the warrior god . . .Mars
his conquests and his red sword
coagulating the rivers below
chastising and testing
the frailty of human life.

The sky god Uranus
was wielding lightening bolts
down at the earth
sharpening mountains
cracking them in two
making valleys deep
and impossible for man to tread.

Mighty Zeus sat on his throne
twirling his white beard
amused at all the clamor
and the masculine show of might
. . . concerned however
that things were getting
a bit out of hand.
Even though secretly he envied
their vigor and wanton ways,
Zeus knew in his wisdom
that he had to put a stop to this.
He thought "I have pondered this dilemma
this raucous behavior
so unfitting the stature of the gods.
The powers of Mars and Uranus
must be tempered . . .

I propose
. . . a distraction, yes . . .
something marvelous, voluptuous
enticing and seductive
yet she must be also
compassionate and tender.
I will bring forth a new goddess. . . . . . . . Love.

I will call down the Evening Star
and let her fall in deepest slumber
under Poseidon’s waters.
There she will rise from the sea
a goddess pure and fair
a beauty never seen before
nor known
to gods or man
and any who draw near her heart
will be transformed.
Aphrodite, Goddess of Love
Yes, even Mars and Uranus
will be tamed and bewitched by her beauty
and lured away from destruction
which only I, great Zeus
will keep in my command."

And so
the Evening Star descended
deep below the churning waters,
leaving her subdued reflection in the skies
and in the cauldron of the seas
an alchemy began . . .
One part moonbeam, two parts velvet,
three parts captured curves and four parts mystery.
The goddess prepared to rise
with beauty culminating into softness
liberated from the deep
with red lips pursed
and the heavens left trembling!

Poseidon engaged the mighty waves
to calm and foam
a mist of blue temptation
from which
the scintillating body, drenched in
fleshly splendor
rose in her silken cocoon
adorned and enchanted
and ~ somewhat ~ innocent.

Across the rivers, valleys and mountains
the sound of the great sword
falling from the hand of Mars
drew a suspicious silence
amongst the other gods.
Even Uranus ceased his wild erratic lightening
and together . . . the two
breathed in that fleshly new scent
of feminine seduction . . .

Unfortunately . . .
since Zeus was far from a perfectionist
and blinded by his own
lustful passions,
the distraction didn't last very long
. . . and still never does.

And even mighty Zeus would have to concede,
that after all these centuries . . .
the lure of the seductive
yet ~somewhat~ innocent Aphrodite
has been known
to cause more wars and destruction
than all the gods combined!

Joanne Cucinello

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Wading ankle deep in the river of my life,
I watch the bubbles float around my toes whispering
to capture my attention...
I've been spending more time on the shallow side
pretending I can stay here indefinitely.
But I know the tide will rise again . . . it always does.

One can't avoid the waters of the deep,
the strong pull of undertow.
Tides rise for all of us, the moon makes sure of that.
And monsters with their tentacles, return again
with memories of lonely Neptune nights
where fingers search through fluid walls for things unknown.

Let me walk on sandy shores a little longer
and smell the salt that licks my skin.
My dreams are here above Medusa's cave.
Let her sleep a little longer
while I roll my toes in sweet escape,
before the Hydra wakens once again
and notices I've lost my shoes.

Joanne Cucinello 1998

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Summer Road

Lush and spacious
heady leaves of green
bend to arch and
shade the road we drive on.

It’s summer on Long Island.
Farmers selling berries, roasted corn
and apple pies in roadside stands
along the way.

And on my left
peeking through the bursts of sunlight
Children . . . splashing in the waters
of the calm blue bay.

Around the bend some
strawberry pickers
congregate on sunny fields . . .
their humming
fills the air like bees,

And there an old abandoned tractor
sleeps away its day of rest
as corn grows high and magpies flutter.

A farm house sits way back on open land
and the farmer’s wife
on her white post porch,
sips lemonade and waves
a cool wet hand at me
as if I know her . . .
perhaps I do.
I know everyone today.
It’s summer on Long Island . . . and I’m home.

Joanne Cucinello

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Poet's Prayer

A Poet's Prayer

Thank you for words, Lord
their eloquence and simplicity
the many forms of speech and language
known to man ~

Thank you for the gift of voice
and its expression ~
sounds that pass through teeth
and tongue and settle on the lips
that form them.

Words emerging
from the mind and heart
dripped with honey
or sharp as steel . . .
words worth remembering.

And so my gratitude
emerges in this hand and pen
with urgency to capture
all the bits and pieces
before they float away.

To write Lord!
To give flesh
to the spoken word
to make it real
to pass it on
for generations yet to come
remembrance to reflect upon
with laughter or with tears.

We . . . who can dream
and speak of the stars
must record the sacred truth ~
that once mankind was here.

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Muse on the Red Wall

Muse on the Red Wall
I stood before the fresco
a Muse on a long forgotten red wall.
I had heard the stories
of this ancient beauty rare.
In daylight, it was said
should seekers come
to gaze upon her face
she captures visions
of their hearts and draws them in
with sapphire glance
and beckonings
of distant flute and lyre .
When darkness falls
she dances, lithe grace
under candle glow
and moonlight

So unannounced . . . I did return that night
and sat beneath the willow bent
to see.
And there before me
as the moon passed
soft across the evening cloud
she stepped upon the grass
the red wall watching
and began her ancient dance.
It was then
I heard her voice so pure
like Celtic lilt adrift among the trees
a song to tear my heart forever more.
She sang as if for me to hear:

In my eyes are a thousand faces
Dancing the dance of a thousand years. . .
the music and chants of all the children
dance my dance and cry my tears.

You and I . . . the face in the mirror
You and I . . . the footprints in sand
Born of a rhythm that rides on
born with the earth in the palm
of our hands.
Hear the music
that travels the centuries
Find your heartbeat
and hold on fast
You and I . . . just the face
in the mirror
The Song, the Song . . .
is all that will last.

Joanne Cucinello
© 2004

Friday, June 20, 2008

Here Comes the Rain


It's getting ready to thunder outside
dark clouds moving in off the shore.
There's no controlling them
they do as they please
just to spite the sun
that moments ago
was shining and
flashing its
golden teeth.

Pity the poor sun, dying just a little
every day, trying so hard to make
sense of its duty to the earth
and wondering when, like
the thunder, it could
just let loose and
rumble wildly
as sin.

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Man In the Moon


On the dark side of the moon, he lives,
where seeds of time now slumber
And there he roams its canyons deep
in search of motherless souls.

You think it strange...a man in the moon
But ah! .... you know him well.
Since childhood days, you gazed at his face
aglow in eerie silence.

Peering through moonlit curtains
as if he'd called your name to look
And find him smiling there ....or crying
Reflecting all your fears and wonder.

The great globe of light in the midnight sky,
mysterious...yet so familiar
And that face of the man ......turned silver blue
. . . our moonlight contemplation.

Strange perhaps, in these enlightened times,
when moon reflects the feminine,
That I should say.... a man lives in the moon,
but you know.....he does.

Joanne Cucinello

Sunday, June 8, 2008


lying blank
against the pavement
it came to fetch her . . .
this now
her deathbed in the leaves
where she lay
silent and still.
Poor old woman
no one knew her name
but she was waiting moments past
impatient for the school bus
and her grandson's happy smile.
The two year old had toddled
up the path beside her
one hand holding lollipops for his brother
the other, Grandma's soft black skirt.
Now he looks with giant eyes
as life departing frees his hand
and slumps like crumpled cloth
upon the ground.
Grandma! Grey and cloudy
like this day of no goodbyes.

And her spirit moved among the leaves
in sorrow great for these, the little ones
in her charge . . . in her love.
"Weep for me, my little one.
Weep your brother too,
who only hears the bus wheels
rounding corners, humming home tunes
unaware the days of holding hands are done.
Hide me, someone, from his searching glance
as round the bend that yellow transport glides
floating full of children's laughter.
Flag a detour . . . someone kind!
Don't let my deathbed be a spectacle
announcing his arrival
painting pictures
black and fearful in his heart.
Enough this little one, my witness.
Enough . . . this bus stop.

Joanne Cucinello 2007

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Rickety Rack . . . Rainy Day Blues

I feel as if I’m someone else these days,
someone out of place.
Sometimes I think I’ve gone already
nowhere to be found.
Every morning a strange face
greets me in the mirror asking who I am.
I have to close my eyes to answer.

Is this the way it’s going to be from now on?
I'm trying so hard to remain in this unfamiliar shell,
a teapot losing its steam
and every day another piece of this body aches
tapping me to listen . . .
pay attention to the changing tide
reminding me of things much greater than I.
Perhaps it’s just the loneliness
I feel when I don’t want to talk to myself anymore.
Thoughts go out and return at odd times
of the night to wake me.

I sigh a lot more these days
feeling helplessness surround me
often overwhelmed
with disappointing expectations of my aging self.
And what was once so effortless
becomes a burden now.
I long to feel light and full of grace again.

Flesh and bones . . . you hold me down!
Oh, where is that wind that used to catch my sails?

I’m depressed today. Can you tell?

Joanne Cucinello 2007

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Early Riser


When I sit in my room
of many windows
especially at early morn
gratefulness fills me.
As the sun pokes through
the trees, there are
silken strings
hanging, shimmering
fine threads of the Master
who was weaving
while I slept.

I wonder
on this particular sunrise
as I watch them sway
caught in passing
by a trembled breeze . . .
how light of sun
can play upon them
fragile chords of morning song,
silent beads of glistening dew
ascending . . . descending
stretched across each silver filament
coloring hints of rainbow . . .

visible only in this brief encounter
spared with grace for early risers.

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Father of My Heart

father child
Father of My Heart

You visit me in dreams
sometimes . . . silent always . . .
often in disguise,
my father, who was seldom silent
has no tongue to speak now
in that world of spirits.

The passing years
attempting to erase
the sound of your voice
the way you spoke my name
. . . that smile
the one I memorized
that kept you just for me
. . . my father.

Death came for you
swift and unexpected
on that rainy night
in a drunken car that raced
to claim you for its own.

We who loved you still
were set to cheer
and celebrate your life
of eighty years . . .
in just a few short days
but that was not to be
. . .was it?

Instead we gathered,
the five of us, around your
wooden overcoat
to cry and weep remembering
how in childhood
we made you promise
not to die.

You would have danced with me
that night and with my sisters
the way you always did
when the old songs played
those limber feet
across the floor with ease
shaming men much younger
but that was not to be
. . . was it?.
No, sweet Father . . .
that delight was saved for heaven.

Daddy . . . was your name,
since that first day I could utter it
and crawl upon your lap
since the first day you looked into my eyes
with your great soft love.
Daddy . . . you were always mine.

I remember how you walked inside my life
carrying me on your shoulders
so many times
telling me how I was always wanted
always loved . . .
coming to my rescue
through all those teenage fears and blunders.

Daddy . . . you had such a special heart
strange to some who'd scoff
at your devotion
but what would we have done
we five little stars
without your steadfast love
those dark-remembered days
when Mama blew the roof
off of our house
and let the demons in?

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Far Beyond One Lifetime


Far Beyond One Lifetime

Mother Dearest....I think of you in these nights of silence,
trying to remember your face and your flesh.
I've grown so far from childhood's gaze
and yet . . . the scent of yesterday remains.

You were once the earth beneath my feet,
the comfort of a stroking hand upon my brow,
a woman filled with daydreams and surprise.
I was enchanted by your creativity,
that spark of life so vibrant in your eyes.

Too young to recognize the pain,
it sprang upon me in a moment.
There was your life.....ebbing away unnoticed,
but I couldn't hear the melody.
The songs you used to sing had all come true.

You were darkness and light those days.
The way my fingers flicked a switch
is how you passed from day to night
with just a song....a melody or two,
that stirred some old familiar longing.

I have traced your face so many times,
with searching fingertips,
the face that once I knew as well as mine.
But your voice is lost in yesterday,
like the rumble of a subway train I used to ride.

I strain to listen now in dim recall,
yet there are only silent picture frames
that speak to me in muted words,
a painted bubble here and there,
that rises in my mind to call me ...Child.

Will I take you to my grave, as you have taken me to yours?
Mother.....the cord that binds us holds me fast
and tries my soul, stretching far beyond one lifetime.

And after all these years have blown
their changing winds upon my soul
it stays so poignant still....
the memory of your warm skin close to me,
my Mother....and the shadow of your arms.

Joanne Cucinello 1997

Thursday, May 15, 2008



There is a place
within the human heart
where Spirit spins its woven net
to house the precious Soul.
The journey to this place
may take a lifetime . . .
for it is not an easy one.

Roadblocks and detours:
Suffering and Humility
wind their way along the path to
Wisdom's door.
Pride and Arrogance
undermine the human journey
. . . yet sweet Compassion
holds the key.

When we arrive at that opened door
all doubt will fall away
our truth illuminated
and at rest
in that house of Communion
where body and soul are one.

Joanne Cucinello ©2008

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Once Upon A Time On Mulberry Street

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Once Upon a Time On Mulberry Street

He was a bitter man
even of children.
He came from Italy
a ship stow-away
who earned the keep
for his family
pushing fruit in a cart
down Mulberry Street.
“Niza ripa peach e banana
Two poundza pa quarta”
Typhoid and dysentery
took his little son
and wife when the
coal was scarce
in the winter of 1914 . . .
On the streets
of Lower Manhattan
he screamed for mercy
almost lost his mind.
Nothing was good anymore.
There was no God
on the East Side
and every day
that river called to him
promising peace.
Five more winters passed
before he met Maria
and that was the first day
he saw the sun.
Can you imagine it?
He saw the sun!
How long does sorrow
keep the heart imprisoned
and the mind sealed shut
without due consolation?
And when is it elected
that the heavens should open up again
and pour forth
sweet healing balm
in the form of another soul?
This was Maria
brown-eyed beauty with hands of silk
and bosom full and tender
She came to draw the curtains back
and let the sunshine in
to touch the walls with laughter
to fill his bed with long lost love
and to give him back his heart.
Years passed
and on that day he died
a house on Mulberry Street
began to cry
and all who knew him
in his blossomed life
stood in the small stairway
filled with flowers
singing songs with Maria . . .
songs of a man they’d come to love.

Joanne Cucinello 2007

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Enormity of One


So many parts, dear Lord
so many fragments and pieces
of life are we made of!
How can a being
define himself solitary
when just a shoulder's glance
will show his trail of life stamped
deep with footprints of a whole ensemble ?

Moments, hours, days and years
were then and will be again
cluttered and filled
with snapshots and film clips
memories and songs
stories and etchings
of me ~ you ~
them ~ those ~
others ~
objects . . . places . . .

We are infused with life itself
absorbing its molecules
with every breath
as yours becomes mine
and mine becomes yours
sharing microbes
in our habitat.
A handshake, a kiss on the cheek
a solemn gaze
all return to dreams each night
and float away to stars.

Ancient stars
ordained to keep a record
of our dreams and words . . .
and even deeds.
No, not for Judgements sake
but for Compassion's.
And so, they stay their watch
perhaps in hopes
that man will find his way
back to the beginning
when their was no need
. . . there just was.

Joanne Cucinello © 2008

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Old Woman Dreams


The Old Woman Dreams

She dreams
with slow breath
rising in her chest
white haired and soft eyed.
She sleeps now in the day sometimes
and talks to spirits in the night.

No need for clocks anymore
she says, as she watches the sun
move across the sky, leaving shadows on the porch.
So many friends have crossed already
and she wonders . . .
what keeps her waking each morn.

Eyes close again as the last rays
leave the sky and for a moment
she is young.
A brief dream passes through her mind
and he is there sitting at the table waiting
with a smile. "Oh, my darling" she whispers,
"it's taking too long."

Sighing she stands, awake now,
opening the screen door into the house
but the table is empty and so is his chair
just little Lucy purring and dreaming too.

A cup of soup, a piece of bread . . . food enough tonight.
Slippers shuffle across the room to the closet and her robe.
Nothing much appeals to her these days once the night comes.
All the engines are slowing down inside
and she is making ready
for her last dream
coming soon to take her
to the other side
and he who waits.

Joanne Cucinello ©2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Trees of My Life


I look out my window and see you standing there, bending to the wind, Great Wise Trees . . . enduring all, protecting all. They tell me, at my birth, my mother laid me in a cradle made of wood. You gave your life for me.
I learned to crawl on wooden floors, my tiny hands and knees frolicking on your body. I grew to sit on a chair and eat from a table, both made of wood. My fingers touched the grooves in your flesh and from early on, I wanted you near me . . comforting and connecting me to earth. At that table I ate berries and fruit that grew on your branches. I ate pancakes too, and poured your golden maple sap . . . learning that you could feed me too. You gave your life for me.
I went to school and there you were . . . all over . . . everywhere. The floors, the walls, and desk I sat at . . . the words I learned to read were printed on the thinnest slivers of your flesh, papers written on with wooden pencils. All the words we humans think in our minds are written on your flesh . . . Dear Trees, you must know our every thought by now.

When winter comes and days are cold and dark, we burn you to warm our bodies and our food and you become an offering. Your smoke fills the air and rises to the heavens, calling out to the Great Spirit who created us both. You give your life for me.
I live inside your walls. You are my shelter from the storms you bear and must endure; my shelter from the sun and its scorching rays. Your leaves of green refresh my heart in spring and cool my brow in summer and your brilliance thrills my soul in autumn.
Now it is winter and your branches are barren.. Even the birds, who call you their home, abandon you for lower bushes and warmer winds. You stand stark and bare and I can see now where you’ve been broken, your limbs that have fallen, and your bark that is torn. Some of you, Great Trees, have fallen, some have given your lives and been chopped down to make once again, some comfort for me and my kind. You give your life for me and I learn from all your changes and forms and seasons . . . about my own life and my own seasons and how that calls for sacrifice too.

Man crossed the waters and the oceans in your body . . . boats and ships and oars. We have come to know our brothers on the other side because of you. You gave your life for us.

I wonder as I look at your branches touching one another in the woods behind my home. . . . Do you feel each other, sending messages, vibrations, stories of the birds you love and the wind that tests you? Do you talk about me and my children? Have you seen the suffering of man and breathed it into your immense compassion, so much so that you agree to die for us?
Even to the point of being buried in the ground with us, cradling us, wrapping us in your arms when our days are over? You are the cradle at our birth and the cradle in our death. And you and I will decompose together in the womb of Mother Earth only to be born again in other forms, in other times, in other lives . . .

Joanne Cucinello © 2002

Monday, March 31, 2008

Are We the Seeds?


Is it “time" ~
or the weight of the world
that pulls the body
downward into earth?

Were we born
on top of the moon
poor descendants of the stars
here to become
with something more?

And are we soon to recognize
the uncontainable nature
of our spirits
our true identity ~
or must we continue
for another thousand years
believing in war
and separateness?

The Great Spider
continues to weave its vast web
threading bridges of instant passage
connecting minds
across all earthly borders
with just one

But will we survive
when the plug is pulled?
Will we still be connected ~
or will our fate be like that
of our ancient brothers
the Stars above ~
drifting forever silent and separate
in the great unknown?

Joanne Cucinello © 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Who Are You?


There are nights
when the wind speaks
chill and eerie
and whistles in the dark
your name.

There are nights
when the moon speaks
low beneath the bend
of the willow tree
and climbs the wall
of the old church
for one
who still believes.

'Who are you?"
the earth asks
from her mouth
in the grey soil
that clings with ease
to the dying foot.

Do you know?

In the light of the sun
shadows disappear
and faith renews,
but it is the night
that comes
with mirrors to the soul.

Who are you?

Joanne Cucinello 2008

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thoughts at the Vernal Equinox


The trees are still
upside down
waving their
root-like branches
at the sky
naked and unashamed
asking for blessings
and ripe new buds.

Once they were
in the dark soil
of earth
they, like we ~
reach up
to the heavens
for grace

to endure
another season
another flood
another drought
another reason
to keep growing ~

releasing their gifts
of shelter and peace
the Sun God's return
welcoming golden rays
light-filled blossoms
and children's smiles

willing to die again
come autumn's blaze
and so ~
life continues.

Joanne Cucinello

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Steps of Avalon


Come walk with me.
I’ve found a place
where stones speak
and whispers of forever
move the trees.

A path winds
rambling through the thicket
and every season’s palate
paints the woods
with strokes of sweet nostalgia.
So come with me and wander
till we find those cherished
that take us there.

They are waiting
just around the bend of brush,
coaxing us to come along
and climb the rise . . . to find
the magic hollow,
where seekers come to listen
and sometimes hear the stones speak.

At the landing, in circled swirl,
lies a graceful Labyrinth
made of stone
linking all who walk it to ages past
and visions of the deepest heart.
And in the background,
standing huge . . . the carved rocks,
etched with loving words . . .
the memories of a son lost long ago,
a life remembered.

Joanne Cucinello 2002

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Eagles Wings

flying eagle

Eagles Wings

In this world where eagles fly
and falcons soar
I, too, with wings unfurled
reach for unfamiliar heights
And in the reveries of my evening song
taste the voyage
of my soul.

In dreams, I wander
searching for my home
Looking for the child
I left behind,
Floating down the empty streets
of times past,
Uneasy corridors
that lead to nowhere.

Voices once familiar
echo in some distant doorway.
Faces long forgotten
turn in recognition of my soul.

This strange land of my enigma
vanishing with light of dawn,
No peace this restless wanderer can find
in flight nor slumber.

Were I only to remember
in my waking hours
That once obscured memento
of my childhood grace

I would surely fly with eagles,
climb the mountain tops
And find that winding path
that leads to home.

Joanne Cucinello

Friday, March 7, 2008

Here To Stay (for Cherylyn)

in the womb

Here To Stay
. . . for Cherylyn

The doctor said,
as he listened
through the wall of my mother’s womb,
“ I hear a heartbeat. Want to listen?”
and he raised the scope to her ears.
That’s when she heard me
floating in the dark warm waters of her yearning
like a new born star deep in the heavens
and her heart caught my rhythm
and began to beat with mine.
Then she sang for the very first time
a new song . . . that rang sweet and true
like a pure silver bell
and its ring went on and on and on . . . this time.

Joanne 2007

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Give Eve a Break Already!

Adam and Eve?
Give Eve A Break Already!

It’s been a really long time to bear the burden
of bringing DEATH into the world,
don’t you think?
How many centuries still have to pass
until I’m exonerated?
The story reads . . .
that everything was just fine and dandy
and going along real great,
till “Curvy” went and popped the apple on the scene.
Adam didn’t have to lift a finger back then.
Everything just bloomed all year round.
No need to hunt or fish,
no need for football games,
no expense accounts, money or bills.
Just chill out!
Everything was free and at our fingertips.
We were going to live forever . . .
never get old or wrinkled,
never have to work for a living,
never get sick,
never need Prozac . . .
just live happily ever after.
And then . . .
I blew the whole thing with an apple
and I’ll never, never, never hear the end of it,
not me
not any of my daughters . . .
till the end of time!

I guess one of us had to take the blame . . .
and since Adam
was the one
. . . .

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Like a Rose

single pink rose

Her life was like a rose
a flower’s fragrance
delicate and sensual
a bud tight and hidden
‘neath the thorn bush
but only for awhile.

The Age of Innocence
was her time
and innocent she was
no plumes waving in the wind
no reeds rising past the dunes

No . . .
not this flower
She was a flower of a different kind
and aren’t we all
buds at the start
some hidden by the brush
some . . . facing towards the sun
waiting for the good rain
all of us?
Waiting for the bits of pollen
blowing and riding
on the wind
to give us life
and color and oh, such
sweet delights.

She was one
who opened to the sunshine
pushing though the thorns
greeting all that came her way
with love and petals soft.

She was ours . . .
and we loved her so
even as the petals fell
even as the old thorns tore her flesh
gentle still was she
her last drops
perfumed blessings
in the garden we remember . . . .

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

I See the Bridge

Long ago
when I was small
I rolled in sweet grass and picked daisies.
I skipped down the street
without fear of falling and ran up the stairs
never stopping
to catch my breath.

The Bridge was far away.

I grew to be a young woman
and forgot about the grass and the daisies.
Life was calling me to fall in love
and I did.

A family was born and grew
and I forgot about the bridge
until one day my Father died.
I looked out the window that day and

The Bridge was getting closer.

Then my children’s little ones were born
and our family grew.
Life seemed to be starting all over again
I was so involved with new life everywhere
until one day, one misty day
while fixing my hair in the mirror
a vision floated in the background
a vision of the bridge
with footprints of those who walked across
soft impressions on the dust
reminding me.

And so I try to live each day with “Yes”
on my lips
making memories, making time to love
to pick the daisies that can only smile
so briefly
and promise not to rush this life away
because I really do
see the Bridge.

Joanne Cucinello 2007

Friday, January 4, 2008

Empty Pockets


And she told me how she touched the sky
how the spiral widened as she flew towards the sun
and how all at once she tasted God . . . and almost was Him.
In that moment, she was spirit . . . conversing with the moon
looking down upon the earth in all its’ splendor,
no boundaries . . . no fences to keep her in.
The gate now open, led to everywhere it seemed
day and night were one.

And as the spiral whirled . . . she flew . . . and flew
until at last she touched the sun
for one eternal moment
until she fell, as those who fly must do,
broken-winged and shattered.
Now she walks with mortals
hiding feathers in her pockets
finding rocks that hold her to the earth.
They speak to her of ancient wanderers,
souls who might have flown like her in mystic rituals
or daydreams . . . once upon a time.

And we . . . who have never left this earth in flight or fancy
nor felt the rush of wind beneath our wings
try to tie her down with pills and promises
hoping she won't fly away again
to leave us gazing at the sun and wondering
where she’s gone this time
and how . . . with empty pockets.

Joanne Cucinello 2003

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