Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This Is True

Some things are not for sale
like the moon in the sky
and the shadows of the trees
the laughter of a child
and a grandmother's hand.

Some things are not for sale
and never will be
for we hold them in our hearts
and they ride like the wind
free for all who breathe.

Some things are not for sale
like the spark in a lover's eyes
and the truth of a well lived life
the beauty of the smoky hills at sunset
and the sound of the lark.

Some things are not for sale
they belong to us all
without price to pay or barter
they are the gifts of the Giver
and they make us shine.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Life Is Love


Life is so fragile
we are all waiting to be born
and held forever
in the palm of God

Life is so beautiful
we've been given a heart
that beats the time
for all who've come before
and all who have been promised

Life is soul magnetic
attracting, holding fast
the good and bad of humankind
the very best and worst of us

Life is purely gift
forgiving one creation, leaping to another
to please the smiling God whose
only dream is love.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Clothesline

It’s sweet nostalgia
come to visit me today
bringing me to Brooklyn streets
and brownstones with their backyard lines
childhood thoughts of neighbors
hanging wash
tattle tales and peekaboos
hung dripping on the line.
Minny’s see-through underwear
and Bobby’s holey socks
Alice wears a bra now . . .
can you believe it?

Soon the winds will grow too cold
for hanging clothes
but still . . .
I might just do it one day, anyhow
just to see
the frozen stiffs come off the line
the laughter in our kitchen then
when my Mom pulled them one by one
hard and cold
through the window . . .
waiting to lie down
on toasty radiators
and dream away defrosting.

And I, waiting too
to sniff the crisp winter’s air
that floated through that place
filling little heads with happy memories
times too easily forgotten
in a world gone electric.

Joanne Cucinello
(written in 1988)

Monday, October 18, 2010


Layers crust the earth and rocks
hiding what the chisel knows.
Time marks trees with circled rings
the proof of their existence.

We dig and chip away
hoping we will find somewhere
in the root of our beginnings . . .
that moment
that one glorious moment
when the first Being stood and
shouted to the stars . . ."Aha"!!
and knew that there was more.

We will not find that moment
in our diggings anywhere,
nor in any rock or tree recorded
No . . .
that sound,
that first illumination
did not plant itself beneath his feet.

It traveled, racing
through the stars of the great night sky
straight across the heavens
and there it found
beyond the darkness waiting . . .
the wild expectant heart of God!

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Thursday, October 7, 2010

October Song


Vibrant crystal days
of autumn sunshine
lift my spirits once again
and call me past my window
to the color feast outside.
There's no place like
New England in the fall!

Crisping furls of frenzy
decorate the path
before me as I walk
and breathe my life today.
"Let go . . . Let go"
say the trees.

They are giving up
their leaves again
the verdant gift
and canopy of shade
I welcomed so this

Now with brilliant
sunlit tones of fire
the leaves begin their litany
of au revoirs with beauty
unrivaled even
by their birth in spring.

Toppling swirls burst and
crunch beneath my happy feet
ignoring the fact that
soon enough I'll wake bedraggled by
the thought of digging out those
long toothed rakes growing
cobwebs in the shed.

Joanne Cucinello 2009

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Yours To Live

mother and child Pictures, Images and Photos
Flesh and blood are we . . .

from your beginnings in my womb,
flesh and blood are we.
Marked and linked forever, our DNA
the signature that binds us
not erasable, you and I . . . my child.

Flesh and blood are we . . .

tinged with colors handed down
from those who came before us
a pool of genes translucent
a miracle in the making.

My flesh and blood, my heart . . .

even though our eyes see differently,
even though you dance a different dance
and what you yearn for I can't see.
Your precious life is yours to live . . .
as even I did mine.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

We Can Only Wonder

compassion Pictures, Images and Photos

When we read about the torture of other human beings, their deprivation and humiliation, and still . . . their continued will to survive, despite the horrors endured, we can only wonder at how immense the human spirit must be. Conversely, it is hard to conceive of what exists in the minds of torturers, what levels of consciousness they dwell in, when one tries to believe they are human beings who walk among us on this earth.

There is a vast expanse of human experience, a wide spectrum of evidence that suggests to me . . . humanity is as mysterious as its Creator. We continue to uncover such darkness and suffering, unbelievable inhuman cruelties that leave us to wonder how and when mankind will ever evolve past these deadly sins. It is only the witness of those beings who, in their simple acts of loving kindness and compassion, raise humanity above its own gravity and allow us glimpses of what we can become.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Aftermath

sorrow Pictures, Images and Photos

We have witnessed sorrow and it will not go away.
We have felt it in our veins and it is everywhere.
The world still reels in shock from September 11.
Like an earthquake, tremors ripple in our consciousness.
Vivid dreams of that fateful day replace our silent slumber.
Threats come and go and every time we think it’s over
terror strikes again in one form or another.
Here, there, everywhere, the world is shaking
and we are standing at attention, waiting for the next wave.

Life, for many, is changed forever.
We no longer play the games of little children,
sitting safely in our huts, for we are far more fragile
than we want to know.

The Center of the Bull’s Eye,
arrows point at us from furtive nations
and we see their plots in every morning’s news.
Like a sitting duck, we wait for the unknown,
as the ground beneath us trembles.
Oceans that once kept us safe and separate,
no longer fill their duty. . . .
bandwidths have replaced our bridges.
The enemy lives within our borders and computers
And our boundaries are no longer clear.

In spite of this reality,
we are still a nation of heart and compassion,
a nation of faith and great blessings.
We have always been a haven for the oppressed
and our streets are speckled with every race, color and creed.
Our doors and ports were always open
and for this we’ve paid the price.
Even our dirty laundry flies at the wind in daylight.
Perfect . . . we are certainly not. All loving . . . we wish we could be.
All forgiving . . . we have a long way to go.
But in God our trust lies and in our spirit is the freedom to grow and learn
what it takes to be truly human.
Peace is a dream we’ll never see in our lifetime or any other,
But it’s the striving for it . . . that will change the world.

Joanne Cucinello 2002

Thursday, August 26, 2010

There Is a River


The ancients say there is a river
a river red and made of blood,
a river that flows inside the body
pumped through a cavernous organ
we have come to call the heart ~

This is the Cavern where love lives.
In and out, the great river flows
watering all its tiny capillaries
feeding every speck it finds.

Into tributaries, brooks and streams . . .
the rivulets of life, it rushes,
nourishing the soil of our flesh
our mountains of calcified bone ~
and the sympathetic organs
that kindly keep time
even as we sleep ~ watering, watering
this wondrous clay we are made of.

Joanne Cucinello 2010


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sand Castles and Waves


Such a dilemma
for a child who needs to hold on
to the things she'd made.
Six years old on the planet back then
so many toys I'd wished for
had to stay wishes since
even Santa, lectured my parents, . . . was poor!

But there at the beach
all the wet sand was free!
Free to build anything I wanted
and I did!
Castles, caves and secret tunnels
and the deep dreaded hole.

We were told by my parents
that if we kept digging
we could get to the other side of
the world . . . and we'd know we got there
when a Chinaman's head popped up
through the sand.

So we'd dig and stop, my brother and I,
dig and stop, taking turns wondering who
would be the one to see that head of
shiny black hair emerge.
Scared and excited, holding our breath
as we dug to the other side of the earth
reserved for our adventure.

When the afternoon sun began its way home
behind the waves, we'd sit wrapped in towels
waiting for the ripples of ocean's tide
that never failed to come and wash away
our castles, and fill our deep hole with shells
so we could sleep without fear
of that head popping up
from the other side of the world.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Torch Songs


Please understand . . .
when I heard that song on the radio
and you saw me get so dark and quiet
it wasn't you . . . it was the music.
I know it's beautiful,
and I know you love it, but
I begin to drown inside
with every chord.

It moves right in and takes me over
like the cold dark ocean
rolling onto shore.
I change . . .
my heart begins to pound
and my fingers freeze.
I feel like a little girl locked in time.

The music of my mother
the love songs, torch songs
the dark nights and muffled sounds
echoes of a broken heart
crumpled in the corner of a room.

It just begins to happen when I hear
the notes curl downward
like that melody she sang
that never ended . . .
that image of my Mother
in her long black nightgown
lying cold on the floor
while the record kept turning
round and round
the needle skipping
in the same scratched spot
~ till they found her.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Sunday, July 25, 2010

All the Way to the End

LOVERS IN STONE Pictures, Images and Photos

I was never the one to seek out ecstasy.
You must know that by now . . .
yet even then when the blush
was blooming, I'd lay in awe
and listen to your heartbeat
enraptured knowing you were mine.
We loved like the sun and moon
finding our own rhythm
glowing and dimming
always returning to the place
where we began.

Back then . . . it was the flesh
impatient to climb the mountain
to cling like moss to the rock it found.
We were young and beautiful
shining even in the dark
you and I, always yearning
always hungry for more.
Little did we know
that "more" grows deeper in the soil
than moss that climbs so visible.
"More" grows deep beneath the flesh.

Years have passed and time
has changed these bodies drawing lines
across our flesh
but here we are, my love . . . still singing.

Even now . . .
when I come to you
my beauty less than yesterday
your eyes still say I'm beautiful
for what you see is more
and I know that it's your love
that holds my soul and blesses me
and I will love you . . . to the end.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

In the Beginning . . . There Was War


She lay there in the dark
walls of Fallopia
She . . .
expelled from her safe
ovarian nest
She . . .
one of many,
this moon’s offering
to the god of fertility.

Throughout Fallopia
there is trembling
awaiting the great sacrifice.

She could hear their battle cries
far off in the distance
the vast and furious army of Sperm,
propelled through the tubes
of Fallopia
in one great seminal wave.

The frenzied race begins.
Blind though they are,
rapt by some ancient ritual
they struggle up the
dark and twisted passage way
to where she lay in wait for the attack.

One by one they strike,
her armor weakened with each blow
‘til soon her vanquished ovum doors split open
there . . . the Champion enters . . . the sacrifice complete
amidst the whirling chaos. . . a soul is born.

In the beginning . . there was war . . .this is the stuff we are made of.

Joanne Cucinello 2007

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Rim of Gold

Rim of Gold
At the edge of my body
lies a rim of gold.
I am encased in light.
I am alive within my soul
which surrounds me
and remembers
who I am.

My feet touch the earth
that I alone inhabit
this speck of space material.
The earth connects me to
the core of my body ~
the sky receives the rays
of my soul.

When I leave this place
I will shed my skin
like an overcoat
my bones will turn to ash
and I will step out
into forever
all my colors shining

my true heart ablaze and ready
for the ride back home
where they will know me
and greet me
like a new born child
arrived with gifts wrapped
into my swaddling clothes

and I will give them all my earthly pearls
the remnants of their grace bestowed.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


floating in water Pictures, Images and Photos

I swam last night
weightless, floating
on a dark quiet sea
peaceful and serene
as if I had done it
all my life . . .
a dream gift
a wishbone I won as a child
tucked in my pillowcase

. . . I swam last night!

Joanne Cucinello

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Under the Summer Sky


Little bugs have found a home on my blanket here
the sweet green grass pokes through its shabby holes.

I have found a bit of peace this summer in the country
listening . . . watching . . . pondering
the way the clouds pass over the sun to cool me
the business of bugs doing their jobs so well
hoping as they run off with my crumbs
that I won't spy them . . . little thieves!

I have a feeling that they have ceased speaking
to their relatives . . . the roaches, who insist on
reading and nibbling your class papers
when night falls in that city school room.

A brook nearby, babbling its cool delicious bubbles
is tempting me to chuck these sneakers
and find a bit of ecstasy on the slippery rocks
maybe even get my ass a little wet
and squat . . . like a child who doesn't care
about green stained britches.

You must come here one day and listen
even the grass has something to say . . .

Joanne Cucinello

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Yes, You Are Mine

I called you out of the darkness
a soul who became my child.
I don't recall the moment in time
or sleep or daydreams . . .
but I know deep down I did
and now you are here
a soul in body tangible
with cells and genes much
like my own.

I did not know the form
you would take
or how I would feel when I
looked into your shining eyes
that first moment
and all the moments to come
in our lives together
but I want you to know
today and forever
that your life was not a mistake
nor a wanton windblown excuse

You are all I asked for
you have shown me who I am
so many times and helped me face
my truth, my strengths, my weakness,
my sorrows and my joys.

You have grown through
all your pains and asked me
"Why was I born ?"
as you struggled
for your human heart.
But I know . . . yes, I know.

You are my promise, my blessing.
You were born to be my Child
and I was born to love you.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010

Then I Knew


I thought
when I first saw you
that perhaps you'd be the one

but then
I remembered thinking that way
once before and I was wrong

once before
so wrapped up in my loneliness
I just took a chance with someone new

just needing
that someone to fill the empty space
I guarded with my heart

but that space
stayed empty even when he held me
even when we kissed . . . I heard no bells

even though
we smiled and walked together
it was nothing more than passing time

That's why
I had to taste your kiss
bold as I was, I did it, kissed your lips

I couldn't wait
for you to steal the chance
that night, I had to know if it was true

Your lips, so soft, so warm
made stars came out behind the moon
that kiss . . . made all the world stand still
, , , and then I knew.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Well of Grief


She has fallen, yes.
We see her lying there, down deep
at the bottom,
but she struggles not.

“Grab the ropes!” we shout.
“Someone . . . anyone
go down there and bring her up!”

We call to her, we shout
“Hang on . . . help is coming!”
But we listen and we look . . .
she struggles not.

We stop . . . we listen . . . hear an echo
She is singing soft, a lullaby.
We stop . . . we look now deeper.
A shadow . . . of another form
is lying there beside her
and she stokes his soft unknowing hair.

“You are my beloved”
we hear her whisper, but the form lies
still and cold beside her.
“Hang on . . . help is coming!” we shout again
and drop the rope.
“Help is coming!” but she struggles not.

“Move away” a young shining stranger says,
“I am going down.”
And as he makes his long descent
light surrounds him,
glowing embers flutter down upon her face.

“Lift your eyes, Mother. Lift your arms.
Come with me . . . grab the rope..
I will carry you . . . as once you carried me.
Come Mother,
you cannot wake my shadow
for I live in light now. . .
You will not find me here.”

“Mother, I am always with you.
Like the branches of one tree,
you and me.
When you sing . . . I sing.
When you cry . . . I cry.
With your happiness . . . I shine and dance with glee!”

“Mother, set me free.
Let go my shadow and you will hear my voice again
Your heart will see me dance . . .
and you will know that I am
just a breath away.

Joanne Cucinell0 © 2006


Rainbow Taurus Pictures, Images and Photos

Venus Child, earth-bound spirit of form and beauty....
Toil as you will this Earth,
which rouses your unbending passion to make real.
Take this clay and mold for us the vision of our life gift
as you unfold the hidden treasures of our finite world.

Teach us to value all that is good and beautiful
and to use the riches of the earth with reverence.
We walk on the dust of our beginnings,
yet our path is a journey to the stars.

© Joanne Cucinello 2004

*** this is a poem from my book
"Constellations . . . a Collection of Heavenly Poetry"

Monday, April 5, 2010

The City of Angels

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In the City of Angels
there are no homes
nor clocks
to tell of time.
In the City of Angels
no one speaks
in words familiar.

There is a lake
in its center
filled with tears
from the hearts
of those who lost
their young.

This lake of tears
overflows at times
when many
suffer loss together
then tears
pour forth
to feed the trees
with crystals

Images of life on earth
hang draping
homage on the trees
some like flowers
some like vines
and even some
like thorns.

There are three moons
floating always
in a mist of
faintest melody
catching echoes
from the earth
and songs ~
of mothers.

The Beings
winged and fair
who light upon the
bring the souls
of little ones
and hold them close
their wings
until the tears subside
and broken hearts
can let them go.

For only then
will heaven part
as angels guide them
through the light
to all who went before
awaiting them
with open arms
and tears no more.

Joanne Cucinello 2007

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My Totem . . . Elephant Child

Once in a dream
you played with me,
once very long ago.

You were small and white
flapping ears of pink
a little Prince
tumbling fresh
leaving the water
where your family played.

And I, in my long summer skirt
walking along the shore
picking shells and pebbles
from the salted sand
until . . . I heard you splash.

There I stood
caught between my dream and waking
delighting in your merry gestures
as you pranced and wobbled
your little trunk reaching
for the tip of my skirt
in playfulness, tugging at my heartstrings.

You came to me, Elephant Child,
in twilight's sleep
telling me of things to come
and not to fear, but just imagine
what my world could be
if dreams came true.

Joanne Cucinello

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sharing Happy News

To all my Readers:
Something wonderful to share with you!

Three of my poems were published this month in the
Mused-Bella Online Literary Review/Spring Equinox Issue

and my blog "I See the Bridge" has been noted in the list
of "100 Best Poetry Blogs"

Thanks to all of you!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010



We must find joy in our lives
even though
the news suggests otherwise.

We must be able to laugh
even though
sorrow has draped the neighbor's door.

We must be able to smile
even though
women lose their breasts every day.

We must eat and give thanks
even though
people are starving across the sea.

We must hug and kiss our babies
even though
there are orphans everywhere.

We must do what we can do
even though
it is not enough.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another Sunrise


The sun has returned once again
rising at dawn, as it did that day
when I emerged, wet and pink
from my Mother's womb.

I imagine that moment,
her soft breath returning then
the painful swells of agony subsiding.
I feel her clenched fists opening
to soft palms holding
as her long night's labor
found its end ~ in me.

When I celebrate my birthday
I celebrate that moment
shared in time
for there cannot be one
without the other
and I follow the long cord back
to that early March sunrise
on the day when I was born.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sons of Their Fathers


The young boys
have no thoughts
other than conquest.
They will search the woods
behind the barn
for varmints and creepy things
that have no eyes.

The young boys
learn early that life
is made for the fittest
and the brave.
It will not wait
for the faint of heart.
They expect the world
to put them to the test
and it will.

The young boys
also learn to hold their tears
in wells behind their lids
saved only for the
dark and the pillow
or a dog named "Spot".

But all is not lost.
I hear there are some
young boys
who haven't learned
about the test.

Joanne Cucinello 2009

Thursday, January 28, 2010

All Things Together


Quiet now, Heart of My Soul . . .
listen to the music of the molecules
rising . . . falling
like my chest,
deep in silent sleep

This body mine
beginning its descent
following the curve of time
across the bridge
remembering, recalling
so much now . . . the little things
the tremulous moments of ecstasy
the broken wings of disappointment

Look softly, my mind’s eye
and do not judge too harshly
but instead . . . remember
all the loving
and the gifts you poured
the ones you rocked to sleep and
those whose fears you calmed.

Refresh your soul
with recollection of the good you tried to do
that good, which lives in fog and mist,
while all mistakes stand, waving flags
atop the hill.

Oh, be kind to your little soul
one of many, many of the One
You were carved with God’s own hand
and he will close his palm around you
with love . . . and take you home one day.
Only then will you understand
all things together . . . all things are One.

Joanne Cucinello 2007

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Fence


Our city street is all lit up tonight.
Fireworks are booming in the sky.
Tiny chips of broken glass
sparkle in the sidewalks
with each burst of streaming light.
Neighbors celebrate with loud voices
and sit on stoops laughing and waving
across to one another.
Most live in five story railroad flats
jammed with over flowing children
and one tiny bathroom.

Tonight, no breezes flow.
The old women cool themselves
with paper fans and watch the men
turn into kids, lighting firecrackers
drinking beers.

It's a hot, hot summer night in 1951
and I am eight . . .
the 4th of July and there is no stopping it.

A black picket fence curves around the stoop
where a little boy climbs up to see
Uncle Charlie's bright red rocket
bursting high up in the air
filling the sky with streaming glitter.

His small body slips instead onto a long
black spiral that stands erect on the iron fence
guarding the building from thieves.
Everyone's talking, eating . . . laughing
No one takes notice of the little boy
hanging, speechless, breathless . . . suspended
on the picket fence
open-mouthed, grey faced . . . silent.

My little sister sees him!
"Help!!" she cries.
"Look at him! Look at David!

Screams leap high above the laughter.
His mother comes. She's running with the baby
on her hip . . . "David! Oh, God! David . . . Don't move!"
"Call an ambulance . . . Somebody please!"
Silence intervenes and whispers all around
"Don't lift him."
Blood is trickling down on the pavement.
"Don't lift him!"

His mother is pasty white.
Her eyes latched onto David's pain
"I'm here. Don't be afraid."
She strokes his head . . . "Don't move"
The silence . . . hands cover mouths
The fence . . . now a black iron spiral stuck in his lung
The laughter . . . nowhere, only sobs
Sirens . . . flashing down the street.
and Uncle Charlie's bright red rocket has landed
burnt and black
while the boy and his mother wait
for the arms that will lift him
the white coats ready to take him away
from one city street on the 4th of July.

Joanne Cucinello 2009

Note: The child survived after weeks in the hospital
and no one ever tried to climb that fence again.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Little Nest


I had watched those squirrels
last spring
leaping across from tree to tree
twigs and sprigs
of new green leaves tugged along
between their teeth
amazing furry tailed acrobats searching
for the perfect spot
to build their nest secure and safe

high up and away they scampered
back and forth, up and down
tireless, energetic and often comical with
their squirrel chatter

Hurry, hurry, no time to waste
babies coming
make it strong, tie it tight, guard it from
the winter winds
bound to come and test it

Way up high where two trees met and mingled
they found their spot
fragile looking branches tied together or so it seemed
with a twisted creeping vine
turned benevolent and useful for such occasions

I wondered as I looked~ why not closer to the
big strong trunk
or the sturdy bough they pounced on
through the day?
but there it stays defying winter winds
and driven snows
this little nest held high and tangled fast
and smiled on by the winter Moon.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

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