Friday, December 28, 2012

When the Weather Breaks


I wonder sometimes,
if less crime is committed
in the dead of winter?

Do thieves and murderers
choose to stay inside
where it's warm
and wait for the weather to break?

If that is so
then I will move to Siberia

but then,
men are angry there too
because they have no food
and icicles cling to their beards

so that won't work

I should just forget about
the angry people
and maybe . . .
they'll forget about me.

Joanne Cucinello  2012

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Father of My Heart

Remembering my Dad who left this world
December 1, 1994 . . . always remembered.
always loved.

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
that dark-remembered day
when Mama blew the roof
off of our house
and let the demons in?

Joanne Cucinello

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

She Sheds Her Clothes Again

Green leaves begin their dying now
a few last bursts of summer's fling
before the chill nights ring the bell
and usher in the fall.

This night, the moon will rise 
a full and a luscious orange globe
above the tree tops you can see her
ablaze like Aztec gold.
The Hunter's Moon, they call her
at the Autumn's Equinox
heralding earth's proclivity
to shed her clothes.

The leaves will grow heavy
when the rains come
and they will come hard they say this year
and merciless for awhile until
the Sun decides to shine again and bring
the great north winds along to whistle.

Together they will spin their palette
splashing magic colors twirling
floating feathered leaves to cover
grass and moss and once again
the earth renews.

Joanne Cucinello 2012

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Starlight Symphony

Universe Pictures, Images and Photos

Song of man
lilt of woman's voice
the laughter of a child
like molecules of stardust

See! . . they float out
towards the heavens
even as they leave our lips.

Do not fear
that they are lost or vanished
for this can never be
not if these were born of love.

Love lives on eternal
every speck of it
every drop of goodness
that fills the  golden cup.

Our words, our songs
and all the sounds of life
once uttered
stay forever sacred
and though not composed of matter
they have life  . . . that time can never touch

for they transform into the
echoes, timbre chimes and bells,
the woodwinds of the Milky Way
the strings and timpani of comets
soaring by . . .

they continue their concertos
in the dark and fertile silence
of the cosmos
where the Earth spins
her glorious symphony for the stars.

Joanne Cucinello    2010

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Back then
when I was born again
the Church reached out to me
its prodigal daughter, who years ago
had spit upon the marble steps I once
toddled with folded hands and eyes upturned
a green wreathed halo resting on my little head.

Now I was
to be forgiven
taken back into the fold
Alleluia . . . Praise the Lord!
I thought so much had changed
I didn't have to prove myself a Catholic,
not this time in these new grass roots.

Open arms
reached out to me
at every turn and called me
their beloved, as tears of joy began
their daily flood upon my happy holy cheeks
I belonged again and this time I would never ever
leave, for now I was loved and accepted, sins and all.

This time
I could shout "Amen!"
wave my arms and roll my eyes
ecstasy was just around the corner with
the laying on of hands and the humming babble
of tongues . . . this new sweet grass, this new Church
where all God's children were prophets, healers and saints.

Sounds amazing, huh?

But as time went on
and they'd scrubbed my joy and talents
clean down to the bone with their holy wire brush
the new sweet grass began to wilt and die once more
and my sweet Jesus turned and climbed back up . . . upon his Cross.

Joanne Cucinello © 2011

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Christ Tree Twists

Christ Tree

I love how the dogwood
following its own lead
turning to the whispers
of the laurel, oak and ivy
as they mingle in the woods.

Outside my window
a great white lady
readies herself to bloom
sap rising
ripening her tight buds ~
the warm spring sun
seducing her to burst forth
in lacy splendor.

Christ's blossoms,
cross shaped petals
tinged as though with sacred blood
they say ~
and in each center
there his crown.

I do not think
sweet Jesus hung
upon a dogwood
yet we yearn for mystic symbols
connections ~
wherever they might be
organic matter
to fertilize our faith.

Even in a tree ~ poor tree ~
just wanting to twist and turn
and share its beauty
with the sun
while all it asks of us
is the deep breath ~
the aah!
and silent yes
acknowledging its gift
so simple ~ so magnificent.

Joanne Cucinello ©2008

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cinderella Lost

(This is a new version of my poem from 2009)

They've stopped looking.
It's been twelve years now.
We searched for her
in every town
even miles from here.
She was gone . . . just like that.
We posted her picture everywhere
and all the leads were just dead ends.

She was young and pretty, my sister,
just a kid when she left, funny too . . .
We used to dream together
hiding under the bed with flashlights
pretending we were going to the ball
to meet the Prince, pretending we had
slippers made of glass.

She whispered in my ear one night
just before we fell asleep . . ."I've found the Prince!"
and I rolled over and sighed, "Such a hopeless Cinderella!"
Two nights later, she disappeared
and the rain blew in from her open window.

Yesterday I found a letter stuck between the doorsill
and this picture . . . Here, look!
All it said was "Do you know me"?

She was just a kid but
I'd know those eyes anywhere.
Look at her . . . think hard!
Have you seen her?
Can't you see . . . it's Cinderella?

Joanne Cucinello

Friday, February 24, 2012

This Life


Do not take for granted this life
or this face that greets you
tonight in the mirror.
All that you know and believe
can change in an instant
and be no more.

Do not think you are privileged
even though
you may be greatly loved.
Jesus himself was greatly loved
by the Father and yet
he became the womb of suffering
for all mankind.

We cannot truly, or ever,
understand how love can allow this.
We cannot truly, or ever understand why
we are here on this earth
with such uncertainty
so vulnerable to sin and its thorns.

I myself have seen life change
this day, in an instant
and what was once a stone upon my mantle
shatter and blow away like broken glass.

And so, what shall any of us do with this dilemma?
Continue to live, believing something kinder awaits us?
Love . . . even though these embers will die one day?
Yes, and forgive . . .
Let us not cling to the suffering
Love . . . while this moment is ours to live.
Love . . . even though we may never unravel its mystery.

Joanne Cucinello 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Valentine


How many years have I known you, Sweet Man of Mine?
How many vines have grown over the Oaks
and the Dogwoods deep in the woods?
And how often have I watched you cut them down
to save young trees, to spare a life.?
You are always cutting off the dead and lifeless,
sometimes, well before the rest of us
can even see they’re dead.

Am I the girl grown into the woman you were waiting for?
Am I the one, the love of your life?
And does my smile still warm your heart?

I wait for your return each night . . .
the turn of the key in the door,
the look of your warm eyes
saying “I’m home.”

How many times have you told me you love me?
If I close my eyes, I can hear your voice
and feel your breath upon my cheek.
You are my darling love.
I waited for you all my young years,
waited for you to come out of my dreams. . . .
And here you are, so full of all I ever wanted.

Hold me in your arms forever.
Tell me I’m your One Sweet Valentine.
Never . . .never let me go.

Joanne Cucinello

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Joshua’s Lament


When will all beings be free?

When can I return to my brothers
and be greeted with open arms?
My soul dwells in this barren place
that once housed my heart.

These eyes are dry and tearless now
like the sand beneath my feet
and I have become an omen feared
my face a dark reflection of a man in chains.

The parched grass does not seed the earth
nor uproot itself and move with wind to verdant hills
just as I am bound in this anchored solitude
until the ear of Yaweh hears my cries.

Without hope, I am deprived of mercy
a hollow shell where once a rock stood
proud and fortunate. Alone, I am an empty wineskin
once full of the drink that warmed my dreams.

When will all beings be free?

They have silenced my tongue because
I spoke of peace and the end of tyranny.
Like an ill-fated child who speaks out of turn
they have dealt me vicious blows.

My cries are muffled by the wind that
moves the clouds in dark of night.
How long must I keep silent while my sisters
are raped and my brothers made to carry dung?

What am I to do? Eat locusts and wild honey
like the Baptist John and wait for my beheading?
Must I hide among the rocks and caves until my hair grows
white, my skin a dried brown prune to cast away?

How long, Lord, must I bear this sentence?
You are the One who stirred my heart to speak
of freedom from oppression, of justice for the poor
and now I preach to dried grass and lizards unaware.
When will all beings be free?

Am I to wander forever here without your solace
to never gaze into my children’s eyes? Or will you look again
upon me with your mercy and set the path before me,
carved through mountains with your word?

Will they rise without me, tear the structures from their beams,
raise the flag of freedom and sing ten thousand strong?
They will come to find me then rejoicing, but I will not be found,
my bones returned to dust in the caverns of the hills.

No, this cannot be my final destiny, to never know of peace,
to be like Moses never entering the promised land!
Find me a way Lord! Let me steal into the night by my brother’s side.
Make me swift of foot and strong of will again.

Return me to the land of the living, even if it costs my life,
for I am Joshua, your servant. You gave me a tongue for a sword
and I will never cease to wield its sting upon the wicked.
Find me a way, Lord and I will forever sing your praise!

Joanne Cucinello 2007

Sunday, January 29, 2012



Some days are so clear.
God is everywhere
and angels whisper in my ear.
On those days I believe what they tell me;
my life is worth more than I can ever know.
I smile an awful lot on those days.

Then there come the mornings
when the sun is not around
when I can make no sense
of anything . . . no reason, no purpose
not even one clue as to why we're here
alive on this planet, all of us
walking around hungry all the time
and there's not one angel in sight.

I close my eyes and try to remember
what it was they said those times
when I was LISTENING
when I was noticing
how my breath rises and falls
in my chest without effort
without a care of any kind
and I can feel the whole earth
breathing in me, all of it, all of me
and I know.

Joanne Cucinello 2010

Saturday, January 7, 2012


This poem is an excerpt from my book "Constellations ~ A Collection of Heavenly Poetry" . . .

beautiful Pictures, Images and Photos

"Live!" . . . said the Moon on her perch
in the black sea of heaven.
"Fully ". . . she whispered
to the children of the earth
who were making love and waging war
eating and starving, dying and being born.

Live!! . . . she shouted, as they stumbled
and fell, trying over and over to walk
in their shoes of immortality.
Live!! . . . she cried, as they pulled their hair
in disbelief that they could in fact . . . live forever.
"Nothing lives forever" . . . they sobbed
"all things surely must die!"

"All things but You" . . . she whispered now
alone in her heaven, without the Sun,
who rises when she falls, who shines when she is dark.
"All things but You!" . . . echoed the Stars,
and they wept for the Moon in her loneliness.
"You are not like us, set adrift to light the heavens
exalted in your poetry, fading into darkness at the end.

Listen and truly live . . . Mankind
before the Sun and Moon have run their course.
Learn that it is YOU who are immortal,
You, the beings who can dream and yearn and love
and You who will shine long after our light is gone.
There is more to Man than flesh and bone.
You are the children of God, and though you inhabit
the Earth, you are Spirit.
Listen! . . . it is You . . . who will live forever."

Joanne Cucinello © 2004

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