Sneezing Coyotes by Salvatore Marici

Candle-Ends: Reviews
Garrett Ray Harriman


Sneezing Coyotes by Salvatore Marici

Reading the poems in Salvatore Marici’s bountiful new collection, Sneezing Coyotes (Ice Cube Press, 2022), means signing up to become a privileged tourist of moments, each one intimate, systemic, and wide-ranging. Page after page, I felt like I was weeks deep into a heady safari of the scenes and locales (interior and exterior) of one man’s vast, inimitable memory. But counter to the stereotype of the slovenly tourist present only for the thrills and highlights, I felt inclusive to these retellings, embraced by their density and detail. I still feel vindicated, and wiser, and optimistic of my own memories and systems of notice weeks after first reading them.

The greatest gift of these gathered works is just that: renewing faith in the processes and powers of noticing.

In Marici’s poetics, nothing is “merely” anything. Everything is brimming or in motion with the many systems composing it, leaning into it, intruding upon it, remembering it. If this sounds dry or schematic, it is anything but. If this sounds overwhelming, too complex to be intimate, or even preachy, think twice. His poems create sudden, intricate webs of cause and effect, of witnessing and remembering, that generate tableaus snatched out of time.

Take for instance a sequence of three poems, “Gringo Meets Guatemala’s,” that detail the homes and fauna of the country. The second in this series flexes the author’s horizon-wide point of view:

Every morning wives swing brooms
smack pigs’ black butts
chase them out of adobe houses
into Guatemala’s rural roads.
Red dust ankle deep.
Slick when wet.

Triangles made from scrap wood
clasp pigs’ necks. Stops snouts
from rooting fields. Front legs bump
bottom slabs, nudge them into a two-step.

Dusk, they dance over their thresholds. (32)

As varied as Marici’s subjects are, there is an equal number of unique destinations, physical and emotional, that vivify these poems with Sherlockian detail. Chicago, Cambodia, Germany, Florida, Guatemala—each new vista feels like its own world, its own condensed encyclopedia of a single person’s experience. There are often multiple shifts in location in a single three-stanza poem, as well. It’s a whirlwind sensation, these frequent shifts in geography, and constantly rewarding.

“Changed Landscape,” for instance, speaks to Marici’s spellbinding knack for rendering all places personal, history-filled, and majestic:

Rain falls
through cracks in a roof
of a barn built in early 1900’s.
Melted snow seeps,
into gray-splintered boards
once painted red
when horses, cows, and pigs
lived on an 80-acre farm
the farmer’s great grandkids sold. (61)

The occasions that connect these far-flung places range from the intimate to the morose, funerals to jungles, the work-a-day to the philosophic. Moments of activism and introspection are as common as moments of deft and lingering observation, whether countries away or in the author’s backyard garden. In every example, the place itself is described with pinpoint verisimilitude, and the processes described within them become almost tangible souvenirs. That layered, globe-spanning curation extends across the whole collection, while the abundant terrariums gathered along the way become your trusted guides.

Once at our destination, these poems ask us to care long enough to understand the processes at play in life—personal, ecological, emotional—and to think through how our actions and reflections can contribute to, or in some cases corrupt, these living landscapes. They teach and iterate on the truth that presence (no crowds required, just one or two of us proves plenty) allows our lens of witnessing to expand. We see the ecological twists of fate. We experience the customs and lives unfolding in ignorance of and response to our meddling. Nothing is hidden or spared from our inspection.

The compact composition of these memories and scenes do not feel superficial or disrespectful in their brevity, either. They are robust enough to read as true, but controlled enough in their exposure of their subjects to not be exploitative. This interplay of themes is parenthetical, repetitious and resonant; there is no waste—not a feeling, not a shoestring, not a thought. His is a brand of respectful recollection.

In “Facets of Cambodia’s Rats,” the lives and uses of this creature perfectly capture Marici’s eye for description, and even wider eye for macrocosmic implication:

Through the rural regions
brown rats bred in Tanzania
wear harnesses hooked to overhead cables
guide their two feet plus bodies
through fields landmines remain.
Twitching noses scent TNT.
Their 2.6 lbs. do not detonate. (20)

These bewitching players and outcomes are presented with calm and unromanticized clarity. They are not mugging for the poet’s memory, nor are they precious, nostalgia-buffed caricatures. I believe they are here, now, just as they were then. The author does not speak out of turn in these moments. No feelings of misgiving appear, suggesting that Marici is rendering before us anything less than the un-punched-up memory of who and what there was, what they were doing, what was felt. They do not mistake pithiness for deep knowledge, and peddle no such attitude. He doesn’t intimate; he reports.

An ironical eye is never cast upon the inequities broadcast from these storied scenes and feelings, either, just as no gavel of action falls to castigate the reader into submission of the hefty lives, systems, and lessons to be examined. Instead, these poems argue by virtue of presence that observation and memory are systems to be known and explored, and can affect change in themselves. Powerful systems. Unignorable ones. Take them lightly at any point in time, and you risk causing damage.

Stylistically, Marici’s punchy verbs and article-dropped lines cast a savory spell of immediacy and validity to the quick-to-change proceedings, as if events are happening now and the grammar need not apply. His sequences and stanzas almost always include lists of details—physical descriptions, renderings of environment—yet nothing feels static or preserved in his work. This stanza from “An Afternoon in Sticky Hanoi” proves the rule:

At an intersection, a man sits on a curb,
eyes closed; thumbs touch middle fingers.
Centimeters from his sandaled toes
scooter tires roll. Pedestrians’ legs
brush the meditating man’s knees
another sense from streets he knows
passes through his flowing mind,
exits into the universe. (21)

The light of Marici’s memory is sharp in its focus, but soft at its edges. These aren’t dead butterflies pinned to a corkboard, dusty relics of once beautiful or heartbreaking scenes exhumed from the poet’s closet for the sake of a page count. Every scene is a breathing, beating specimen both lightly and starkly depicted. They appear as unchanged things the reader is privileged to witness flutter by, including the gentle chaos their wingbeats leave in their wake.

A procedural grace unfolds over the majority of these poems. His listings evoke a meditative pulse, a ritual of “happening-upon-to-contemplation” for these pieces taken individually and as a final volume. We discover that the limitations and effects of one lifestyle beget or amend the lives, losses, and memories of others—always. “Tales from a Non-Savior” and “Caskets in Demand” showcase this interplay via an international exploration, while “Goodbye to an Unfilled Want” and “Look For a Sign, Any Sign” remind us that the intimate processes of loving and grieving are shared species-wide, regardless of our current address.

Another poetic knife honed to cunning usage is Marici’s theming. If the last stanza of a poem has a message or commentary, it never screams and gesticulates its presence: it wafts, becoming a lingering atmosphere of the steps and details just consumed. So many of these pieces fade and float into their endings, rather than conclude with some definitive image or metaphor or emotion. Yet the formula does not become stale or self-parodying. His images show the skin and scars they need to, their limitations apparent, as our own understanding and connections must be. The outcomes are imperfect, unfinished, but nothing is abandoned. I savored that feeling of examined inhalation each time these devices came to play.

Why? Because that is what being both observer and observed means. His subjects remain undefined but exhaustively explored in the instant. Things are stark and remarked, tenderly and all-encompassingly described, and then handed off to our care from what feels like a pair or warm, steady hands. We’re asked to take notice of the system we have been dropped inside of, not condemned to fix the machine or to burden the responsibility. These lines from “Selective Killings Before Winter” hold up this humbling mirror perfectly:

The rolling mower lays mats of
chopped plants. Green pigments
stain my sneakers. I hold a hatchet
before the autumn’s leafless trees,
most a few years older than saplings.

After winter,
no new twigs sprout
on these posts where
song birds peck burrowing insects
fly into bare crowns
sing above
networks of living systems
grown from the dead in soil. (58)

In Sneezing Coyotes, moments and the systems that create them exist in the same breath, and the memories they create are never witnessed, or remembered, alone. I hadn’t come across Marici’s poetry before tackling this review, but the breadth and generosity of his experiences, his inventive, inventorial style, and the evanescent ecological messaging of his work have left a hopeful impression on this new and eager fan. I can’t wait for his next tour to begin.

*

Salvatore Marici’s latest collection of poetry is Sneezing Coyotes (Ice Cube Press, 2022). He also has one chapbook and two other full poetry collections. He was the 2010 Midwest Writing Center Poet in Resident, has judged poetry contests, placed in poetry contests, teaches and attends workshops that teach the craft of poetry. His poetry has appeared in Toasted Cheese, Spillway, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, Of Burgers & Barrooms, a Main Street Rag anthology, Poetry Quarterly and many more. Marici served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala as a natural resources specialist and he is a civil servant retiree/agronomist. In SouthWest Florida he is learning to maneuver a 17-foot kayak. During the summer he grows garlic in Western IL. Keep up with his events on Facebook.

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Garrett Ray Harriman is a writer and poet living in southwest Colorado. His work has appeared in Atlas Poetica, Toasted Cheese, Kestrel, and other publications. His poem, “Snake in the Grass,” was a semi-finalist in Naugatuck River Review’s 11th Narrative Poetry Contest guest judged by poet Lauren K. Alleyne. Twitter: @Inadversent

Vagina Bowl Making Workshop

Poetry
Salvatore Marici


Photo credit: bluebus/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

Vagina Bowl Making Workshop

Photos of Tigerlily’s vagina guide
women’s fingers press,
curve beige clay,
cast intentions to the earth
cuddle in their hands.
Bear babies if they want.
Lubricate after menopause.

Like priests with chalices
I raise arms
hold vessels of life.
Hail to vaginas’ miracles,
women’s marvels.
Tilt, drink.

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Salvatore Marici’s poetry has appeared or forthcoming in Toasted Cheese, Spillway, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, Of Burgers & Barrooms a Main Street Rag anthology and more. In 2010, Marici was the Midwest Writing Center Collins Poet-in-Residence. He has three books: Mortals, Nature and their Spirits (chapbook), Swish Swirl & Sniff, and Fermentations (all Ice Cube Press). Marici served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and he is a civil servant retiree as an agronomist. He is learning to maneuver a 17-foot ten-inch kayak in mangroves and the Gulf. Email: redwineandgarlic[at]yahoo.com

Fermentations by Salvatore Marici

Candle-Ends: Reviews
Shelley Carpenter


Fermentations by Salvatore Marici

I had the recent pleasure to read Salvatore Marici’s collection of poems entitled Fermentations (Ice Cube Press, 2017). For me, reading a collection of poems is no light reading. Full disclosure: When I read poetry I like to sip. The poems are like fine wine meant to be savored. I read one or two poems daily. This allows the poems to sink in and to ferment inside me a little longer while I wonder about them and ponder meaning or just marvel at the poem itself from a writer’s standpoint of looking closely at its structure and language, to the subject of the poem which can be the smallest of ideas or an observation or a moment in time held up to the light. The poems in Fermentations left me with strong aftertaste of thought, most often pleasant and nostalgic, sometimes a little bittersweet and occasionally, the bitter without the sweet. I suppose that is what poems do. They make us think about things. The important things. It is as if we also hold ourselves to the light as we engage with a poem. The poem isn’t about me, but it is. For me, this was my daily sabbatical this past autumn as I delved deeper and deeper into Marici’s eighty-two poem collection. This is what I discovered.

Fermentations is an interesting mix of the earthly and the surreal. Marici invites the reader to enter the pages of his collection with his first poem, “Invitation to Enter,” whose subject was influenced by Rodin’s famous sculpture, The Gate of Hell. A beautiful bronze woman with grapevines tangling and coiling around her metallic head beckons the reader with gorgeous images of Italy’s past evocatively dressed. It was like looking through a keyhole and spying a beautiful new world:

She speaks four hundred years of
Olive, lemon groves
Grow on hillsides.
Wine pours from barrels in people’s homes.

Other poems also captured that strong sense of place. “Summer Wane in Upper Mississippi Valley” spoke to me of a similar time, my own time: a lovely October day in New England.

In a sky,
day paints Egyptian blue
an angel fluffs wings
whose breath wafts dry warmth
with specks of coolness.
Pockets of fading-green
spot crowns of trees like bubbles
above cartoon characters
filled with scripts
of leaves’ last wishes.
Fallen apples, pears
ooze hard cider, bees slurp.
They brawl in sugared air.

Salvatore Marici’s poems are also about people, such as the immigrant experience that also peppers the collection. “Concourse K Food Court” juxtaposes two very different locations—El Salvador and Chicago. It left me thinking about the people in the poem and my own people.

Mothers and daughters
wear polyester dresses
of whatever pattern and color
they could get. Aprons’ ties
secure their waists

as they cook on wood fires
or propane two-burner stoves
in their houses
or prepare on a grill
made from scrapped metal
before hungry customers

Corn tortillas layered with
chopped meat from unknown species,
shredded raw cabbage, red sauce dabs,
serve on brown paper
under the sun on bare Guatemala ground
whose dust whirls with a slight stir
where drivers drive old school buses
painted bright red and blue
wait for passengers
10 kilometers east of El Salvador.

While in O’Hare
five Hispanic women
middle age and younger
wear blue scrubs
uniforms of uneducated laborers
only one eats beans and rice
out of a recycled margarine tub.

The other lunchers bite burgers.
Their tongues lick salt sugar on lips.
They crunch fries broiled
in partially hydrogenated oils
melted like their culture.

Another poem, “Induced Earthquakes—Introduced Poisons,” echoed earthly environmental concerns recently overshadowed by politics in many places in the world. This poem spoke to me first with its humor and then with its serious content. It is a kaleidoscope of images and ideas that swirl and finally blend together into one idea that I found beautiful and honest and unsettling.

Colonoscopy doctor
shoots gas through tube
in ass bent to intestine.

Recovery nurse tells patient
Let it rip. Air rumbles.
Curtains between beds sway.

ground murmurs, shakes
when augers drill soil
then shake
pipes gush chemicals,
sand mixed with water
we could have drunk, used to irrigate.
Force blasts tunnel with cracks.
Fractured bedrock shifts. Fragments fall

in grinders. Sausage stuffers push
ground pork in flushed intestines
stretches casings thin.
E. coli finds pinholes, seeps.
More pressure tears walls. Toxins leak

into springs, drinking wells
from filth thrust in earth.

Indeed, Marici’s subjects range from beautiful vistas with evocative imagery to specific places populated by people. The poem, “Amid Life,” stopped me in my reading tracks when I realized that I had been teleported to a romantic and cosmopolitan Paris during the recent terrorist attacks.

Salvatore Marici’s poetry is an intriguing mix, much like a stone soup where one might find traditional ingredients and common themes to intriguing and surprising additions swirling in the broth that is Fermentations. Also, as I read I felt like an armchair traveler traveling laterally across the globe, vertically into the starry skies of space, and in and out of the doors of time to people and places that evoked (for me) a spectrum of nostalgia. And in those nostalgic moments I discovered a curious transcendence that speaks in hindsight of the human experience, its glory, its potential, and its self-destructive impulses. Bravo!

*

Salvatore Marici’s poetry has appeared in Toasted Cheese, Descant, Spillway, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, Of Burgers & Barrooms, and many others. In 2010, Marici was the Midwest Writing Center’s poet-in-residence. He is the author of three books: Mortals, Nature and their Spirits (chapbook), Swish Swirl & Sniff, and Fermentations (Ice Cube Press). Marici served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala managing natural resources and is also a retired army civil servant where he continued his work as an agronomist. You can follow his poetry events at salmarici.myicourse.com and on Facebook.

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Shelley Carpenter is TC’s Reviews Editor. Email: harpspeed[at]toasted-cheese.com

Two Poems

Poetry
Salvatore Marici


Photo Credit: Kyle Strickland/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

Amid Life

New immigrants from
North Africa, Eastern Europe, live with French
in this working class Paris neighborhood.
During this fall evening
young couples, a few with strollers

stroll the avenue
eat at Little Cambodian,
visit a bistro where people drink
beer, wine, and coffee. Two men
raise their glasses, Tchin Tch…
Blast drowns the clink. Gust broadcasts
metallic shards. Walls, furniture, flesh
take. Black masked men run
into the ruin carry assault rifles,
shoot anybody with movement.
Outside as if on a carousel
they rotate, clench triggers.
Five bullets pierce a bakery.

Next morning
the Moroccan-born owner
bows his head at a makeshift memorial
across from his store
then turns, walks to the door.
Inside he sweeps slivers of glass,
tapes holes in the store front window.
Then he kneads white dough,
shapes loaves, lets rise, bakes bread.

Sweet goodness sprinkles streets,
the shock breathes.

 

Spilled Wishes

Left hand grabs the brown bottle
right twists plastic cap
glued to a cork. Plug squeaks
above twelve-year-old scotch
where the whiskey waits
to breathe
decanting
like a genie
trapped in stuffy air.
She asks what she can grant.
Knuckles knock the glass
before I answer.

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Salvatore Marici’s poetry has appeared forthcoming in Toasted Cheese, Descant, Spillway, Prairie Gold: An Anthology of the American Heartland, Earth’s Daughter and many others magazines and anthologies. Marici has written a poetry book review for Toasted Cheese. He has a chapbook, Mortals, Nature and their Spirits, and the book Swish Swirl & Sniff (both Ice Cube Press). Ice Cube Press scheduled to publish his third book in spring 2017. Marici served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and he is a civil servant retiree as an agronomist. Email: redwineandgarlic[at]yahoo.com

Temporary Champions by Darren C. Demaree

Candle-Ends: Reviews
Salvatore Marici


Temporary Champions by Darren C. Demaree

Temporary Champions by Darren C. Demaree

Darren Demaree, a recipient of three Pushcart Prize nominations, arranged the poems in Temporary Champions (Main Street Rag, 2014) like a DNA molecule. The book centers on a historic boxing match. One side is the action in the ring and the other side is the crowd linked with other poems about the boxers’ lives, their families and a referee. This book is tension; the links tug, push the two spiraled strands.

At the fourth poem, “Two Right Hands His Head Could Not Bear,” I knew the boxer Kim was hurt:

the third blow
the kick back

of the skull
to the canvas
that took the pain

away from Kim,
took the light
from his lungs

but I sensed that I was missing needed knowledge so I went to Wikipedia. The boxing match that reduced the maximum rounds from 15 to 12 was Demaree’s muse for this book. The match was in 1982 between Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and Duk Koo Kim. Mancini is from Ohio, his father was a top-ranked contender boxer and Kim lived in poverty in South Korea. Mancini won nineteen seconds into the fourteenth round. Mancini suffered a torn left ear, a puffed left eye, and his left hand swelled to twice its size. Kim died from head injuries four days later. Mancini went to South Korea for the funeral and fell into a depression. Kim’s mother and the referee committed suicide. After I learned about this match, I returned to the poems with a greater understanding of the whole.

The lyrical nature of the poems, because they are not a straight storyline or narrative, I see as a metaphor of the continuous beating the fighters give and take in a match. The poems between the “round poems” and “crowd poems” I call the one-minute breaks. These poems show Kim’s poverty in South Korea, Mancini’s life in Ohio, the fighters’ families’ hopes, and what lures the crowd to watch fights. There is even a touch of boxing mythology in the poem “Past The Teeth”:

If the fighter was a sparrow
& the lord of fighters was creating
sparrows in his own image

One other note, Demaree wrote “the crowd” poems in a block prose format. I assume he used that visual format to show the crowd’s impenetrable feelings.

Demaree blends statements into images. Poetry should show and not tell. However, his telling usually was the right proportion with showing and merged them into these:

  • The real fight is to remove / the boxing gloves from the bodies / without anyone knowing they were / used to cover the frightened paws / of a champion (“You Can’t Have More”)
  • demanding that his face be / made out of paper mache. (“The Crowd #1”)
  • it takes / hours for a good body / to tire, to become wispy, / crushable. Say his head / was a berry. (“Say It’s a Red Berry”)
  • you can watch their aged / shoulders mimic the fighters (“The Crowd #18”)

Demaree intertwines boxers as humans, their wants and the match laced with the sport’s brutality. In the poem “How Vital Sport?” he writes, “men / led around like horses, / beaten like horses.” He starts the spiral ladder at the beginning with the title of the book Temporary Champions and the first poem titled “Round 1”:

whose name will vanish
the same as moisture, in the air,
not in flight, not in direction.

Most poems work on their own, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The 72 poems on 73 pages is a poetic boxing epic. On HBO and ESPN we see many like Kim from developing countries in rings. Now, like in 1982, the crowd cheers when a boxer punches his opponent’s face into a berry. We hope that today the referee, ringside doctor, or the loser’s manager will stop the fight. This crafted poetry collection shows us why they should.

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Darren C. Demaree is the author of As We Refer to Our Bodies (8th House, 2013), Temporary Champions (Main Street Rag, 2014), The Pony Governor (2015, After the Pause Press) and Not For Art Nor Prayer (8th House, 2015).  He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology. He lives in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

pencilSalvatore Marici is an author of two poetry books. The first was a chapbook titled Mortals, Nature, and their Spirits (Ice Cube Press, 2012). His writing has appeared in several anthologies, magazines and journals including Toasted Cheese. He was the 2010 Midwest Writing Center’s poet-in-residence. He has won and placed in several poetry contests. Marici served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and he is a civil servant retiree, who worked for the Army, mainly with the job title Agronomist. At both jobs, he managed natural resources. You can follow his poetry events at salmarici.myicourse.com and on Facebook.

Swish, Swirl & Sniff

A.R. Cook
Candle-Ends: Reviews


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Swish, Swirl & Sniff by Salvatore Marici

Salvatore Marici’s Swish, Swirl & Sniff (Ice Cube Press, 2014) is a lyrical road map, a journey from the ancient exotic to the homegrown fresh, in which the reader follows a seamless trail of poetry that feels both earthen and astral.

While this is a collection of poems, each with its own unique flavor and tone, there is a structured flow to its arrangement in what becomes a subtle story arc of Marici’s world. It begins with “Altitude Sickness,” dropping us right into a South American landscape:

The Andes squeeze Cuzco’s air.
Coca leaves fatten my red blood cells
and wobble.

Marici invokes a physical sensation that is both dreamlike and unsettling at times—the feeling of traversing an alien jungle. But even with harsh imagery such as “purple fruit on tangled green pads / … / and their guardian spines” and “Walls echo crashes / to a deafen gurgle” in the “Devil’s Throat” of the Iguazu River, there is still a hint of Marici’s lightheartedness and wonder. While the river’s turbulent cascades are painted as a celestial battle of warrior angels, the scene ends with the gentleness of a rainbow. Marici finds the aesthetic, and sometimes the joviality, of nature in its rawness and rage.

“Devil’s Throat” is linked to the subsequent poem through its title, “Cooking to Sympathy for the Devil,” a smooth segue into Marici’s love for food and cooking. We leave behind the Amazonian exotic for the domestic comfort of the kitchen, yet Marici retains the adventurous whimsy. Each poem in this section is a recipe in itself, as Marici describes each ingredient, texture and taste of what he is making, “Like a love potion / that comes out of a witch’s cauldron.” We also see the passion and intensity of the cooking, and how it is so deeply connected to his family, both past and present. Perhaps that is why this section of the collection was the most poignant for me—it was truly an exploration of his family and history, and how the food he loves is the bridge between his memories and his present-day life.

I appreciate the humor of Marici’s poetry as well. I have attended several poetry readings of the Georgia Poetry Circuit at my local university the past year, and there seems to be a need for the poets to tell us something profound, or to jar the audience with a dark exploration of the human psyche. But they often forget that comedy is a part of the psyche as well, and some of Marici’s poems such as “Cubs Suck” (I was raised outside of Chicago, Illinois, and I, too, rooted for the Sox) are nice little reprieves from some of the more somber and sensual pieces.

That is actually a perfect word to describe the collection as a whole—sensual—in terms of sexuality, artistic passion, and the five physical senses. The sexual tones are tenderly handled, more to convey a natural beauty or admiration for creative art:

The insides
of Samantha’s thighs
hug polished curves

sets the tone of the poem “Perfection,” which compares a cellist making music to romance. This is a recurring theme for Marici, as his poems about gardening, reading poetry or watching films have an air of sexuality to them—passion is passion, and the different types can often overlap.

The reuse of certain images throughout the collection also forms the story arc, as if these images are “characters” that symbolize an emotional entity of Marici. The moon, the locust tree in his yard, the “two-story cedar deck” (a place where he likes to observe the surrounding nature while partaking in his consumable comforts) become prominent in the last section of the collection, hinting that these things carry significant importance to the poet. When it came to the final poem “Saving a Buck,” in which the locust tree gets dismembered by a landscaper (this moment was foreshadowed in an earlier poem, when Marici watches a neighbor cut down one of his dying trees) I genuinely felt bad for the tree. For a tree. Because we see how much this tree meant to the poet, the beauty it had and how easily it was axed away. It is a sorrowful moment to end on, but it is also carries hope in what new life can grow from it, the insects, fungi, and “unstable sprouts [that] sit on top.”

I confess that I don’t always derive the full meaning or author’s intentions from poetry, but Salvatore Marici’s Swish, Swirl & Sniff is accessible to even the most poetry-adverse of readers, creating incredible canvases of verbal wordplay, colors, and scents.

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Salvatore Marici is an author of two poetry books. The first was a chapbook titled Mortals, Nature, and their Spirits (Ice Cube Press, 2012). His writing has appeared in several anthologies, magazines and journals including Toasted Cheese. He was the 2010 Midwest Writing Center’s poet-in-residence. He has won and placed in several poetry contests. Marici served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Guatemala and he is a civil servant retiree, who worked for the Army, mainly with the job title Agronomist. At both jobs, he managed natural resources. You can follow his poetry events at salmarici.myicourse.com and on Facebook.

pencilA.R. Cook resides in Gainesville, Georgia, and is the author of The Scholar and the Sphinx fantasy book series. She has short stories published in the anthology The Kress Project from the Georgia Museum of Art, and the fairy-tale collection Willow Weep No More. Several of A.R.’s short stories and short plays have been awarded first place and appear in various journals, such as Toasted Cheese and Writer’s Digest. A.R. was the former book review columnist for the Gainesville Times. Email: scholarandsphinx[at]gmail.com

In a Guatemalan’s Village

Poetry
Salvatore Marici


Soccer Ball
Photo Credit: Jarret Callahan

Whitewash on an adobe wall
silhouettes the spikes in his black hair
and olive skin.
His shirt has white and green bars
resembling a World Cup jersey
as he suspends his body
over the dirt street
readying his right foot
to kick
the blue-and-yellow ball
before it bounces
without him thinking
because his parents
do not have money,
doctor nor drug to
kill the gangrene in the left leg.
A metal crutch, his appendage,
propels him to practice—
acquiring skills he needs
to play soccer with the pros.

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Salvatore Marici has had his poetry appear in several magazines, anthologies, and web journals including Off Channel, Slow Trains, Descant and Sweet Lemons 2: International Writings with a Sicilian Accent (Legas, 2010). He was the 2010 Midwest Writing Center’s poet-in-residence. He has a chapbook Mortals, Nature, and their Spirits (Ice Cube Press). A new collection is forthcoming via Ice Cube Press. Email: vinoyajo[at]frontiernet.net