Nonno came to start a new life America.

How lucky I am that Nonna agreed to stay.

Scan 24

The Ticket

In the dank cellar on Oak Avenue,

Regina shovels coal into the firebox.

Outside, the hens squawk about their fate.

She misses the hill town in Piemonte,

where the earth drives you mad with the scent of growing things.

Here, there is bread to bake and children to bear,

the ache in the small of her back

indifferent to her desire

for purses of gnocchi and fresh butter.

Here there are no clusters of purple grapes

ripening under an apricot sky,

just grey sheets to soak

in a claw-footed tub

and a brown metal bed that lists.

She used to feast on music and laughter,

stories, tart and sweet,

but those days are done

and she is swallowed up

by black stockings, rolled down to just below her knees,

and shapeless dresses skirting hard-looking calves.

With a ragged moppeen,

she scrubs away regrets,

kneels on yellowed linoleum squares

in a house grown smaller in size.

She fingers the ticket in her pocket.

Will he remember the feel of her cheekbones,

the line of her hip under his hand?

She packs the one smiling photograph of them.

That and the white silk dress on a wire hanger.


Toni 2/19/15


I have whiled away the hours on this snowy day, this is to say I have naught to show for the time we’ve been apart; naught to show but me. Poems by Patty not in the 420 character, 9-line format, although, hey, I haven’t actually counted the characters in these poems. Hmmmm.

Thanks Atticus, for reading one of my favorite William Carlos Williams poems.

And, now, on this very snowy day (one of a series, a whole new genre of snow storms mayhap)….

I present to you two of my own “This is to Say” poems written back in the day with the writing group of Toni, Mary, and Ronnie. We collected our poems, bought 4 empty journals with the cover title of “Write It Baby!” and taped them in with pictures, as in stamp-booking. (Mary was our leader in this.)

3. And now Flossie Williams’s reply to William Carlos
 upon seeing the note he left her in the fridge. (A potential for another whole new genre: not only can we do “this is to say” poems we can do replies to this is to say poems. Ah. The wonder of it all.

   (crumped on her desk)

Dear Bill: I've made a
couple of sandwiches for you.
In the ice-box you'll find
blue-berries--a cup of grapefruit
a glass of cold coffee.

On the stove is the tea-pot
with enough tea leaves
for you to make tea if you
prefer--Just light the gas--
boil the water and put it in the tea

Plenty of bread in the bread-box
and butter and eggs--
I didn't know just what to
make for you. Several people
called up about office hours--

See you later. Love. Floss.

Please switch off the telephone.


We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.

-Joseph Campbell






(just like) Starting Over

 A bleak morning.

Ground fog, again.

It never used to rain so much.

And then,


the mist bows to a casual cumulous,

and evening cadences fall from a cloud-mouth of stars.

The future catches in my throat,

musky and delicious,

sitting between us

like the last piece of candy in the box.


Toni 1/29/15 (and 1980)