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Poem: "Skyfall" at "Ovunque Siamo"

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

Having had two books of sonnets published since 2019, I thought I'd try my hand at another form. So late last year, I began writing villanelles, largely inspired by the paintings of Loui Terrier. (That's not his work above.) It's a very different form -- with its repetition of lines, ABA rhyme scheme, and tercet structure. So you really have to come up with a couple of phrases that you don't mind hearing over and over, and ones which ideally change/gain meaning as the poem goes on. I've had a few published elsewhere. But it's even more fun to see a cluster like here at Ovunque Siamo, the online journal that published a smashing review of my book Periodic Boyfriends earlier this year. The poem below came to me one night while sitting on the rooftop of my boyfriend Sok's apartment building in Chelsea, Manhattan.


Have you ever looked up at the clouds

and worried they were below and you above?

(Never mind the surrounding crowd.)

For what’s up, what’s down on a world that’s round?

When does gravity’s pull become a shove?

Have you ever looked up at the clouds?

You could fall in reverse if the laws allowed

then let loose a scream indicative of…

Never mind. The surrounding crowd

isn’t likely to get entangled with such avowed

fears, my friend. Never mind those tears, my love.

Have you ever looked up at the clouds?

Is outer space a gnarled web or a threadbare shroud,

one vast oil spill or a black leather glove?

Never mind the surrounding crowd

with their uncapped heads uniformly bowed

over wireless phones pinging towers high above.

Have you ever looked up at the clouds,

never mind the surrounding crowd. Previously published at Ovunque Siamo (Fall 2023) with three other villanelles of mine. "Canyon Night Stars, " the accompanying image, is courtesy of the website Pixabay.

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