• Susan Scutti
    Susan Scutti's poems are published in The New York Quarterly, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Philadelphia Poets, New Observations, Aloud: Voices from Nuyorican Poets Cafe and other journals and anthologies. In addition, a collection of her short stories, The Renaissance Began with a Muted Shade of Green, was published by Linear Arts Press in 1999. Two of her novels, Second Generation and A Kind of Sleep have been independently published. She runs a reading series, Tone Poem, at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC.

    Memory

    He'd never made any distinction between his mother and other 
    women come and go, even if they do seem necessary for a 
    moment by moment he lives, he has no truck with the past, takes what he
    needs are not what matter, he can locate a woman's desire as 
    swiftly, he fashions a string of words, a convincing lie, a fictional
    line on which he hangs his mother's dirty laundry, she was 
    a junkie, he loved drugs too until they became so fashionable among the 
    girls from Amherst think he's sexy and they're the ones who bestow 
    trophies fill his suitcase, he wins all the merit badges in a career composed of 
    constant travel, he arrives at another destination, signs books, reads 
    poetry is his natural articulation, metaphor never confused him unlike 
    his mother is no longer alive, she never found it within herself to give, to 
    continue by train, by plane, speeding forward, he moves on, the next 
    woman, why would you give this man your precious minutes when
    his next volume is a bloody, beating thing as mysterious as 
    his mother felt no tenderness for him, none, and this he can never 
    forget.

    Originally published in Philadelphia Poets

    Manhattan,

    The first time I came up to you
    My father held my hand and I
    Tasted your exhausted breath,
    Felt the rush of your steam
    Against my thighs
    and looking up I saw
    Your dark skies
    Squared by buildings
    Rising up, up,
    Higher than heaven could go.
    I pulled my hand from my
    Father's and hearing the
    Grumble of your subway voice
    My fearful heart curled inside of me.
    Smaller, smaller
    I grew backwards: seven then six, five, four, three, two,
    One, fetal again,
    Finally only my
    Soul remained, a
    Pale spirit adrift in your
    Dark streets, my heart was silent
    As if I had never been born.
    
    Father Manhattan,
    Burst your pain inside a womb of pleasure:
    I want to be your daughter.
    I want to survive you when you're sold.
    I want to echo your siren speech.
    Father, Father
    (Art in heaven)
    I still haunt your skyscraped nights.
    O, Manhattan: 
    conceive me.

    Originally published in The Outlaw Bible of American Poets

    Epithalamium

    And then there's this incredibly long
    pan where the camera moves
    from the dirty china
    to the empty Heinekens
    past a few slices of fluffy cake
    and a single cigarette burning to ash in the tray
    until the pan ends with a brief shot 
    of some burgundy stain spread dead center 
    in the white table cloth.
    
    There's another part, too, at the beginning of the video:
    the camera zooms in on the couple  
    alone at the altar
    and you see Maria move:
    just a flicker. 
    She turns to take a last
    look at this man she's marrying. 
    Even through her veil you see
    fear scorch her face.
    
    But the best part comes near the end
    when the camera starts on the dance floor
    then slides from table to table
    and you see all of us there
    and every expression on every face
    looks the same.
    
         we have held desire in adulterous arms
         we have loved selfishly and aborted desperately
         we have wanted what is not ours
    
    We are related.
    
    Finally, the camera returns to take a departing
    shot of the married couple
    who stand united
    against the chaos of living.
    
        having tasted the body
        having drunk the blood
        we walk free within the bonds of family

    Originally published in Aloud: Voices from Nuyorican Poets Cafe

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