TO KNOW WHAT
To know what’s already known in the Italian south I’d have to buy
some land, and plant some trees, make parallel the rows of seed
and beg the land to own me. I’d stack stone walls on umbered fields.
At night I’d dream so hard of stacking rocks my hands would ache:
my understanding soon Sisyphean. And then I’d count out centuries
of thought-numbed lives; and watch the fig trees shrug and drop
their fruit and offer up their open palms to ask what life is for but lose
the bitterness of self in work and harvest warmth on open roads
beneath a too-bright blue. Stones rule the fields. Sweetness falls
to flesh and fruit and open hands: to the purple lobe-eared swelling seeds.
Sweetness falls to those who bend to task and shrug at end of day.
Guitarist Bill Horvitz left us, way too soon, January, 2017. At his memorial I didn’t know what to say, except that a few days before, in the California desert, one of his guitar picks fell out of our camping tent. My first husband, for nearly half my life, performing partner for many years, friend and creative partner, and loving father of my son.
I’m posting this sound file for Bill, a long poem written when I lost my father. There are memories of Bill in it, and, appropriately, it’s a poem about death and loss that’s mostly about the on-goingness of life.
(from “In the Middle of the Night of the Road of My Life I Found Myself in a Tangled Wood” : Patti Trimble and Peter Whitehead: out of round records 2014)
Margine di un Altrove, (publication available here) is a project centered on the ancient Greek women protagonists Electra, Alcestis, and Phaedra, in conjunction with 2016 INDA performances of the plays in Siracusa’s (Sicily) Ancient Theater, poetry by American poet Patti Trimble and Greek National Poet Titos Patrikios.
Art exhibits, speakers, poetry, and Italian-English publication of art/poetry/and essay by writers from FILDIS and University Women of Europe, collected/edited by Elena Flavia Castagnino Berlingheri and Katerina Papatheu: sculptures by Stepania Pennachio.
Pensieri means inner thoughts. My poems are unspoken pensieri for the tragic heroines, how I imagine theirs, and what I think about their stories. Three wonderful actors from L’Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico: Michele Dell’Utri, Doriana la Fauci, Attilia Ierna staged and performed ten poems in 2016 at various venues in Siracusa and Taormina, Italy. Two are reproduced here:
The queen loosens her hair and chases
an untamed man across river and hill
and why shouldn’t she,
when so much has been made of his beauty
as the very breath of life
and voice of mountain air—
From this well-bred world,
who doesn’t need a corrective?
Who doesn’t ache for innocence,
for a new and lovely someone else,
and wonder who is hunter,
who unfairly chased?
Patti Trimble 2016
POEM FOR PHAEDRA: FIVE QUESTIONS
Must we choose between the holy and profane wild?
Can’t we simply watch a play about desire and feel better?
Or chant commanding poems about beautiful lunacies?
Can’t we simply dream of life essential jailed in dark suggestive nights?
What if, when awakened, we never follow on the scent of feral dreams?
Patti Trimble 2016
SAC Contemporary Art Museum, November 2016. Installation, performace by 40 actors/students from the L’Istituto Nazionale del Dramma Antico, curated and directed by Michele Dell’Utri with Doriana la Fauci and Attilia Ierna. A spoken word collection of “places on Earth, carried in memory”, based on interviews with immigrants, refugees, tourists, residents, most of them in Siracusa, Sicily.
A collaged vision of Earth.
This place is from a Somalian refugee who recently traveled in a small boat to Sicily from Libya.
. . . The boat was crowded, and people divided up, Muslims on one side, Christians on the other side. There was no one father, the sea was so bad. Afterwards, now, we fear the sea, not even wanting to look at it even from far away. I never want to remember the giant waves and the feeling you have in the stomach when you are on top of the wave and are about to fall, you loose all the breath you have in your mouth. We never want to see the sea ever again. But I am talking about this now to you for the first time, and it makes me laugh. The waves were so tall. At the top of the wave, the Muslims were praying “Allah! Allah!” and the Christians were praying “Jesus! Jesus!”. At the bottom of the wave, the Muslims were praying Jesus Jesus, and the Christians where praying “Allah! Allah!”. . ..