the work and personal site of Jared Alessandroni

Archive for the ‘poetry’ Category

A Little History

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

I heard, in the next room,
My son playing Für Elis on the piano.
Or piano-forte. But actually,
A Casio, which has
No hammers or pads –
Just a lonely black cord,
Connecting it to

The wall socket which runs
Copper down 16 floors
To a substation on 40th Street
Which channels the power,
From Canada,
Like a delta in the Hudson
Drips from the north making it to us.

History is like that,
Some of it even true,
Having flowed downstream
Swimming with
Rocks and Fish
Until it has a special taste,
An ironic freshness.

I want my son to feel,
Not just know,
The pluck of the harpsichord
Indefinite in dynamic, tinny,
Filling up the hall,
In the Medici court.
Just as Cristofori did.

I want him to be there,
Not just look at a picture,
With the men in the lab,
In the 1920s,
Working with vacuum tubes.
I fear the picture, thinking,
Everyone here is dead now.

From the piano to the tubes
To the Casio,
To the iPad he uses for sheet music,
The scope of history is both
Enormous and claustrophobic.
Our apartment stands in Native soil,
But was once a subterranean volcano.

Where does it end?

It makes me think of my son,
Supposed to be reading or
Playing or something else,
Standing suddenly in front of me
Arms open, ready for a hug.
Here, this is for you.

Someday I will be a picture
And the phrase will again be true.
Everyone in this picture
Is dead now.
As, I shudder at the thought,
Will he be.
And what will it matter?

That I was suddenly
If illogically,
Inspired to take him uptown to
the Met
Where they have an original
Cristofori piano,
Molded by his hands.

Will that memory mean,
Nothing
Or will it mean
A small drop of something,
Hundreds of years on.
What will he
What will I

Have created?
Everyone in this picture
Is dead.
But their ghosts,
Lying there with open arms,
Whisper, Here,
This is for you.

Polar Bears

Friday, June 15th, 2012

There are a lot of pictures online
Where else?
Of polar bears who
Tragically unawares,
Jumping onto the wrong sheet of ice,
Find themselves finally
Alone, in the middle of the ocean.

We might not remember
Or it might not matter
That the creates are vicious
Bloodthirsty predators
Their black eyes and big noses
And white fur
Make us want to love them.

So seeing them floating
Infinitely abandoned
As their world melts around them
As our world melts around them
Is horrifying
And it reminds us
That we are the predators.

But there was
A last trilobite.
And there was
A last dodo.
And there will be
Most certainly
A last human.

When I am clinging
To the last piece of ice,
I think about the polar bear and the dodo,
And you.
And I am thankful
I have the capacity
To know I am not alone.

Every So

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Every so often I forget
That our son is perfect.

Because nothing is perfect,
Nothing is absolute,
Not even the rule
That nothing is absolute.

I can’t see perfection,
Because I was born at the
Wrong
Right
Time, when cartoons
Became a witty statement statement,
And every single word we said
Was chilled with context,
Like we were forever shaking off
From a winter walk,
A frigid soaking layer
Of everything we should have
Just openly loved.
Sometimes, I fear I’ll choke
On all the irony.

Every so often I forget
That our daughter is perfect.

I think it’s all based in
A kind of self-loathing
Would I want to be in a club,
That would have me as a member?

I can’t love deeply
Because for me love
Can’t
Won’t
Love me back,
Or might not love me forever,
And so approach with caution,
Look for subtle clues
Like we are children,
Alone in the house for the first time
Loving the freedom
Listening for sounds,
We lock the door.
Sometimes I peek out,
Fearing I love the monster.

Every so often, I forget
That you are perfect.

Because I think too much.
But however flawed my perception may be,
I never forget,
How lucky I am.

For B

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Don’t Stay There

You can stay in the lane
For a bit, if it makes sense.
But there’s a car merging in,
And he’s going to want this space
So get out!

Merge out, Brie!
And I fear the shudder
And the tilt
As the car makes a
Jarring turn into the middle lane
And the very real possibility
That she didn’t look
When she looked
To see if the lane was clear.

But there is no shudder.
She stays in the lane,
I press the invisible
Imaginary brake pedal at my feet,
Wondering when she’s going to
Merge left.
Until I realize she’s not
Going anywhere.

So I say,
Why are you still here?
And she responds
That it’s safer in the
Right lane.
That it’s slower and she
Feels more comfortable.

The truck rears a little
As she slams the breaks
Realizing almost too late that the
Car in front was not going that fast.
Then we’re okay for a second.

I want to say
Well, that doesn’t feel
Very safe.
But I think about
What to say so that
She won’t clench her fists
Crush her body
And look vacantly out
For the rest of the
Driving lesson.

So I say
It’s not better
In the right lane.
It seems like it should be,
Since you’re never speeding,
And you’re always closer
To the exit.

But if you stay,
You’ll be stuck here with all
Those who need this space to merge
Into greater things
And worse,
Those who
Never will.

Don’t ever avoid
Pushing a bit harder on the gas.
Don’t dodge
The catching up
Or the moving past.

Sometimes we fear
A high speed death
More than
A slow life.

A Poem for Jen

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Inevitability

I think of the buildings
Men (mostly men) built,
After we invented elevators
Sometimes, when I think of you.

I think of the farms that disappeared
North of the city,
After they built the raised rail
And we could get there.

After the fifties, I’ve heard,
People started to dream
In black and white,
But now we dream in Hi-Def.

I figure the skyscraper
Has no idea what the world was
Before what it needed to exist
Existed.

I know the 4 train northbound
Rattling on its tracks,
Doesn’t think of the soft patter
Of hooves on grass.

I read somewhere
That we never could have
Dreamed in black and white
Before Daguerre showed us.

I can’t remember, my love,
My world,
Before you made it
What it always was.