Rosetta Mary

Geri Digiorno

dPress < 2007 >Sebastopol
24pp hand sewn

Cover collage by the author


i am driving
to the city
to meet a man
who will lift my hips
with his hands
enter me
take me up
that staircase
like a spiral
like voices
in a choir
how they rise
up deep
inside you
how the music
rushes through you
and you
scream out
and you
when it's over
will have lost
a small part
of yourself
in the passion
the moment
and you lie there
a vessel,
and holy
and knowing


the douglas mac arthur
tunnel is
pale powder blue
the color of your
81 mercury zephyr
people are taking pictures
on the bridge
riding their bikes
a lot of people walking
couples and lovers
the marin headlands
are turning brown
the sky a perfect robin's egg blue
there is a haze in the air
judy, who's going to tell me
about my poems?
i'm not taking paradise drive
i'm staying on the freeway
it's 3:39
there are people out there
who don't even know
you died


the forest in the rain
a fish, a kite, a young mans wife
i have been the moon, the sun,
a hurricane
i have been a lake
i have been the wind
blowing through the trees
i have been a cat stalking my prey
the sea, a sail boat cutting
through the water
i have been another life
i have been a prisoner, a prophet,
a saint
i have been a fire
raging through the hills
a yellow room, the night
i have been a scout,
the keeper of the bees
the rushing stream
a shallow grave
the morning and the sunset
and the rain
i have been a question in your head
i have been the silence and a scream
i have been firecrackers on the fourth
a thought


they came
these women
not old
heads covered
smiling teeth
not gold
me sitting on my front steps
with my baby son
they came up the marble steps
their dark eyes falling over him
let us hold him they said
i shook my head
their smiles grew wider
i know they wanted him
my fat blond boy
with true blue eyes
they came from clear across
the street to steal my baby
dark faces with their gypsy spices
i ran into the house and locked the door
let them go next door and steal
the little mexican boy with large brown eyes
not my blue-eyed son
three women with their flowing skirts
and bracelets
their strong teeth their fingers full of gold
go down the street and take the red-haired
freckled face boy
whose mother takes him to the park
to play in the sand


now that
the yellow leaves
fall everywhere
a signal of
what's coming
the urge to
lie down in them
touching you
a sweet trap


i want to change angels into
masked men
in the park
i want real pleasure
not burning desire
i want regret
in your eyes
i want to remember
something good
about you
i want a moonless night
your face breaking
into that smile
i want you
to regret everything
you said to me


she was hanging around
the men's gym
wearing a black sweater
with block letters
spelling daddy
she wanted the football team
but instead
she took me on
she smelled of honey and ink dye
I wanted to leave
but she threatened to kill herself
so i lay down with her and told her
it would be all right
that she should have waited
that things would have gotten better
for her
that she didn't have to be a man
we made a few attempts at it
but neither of us could get it up
so we read to each other
later in front of her apartment on 2nd ave
we exchanged metaphors and parted


hair a bright burnt orange
mouth painted red-red
gold teeth
fingers covered with rings
she wears many gold chains
and crosses
her car an old rusted out chevy
pilled high with her belongings
she's laying against the fence
outside the op center
wearing a long wine colored
rita hayworth number
with a slit up the side
and two black eyes she got
up in santa rosa
for standing on the wrong corner

(found poem)

do you remove them when meeting people?
there are medical or religious reasons
for not doing so
like the handshake
you could offer your left hand
or say sorry i don't shake hands
others should accept unquestioningly
removing prescription glasses might
deprive people of knowing whom they were meeting
even nonprescription glasses might
cover a multitude of conditions
light sensitivity
watery eyes
black eyes
who knows what else?


i'm flying through rooms
it's dark
the old mexican next door
is peering over the fence
at my children
i peer out the window
watching him
i take my children inside
we walk to the park
then up mission street
to the library for books
about pocahontas and gunga dinn
stories and nursery rhymes
my young husband gone
i am a wild woman
with a library card
and a phone
i wake in a bed of toys
the end of the bed
is hitting my shin
breaking the skin
i'm hopping and swearing
jumping for pain
i know i'm alive
but still afraid of life
of death of everything
inside i quake
i know nothing
i feel nothing
i am dead
my children and i alone
together we read and play
and wait
company cheers us
in this house of no humor
except for his people
his mother comes over
and paints my kitchen orange
taking back things to give her daughters
only the brother in laws bring hope and cheer
and laughter
we are a burden to the scared boy
the scared boy who doesn't know
doesn't feel
only for his mother and sisters
and their children
he whistles and sings and plays the guitar
his teeth blackened
his hand bent and crippled
his strange friends coming and going
he is the keeper of our lives
he is too frail for the job
not up for it
he tries but can't quite make it
he wants his family, his blood, his people
his mother's love and acceptance
she doesn't give it
some times we don't know what we have
i know
i wasn't there either


escapes me
i remember your accent
your face
a chiseled ancient god
sitting 2 stools down
at the villa bar
me working right across the street
selling european art
you were everything my father
did not want for me
it made you more appealing


how they fill the room
bounce off walls
the music of it
how they enter us, get inside our heads
leave us
wanting more
the condensed enunciating sounds
the talk
the voice
blowing out words
the mouth regurgitating
the idea of it
each voice


storms the wind
the ocean breeze
ice caps
ice covered ponds
cold of winter
sheets of rain


leland is in a state
wandering up and down
the street in the dark
like an old women
holding onto a drink
gaiter, leland's big gentle
orange dog that rode in
the front seat of his
white el camino,
had tumors in his legs
had to be put to sleep
leland couldn't leave the hospital
he kept going back into the room
he told me
you don't know how many times i left
and had to go back
into that room

(postcard poem sent to Diane di Prima)

i loved the show
i loved that i could see
how he did the work
i put my glasses on and
looked real close
i loved the madonna and child
the card players and nudes
the wild trees and birds
the little dogs and cats
but mostly
i loved the people
all those wonderful people
i had a great time and
bought some cards and a book
i'm so happy
i got myself down there
to see all that work
in person and up close


poetry workshop
we sit circled
in chairs
legs crossed
a room of white
shutters and women
a black snake from italy
a blue dolphin rides the small
repeated pattern of the wallpaper
outside the roof next door
neat waves of v's
we prune nancy's buff roses
ella's nasturtiums
molly's strawberries
spill tea on the red y's
of the throw rug


these days the dog
seems awful quiet
no smell of roasted beans we love
the silence is deadening
no dog to love
the place sits there locked up tight
a memorial
to small business owners everywhere
what do we feel
what do we say
the big box boys are here to stay
the big box boys get all the breaks
and our small café's evaporate