Poetry: Backs 1, 2, 3, and 4; Translate This Phrase; and Snow Effect by Ben Nardolilli

Backs 1,2,3, and 4

Staring at the backs of people on the subway,
some riders cover up their whole form,
making it hard for my imagination to transition the shape
into something else like pure line or curve,
the boxy jackets don’t help at all,
they look like bags hiding the true sculpture underneath
however, since it’s getting warmer, a few people
reveal a tighter expression with their muscle and bone,
either bare or encased in a skin-tight t-shirt,
my imagination can work with either one,
as I try to find the limits of the flesh and the vertebrae
which the dynamics of their bulges and sinews move around,
if we ride together for enough stops,
all I will see are hollows and bumps joyously riding
spines which shine like the poles in the middle of the car.


Translate This Phrase

You posted Au Revoir, and although I know enough
French to get your meaning,
I translated your phrase using the best decoder
That social media had to offer, both instantaneous and free

I got the meaning that meant well enough, “Goodbye”
But I wonder if that is what you really meant,
Just a simple goodbye, a farewell
Given in another language, with no deeper message for me?

I wonder because you picked a strange medium to relay it,
A foreign tongue, though nothing too strange,
One that uses Roman letters
Even if it is a Romance language and not Anglo-Saxon

When you wrote Au Revoir, maybe you meant
To use a simple sound you liked,
A phrase not only matching the country you are going to visit,
But the onomatopoeia growl of the airplane’s engine

The truth is, I think you really were going for a flourish,
A little bit of non-English
To season your crossing the ocean and border,
The way a Frenchman might make use “ciao” or “cheerio”

So what you meant must take that into account,
French words used to disturb
English hearing ears as a distinctly foreign statement,
The medium to match a trip abroad to Paris and Marseilles.

And if this is the case, which my suspicions tell me it is,
Then there is no need to look
Further to correct the translation your words lead me to before,
Maybe the French for this goodbye, is just au revoir.


Snow Effect

Got to make a move before winter
Sets in to this town,
It’s not that I mind the cold, in fact,
I want to move north,
Raising latitudes and lowering
The metaphorical mercury,
I just want to spend the next winter
In a city where I can look
Out the window and study
The effect of snow spread over rooftops,
All those frozen piles
Struggling to hold onto the illusion
Of purity against a skyline
Wearing a mask made of dirt and grime.


Ben Nardolilli currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, fwriction, Inwood Indiana, Pear Noir, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and is looking to publish a novel.