Tiziano Fratus

Tiziano Fratus born in Bergamo in 1975. He published eleven collections of poems in Italy as Il Molosso (2005, 2007), Il Vangelo della Carne (Flesh Gospel, 2008), La staticità dei pesci martello (Static Nature of Hammerhead Sharks, 2008), Il respiro della terra (The Breath of the Earth, 2009), Historias de Malo Amor (2010), and some in other countries as A inquisiçao (Lisbon, 2004), Poémes chuchotes sur la berge du Po (Lugano, 2008), A Room in Jerusalem (Brooklyn, 2008), Double Skin (Singapore, 2009). He collaborated with publishers and reviews before founding on 2006 the Festival and the Editions of Torino Poesia, that became one of the center specialized in promotion in the world of the new voices of the Italian poetry. On October 2009 he was co-founder of the Poeteca (Poetry Library) in Pinerolo. He presented his poetry in three continents, in festivals as Ars Poetica (Bratislava), Salon du Livre (Montpellier), SWF (Singapore), at Italian Cultural Institutes in several countries, in poetry houses as Casa Fernando Pessoa (Lisbon), The Poetry Center (Chicago), Casa della Poesia (Milan), in US Universities as Columbia, University of Vermont, University of Illinois, San Diego State University. A selected poems of his work titled Creaturing has been published in Grosse Pointe / Detroit. New anthologies of his poetry are in preparation in Brazil, Italy and France.


From Historias de Malo Amor


Dagboek (Diary) by Etty Hillesum


You see, a man has just bought a book about the history of the Third Reich,
on the cover, Hitler is writing on a piece of paper, maybe it's a document, next to
Albert Speer and between them the mayor of Nuremberg, Willi Liebel,
with that Dantesque half-sneer of his: I stare at the man with obvious disapproval;
he, with that glacial, mineral phlegm with which he observes the world through
Arian blue eyes, returns the favor with the gaze of someone who has
never doubted that certain things must be done: your hell was already
open, in full and frenetic rotation: I read that your diary begins on the same
day I came into the world, March ninth, and maybe, I tell myself,
that might mean something: what do you think? A white pigeon, with a few
black stripes, truly elegant, has pecked at the spine of the
cover of your book which had fallen: in another photo I saw you
flipping through a newspaper, holding a cat in your arms, probably
smelling its odor and listening to it purr: and holding a cigarette
between the index and middle fingers of your right hand: it took me a few minutes
to understand which hand it was: how many times have I fallen down the uneven
steps on the staircase of your writing (!) All the professions you have
practiced, page after page, the hieroglyphic men, who enter
in tandem with the chameleon and the crocodile women
meets in my days: the God you were trying to help to help
yourself, your body which you broke like the bread of Jesus Christ
at the last supper to distribute to the long-famished men:
I can't pray to you and that's a blessing: my sacred world is made
of rodents who empty themselves out from within, to slip away without warning:
one day I will read you in your own language: of the two of us I am the foreigner

From Historias de Malo Amor


A recession in the Louisiana alligator farm market


Despite the right hand which is marked by one caress too many,
his voice trembles, wavering like the cord on which a little, red and white striped man
is trying to keep his balance, a few steps forward, a few steps back,
only to fall into the empty pools: his face is lined in tension,
a multiplication of the expression of the hundreds of farmers who
in less than one year have seen the volume of eggs sold drop from
five hundred thirty to thirty thousand, while hides have dropped from thirty-five thousand
to seven thousand five hundred, ain't nobody buying shit no more! he huffs,
hides ain't selling, people want to save money,
calfskin bags, leather belts: insistently, he massages
the wrist of his left arm, the one holding the hide skinned off
Tom, the beast that left him with his perpetual souvenir,
a second wife sniggers his father, a man in full
who, twenty-five years ago, had started up the company with
two hundred fifty-five eggs: his good hand remains suspended
in air, trapped in a web of worries, and spread open
in expectation of a European rainfall that isn't just water:
forty employees risk being sent home in a few weeks,
they cross their fingers, as do their wives, even harder, they hope
they won't see their husbands come home earlier than usual: a thermometer
reads eighty-three degrees, one of the four brothers adds that the
temperature must be kept constant, between eighty-two and
eighty-nine degrees, if the temperature goes higher than that they grow faster
and become aggressive, 'specially with each other: a brochure
flaunts the peak market results, with the hides of one
three and a half foot specimen framed like a relic:
if this keeps up, besides sending the employees home, we'll have
to kill the alligators and sell their meat to a restaurant
nearby that buys it for eight dollars a critter, you have no idea
how friggin' much they can eat, every living day; to beat this crisis
it seems it’s not enough to think things through on your own

From Flesh Gospel


A summer evening thinking about corsica


as you lick the blade
I notice the handle is mauve
like the flowers that weigh down the flowering mint in pots on the living room window sill
they claim no toll from the breeze that blows through them as it wafts up from the river
the whole house is scented and our nostrils struggle to tolerate the tangle of smells
onion garlic fennel thyme minced on the cutting board in the kitchen
the fragrance released by your skin that is tinged by two months of fickle sun
the sweat that drops like pollock's paintings onto the sheets
and the mint that baptized this adulterous story of ours
a cutout like those paper dolls holding hands
every now and then you enjoy insinuating the suspicion that your father is a corsican terrorist
this is why you press your tongue on the knife blade
and then the blade on my belly



The logic of mirrors according to the flemish


you fight logic with logic somebody once said
a man in a bar at the edge of the center and at the center of the edge
if he thinks about life that he nails like pins into a puppet's clothes
and if he thinks about the attraction of darkness every night
if he thinks about how the threshold drives us to escape in any way possible the weight of loneliness
that overflows from the drawers of the chest and the shelves of the safe
the pressure that loosens the washers of the tap and sets it dripping
tic tic tic tic tic
if he thinks about the rust he finds on his hands every morning after the tears have evaporated
and after having drained by pailfuls the sea that deposits itself like a tongue
during the slow night hours at the foot of the bed
he throws the hook into the round mirror that only reflects flemish faces
a goldfish swims in the solitude of the din that beats against its element
and seems to carefully understand what its lips have been repeating for centuries
human beings are bearers of confusion



The nearsighted gaze of a descendant of galileo galilei


this imprisoned silence is untouched by
the tremulous trill of the sea
that is wounded by the blades of sun
illuminating the expanse of sand today
the five white walls surrounding me
soon lost the memory of your voice
your suicidal words on a few sheets of paper
even your pictures repose empty
I know you are letting yourself be devoured by doubt
by a press that is oiled by pain
in some part of the city I'm not permitted to go to
I murmur your name to myself
I repeat it in church when I manage to find the strength to go out among people
but sometimes it seems that we two never existed
 


Believers and unbelievers


a woman is wearing a ring with a piece of amber on the ring finger of her right hand
lovely ring ma'am antique?
twenty-seven years next june she answers
she doesn't seem to be joking she says it looking me calmly in the eyes
twenty-seven years next june I repeat
twenty-seven years on june twenty-seventh she specifies
my grandmother owned one with a little spider trapped inside it
she bought it in russia on her honeymoon with her first husband I say
this she says is a very private memory
very private I timidly reply almost making a question out of it
the man next to her looks up and then looks back down gently shaking his head
you see in a low voice inside it is our unborn daughter’s heart
I step back struck by the revelation
incredulous
the heart I say of our daughter she adds nodding affirmatively with her chin and the nape of her neck
and how is that possible?
the woman explains that her father was a scientist
he left medicine to follow an old dream
to make amber jewelry veeery special jewelry
he was a real pioneer you know a genius in his field
she tells me that she and her husband had lost their baby during her fifth month of pregnancy
her father made her have an abortion and managed to enclose the fetus’ heart in a drop of amber
this same drop you now see on the finger of my right hand
you see ma'am I'm not a medical expert but it seems to me extremely difficult even barely
probable that there's a fetus’ heart trapped inside your ring
the woman stretches her neck and casts a curious look at the girl holding my hand and smoking her
after-dinner cigarette
life is a question of points of view she says
there are believers and unbelievers
like right now you are convinced you're sitting in a restaurant
next to the woman you love
who is the same woman you loved yesterday
whom you have loved since last month
whom you have loved for a year
and whom you will love for the rest of your life
and so? I ask slightly irritated
how can you be sure this isn't the last night you will spend with her
for example tomorrow morning she could leave to go to work
and she could disappear for several days
her phone would seem to have been disconnected
all of a sudden your story would cease to be
she stops looking at the ring and stares at me raising her eyebrow
could you swear you ever knew her?


From 5PX2


A hottentot venus

[a few days before
independence from
her majesty's kingdom]

the girl's dark oval face
framed in a pale close-fitting
veil and lost in the full
parted lips and in the
thoughtful gaze almost
as though not to disturb the
elegantly dressed woman in the painting
her fabrics embroidered with flowers
the broad-brimmed hat and the dense air
of her era in the half-light
the confident gaze of a woman
of the empire brought up in washington
square in houses where the smell of
glue combines with the oil burnt
in the cinnamon candles crafted
by perfumers and where the
latin lessons taught by tutors
chase one another in the
father’s library full of books of history
literature and art while the long
summers unfurled in
country estates and pilgrimages
to tuscany venice spain
a wedding in india including
a cruise on the ganges and a
tiger hunt in the heart of bengala
woman to woman she sensed that
she couldn't equal that
tone that light beneath the oils
of a painter as black as she
even though now her people
bought the furniture the mirrors
the silverware the statues they had
looked at and cleaned for generations
crowded together in the gardens before
the big villas with their columns under
the willows that already wept for
the european's return to their homeland
from the back of the houses they
followed the banquet of the
locusts beaten down by impotence
biting their lips and the roots
of their nails



American chlamydosaurus
[to thomas mcgrath]


in a murky photograph you’re wearing a jersey jacket that's probably black or dark blue or anthracite gray
and I imagine you walking out of your house sticking your shirt cuffs into the first sleeves you come upon next to the door tossing your head into the frame of the mirror without paying any attention to what the glass reflects
you combed your fingers through your hair pulling it back knitting the wrinkles on your brow and narrowing your eyelids
maybe you had even just finished writing that poem in which you describe the indifference of people to the news of (your) death
as I reread you in your language that is as discreet and stealthy as a cat’s sense of timing I told myself how you were capable of writing new verses after bleeding to death for roughly thirty years
working yourself up over cities that disappeared after an inky voyage and not just from the plowed-up soil of north dakota all the way to the rivers of roads in the realist paintings of that asia minor of the intellect in which you asked yourself for refuge
on the old continent they are still blinded by the clothing that was applied to protect the decency of the nudes in the sistine chapel and deafened by the few names that are ill-digested and always the same recycled in the anthologies that are photocopied from generation to generation
nobody wants to be tired out or be given too many alternatives of species

 


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