John Stanizzi




-“If you hear of an outbreak of plague in a land, do not enter it.  But if the plague breaks out in a land while you are in it, do not leave that place”

-The Holy Quran

-The Prophet Muhammad

If I could see I’d see sputum cramming the air,

God exclaiming why this has to be about me.


Stand in the far corner, sparks exploding from you.

From a distance I’ll dream circling trees about me.


On cathedral walls there are things we cannot see – 

if I can’t speak, there’s too much debris about me.


You look confused clutching your rags of memory.

I’ll tell you – it’s about you, this spree, about me.


Recall the lawn where we stood holding each other?

I backstep, germs swirling all blindly about me.


From the far side of the lawn, gesture like hugging.

Was it years or hours, your arms, your knees about me?


The wind is troubling the trees, crying through the woods.

I am scared.  I’m sure it’s a decree about me.


Masked people have taken all the thermometers.

Through sweat in their eyes the things they see about me.


Grotesque empty shelves from here to the horizon;

long flatland with nothing to foresee about me.


Corpses new to the game hijacked the trailer trucks;

their journey to that sweet land, that lea about me.


That doesn’t mean it can’t be; it just means it’s not,

though for the moment the smell is sweet about me.


The world is wrapped in hoses, death on the P.A.

When it calls out John!, what does that mean about me?


John L. Stanizzi, a former Wesleyan University Etherington Scholar, is the author of the collections: Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide—Ebb Tide, Four Bits, Chants, and his newest collection, Sundowning. John’s work has been translated by Angela D’Ambra into Italian and appeared in many journals in Italy. John is a former New England Poet of the Year, and teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT. He lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry.