from LISTENING TO DYLAN
For Bob Dylan, Seamus Heaney,
and my Papà
My Italian father is listening to Dylan, again.
He misses her.
He misses his old life.
The door to his room is locked, I never
know what that might mean.
I don't know why it makes me so
He's become a "Mr. Tambourine Man" at 88
And we’re both jingle-jangling
-he from the various medications,
his unsteady gait from neuropathy --which sounds like something good
-me from the cacophony of coughs and sighs,
the dope of mixed emotions and memories he reluctantly sells me;
That uncertain ending he’s pushing.
(Which makes me the addict;
the son’s always the addict.)
I am staying with him;
(And he with me.)
He locks the doors at night...
Old people scare easily but fear little;
a workable conundrum that comes
with cataracts and cancer scares.
from LIKE ÉIRE
for Pamela Rader
I want to be you
I want to be like you
I want to be more like you
I want to breathe your air
Shifting and still
So still the world revolves around you-
Answering to no one
In your own orbit
both earth and sun;
O, I- land
To be unto yourself
I want to be part of you
Your sand and grass and stone.
PRAISE FOR Everything Is Something Else
“Everything is Something Else reveals the tumultuous journey of a young man into a mature artist; D’Alessandro’s poems possess what I value most -an emotional honesty and a keen wit.”
Academy Award-Winning Actress, Author, & Activist
"Franco D’Alessandro’s poetry is the silver thread that weaves together the major events, places, people and themes of his life. His work has a sense of time and place, that the past is present within us and around us, through the deeply held memory of a mother’s touch or the unending admiration of a father’s square shoulders, we become that which we love. And Franco’s work is full of love. Ireland, Italy and connection are the themes that form the pillars of this work, the pantheon of a life lived with the passion of an Italian, the recklessness of an Irishman and the sensitivity of an artist. There is tenderness here despite having weathered the winter of life’s harshness, there is not a hint of cynicism, but instead quiet ebullience that is a gift of hope to us all. To read and feel the poems in Everything is Something Else is to fully understand the artist, to know the places that made him, the people that loved him. It is to walk the cobblestoned streets of Rome, or Galway or the sun-baked sidewalks of New York with him and to know that you too are home."
Author, Journalist, The Irish Times
“Touchingly beautiful, hauntingly fragile, creating memories of lost loves and present passions; Franco D'Alessandro's profoundly poignant poetry goes deep down into the depths of the soul and whispers, ‘I am here, I see you, let’s make some beauty from our pain’."
Playwright, Artist, & Director
“Franco D’Alessandro, a playwright with a poet’s soul, accomplishes what is, perhaps, the most difficult thing for a writer -he makes you care.”
Pulitzer & Tony Award-Winning Playwright
“Born of “Roman blood and forged in Celtic fire”, D'Alessandro’s poetry inhabits that precious middle distance between the spiritual and corporeal. While being present and reflective at once, he reminds us that we are all fastened to this earth, to each other, and to our collective condition.
Songwriter, Singer, Lyricist & Producer
“This book is an important collection of poems by a gifted playwright-poet, in the tradition of my dear friend Tennessee Williams. Give your beleaguered soul a break; read Everything Is Something Else!”
Playwright & Author, Costly Performances: Tennessee Williams -The Last Stage
“Franco D’Alessandro’s poetry, instead of fracturing and alienating, unites and gathers both the personal and the collective human experiences as unique but shared experiences of love, friendship, passion, and loss. In the immediacy of its expression, D’Alessandro’s poetry articulates both the palpable urgency to live and the pensive potency to reflect on the past and on what has been… (He) seeks a correspondence, similar to that of French Symbolist poet Charles Baudelaire, between the earthly realm of human experiences to the interpretive realms of language.”
Pamela Rader, Ph.D.
Author, Poet & Professor
“It is as though D’Alessandro has invested millions in life and squeezes every penny returned. The poet sits in the middle of his poem (as he does in his plays) speaking loudly about persons who matter. You will read Everything is Something Else many times over... It is healthy to be exposed to such passion!”
Director, Poet, & Zen Master
Marinated in “salty wetness,” this constellation of D’Alessandro’s poems are “relentlessly lusting with no rest,” and “something wild briefly contained”— full of assonance and allure, where “every word’s curve” exuberantly pulses with ink. Clocks eat, hearts galilop, tears tarantella, eyes climb, Christ kisses boys, Granma beats a man with a shillelagh, and the poet emboldens his own “blistering stigmata” and gay heart to “stroke and suck the life out of an idea” and “ride you bareback across the silver-black of night.” The bullseye of the young poet’s soul is rung by Mama, “the confinement only she could liberate” as she asks eternal questions at operatic moments in the poet’s life; the day he aspires to runaway, and decades later, when he sits at her deathbed. Lucky for us, he shares his awe, how her perfume is mystically remembered by snow, and: “The courage you had as you jousted with infinity.” It lifts my heart to read and thereby witness D’Alessandro with his “puckish chuckle” achieve his literary pole vault: “...if music is what language hopes to be...”
-Annie Rachele Lanzillotto
Poet, Author of “L is for Lion: an italian bronx butch freedom memoir”
Franco D’Alessandro, through his artfully crafted words and deeply felt emotions, realizes perfect illuminations that portray his conception of life full of his veri affetti -true affections. The author’s words try to “maybe to find, but more to see” what his life has left inside him and, even more, what life still has in store for him. And it will be an amazing discovery without end for him and for us. This is D’Alessandro in all of his profound and moving honesty, and this deeply intimate collection of poems, Everything is Something Else, offers us a veritable map of his soul. “
-Chiara Ricci, Ph.D.
Author of Vissi d’Arte, Pres. Piazza Navona Cultural Association