John L. Stanizzi is author of the collections Ecstasy Among Ghosts (Antrim House),
Sleepwalking (Antrim House), Dance Against the Wall (Antrim House), After the Bell
(BigTable), Hallelujah Time! (Big Table), High Tide—Ebb Tide (Kelsay Books), Four
(Grayson Press), Chants (Cervena Barva), Sundowning Main Street Rag, POND
(impspired—UK), as well as The Tree That Lights The Way Home (Antrim House).
Besides SOFTBLOW, John's work has been widely published and has appeared in
Prairie Schooner, The Cortland Review, American Life in Poetry, Praxis, The New
York Quarterly
, Paterson Literary Review, The Laurel Review, The Caribbean Writer,
Blue Mountain Review, Rust + Moth, Tar River, Poetlore, Rattle, Hawk & Handsaw,
Plainsongs, Patterson Literary Review, Potato Soup Journal, and many others. His
work has been translated into Italian and appears widely in Italy, including in El Ghibli,
Journal of Italian Translation (ed. Bonafini), Poetàrium, and others. His translator is
the Italian poet, Angela D'Ambra. His nonfiction has been published in Literature and
, Stone Coast Review, Ovunque Siamo, Adelaide, Scarlet Leaf, Evening Street,
Potato Soup Journal, The Red Lemon, after the pause, and others. John is the Flash
Fiction Editor of Abstract Magazine TV, and has read at venues all over New England,
including the Mystic Arts Café, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, Hartford Stage,
and many others. For many years, he coordinated the Fresh Voices Poetry Competition
for Young Poets at Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, Connecticut (USA). John was
also a "teaching artist" for the national poetry recitation contest, Poetry Out Loud; he
spent a decade with Poetry Out Loud. A former Wesleyan University Etherington Scholar,
and New England Poet of the Year (1998), John was awarded an Artist Fellowship in
Creative Non-Fiction—2021 from the Connecticut Office of the Arts for work on his new
memoir. He presently teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester,
Connecticut, and lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry (USA).


Patience is the best remedy for any trouble.

Just this once don't listen, don't watch,
don't do anything except drown in the crescendo,
the freaky June humidity come too early
to not be taken too seriously
until it brings you to your knees.

Let me help you.

I have tried to capture
that slick villain, patience.
I've waited on shabby, rotted porches
where moonlight lay in splinters
on the leaves of black plants
and in white rooms
where the walls were slippery
with the sweat of another season's rude arrival,
and lately on a hilltop over a valley
into which I've reached
far too often for the impossible,
the idea of patience,
the flimsiness of words,
over and over again.

And what I draw out this time
is wood thrush,
stillness not mine,
everything the way I remember it,
and when I speak it is to utter
I have forgotten what it was I came to say.

Early Fall

And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves...
—Virginia Woolf

The landscape curls,
the tired leaves warp,
and honey bees,
their yellow baskets bulging,
mine the cobblestone streets of sunflowers.
The branches of the apple tree are bowed,
and the apples,
each a cratered planet,
fall from the sky,
as in the woods
late flowers appear like new tattoos.

They all do something different
to the air into which they rush.
Goldenrod, a swirling Roman candle.
Thoroughwort and sweet Joe-Pye weed,
architecture of coarse domes
the color of blood,
the color of moonlight.
Queen Anne's Lace,
noiseless island of bootlace.
Jewelweed, succulent and poised for flight.
All a bit rough around the edges,
all a little bulked up
as the nights cool
and the chilled dew
shines through morning
and even splashes the new afternoon,
while Asiatic day flowers,
with that single chance to fleck the path
with blues,
remind me that light stays for a moment,
that things vanish,
and that soon winter will carve the windows
into stars of ice,
mementos of luminous sunlight.

The Storm

When the storm rips you to pieces,
you get to decide how to put yourself
back together again.
—Bryant H. McGill (Simple Reminders)

The rain is vertical
Chimes of bamboo swim in the wind
The road has vanished
beneath the coral of trees


I prefer the storm to unopened letters
and the muffled voices of words
to the moments we tried to save
the photo consuming itself
the brown ash left behind


Into the wet grass
is absorbed the siren and the pain
the silence of the moon after thunder
lightning's stain
the dreams of the dog by the fireplace
the flames that encircle the wood and split the bark
releasing the wood's orange voice
the marriage of the voice
to the words we slur in the wind


An aura rests in the branches
The window is open
and the room blooms with ice
A branch touches my face
Flutes empty their music on my pillow
The children sleep in the half-light of lightning


The storm is the mirror
which reflects the faces in the ground

The storm is the flowers
whose scent colors satin

The storm is the wind
suffering down the leaves
the voices
the echo of lost sound

The storm fills the empty room
the way the glass eyes
of the doll left in the road
fill with rain

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