from Issue #2: Poetry by Paolo Fabrizio Iacuzzi (II)

Photo (CC) Chris_Parfitt @ Flickr

Photo (CC) Chris_Parfitt @ Flickr

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Paolo Fabrizio Iacuzzi’s poetry was translated from Italian into English by Theodore Ell. Scroll down to read selections from Atlante senza nome del giardino (Atlas of the Nameless Garden) in both languages.

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Da Atlante senza nome del giardino

Io non posso dire quale giardino sia mio
o tuo. E in questo atlante senza nome
del giardino siamo forse già stati affidati
alle cure dei posteri. Ma io conosco il giardino

che mio padre teneva intatto con gli iris
ciascuno separato in gruppi blu e bianche
schiere. Quando levandosi uno a primavera
più giallo del sole. Nel bianco si sentiva

il fremito dell’età giovane. Ed io sire nell’oro
sfilavo fra i bianchi alfieri con gli elmetti.
Padre non estirpare da quella schiera l’iris
giallo. Non far sì che ciascuno sia tra sé

e sé intollerante. Lascia che io adorando
lo veda in uno stuolo beato fatto di brina.
Il giardino se fiorisce non ha male. Il tuo
bene fa sbocciare ora lo stelo dell’iris.

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Iris come se piovesse. Una boscaglia di spade
di Toledo luccicanti. Iris che si stringono fra
l’erba che li infesta. Iris allineati uno accanto
all’altro come in un campo dove ci furono

i soldati a riposare nella morte. Corpi trafitti
da iris d’acqua di cenere di piombo. Come
tante lance mi persi un giorno in un ossario
azzurro chiaro. Come tante tibie fiorite erano

i compagni che stavano in campo di prigionia.
Allora mi appartavo dietro la casa nel garage
mentre ibridando per steli e steli e per semi
e semi. Volevo ottenere l’iris che fosse rosso

come la stella. E mescolando i geni e i gameti
e i pistilli. Io non ricordo più che cosa feci
per ridarvi un cuore rosso e palpitante. Io sì
ti ridetti vita campo dei miei compagni morti.

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Gli iris per passare in pace. Saranno stati
diecimila con le bandiere color degli iris.
Come tanti guerrieri che in spalla non tenevano
fucili ma iris di sette colori. Così trapassando

nell’Aldilà vedremo le stesse scene di ora.
Solo che i fiori si sprecheranno. Ma io non so
se coltivando iris dovunque. In conche
bidoni vasche tu volessi rendere omaggio

alla madre che in cielo ti vedeva. Quando
in una cosmogonia precoce rendevi grazie
ad Iside. Era il nome di tua madre. Ma piantando
gli iris forse tu volevi ritrovare il suo corpo

disperso. Iris gialli il fegato. Iris d’arancio
il pancreas. Iris blu i polmoni. Iris verdi le vene.
Iris viola le labbra. Iris d’indaco i suoi occhi.
Padre padre padre nel giardino innamorato.

***

From Atlas of the nameless garden

I cannot tell any more which garden is mine
or yours. And in this atlas of the nameless
garden maybe we have already been entrusted
to the care of our descendents. But I know

the garden that my father held together
with irises each one separated into blue groups
and white ranks. When in spring one rose which
was more yellow than sunlight. In the whiteness

you felt the quiver of youth. I was sire in the gold
marching between the white helmeted ensigns.
Father do not uproot the golden iris from
that rank. Do not make each one intolerant

among its own kind. Let it be so that adoring
I see it in a blessed crowd. Made of frost.
If it flowers the garden holds no evil. Now
your good makes the stem of the iris blossom.

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Irises as though it rained them. A wood of Toledo
swords glittering. Irises that crowd together
against the infesting grass. Irises lined up one
beside the other as in a field where soldiers

have rested in death. Bodies run through
by irises of water of ashes of lead. One day
as among so many lances I got lost in a clear
blue ossuary. As so many flowering shinbones

were the dear friends in the prison camp. So I
withdrew behind my house into the garage while
crossbreeding stem by stem and seed by seed.
I wanted to make the iris that was as deeply red

as the star. And mixing the genes and the gametes
and the pistils. I no longer remember what I did
to give you back a red and beating heart. I really did
restore you to life. Field of my dead dear friends.

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Irises to pass in peace. They would have been
ten thousand with the flag the colour of irises.
Like so many warriors who shouldered not rifles
but irises in seven colours. As we pass into

the Hereafter we shall see the very same scenes.
Only the flowers will be wasted. But I don’t
know if planting irises everywhere. In pots tubs
tanks you wanted to pay tribute to your mother

who watched you from heaven. When in an early
cosmogony you paid homage to the goddess Isis.
It was your mother’s name. But in planting irises
maybe you hoped to rediscover her body lost

among them. Yellow irises liver. Orange irises
pancreas. Blue irises lungs. Green irises veins.
Violet irises lips. Indigo irises her eyes.
Father father father in the garden in love.

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ABOUT THE POET

Paolo Fabrizio Iacuzzi was born in Pistoia, in western Tuscany, in 1961 and has lived in Florence since 1992. He has published four collections of poetry – Magnificat (1996), Jacquerie (2000), Patricidio [Parricide] (2005) and Rosso degli affetti [Red of affections] (2008) – which have increasingly focused on the frailty of the individual within violent cycles of history. Paolo has translated Frank O’Hara and Amiri Baraka (formerly LeRoi Jones) into Italian and has rediscovered and re-published numerous works of the poet Piero Bigongiari (1914-1997), whose archive he oversees. Paolo is Artistic Director of the Accademia Pistoiese del Ceppo, a literary academy in Pistoia, and chairs the Premio Letterario Internazionale Ceppo Pistoia, awarded since 1956. For information: www.paolofabrizioiacuzzi.it

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