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Dan Sicoli


Dan Sicoli, of Niagara Falls, NY, writes about hope and the fallout that comes from offering it up. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks from Pudding House Publications (Columbus, Ohio), Pagan Supper and the allegories. In addition to co-founding/co-editing the literary press and magazine Slipstream, his work has appeared in a variety of litmags, e-zines, and anthologies including ONTHEBUS, Quercus Review, Chiron Review, Bop Dead City, Perfume River Poetry Review, Red Paint Hill Poetry Journal, Santa Fe Literary Review, Barbaric Yawp, Alpha Beat Soup, The Birds We Piled Loosely, EXPERIMEMENTOS, Architrave, 2River, Dressing Room Poetry Journal, Rock Salt Plum, Stirring, Up the Staircase, and Nerve Cowboy. He has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Currently, he can be found in local dives, saloons and barrelhouses banging on an old Gibson 335 with an area rock’n’roll band. In late summers, he oven-dries home-grown plum tomatoes.

forced smile

perhaps she’ll wake
before noon
before the sun is crowned

and yet something in me

“let her lay” you say
but it’s trying
for me

i want her to
own the dawn
like a barnyard rooster
or that damn Jack Russell across the street

it’s true
she’s earned
the quiet
and reprieve

and so
i tread

twinkle twinkle

stepping from the doorstep of the salon
she pouts with bright red lipstick and nail polish
wearing a pink t-shirt with ripped off sleeves
that declares “god loves porn stars”
in bold two-inch black letters
and i wonder if she hears voices as i pass
on a glitterless pine avenue in niagara falls

johnny make-believe waves from
across mid-day traffic
and i try to become small
to avoid his shop-worn banter
and quickly duck in a storefront vestibule

this city is too awkward to live
whole lives spent missing eclipses
foggy moons feed nothing but gypsy fortunes
and the lure of big sedans

by revamped market street
locals attend to needs
and recurring desires
the young speak too loudly and rudely
others mumble media slang
proudly renting their stupidity and
drinking heredity like an elixir

after reeling years to the night sky
they too will learn
stars do not accept prayers
weakened light reneges on sacred hallucination


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