2 Poems – Anthony Barilla


That nestling got
a wisp of thread

underneath its
hungry head

blamed the mother
and the body

hung-ered there–
an anchor to
its nest

and medieval
warning to
the rest

of us–naked on
our city walls.


Object Lesson

As I was saying
besides honeysuckle
There was part
of a porn magazine
down there

Its pages stuck
from being out

In the damp.
If you tried to open
them the color came off.

Just white paper
speckled black
with mildew


So you had to be
content with
the cover.

When I look at it
now “content” is
a strong word.

In the poem

May appear larger
than they are.

You will be visited
by a blind piano
tuner and ever

Believe this is the way
the world works.
As I was saying

Honeysuckle climbed
the wall you jumped
to get down

In the ditch

On the empty
lot across
the street

From the Frenchman
with three daughters.
Their names all rhymed,
and each was more
than the last

And each was just old
enough to get paid
to tuck me

In to bed.

I still can’t pass
a honeysuckle vine
without wanting
to pull the buds off
and stick them

In my mouth.

Lots of things stay
with you that aren’t
that important.



Author Bio: Anthony Barilla is a musician, writer, and performance artist based in Houston, Texas. He makes interdisciplinary works. He has written music for theaters around the U.S. and regularly creates compositions for national radio program This American Life. He writes songs for his band with Dutch singer Merel van Dijk, and is currently collaborating on a new musical with her and playwright Mickle Maher, to premier in Houston in the spring of 2018.

The author: zlis@iastate.edu