Poetry by Davide Angelo



To tame and cure this trembling house

The owners have lovingly cancelled out the roadway

With whale songs in door hinges, steady Balearic beats

And downtempo deep house soundscapes.

Built in 1950 and meticulously updated by an old friend

Who came to mend a broken affection and smudged

‘Unstable elements’ with a burning offering of sage

Because surely, someone must have died here.

The house’s heart lies at the very end of a long corridor.

The beginning of the universe is buried right under our feet.

If frogs are known as indicator species, take one through

The generous living room as an indicator of future happiness.

We’re most vulnerable at both ends of the arrow.

Inside the open fireplace, glass is an unbreakable honeyed mass,

At its most fragile as it spools and cools into form, invisible 

Until it cracks against the wings of sparrows.



‘… one of them caught our eye, the one in the centre… heading towards the mountains…’

         Werner Herzog, Encounters at the End of the World


The mountain is not indifferent

to our incantations or the slow rumble 

of magma that wakes the wilderness’ malice.

My eyes are the first in 30,000 years

to see pigment blown over hollow bones 

on the cave’s face.

Last night I dreamt I carried my own hands. 

But why?

The city of gold exists 

because we trust our eyes. 

There was a time when we were first

spoke the very first word

told the first lie, made the first kill

felt the first wave of remorse

only to forget for the first time.

Who imitated the cicadas first

stole their tymbals, climbed the tree

and made the first drum?

I storyboarded this dream

a jump cut      the signal cycle      two rhythms

                      of the traffic light

                      tick              tick         tick

and the red hand      

on the red man

could be the same hand 

making art in blood

and memory.

One of them catches my eye

the one in the centre

heading towards the mountain

to the soundtrack of eagle screams 

and leopard growls

and like him, I want to live 

between actuality and narrative

– humiliating the landscape.

Beating his own breast

drinking from the opened ground

the first monkey climbs him, claims him 

as the mountain.


About the contributor

Davide Angelo’s poems have appeared in various Australian literary journals. In 2019, he was awarded Second Prize in the Melbourne Poets Union International Poetry Prize and longlisted for the University of Canberra Vice Chancellor’s International Poetry Prize.

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