Manzano Mountain Review is an online New Mexico literary journal affiliated with UNM-Valencia.

Three Poems

by John Casquarelli 
(and Inna Dulchevsky)

The innocent brilliance that occurs
when the western light glances on
girders and you realize that not all
experiences come with student loans.
That it’s fine to be dangerous. To fly
past centuries of doubt in silk robes,
taking pleasure in being lost, weaving
diasporas from sunset awnings.
This is how I remember you most
daughter of Icarian magic, mist
rolling off your shoulders and
lashes that hide one hundred years
of tears that cleansed the native sorrow
when the exiled children in us
reached the forbidden city, battered
and blistered, but harkening back to
Adrienne’s words, “Don’t let the
solstice fool you: our lives will
always be a stew of contradictions,”
appearing and fading, conflicted
before the pen ever touches the page.

Cla$$ War
this is faux love mixed with work stress
political Ping-Pong billboard advertisement
invasion of public space and parading on
red carpets screaming diamond jewelry
overproduction bank bailouts
high fences and ricochets from
police gunshots penetrating protesters
while kleptocracy is stroked in board rooms
and the Congress Brothel where they’re known
for rimming their lobbyists
reaching for that Wall Street caviar
amid the music of mad consumerism
knowledge commodification and blue blinking lights
that drown the voices of imprisoned poets
whose sunsets eyelid kisses stars and whales
hum on students’ tongues often unrewarded
in its gaze and inventions so that you might
think military intervention is another word
for gravity when the conditions for confinement
are not an ethical mandate in a free trade market

 by John Casquarelli and Inna Dulchevsky
Delicate evenings in the company
of streams and boulders, with
Lorca’s moon dripping on
cinnamon rooftops. The hem of
your dress slightly torn from spreading
webs of wavelets. These are reminders
that the path to the drizzly pines often
come in conflict with colorless rooms.
Dizziness from the colors and the
flamboyant voices dissolving in music,
dizziness from the Champagne swallow,
comprehending this fantasy’s edge
that I am falling from. A sensation as if the
water wheel grabs its way and hurls such
fantasies onto a spine, spreading over the
horizontal axle. My heart is exposed by the
cauldron of sheltered pain of doves, gray
and ambivalent. Hectic feathers falling from
balconies, vanishing between tight shoulders
and people’s emotions. I hover above
wine bubbles. Walk towards you, V-neck
chiffon frees my birthmark as I enter the door.
We touch in moments when we hunger
for resurrections. Two willows dangling
in-between worlds of being and nothingness,
where half-chances are mystic biology.
Love, livid, lucid living out of love is an
attachment fused by etymology.
I enter a word through metaphor and
moonlight, expecting that you’ll be
there waiting. Perhaps the petals will
emerge from the translucent stalk
in a soundless loop, where all desires are
meaningless, where recalls of the past are like
the silent movies about someone I’ve never been.
Sudden muttering, distant mumbling, here they are!   

When I peel layers from my memories
I find a child terrified, having conversations with
wounds, asking the scabs, “What is madness
like in the big hush when my patience runs out?”
Those once curvaceous hips were my
confectioner’s sugar titillating light.
For a minute, there was hope that poured
like plasma, naked and raw, crushing doubts
under my feet as I danced, circling within a cloud
of dust. Plath wrote, “There is no mercy in the glitter
of cleavers,” and, in this truth, each dead child is coiled by a serpent on the cruel marble floors of a mausoleum.

John Casquarelli is the author of two full-length collections: On Equilibrium of Song (Overpass Books, 2011) and Lavender (Authorspress, 2014). He is the Chairperson of the Santa Fe chapter (The Santa Fe Poetry Trails) of the New Mexico State Poetry Society (NMSPS). He received his MFA in Creative Writing at Long Island University-Brooklyn. John was awarded the 2010 Esther Hyneman Award for Poetry, 2016 Kafka Residency Prize in Hostka, Czech Republic, and a 2017 residency at the Writer's Room of The Betsy Hotel on South Beach. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.
Inna Dulchevsky spent her early school years in Belarus. She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. She was awarded First Prize in the 2014 David B. Silver Poetry Competition. Inna’s work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Storm Cycle: Best Poetry of 2015, The Otter, First Literary Review – East, Pyrokinection, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocain, The Mind[less] Muse, The Cannon’s Mouth, New Poetry, Calliope Magazine, Calliope, and elsewhere.  Her interests include psychology, philosophy, meditation and yoga. The light and expansion of consciousness through the connection with inner-self and nature are essential in the writing of her poetry.