Poems on Pinocchio

Pinocchio’s evolution



It started with the aglet of the lace

painted upon the left black shoe

on the foot of his carved leg.


After an unknown interval

an entire shoelace turned real,

moved  to an intrusive breeze.


The strings were still there

when behind a knot of wood

his heart began to beat.


The right eye moistened first,

saw the crease of flesh

and a single blue vein underneath.


One day the finger nail

of his right thumb

started to grow and curl.


A strand of blue-black hair

at the back of his head stirred;


a lash of his eye fell free, fluttered,

landed upon his wooden cheek.


The right foot bent, returned.

His left hand made its first fist.


His ears filled with wax

weeks before his bottom and top lips

cracked and split


and a full year, at least,

before the tongue, like a debutant,

shyly poked between.


It was a sunny day

when he first began to think;


rained heavily the afternoon

all his wood was finally skin,


yet the tale is easier told when,

with the wave of a wand,

and a hoarse whisper of a spell,

the puppet can speak.




After a day at school



Geppetto places a china bowl

of tomato soup on the rickety table,

rising steam covers tears threatening

to spill, ‘ridiculous old age weakness,’

the clock’s cuckoo calls the son home.


Beside the steaming bowl, a P

painted in bright red, his fingertips

touch the letter, he positions

a warm roll, plenty of melting butter,

just as his son likes it.


His hears the clicking of feet,

resists, as he does most afternoons,

the eager turn to the window to watch

his wooden son dance down the street –

a wooden creek making its way home.


His heart performs leaps

as he waits for the hand he carved

during lonely nights,

with only the singing crickets

as companions to his desire,


to take hold of the handle,

and turn the knob – the door

opens, the figure washed

into shadow by the streetlights’

blanket of fluorescent light.


‘Good evening papa,’

 that familiar falsetto

filling the empty room

is enough to drag an old heart

into bursting, springtime joy.









Pinocchio’s first date


Without strings decisions meander

into the darkness, twinkle as if a mirror

is behind each thought reflecting that

which lies behind. A key might be better,

turned by unseen hands so the coil is set

free and decisions spin to the tune

of burning rubber. The ballerina dances

in her box, in permanent night, waiting

for my call. I can picture her lips,

her small breasts and thighs more advanced

than my desire. I cannot dial the number!


I have splinters in my heart, my lips

are chewed by teeth holding back the words

I want to whisper. I can smell her ears -

their secret wax ready for my tongue,

a seal stronger than any kiss.


Her music haunts me.

The Hurdy Gurdy heart thumps.

It is a large step moving from child

to holding the ballerina’s hand.


Her eyes sparkle like light caught

along the edges of a serrated leaf.

I feel the future autumnal flutter

in the diminishing space between my legs.


We are an ocean pulled

by the memory of single cell moons

towards infinite repetition.








Catching up with Geppetto


In the roaring darkness, caught

in the boat’s rolling movement,

old Geppetto ignores his son’s greeting –

pits his voice against the sea, calls

the Creator of the Leviathan to help.


The son has no time to listen

to the old man’s pleas – believes

in the actions of desired flesh

not in the whims of fairies or forces

beyond his immediate control.


It shocks them both with delight

when the ocean answers -

or the whale does – and they

find themselves tossed

into the light of day.


The old man gives thanks

to his beliefs.

The son rows the boat

towards the distant shore,

amazed at life’s adventures.




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