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.