John C. Mannone

JCM LMU June 2015


John C. Mannone has work in Inscape Literary JournalWindhover, Drunk Monkeys, Artemis, 2016 Texas Poetry CalendarSouthern Poetry Anthology (NC),StillTown Creek PoetryTupelo PressBaltimore ReviewPedestal and others. Author of two literary poetry collections—Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing, Jul 2015) and Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wings Press, Dec 2015)—he’s the poetry editor for Silver Blade and Abyss & Apex, as well as the guest editor for the 2015 spring issue of Subprimal Poetry Art. He won the 2015 Joy Margrave award for creative nonfiction, the 2015 Tennessee Mountain Writers poetry award, and has been nominated three times for the Pushcart in poetry. He is a professor of physics in east TN. Visit The Art of Poetry:



Momma had a way with words

when she fashioned our meals

as if they were pieces of poetry.

Her flour-dusted, blue apron

draped over her polka dot dress


as she leaned over the porcelain

stove—blue flames ringing

the bottom of a soup pot. She’d taste,

season and stir the mineral rich

bone broth seething in the caldron.


Fava and lima beans swirled

with dark green escarole

as bones and brisket bumped

with potatoes & carrots. Onions

and celery ribbed the soup


along with acorn squash & yams

that signatured the Argentine

tradition. Corn-on-the-cob

bobbed with bay leaves and herbs.

The lid edged the pot just right,


like her momma taught her

in the old country. And later

she’d teach me the Spanish

and Italian palabras that go with

food, family and poetry. She’d sing


La Traviata while cooking. And

in the same high-pitched voice,

she’d cry out when it was time

for us to come to the table. Pappa & I

smiled as she ladled the brothy stew,


its vapors seeping over the lips

of blue-rimmed bowls, rising to the light

and mixing with her words:

Mangia, mangia tutte le cose.

Eat, eat it all… And we did.


Touch Me With Words


         And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture

         —Pablo Neruda



Since you cannot see,

         feel my kisses of poetry

                  caress your ears. Your breast


holds a heart that pants.

         Your lips quiver passion—

                  I am subsumed by whispers


of words, sensuous words arousing

         my heart. I am poured out.

                  What would be left


of us without these words,

         without the moist touch

                  of syllables


that drip life, flood senses


                  the longing?


Toque Me Con Las Palabras


         Y el verso cae al alma como pasto el rocío

         Pablo Neruda


Ya que no puedes ver,

         sentir mis besos de poesía

                  acarician tus oídos. Tu pecho


encierra un corazón que aspira. 

         Tus labios tiemblan pasión-

                  soy subsumidas por susurrus


de palabras, palabras sensual excitando

         mi corazón. Soy derramado.

                  Lo que habría quedado


de nosotros sin estas palabras,

         sin el toque húmedo

                  de sílabas


que vida por goteo, inundaron los sentidos


                  el anhelo?



A Psalm of Flowers


         After El Vendedor de Alcatraces

         —Diego Rivera (1941)



I have put all the lilies of the valley

in my basket, carry them with me.

And you, who have made them all,

are buried in the petals, lost

in the color, in the silk white texture,

in the smell lingering

over them, over me, with fragrance

of prayers brushing your feet.




Author’s note: The painting that inspired the poem is found here:



© The Acentos Review 2016