top of page

Arturo Desimone




She hated the farms

reminiscent of childhood

smelly animals to be bred

or slain,

(she had not

had swimming lessons

I promised compensation

despite her insistence

on unified swimsuit)

night thunder rains push the black flowers

into the fields, star-wept Tunisian vineyards

she is asleep, black curly hair

snoring sweet

in my lap


Actors of the African Apuleyus' drama drive

as Tanith, the old goddess

before Mohammad's winged mule,

steps down amethyst staircase

in a one piece bathing suit in the sky


casts off her one piece,


the fields of vineyards

fold in rain


Tunisian wine that Lucius drank


to become free,

once trapped

in body of mule

ruminated, ruined

no more



Tell me one thing that I have moved

I write in the shade of tulips

tell me one thing that I have moved

I cannot write the lover poems for her now as she just left


I look at the red crowns

My heart is remembering the shape of her lips


what have I done



The megaphone man,

his hoarse chant, 

In her country, he raps about Husayn and His Martyred son Ali

Abu Akbar, 

La ilAh Ll ah ilahaa 

La Ila aaaaa

Mhd Rasul Allah 


Muezzin hypocrite, he thinks 

he harbors an angel of judgment 

in his throat.

If the dead still have any ears left—


Surely he has swept 

the vineyards to vinegar

( the new cars remain intact

after his diluvian cry.)


Shamhat was not herself yesterday

Was I another refuge, yesterday?


I worry the light of megaphone man's 

wrong plough-share

has reached and corroded the light.


Painters capture light, turning their asylum 

to pilgrimage

Light, that only

happens to fall on the dim here. In a Zoroastrian poem I can state these

words: light and dark

red and black

not changing them to objects, symbols,

the dark into a rabbit, for example, 

and the light tricked into a fish of gleaming scales.


The raking voice, humbling the parking lots

wants to turn our wine to vinegar,

I want to save our wine,

our love. 

He courts vinegar. He abandons the vineyard to the sun and the cats on the roof. The muezzin 

himself, is a grand meower.


It is much too early for chatter

for spring stolen by martyr talk

for Eurydice, or Persephone's hate and fear

on the voice-recording answerer machine

fitting in the palm of a hand no longer legible

to gypsy ladies taking money

in more florid ways.


It is too early

for again Sarai and Hajar and their little scandal

over breakfast,

birthing two nations 

by accidents of love.

Just give me back the shadow of Persepolis,

where she and me first embraced.



Today it ended as it began, with listening to Chopin

the light, the force that was compressed, built to a flood

I wear an ark on one foot, the sole scarred

the soul scattered.

Let that tigress drown


How could she have ever loved me 

and spoken so cold, her blunt tongue a scorpion

its the smoking of blunts, clever is the freedom-fabrication ensuing:

inane speech, 

impulsive opinions, glass cerebral empty onions

of Amsterdam-bins.


Our love was wolfed up.

As if by hunger of invisible soldiers in winter

No, not romantic: as if by hunger of the bin-divers


Our love 

was walled up and I am the soldier who has nothing

sitting at his night-post, watch on fort wall 

chewing on a moon between my teeth

Soon I will feel it:

need of new nocturnes.

SOLDIER for the daughter called LOVE


I have heard the critiques

of the envious and stupid against her, Aphrodite

and swallowed beer, some pride,

In megalophantasies

I am an anarchist general who will put down the rebellions

kill the rebels who are against her, Aphrodite,


fill my rifle katyusha 

saddle my elephant with missiles

inscribed with poems like a hungry soul

and I hope she is not another demagogue,

like Ishtar, or Hera,

or Orcan, Modernity, or all the others

of megalophantasies, fed on shadows and Greek fire.

For I am weary of thinking critically

am filled with hatred and courage and want to fight,

murder the envious who sentenced medusa to rock

I prefer to be stupid before cautious

Aphrodite may your light

not split from the glory of your Cycladic body

I have been a butcher

so I may bring you the meat of the peacocks, the finest bird.

You will walk upon their feathers and not on the dirt road

during the day of revolution.


I have bled from my flamed wings

to un-shroud you from filth, cigarette pocks 

and hocks of hot spit they cast upon you 

before hurtling you over the miracle bridge near Larissa Station

like some cardboard, to be recycled into Peace and Justice.




The stone arch overhead

with its carved rainbow triangles containing

the staring Trinity Cyclops Eye

contains the temple of the Black Madonna,

like a carriage of a noblewoman

with a lacey veil


All the slavs,

discriminated plebeiat of

Lithuanian Vilnius, en masse struggle to see her


dark lips smile

the Black Madonna Ikon

the Polish pilgrims visit

bringing offerings of moths they carry

in their mouths and spit like coins of the apocalypse.

They pretending she is a black

Abyssinian Mary

But the ikon is


The queen of Sheba, dark skinned among her Jerusalemite sisters,

Shulamite, she seduced the playboy poet, Solomon himself,

made into a Slav believer. 


in her gold-sculpture-adorned bedroom 

Shulamite un-virginizes the Polish street youths, 

young laborers and orphan

curva-mouthed boys that are brought to her,

to have their first lay

in the divine chamber of silver and gold and wood amber-egged.

Her chamber spits out converts, like sparks. 

Men like duck-bones,

Men like peach-seeds


Did they notice the red hourglass tattoo

between her thighs,

also cut and dyed into a red hour-goblet?

They file out of the bed place of honor--

only integration or grace they will enjoy

as Polacks in Vilnius,

Chins up at the bleak and cold sky,

they are

feeling handsome and like real men,

now dare walk upright,

buy the Marlboros, (packs red and white


not red and black which means poisonous, like the river serpent

who no one may crush, lest they spell banishment, by Dvorak)

This honor, however is not for the unclean,

though both the clean and unclean slav-believers 

have the right to hear voices. Voices without

bodies clean the ears. Beyond that shared right,

they segregate:

the unclean and outcastes, 

stand and sit, lean on staffs or crutches, rocking under archon keystone


the city Gates of Dawn, A seat reserved them

at each juncture of the triangle 


the holy trinity eye 

and with it, the Knowing of Sophia.





At Gates of Dawn in Vilnius

ogre beggar,

reptilian-ocher-skinned, but just not leper thanks to despised traditions of Soviet medicine 

stretches his arm from lyra-formed ¥-crutch

coins sun-lit and un-lit


and cigarettes, ether-lit or un-lit 


won't suffice any time soon

to pay off ancient Debts

in the pagan eyes of the ferryman, pusher creditor

who takes the shades, of those like the pigeons without radiators fell in the poor winter


With a reasonable small checker-stack of Littas coins,

the afterlife carrier

will water-ferret the shades across

the river of the Snake.

they still shove the Littas under their eyelids,

under their tongues, like apocalypse coins to be spat in hell for avarice.

Desperate, those who are run out of eyelashes,

have run out of shade

in the radiant bulb of Judgment.


Near sundown,

a tourist walks by wearing

jackass-like scream frozen and tethered on his shirt 

and what he thinks are

hip souvenir glasses without lenses.

He bought them from Belarussians, at their market tent.

He is wearing eyes and keys, once lost.

The ogre spits out his coins

rips the glasses of the tourists' face 

and runs hobbled'y hob hob 

to dawn door

hoping for the canoe 

of pagan life, after

Arturo Desimone's poems and short fiction pieces have previously appeared in Counterpunch, New Orleans Review and  The Missing Slate. A recent artistic collaboration with the Netherlands-based Iranian film-maker Atousa Bandeh, brought his poetry into the video art film The Apology Triptych. Arturo was born and raised on the island Aruba, in the Dutch Caribbean, and is currently based between Buenos Aires and the Netherlands.



The poem "Oufa Hind" is from thee book, About a Lover From Tunisia.  The poems "Shamhat" and "Need for New Nocturnes" are from the poetry book about the courtship of Shamhat Shirazi, the exiled Persian-miniature-painter from Shiraz. 


bottom of page