Poetry: John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone
Sound of Silence

It’s Friday evening at the mall
filled with weekend cacophony
of young folk in the food court.

Background noise is not soothing
white hiss or gray, not even a pink
buzz of beehive voices cathedraling

the mall, but a clatter of junk food
pans punctuating the ambiance.
I sit in the middle of the raucous

watching a long table full of silence:
arms, hands, fingers in rapid motion
scripting quiet words. In awe,

I see-hear the boisterous deafness,
the rattle-scoot of metal chairs
across blue & white tiles—their scrapes,

a grate to my ears—as they slide
into different slots, arranged in circles
for the group, so that anxious students

in an ASL class can sign to others
from the deaf school across town
to practice their new language.

There must be bliss in quiet places,
blessings for not hearing
senseless noise. But I am not deaf.

I wonder about this silence,
even in the anechoic chambers
of my imagination, I still hear

my thoughts course, my heart’s
snare, the drumming
high-pitched roar of blood.


Is there a place in the infinities
where I can see your thoughts, hear them
in the recesses, in the folds of my mind,

or taste your atoms, savor all your
up and down quarks—you, a wavefunction
resonant with my soul?

What makes us up matters
both in what we see and that which is dark.
We are held together by it all.

There could be no greater intimacy,
yet, I want a world saturated
with your touch, the marvelous

feel of your lips.


Finding love is like solving a quadratic equation. Sometimes the solutions are real, sometimes imaginary, sometimes complex—the roots are thus, the zeroes—this is where life’s function asking all the why’s intersects with the unknown, that X-axis, a lifeline extending even unto the infinities.


A dead possum on the asphalt
on my way to Sunday school

wisps steam from red entrails
into the cool air inviting vultures.

They fold their wings over
the still warm carcass as if in prayer.

Yesterday, a drab brown sparrow
escaped the claws of death, but the fire

red cardinal wasn’t as lucky,
nor the rabbit that scampered

under someone else’s tires. Vultures
and crows always seemed thankful

for the accidental deaths. For what
other purposes are the scavengers?

St. Paul says all things have a soul,
even the stars. Heaven is full of them

each with its own story, like Corvus
the crow listening for whispers,

scavenging the dark for light.

Virtual Reality

           After the surreal image ‘Brainyo’ by Dana St. Mary

Things to do inside a scribbled mind
is to see yourself within the matrix
of neurons mirroring your delusions
of a twenty first century schizoid man.

Loop around the polygon bubbles
of your mind where the cerebral cortex
used to be. Do you sense the Thorazine
inside each little triangle of memory?

By the red dilation of your pupils, I can tell,
yes. Your thick-lipped gauzy grunts verify
you’re in hypothalamus hyper-drive—fear
overtaking non-sensibility at one-tenth
                                the speed of light.

Your primitive impression says it all,
though amidst color confusion—reds
yearn to be purple, greens transform
to brown, and the sunshine yellow

of your past shines hope—that’s the latent
vestige of your humanity… before
you sold your soul to the Government.

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