Poems By David Cappella [Who Is Among Poets & Writers March 10 At Fiddleheads]

January 25, 2007

David Cappella lives in the town of Manchester, CT. He is an Associate Professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He has co-authored two books on the teaching of poetry with Baron Wormser: Teaching the Art of Poetry: The Moves (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000) and A Surge of Language: Teaching Poetry Day to Day (Heinemann, 2004). He is the winner of the 2004 Bright Hill Press Poetry Chapbook Competition, of which the first poem was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has published poems in The Connecticut Review, The Bryant Literary Review, Diner and other journals.

Cappella is one of several poets and writers who will be appearing Saturday, March 10, at Fiddleheads Natural Supermarket in Litchfield. Other poets and writers on the bill include Jim Scrimgeour, Tom Hazuka, Ravi Shankar and Elizabeth Thomas. Opening for the poets and writers will be a jazz combo made up of local teenagers.

  • Fiddleheads Market

  • Love like a stone

    I have sunk to the bottom of my heart.
    Like a stone picked up from an old gravel road,
    tossed into a fast-flowing stream,
    mired in river bottom mud.

    The current that washes over me, perhaps
    forever, washes me in regret.
    I love a woman who does not love me.

    You pick up a stone, sun-warm, dry
    to the touch, from the gravel road.
    You fling it into the rushing stream.

    Changed forever, it lies below
    the surface, irrevocably altered, but a stone
    still, granite, intact, invisible as a soul.
    I changed a stone the way love changed me.

    The Walnut

    Consider the walnut
    its crenellation, its meat
    like a miniature human brain
    that you chew; a nut
    that imitates a cerebellum.

    Consider the flesh of the brain
    which you will never see
    except as splotches of color
    on a CAT scan prior to diagnosis
    of cancer, if you are diagnosed
    with brain cancer, or are, instead,
    told that your headaches,
    stress related, can be controlled.

    Consider how the flesh of the brain
    responds to the positive news
    that today you have not been told
    that you will surely die,
    though some people, a lucky few,
    do, in fact, survive brain cancer
    but not the daughter of a colleague
    who withered away after months,
    eighteen to be exact, of various treatments
    and you had coffee with him,
    her father, and watched him cry
    every Friday between sips
    over the fact that he would outlive
    his darling, his beautiful darling,
    only twenty-eight, and a nurse,
    if you can believe so much in Fate.

    Consider the softness of the brain exposed
    how it was the spikes driven
    into her head, the ones that shoot
    streams of radioactive chemicals
    to kill the tumor and the person, too.
    He could not stop visualizing
    the spikes, like a weird punk hairdo,
    in his own brain. A type of crying, too.

    Consider the walnut cracked open
    two halves, broken, bicameral,
    like consciousness is broken
    when we cry, when we think
    and feel simultaneously, when
    we thank something called God
    (whose brain we cannot envision)
    that we are not dead, though
    we can watch someone wish
    he could die, could give his life
    in place of his daughter’s.

    Consider the taste of the walnut
    slightly bitter, not as bitter
    as the father’s view of life
    at this moment, crying and
    alone with Fate. The walnut
    flesh softly breaks in your mouth,
    the earthy tang deepens
    as you chew the meat;
    it sweetens slowly, you swallow,
    instinctively reach for a glass
    of Montepulciano to complement
    the subtle, nutty taste, a combination
    that soothes your brain, which,
    had it been cracked open
    and closely inspected,
    would not look like meat
    of a walnut at all, but would
    look like a hardened mass of gray,
    crenellated clay folds, inedible,
    except to other animals, maybe,
    though gourmands eat the brains
    of certain ruminants, would taste
    like nothing, which no doubt is
    how the coffee tastes to the father
    whose quiet tears have not stopped
    and who stares straight at you
    to ask the unanswerable, “Why?”

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