Monte Reale/Mason’s Eucherist: by Bonnie McClellan


Tourists take photos while the faithful take communion.

The priest extends God

again and again.

within the cardboard flavoured

benediction of holy bread

He Is

reconstituted by faiths’ sanguine tongue.

The exchange of force:

the weighted wheel that rights itself

the pendelum

the cam shaft

the finger on the shutter button:

charged reflex of the aperture flash-writes the icons’ golden tesserae

to memory

again and again.

Monday, in the winding weekday of a suburban street:

The bread man drives a panel truck

newgreen once, now filmed with summer dust cast up from the road

innocent as the first stones that years ago

smacked off enamel chips and so

engendered oxides’ ruddy rose.

Chanting through the nasal static of a loud speaker

unintelligible words.

His rough square hands convey

in paper, through which butter has begun to soak,

delicate pastry filled with almond paste and dark chocolate

lightly dusted with powdered sugar, and then:

two swallows of thick, black coffee,

in a plastic dixie cup.

The 10 a.m. taste of salvation

again delivered to working men.

Marsala: Caulk it all up to Experience…

Back in a long ago summer I was working on a remodeling project in the suburbs of the Sicilian town of Marsala, a stunningly beautiful place where Garabaldi’s ‘mille’ made their first landing: the beginning of the work-still-in-progress known as Italian Unification.

Contrary to the myth one hears in Northern Italy, I saw southern Italian’s working hard from six in the morning until four in the afternoon with not much of a break. I recall, after lunch, laying down on the cool tile floor before launching into the next part of the project…and this poem about the often unsung pleasures of manual labour:

Caulk it all up to experience…

I’ve had enough silicone under my nails

To make a fertility goddess of a Hollywood starlette

(or at least to make five clean breasts of it).

You’d think I’d have the bank account

Of a Brazilian plastic surgeon by now…

Fat chance,

Folks don’t pay the big bucks

To have their tiles enhanced.

Will I list this work on my table of discontents?

It could be a Tuesday.

I could be anchored to an anonymous desk

In some downtown gratte-ciel looking out a window that isn’t there

Blinking against no sunlight, thinking:

“Out, out brief candle.”

“out, out.”


then, looking down at the shame of clean and idle hands:

“If only I had enough silicone under my nails

To make a fertility goddess of a Hollywood starlette…”

To read more of the back story click HERE.

Mon Reale/Mason’s Eucharist: by Bonnie McClellan

The written version of this poem has disappeared. If you’re wondering why, click HERE.

To listen to the podcast of this poem, click on the player below:

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