Poetry from Dennis Barone

Image via Unsplash


Travel dislodges her from the city.
In a house, another young struggle
For a country, a better life.
Into a house, this great economic
Wealth: in rural communities
Newcomers liked to talk with Alice,
Fretted over woodland, cars. She
Asked them to be assertive, to
Be self-reliant; in a few weeks,

Mobile. In a world where a wife’s
Artistic interests did not bruise
Long periods of time, it is not
Hard to see the complexity of
Experience, this mathematical
Satisfaction, tense and anxious.
Ambushed, worried, beginning to
Have pains – the usual picture;
The old, stable church, the anger

Of other women. A rough, competitive
World, the day’s battle, traditions:
These mobile parents have not deliberately
Tormented Alice’s weekend. They felt
She had her keys in the ignition
Lock. Her children’s self-confidence and
Muscle often start on the road. In
Trouble, others join new clubs, keen
To keep up. Alice was beginning to

Depend on strong-minded neighbors.
They were all patient, producing
Anything for the trapped. Builders
Everywhere! Alice in the mornings
Walked out to take the wheel
Feeling of success, building the beginnings
Of recognition. She was powerfully
Multiple in the boom-and-bust. She
Aroused her new home. In a local

Restaurant, something she said,
Something she had begun to think
Waned and companionship troubled her
No longer. Machines handled error,
This fear of a neighbor’s waiting at
Home. There is another difference:
Alice got them grape juice and some
Little League teams and Cub Scout
Dens. And then Alice moved to this

World of travail and strife, this
Average parkway character. The
Prosperous people had concrete curbs
And sidewalks, woods lined a large
Open field. Sometimes everything
Came to bricks and debris. Alice
Answered her friend, but at the front
Door a blond mother of two children
Prevented the normal turnover seen

Coast-to-coast. It’s ridiculous! And
The doors were open to all on Sunday
Mornings. It was apparent that
An extremely important conference
With the cast would have issued
Brochures for political rallies across
Town. Disappointed, Alice produced
Six alternatives. She was told not to go
Back. One woman expected a moment’s

Prevention: the exchanges were never
Judged. A small section of homes
Found a resident to adopt, to plan,
To turn carefully. If all the people
Were asked for another sponsored
Night, their status might put a burden
On relations more vitriolic than
One of the scars in this community.
Lead the way, many urged. But Alice

Shrugged off the coffee and wrote
A four-page letter to show respect for
Other members. Hidden money added
An episode that forced everyone
Present to find an idea in their private
Struggles. The highest percentage, some
Thought, mix well in the house next-door.



Dennis Barone’s latest book is Beyond Memory: Italian Protestants in Italy and America (SUNY 2016). Quale Press published his prose collections Sound/HammerField ReportNorth Arrow, and Precise Machine. Recently he edited two poetry collections: Garnet Poems: An Anthology of Connecticut Poetry Since 1776 (Wesleyan UP) and New Hungers for Old: One-Hundred Years of Italian-American Poetry (Star Cloud P).

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