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The Author Is Dead

Juliano Zaffino - The Author Is Dead - Blog

Hiding

Juliano Zaffino

‘Elevated by novelty and contact highs, / Clutching the lampshade above my bed, / So made up and undisturbed’

‘Elevated by novelty and contact highs, / Clutching the lampshade above my bed, / So made up and undisturbed’

I’ve been hiding from you
From city to city, sleepless nights compounded
Through hotel corridors and hailing departures,
In a vague and warm delirium
Embracing every vessel in my stead,
Some higher being fully formed, fully functional,
Unrelated to the body that grounds me
Elevated by novelty and contact highs,
Clutching the lampshade above my bed,
So made up and undisturbed

I want to do good in the ways that I can
But you are waiting for me,
In the way that you do, that says “you cannot escape forever”
Even as I’m staring down a bright new future –
You are a silhouette in the distance
Beckoning, threatening,
But I will not loose my grip on the acts I have witnessed
To let you hide the sun at my back again, diminishing;
The world will be only ever golden things
And rushes of brilliance marching, onwards

I’m coming home to you
Tomorrow
I just want to have one more weightless moment
Another chance to rest revolving feet
To be the most myself I’ve ever been
To make you the tiniest landmass ever seen
Before you embrace me as my heavy pet drooling, biting,
When you mark me again,
When I am all yours,
The slate of that elated sky wiped clean.

Three Sonnets

Juliano Zaffino

‘… And I am all but helpless before it, / This compulsion to consume everything, / To enter and annihilate the world...’

‘… And I am all but helpless before it, / This compulsion to consume everything, / To enter and annihilate the world...’

“The sonnet has been dead for centuries”
Is a good title for the first sonnet
In a detached modern sonnet sequence
Written ironically to fuck with you;
The opening number will double up,
An overture for grave disappointment
And a monument erected with hate
To usher in the revenant sequence.
Every buried sonnet now uprising
Against the dictatorial device
Of shifting public tastes and fantasies,
Artful worship of popular living.
This sonnet is a god resurrected,
Giving its life so all sonnets may live.

*

I don’t notice your presence in the crowd
Until some twenty-seven minutes through,
Long after I had laughed myself silly,
Defences and pretences forsaken.
I sit directly in your sights, bird-like,
Accidental quarry stuck squirming slow
Under your devastating maybe-gaze,
My unworthiness ever magnified.
When the show is over I flee my seat
Hoping for the cleanest homeward exit
Stricken by the sight of your back, so close,
The threat of our contact overwhelming.
Yours is a power great and terrible
That reduces me to useless nothing.

*

Images divorced from meaning fly out
Spectral from blue-lit phone screens merciless,
Throwing up necessity in my lap
On endless journeys towards ingestion;
Underground hurtling, head fairly hurting,
Taken in by every advertisement –
Eyes greedy eating every printed word,
Sickened by this sensory overload.
A desire to devour dictates
And I am all but helpless before it,
This compulsion to consume everything,
To enter and annihilate the world.
Give me your eternal conversation,
Let me savour every second with you.

A Summer Trilogy (In A Heatwave In 2018 / Soft Furnishings / Summer Ambition)

Juliano Zaffino

'The summer and I dance / With hands enfolded together / As a monument to possibility.'

'The summer and I dance / With hands enfolded together / As a monument to possibility.'

In A Heatwave In 2018

I’m nostalgic for shivering myself to sleep
Inching ever closer to your thrumming skin.
In these summer months when air threatens
A gulf opens up between us and I never know
When or how we’ll bridge the human distance.
For a time I’ll sleep in some other person’s bed,
On a sofa or the floor, if you can part from me,
If you can bear the ever unforgiving touch
Of my unconsciously glacial back facing you.
There is the you I am writing to and the you
I started writing about and you are not the same.
It’s the middle of July and I’m already thinking
About grey winter mornings and waking up with you.

*

Soft Furnishings

“You owe it to yourself
To be more than just soft furnishings”,
Is a thing I think you say jokingly
– I know it is –
But it is a thing I feel infinitely deeply
When I lie down to sleep, when I wake,
When I am buying food that makes me miserable.

I think of all the times I furnish other people’s lives –
Knotted doormat
Bruised doorhandle
Filthy sink
Sturdy table
Twenty step-ladders
Change-tables for the infancy of malice
A flag locked up in the closet ­–
Satanic shopping list living, seething.
I tell myself I’m a centrepiece
But even the consolation prize is glorified waste.

It is easy to take and it is easier
To be taken from, to be moulded,
And much harder to love another
With yourself in equal measure,
Not to just debase yourself for their gain.
The gift of concrete value
Is a new and holy sustenance
That I will crave perpetually from your lips.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
And I am holding your eye in mine,
The sheen of a playful fake tear
Telling much more than it means to,
Reaching out with recklessness saying
“I have also made myself an accessory”
And in the silence we acknowledge that.
The thing I told you first, I think jokingly
– I know it was not –
Is that I would be a pillow for you,
That I would hold your head up,
That I would tell you all the things
That you could not tell yourself.

And in this moment we are both of us
Softly furnishing the others’ home
With mirrors brimming full of love
And curtains keeping rays off
And the gift of wall-space big enough
For a thousand painted portraits
We will make of each other, beholding.

*

Summer Ambition

I want to achieve a new level
Of purposeful ambiguity
When I write about the summer
It is really a lover
I court and capture in my sleep.

The summer and I dance
With hands enfolded together
As a monument to possibility.

The heat of the summer
Makes me undress at odd times
And leaves me hopeless
With all the things it keeps
Pent up inside of me, the rage,
The promise of hotter tomorrows.

The summer makes me wish
That I was beautiful unreservedly
And friction could melt the excess
Leave me with nothing
But love and sweat and longing
For an endless summer swelter
And a ceasefire on real meanings
Of the words I mean when I speak
That this summer has made me.

"There are Sunday nights"

Juliano Zaffino

'to be alive is to be constantly fishing'

'to be alive is to be constantly fishing'

There are Sunday nights
I feel so lethargic
To be alive is to be so lethargic
I look for sympathy in corners
I run from weekdays by candlelight
What does it mean to have meaning
And to go to bed not knowing
That you have wasted your life today
And tomorrow isn’t looking good either
To be alive is to be constantly fishing
For feeling in conversations
You have no investment in
And singing songs in your head
To visions of holy clashing bloodshed war
Wonder why, wonder when the day will come
To be alive is to be, constantly,
And to be aware of that in acute ways
Road-rage screaming your voice away
Wishing you’d starved yourself again today
So at least you could feel accomplished
With a headache and a justified emptiness
Instead of this engorged parasite
Detached from its host, crumpling
To be alive is to sleep a third of all time
And break the rest beneath a fist

Is There So Much

Juliano Zaffino

'Singing hymns together forever, / I love the sound of us together'

'Singing hymns together forever, / I love the sound of us together'

Chaos and the summer soul deliver us
In the sunlight under blue skies
I can feel the joy radiating from you,
Reverberating body as you cry here,
Heaving, a living goddess looking
Dead in the eye and you,
Singing hymns together forever,
I love the sound of us together
And the sight
And the spirit
And the triumph

Chaos from our human hurting hearts
Propel us like atoms we are jostling still
Fury, euphoric cattle herded godwards
Dancing our feet into the ground planted
Like the thunder we are summoning
So keep going limbs languoring skyways
Digging roots they will not be torn asunder
Under the blueskysunsetduskendmoon
In the company of several thousand strangers
And a friend
And a spectre
And a goddess

Chaos as a scream in motion
To carry on with all that dancing, atoms,
Until the last left living among us
Collide a final time, break apart entirely
To become sub-atomic nothings,
The air and the sound and the sweat,
Music divorced of silent bodies,
Forgotten grief and funerals,
Stormbringer washing clean the chaos, god,
And the roads
And the hills
And the buildings
And the places, you