The Great Capelli Biondi:
An Epic of Sorts by Maria Genovese
A man was famous for riding unicycles
across tightropes while holding torches or bowling balls or
cats. At every exhibition there was a
Sicilian woman who roared "the umbilical cord was not like a
tightrope," so he was believed to enjoy spaghetti and have relatives in
Palermo. Italian Americans
called him "The Great Capelli Biondi,"
because when he was teetering on his rope all they could
make out was his blonde hair. One day,
Capelli Biondi prepared to unicycle across a tightrope
from the Empire State Building to Vermont
while listing colors found on Lowe's paint chips.
"Burnt cinnamon rust sepia." "Moss-covered
tadpole olive." "Oceanic mermaid eating stripped
bass ice cream cobalt." The strain of
verbalizing such ridiculous colors was too much for Capelli
Biondi, and he
Mamma Biondi pushed through the crowd and
shouted "He had brown hair! He had brown hair!"
Sure enough, near the unicycle-entangled
corpse, there laid a golden hat. "You know what this
means, don't you? I'll have to change my
name to Mamma Bruni." Today in the cemetery, there's a
tombstone that reads:
"The Great Capello D'Oro,"
next to which someone placed a can of
sad-colored paint called
"Capelli Bruni e Morti."
She tried to extract a poem.
She cracked her head open with a rock but
all the thoughts inside floated away like pearly, wet
balloons. She pasted her skull back
together, but not before half her brain plopped onto the
sidewalk. Then she took an exacto-knife
and carved out her heart. But the emotions inside
evaporated. Their bloody steam blinded her
and she dropped the heart on the sidewalk. But
she picked it up and, even though it was
covered with dirt and dog hair and a green tic-tac,
returned it to her chest cavity. Because
she now only had half a brain and a muddy, spearmint
heart, she stopped there. She forgot about
poetry, spent no more time searching for meaning.
From then on was she happy or sad or dead?
trapped in a tower
is happy to
tower is made of
When she walks up the winding staircase
she steps on chiseled
abdomens and pronounced jawbones and the
heels of her
stilettos pop pensive eyeballs. One night
she stands in front
of a mirror. She watches herself play the
air guitar while
The Shins sing "New Slang." A prince
appears at her window.
I've come to rescue you. Wanna go back to
my place? Let
me finish this song, she responds. I like
your air guitar. But
what's with all the bodies? Please be
quiet, she responds. She
finishes the song and body surfs across her
floor and into the prince's arms. Okay,
let's rock n' roll.
In a remote corner
of the store
I pick up the dusty metal box.
Just as expected: red, blue, yellow.
like the blade of a knife. Smoother.
My heart beats. I have to take a bigger
The handle teases, tortures me.
I turn it, spiral downward, as
psychotic plinks reverberate
The handle grows slick with the sweat of my
my open mouth
drags air into my lungs.
Any second now; the tune announces the
My hand shakes and slows upon the handle,
my eyelids pinch
and here it is…
Outside my mind nothing happens
but I still have to stifle a gasp.
Gradually my hands dry and my heart beats.
Then there is chilling
self-awareness, and silence deep within-
a moment of silence, both for the seconds
killed by fear and for
Jack, who is trapped inside his box.
And coffee has caffeine
New Year's Eve I resolved
to make progress
The night before he left
I said goodbye
Then I was sick
Sister's sad, Mother's sad, and Dad.
Plus I'm hungry, but that's better than
That's progress, sibling to decay
I trust it to continue even though
I decided not to place my green bracelet
inside his coffin that day…
I have never felt like this for so long a