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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


to his


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?





A princess                    trapped                                    in a tower

is happy                        to be                            trapped

  because                      her tower                      is made of

  men she                      found                           attractive

but stingy                          with                          themselves.

   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 macabre bedroom

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.

Smooth like the blade of a knife.  Smoother.

My heart beats.  I have to take a bigger breath.


The handle teases, tortures me.

I turn it, spiral downward, as

psychotic plinks reverberate deep within.

The handle grows slick with the sweat of my palm, and

my open mouth drags air into my lungs.


Any second now; the tune announces the time.

My hand shakes and slows upon the handle,

my eyelids pinch my eyes,

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.



One Night


In bed

Can't sleep

Poppy's dead

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


Can't sleep.

Sister's sad, Mother's sad, and Dad.

 Plus I'm hungry, but that's better than bulimic…


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 time.