Outside in a Vatican Terraza

Sy Roth has been previously featured on the In Parentheses blog.

Outside in a Vatican Terraza

the Vatican, twisted frame,
drapes cool stones,
in a shaded terrace.
Beggars, penitents come and go.
Refuse swirls in soft, cyclonic breezes.
Cane inscribes a rhythmic rune in the stony air,
eyes plead penitential alms,
their feet claw the ground
neigh disapproval.
Fingers clutch their wallets.

Lon Chaney Sr. supine, invisible,
beggar’s boils force revulsion.
Only a tick-tocking cane,
eternal, penurious chroniker,
strikes the hour
when a magdalen passes him
a cellophane-wrapped sandwich.
He buries it in a cleft in his coat,
knotted left foot inching round.
A gypsy woman rises mystically from her place.
Like a baton, he passes the repast,
she slinks back to her spot two meters away.
Left foot recoils like a rattler,
cane hissing.

the beggar scratches the lumpish boils,
pregnant hillocks among the briar patch on his skull.
Pendulum-skritching cane beats a cadence,
gypsy’s clasped hands shake a mama-mia
ragtime prayer aloud to the haloed virgin
resting in her euro-empty tray.

Virgin cradles her moribund son.
Lambs march by making their signs.
Swiss guards stand rigid in doorways,
in motley, lances at the ready.

the ormolu shines like a sun gone nova.


_ About Sy Roth:

He comes riding in and then canters out. Oftentimes, the head is bowed by reality; other times, he is proud to have said something noteworthy. cRetired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, he now resides in Mount Sinai, far from Moses and the tablets. This has led him to find words for solace. He spends his time writing and playing his guitar. He has published in many online publications such as Poetry Super Highway, Millers Pond Review, Earthborne, Nostrovia, Cyclamens and Swords, The Germ, Rockhurst Review, Toucan, Wilderness Interface Zone, Red Ochre, Bong is Bard, Danse Macabre, Mel BraKe Press, Larks Fiction Magazine, Exercise Bowler, Otoliths, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, brief, The Weekenders, The Squawk Back, Bareback Magazine, Dead Snakes, Bitchin’ Kitsch, Peripheral Surveys, Scapegoat Review, The Artistic Muse, Inclement, Napalm and Novocain, Euphemism, Humanimalz Literary Journal, Ascent Aspirations, Fowl Feathered Review, Vayavya, Wilderness House Journal, Aberration Labyrinth, Mindless(Muse), Em Dash, Subliminal Interiors, South Townsville Micropoetry Journal, The Penwood Review, The Rampallian, Vox Poetica, Clutching at Straws, Downer Magazine, Full of Crow, Abisinth Literary Review, Every Day Poems, Avalon Literary Review, Napalm and Novocaine, Wilderness House Literary Review, St. Somewhere Journal, Carcinogenic Poetry, The Neglected Ratio, Windmills Magazine and Kerouac’s Dog. One of his poems, Forsaken Man, was selected for Best of 2012 poems in Storm Cycle. Also selected Poet of the Month in Poetry Super Highway, September 2012. His work was also read at Palimpsest Poetry Festival in December 2012. He was named Poet of the Month for the month of February in BlogNostics. Included in Poised in Flight anthology published by Kind of Hurricane Press, March 2013. A Murder of Crows named Poem of the Week in Toucan.


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