Four Poems by Angela Consolo Mankiewicz

Mankiewicz05_2015smallBorn and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Angela Consolo Mankiewicz lives in Los Angeles. She has 4 chapbooks out, with the newest being  AN EYE, published by Pecan Grove Press and AS IF, from Little Red Books-Lummox. He work  also been included in the anthologies OBSESSION: SESTINAS IN THE 21st CENTURY (UPNE, 2014) and THE LONG WAY HOME (Lummox Press, 2009). Other publications include: FullOfCrow, Poiesis, CrackTheSpine, Brooklyn Voice, Long Poem Magazine (UK), PRESA, Voices de la Luna, PoetsArtists, Re)Verb, Sketchbook, Seldom Nocturne, Istanbul Literary Review, Arsenic Lobster, The Temple, Guyana Journal, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Hawaii Review, Cerberus, Karamu, Poetry Monthly (UK), Lynx Eye, Pemmican, Blind Man’s Rainbow, ArtWord; other recognitions include 2 Pushcart Nominations, a Grand Prize sestina from Trellis Magazine, a 1st prize from Amelia Press, and 2 award winners from Jersey Works and many others.

The Wound

A splinter has lodged itself
in your finger, not just any finger,
your middle finger, and not just any
splinter, the tip of a spine of a cactus
grounded in your garden a long time ago,
deceptively green and shrub-shaped
to lull you into dismissing tough,
leather gloves this one time

and this one time, one tip of one spine
pierced the top of your finger with a line-
drive slider, a slip below the nail,
where barely enough flesh covers bone,
leaving a dot at face value with nothing
for tweezers to hang onto and tug at;

you scrape a needle at it anyway,
until it hurts too much – you consider
manicuring implements and pass;
you watch it lay there, puffing up
protective toxin, far from fatal
but enough to redden with emergency blood,
and painful, all the same, and all the time.

2 more days of alcohol and antibacterials
before you poke at it again, and Ecco!  It Is Out!
An impressive length and fat – fatter than any
common scrap and worthy of a photograph,
like a fisherman’s prize catch.  What euphoria!
What freedom!  Look:  swelling collapsed,
redness paling while you look.

When will I settle down?  Stop calling friends
with the news?  On the edge of weariness,
and surely of wit, I wonder how much longer
the tenderness will last.  To the touch, to this
day; like a spiteful end to an affair or a back
turned on a promise.

Another Love Poem:  Even in Hell

The gods have always hated us,
our unrelenting lust, insistent
impropriety, our mutual obsession –
and not just the gods.

A binge, they thought, let them
have it, they’ll soon fall/fail,
be revulsed by the other’s touch.

But it wasn’t a binge – it is
obsession – magnificent and eternal,
even in Hell.

We have confounded them
again and again and they think
they have us now

But we will confound them yet again
send them to their Valhallas
to plot a single death.

They need only one, they think,
to destroy the other, but
until then they must simmer

while we continue
to live and love
and secretly regret

to live and love
and secretly wince
at unspoken loss

to live and love
forever and ever
until only one is left

playing the tape of memory
again and again, until
blessed obsession snaps
and we are blissfully re-entwined
in a magnificent and eternal
whatever – wherever, that may be,
even in Hell.


On the Loose At Midnight

You’ve let them in
Not the big guys, the little ones,
to race my heart for breath

Some have small wings and all
have tails, skinny, retractable tails.
Oh, why did you let them in?

Why is it best, so many nights, to rest apart,
where angled faces red and splotchy,
can race my heart for breath?

Who ordered these grinning, hairless chiders,
not big enough yet to fill the hallway  –
who let them in

to perch on top of, squeeze under, hang
from the knob of my door,  building will
to race my heart for breath

If you were resting beside me you would charm
the gods again into taking back their tricks
and promising not to let my demons in
to race my heart for breath.


So, she said, when the time comes you can take rooms in a Village where you can work
as much as you want and when you feel like it, you can come out to greet someone,
maybe someone you’ve seen from your window, maybe you’ll have dinner with one of
them, go to a concert, even see a play with someone – touching is not
necessary, you know – and afterwards, you will fold back
into your rooms again and work
as much as you want.

Until the fear of being alone with myself
is painful enough to step outside my rooms
and  extend a limb or a sound or both.
I will smile and talk and listen, let my hand
touch another’s hand, or a  sleeve.
Filled again, I  can escape again
to my rooms; occasionally I  may glance
over your shoulder and see laughing,
planning for a movie, feel sad and lonely
many moments until I remember that tomorrow
the Village Eloi will gather at my door and tap
every half hour or so to see if I’m ok – You don’t
have to respond, you know.  Yes,  I know –
I know that even Eloi tire waiting for an answer      
to their sweet, loving taps, like I tire
of the company I claim to crave

Yes, she said, it will be perfect for you, you who have no children, who insisted on doing
other things, who couldn’t get enough of  those other things – to warm the” frozen sea”*
inside me
– you could have done them too, you know, those other things – you still could
have had one child – after all, he had a child – you could have persuaded him
but since I said no, this would be good for you if he dies, only of course,
if he dies, since he is older, and you have no one, no child of your own
like I have.  Yes.  Like you have.

Yes.  if he dies   Perfect.
Eloi tire    I’m so tired     trying to
only if he dies   work out   fill in
the rest  only of course
Yes.   Perfect.   That settles That.