Thank you for taking time to read the material posted here. I would be pleased if you could comment, and I promise to comment back. Sincerely, Nancy


Friday, April 30, 2010


She was as sweet as an orange blossom
leaping over newly born daisies.
Her feet wrapped in patent leather shoes
and a face as perfect as a moon, in autumn;
a product of two fine gems at Platos -

But, you won’t recall Platos or a blast as
hot as our sun changed the blossoms color.

Ignorance on the part of a lazy man, one
she married and never loved; now a poor
widow wearing imperfect burns.

But a small delicate flower is leaping.
She pumps a swing with her strong leg's
and runs faster then the boys from her
block. Her eye’s her grandmothers,
knowing everything as she rocks back and

That’s before the fire robbed her sight
before she sits alone on a faded pillow,
alone on her porch and sinking deeper
into earth.

She heard laughter from the playground
I watched as a tear roll onto her hollow
cheek as if a diamond sparkled and
she sees. . .

Her leg’s run, carrying her body to
the playground, where Platos once
stood. She leaps onto a slide
and her thighs burn.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Average - walking on
Broadway early
in the morning.

A bus driver passes –
he waves to the
elderly couple - still
wearing shorts,
matching hats,
noses burn – as
heads nod, sleeping
on a park bench.

Brakes squeal, a
school bus, in
need of repair.

Gentlemen - smile,
grin, grab the end
of a suit jacket,
stretching it
to cover fat bellies.
Younger men
adorned fancy suits,
buttoned - shined
shoes, crisp
white shirts...

A trash man
glares – talking
with his eye’s,
prominent teeth,
wearing a duller
shade of blue…

From a window
workers stare at
the street below,

rub their chin –
hoping their
morning shave
had not missed a
stray hair, or forgot a
dab of toilet paper
stopping skin bled
from a razors edge.

Should you skip
your Dunkin Donut
Coffee or sit and
glare out a dirty
window to watch
a town come alive?
Should you read
the morning news?
The paper you
carried from your
doorstep to a subway
and beneath your
arm on to Broadway.

At noon the park
bench occupied by
workers who want
to soak up some
sun – by those who
carry pen and paper
writing about life.

A man wearing a
hard hat, takes a
bite from his
sandwich – his
tools pull at his
waist – his cell phone
in his pocket…

People scramble -
hurry now.

I scribble all the
features – of a
crowd as they
leave. . .
Bus #10 arrives,
and a man smiles –
waves me on - I
step in front of him –
I wonder if he
understands, what
average is?

Nancy Duci Denofio
copyright - all rights reserved

Monday, April 26, 2010


Her bobbed hair,
slim legs
lifted, stretched
out on a
park bench -
brown bagging it.

Chewing whole wheat
bread, reading
"Gone with the Wind"
can't see her face,
she ignores me.

She hikes her skirt,
purple flowered silk
above her thigh’s
legs crossed.

A plastic fork fits
into her right hand,
probably home made
salad of some kind.

Hope she drops it.
Drops it on her
skirt of silk;
perhaps her dressing
made with oil?

Trying to sleep on a
park bench, I stare
into the mist, and
I suddenly despise her

That girl…
brown bagging it,
on my property.

Nancy Duci Denofio
copyright all rights reserved

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A City –
Where the Monster Rules

She was a big girl, so – you
wouldn’t take another look,
back then, when guys
were always ready.

Right smack on the corner,
she would stand; her fat
bust’ in out of her top, think’in
she’s sexy, not knowing
boys put her name on a list –
one of the homely ones to
pray over.

When she stood at the
corner - never needed
a stop sign since boys in
souped-up cars stopped,
and stared at the fat girl.
She’d give - the finger.

The fat girl; now skin and
bones - some health care
provider, but I bet she steals
pills; kind of like when she
stuffed girdles, and bras into
a bag. I was left holding,
after she bought me a big
hot fudge sundae.

That was the last time
I went shopping with a fat
girl - Mama told me she
was too big for me -
knowing Mama was
referring to her age.

It isn’t the same, our
neighborhood. The
monster stopped growing.
Papa hates to see a city die.
He talks about all the people,
and all the traffic.

One after another – car after
car: cars with crank out
windows, running boards,
white walls, all stalling out
in one long line - waiting
for the whistle from the
monster - signaling another
work day.

The whistle at the plant,
feeds all the mouths, helps
plant gardens and educate
children - pay the mortgage.

The monster, owns people,
where I was born - the
monster paid for the holster
and Dale Evans pistol for my
brother… filled the cookie jar,
and gave us enough money
for a parakeet.

The men who sat in the
board room, on the second
floor, right past a ladies room
and under a chandelier,
in front of a wood burning
fireplace, near a solid oak coat
tree – those men ruled the city;
or, did the city rule them?

When the whistle sounded
at the end of a work day, a
city like robots, or future -
computerization – it moved
together – stop lights longer,
cross walks crowded and
people marching down Erie
Boulevard like ants - in perfect

No one in the city worried,
it was built, and cared for by
giants - and the giant lights
the world – built home town

Papa and all the Papas in the
city - dipped themselves into
chemical baths - buried in nuclear
waste - empty corn fields
never really empty - never
just grass, or tumble weeds
nestled adjacent to the railroad,
and across from another giant
on the other side of town.

No one thought about disease
or the environment - all they
cared about was if the monster
survived – and then they would.

So growing up the boys all
thought the fat girl was the
monster - their Papas soon
told them who the monster
really was – parts of the
monster has survived.

Nancy Duci Denofio

Sunday, April 18, 2010


(A snippet of a memoir
in poetry format. My
father's father - 1897
Aquafacaro - Sicily.)

The familiar path out
of the village of
Aquafacaro - to reach
wheat fields - began at
the square - at the corner -
where men and boys gathered
to greet the rising sun -
peasants - their life
snuggled along a mountain. . .

Francisco crept up along the side
of his home, on a dusty path.

I would guess - Francisco
rode on his donkey's back,
and each day he began his
climb up a hill - he must
had stopped to gaze to his
right - to see a sun peek
out from the sea, as
another day changed the color
of his face, his life, from
dark purple to aqua marine.

I can see him, a peasant
covered in white cloth, a
hat on his head to ward off
the sun - staring from the
edge of the mountain at lights
fluttering, sparkling like
bubbles in colored water,
above the sea - different
shades of pink... soft,
warmer - as a ball of fire
drinks purple water...
a hue - a brilliant shade
of aqua, tourquoise - and,
pink wants to survive.

Francisco - must have stood -
still – for a few minutes. . .

As his eyes moved left to
right - watching shades of
light - and - life arrive -
his village only few from
where his first part of day

If he gazed further into a
sea of aqua, of his heaven,
to see the Aeolian Island,
he may have dreamed one day
his life - quite and beautiful
like small pieces of land
surround by colors of a

Francisco - picked wheat,
filled sacks, and walked his
donkey to a stone hut - placed
wheat beneath shade.

Back and forth - a sun grew
larger in the sky.

At days end, Francisco, on his
donkey's back - repeated his
familiar path - down a dirt,
and dusty road - a familiar
path. . .

I could see him glancing - off
to his left, as a sun fell
into evening waters -orange,
violet - as if water painted
geraniums, hibiscus, oranges,
lemons - of this land.

Color soaking gradually into
a sea, tinting a sky - beautiful
shades of purple.

He fed his donkey - walked past
friends selling fish, almonds,
and olives - his smile slight -
home - to his wife, Santa. Now
he rests on his stoop - in front
of his home at the corner of a
square in his village.

Nancy Duci Denofio

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Fourteen Days

Imagine, fourteen days
on a boat with strangers
while sleeping in steerage -
drunks tossed overboard -
vomit falling from the
upper bunk.

Grandmother traveled
fourteen days, to see
a women holding a
torch and taste freedom.
She traveled alone.

“Train number ten,”
she told me, as she
pulled stripped cookies
from the cookie jar. . .
Her arm’s crossed, and
the elbows of her red
sweater worn.

A sudden sweep of
air entered the kitchen
window, moved her
calendar, swinging
it back and forth – it
hung from a nail on
her pantry door.

Her home made
curtains blew – and
soon when fall arrived
I’d be sitting further
from the window,
away from the radiator -
heat - burned your
hand – surprised her
curtains survived. . .

Sitting at grandmother’s
side – I listened as I
pulled from her cookie
jar – strawberry, chocolate,
and vanilla cookies…

“Train number ten,” she
repeated, “People
were sent back, on another
boat.” Her hand’s picked
at her sweater as if it were
coated with bugs.
“Bugs, if they found
them on you, or in your
hair – they shipped you
back.” Her head moved
as if to confirm her words -
as if to say yes. ..

She told me her Mama
cried, and her sister
wouldn’t leave the mountains
of Sicily, wheat fields,
geraniums, olive trees -
she didn’t care if she
dragged her clothes
to wash them in the
Square. . .

I’ve watched grandmother
wash clothes, cross legged
on her linoleum floor –
her body bent, her arm’s
scrubbed - over and over -
then squeezed each one
until all the water -
dripped no more. . .

Train number ten was
all she knew - carrying a
slip of paper, a white
satchel with personal
things - a picture of
her Mama - white under
things, and a cotton

She was meeting her
Papa, he set life up
for her brother’s in
America, and she too
wanted a taste of
freedom. . .
Grandmother smiled,
pinched my cheek. And,
I smiled back – and
remembered her gold
tooth – shined in the
sunlight filtering through
curtains in her kitchen.

Nancy Duci Denofio

Monday, April 12, 2010

Her Open Window

Fresh steps in snow
reveal her footprints -
as evening paints her
garage a deeper shade
of yellow – as squirrels
leap over steep banks
of snow – a black crow
circles dried toast, she
tossed from her

Small red beans attached
to thorns - her bushes
coated with ice -
crack – letting color peak
from winters coat – the
sun disappears behind the
garage - near tulips
fighting to be born
again - near pears resting
on the ground. . .

Her round pedestal table
is cold, naked without
her special table cloth -
hand sewn flowers at the
edge - dried flowers
on display from last
summer. . .

Her pedestal table near
the second floor window -
now cluttered with
notes . . .
A wind enters - from
her second
window –
notes tossed
I rush to gather paper -
another gust of wind
enters from her
window. . .

Nancy Duci Denofio

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Your bike must have been built
like our Studebaker, and that
was a 1936 –
The car you kept for campaigns
when you ran for Mayor –
plastered with your name.

You and your friends rode
twenty eight miles through
woods and twisting roads
without lights, to camp out
around Saratoga Lake. . .
You and your friends sold
programs at the race track.

You told me – men stood on
stools behind a box and yelled
out odds – before each race.
You told me – you made ten
cents on every program.

It was a forest where you
slept, beneath tall pines in
the darkness of a cool
Saratoga night – near the
old casino where gangsters

It was raining hard, and in
the storm a policeman asked,
“Do you want a place to sleep
for tonight?”
So you loaded up those heavy
bikes and went down to
Broadway. . .

You and your friends were
housed inside a jail, on beds
where criminals stayed.
You and your friends were
safe that night in the middle
of an August storm. . .

In the morning you began to
smell eggs, bacon, and watched
as guards passed by your
sleeping place – you thought
they’d bring you food, too. . .
But when you asked, “Do we
get breakfast here?” your face
with a smile, nudging your

“No,” a policeman said,
“You were only overnight

So they let you out, and
gave you back those old
bikes built like our old
Studebaker – and you tied
them to a pine tree and
began to yell, “Programs,
get your programs here.”

You told me many things -
but I wonder. . .
did grandmother know what
you and your friends were
doing back in 1936?

Nancy Duci Denofio
A Child Buried Today

A child buried today.
I listen to women of
rain. . .
tears covered by veils
of darkness – shadows
of women.

Cyprus, Sri Lanka -
mourn the
prostitution of their
daughters, and
empty stomachs -
deformity, and disease...

A blaze thickens in
a woman’s heart -
Invisible -
imprisons their soul…
Fear saturates their

A brave
motionless - a
life swept past -
ash - beneath a rock.

It’s March - oh
I shall weep as I
see those abandoned -
abused - left on a street.

April. - “I shall
seek not to deliver,”
she spoke – touching
her swollen belly,
sick, and dying . . .

In May – brave souls
on the edge, arrive to
help those crying tears
and too - doctors
are torn apart by war.

June - I sit patiently
and no one hears
the sting.
She told me,
“I buried my child

Nancy Duci Denofio

Saturday, April 10, 2010


A yellow garage with
a padlock – foggy windows
near yellow tulips growing
in the garden –

Told to stay away from
the garage, and never get
too close to foggy windows.

Many times I tried to sneak
up close, but grandmother,
she had eyes – everywhere.

What – exactly was kept
inside, and kept a secret for
a life time?

And, why did we own a
garage, after all - no one
owned a car – back then.

Heard it once kept bananas
safe away from heat – for
the fruit man.

You told me –
and I remember.

You told me your father -
grandfather - had a job
working - for a fruit company –
worked - for the fruit man.

You told me –
and I remember.

But – you told me your
father – grandfather –
he was killed working –
for the fruit man,

The fruit men killed
him -
Did – your father –
grandfather –
kill – all of their bananas?

Nancy Duci Denofio

Friday, April 9, 2010

Watching Rings of Smoke

Every afternoon our eyes
met – she stared like the
grocery man – and my friend's. . .
She sits to rest on a metal
milk box – our side homogenized
grandmother upstairs –
pasteurized. . .

She takes a swig from a
bottle of beer, lights a Chester –
field. Smoking - she calls it,
she takes it, inside – holds
it. . . for a long – time before
floating out her nose like a cloud.

Her mouth a circle of rings
of smoke - exiting her lip’s,
divided by her tongue. . .
All Mamas in the neighborhood
smoke cigarettes –
wear halter tops, and a red
kerchief on her forehead to
keep sweat from rolling down
their faces onto a tube top –

All Mamas wear tube tops. . .
shove Kleenex inside to look
big. . .
You watch what your mother

Nancy Duci Denofio

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Grandmother had to be
dancing upstairs in her
kitchen - her radio blaring.
When her friends arrived -
all talking half English -
And, my mother said,
"It's too much noise."
But, the noise never stopped.

Father, he invested in a
bigger radio - more noise,
unlike grandmother did
following the death of his
father - it was tradition
to remove all the tubes
from the big - radio in her
parlor - respect.
So father never listened
to the "War of Worlds."

The day father's father
died, it had to be the
worst day of his life. . .
His father laying in
the marriage bed, his head
resting on a pillow -
a pillow stitched with
grandmother's hands
"I Love You" in Italian.

My grandfather, his head
resting on the pillow
whispered to his son,
his last request. . .

"One more cup of water
before I die."

Grandmother paying the
milkman on the front
porch, and father ran
down the steps - he
had not shed a tear -
yet filled with fear. . .

Father grabbed his
mother's arm, pulled
her away - pulled her
up the front stairs
then to his father's

Father's baby brother
sank to the floor -
near the stained
woodwork in the door
way of his father's
room, and his second
son stood holding
the empty cup of water.

Nancy Duci Denofio

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Orphanage at Sea

He noticed the lip -
of my petticoat,
knew his whisker's
moved when he smiled.

It was his thing the
doorman mumbled, "He
had many things in
one lifetime."

We strolled down to
a river bed - near
rocks where they meet
shells and color

melts into sand -
He waved to the
doorman to fetch a
carriage to travel
further - closer to
the shore.

The horses hoofs once
shined and coat once
white - splashed by
mud from giant wheels,
the carriage man - drove.

In front of us an ocean
grand moved faster -
powerful currents brought
wadding in salt water
to our waists.

Men yelled, told us they
have measured sand and
watched as water spilt
over pillars of homes -
I stared at the orphanage.

We moved back to watch a
wave crash into the boardwalk -
hard candy apples stands
floated out toward the sea,
now a strange color of green.

The palms were talking -
as if to warn us - but foolish
love took over as I whispered,
"They are kissing," and wrapped
myself around his chest. . .

The men yelled, warned us of
the coming storm, and once
again I glanced toward the

His arms loosely holding
me, slipping down to hold
my hand, he knew too a
storm was brewing when the
ocean sucked out all the

The water left the shore,
waves disappeared and far into
the distance a roar I never
heard the likes of before. . .

And still he grinned, his
mustache turned up - he
glanced back for the
carriage man, he too

We never made it to the
boardwalk - he never made
it past the day - and when
I looked to view the
orphanage - I saw children
standing in the ocean on
a roof.

Nancy Duci Denofio


I did not choose to be alone on a play ground
to push my favorite shoes in dirt to swirl
the merry go ground - at a slow pace. . .
Toss sand on a slide, hoping not to stick
to metal - wearing dresses - then.

I did not embrace the thought of walking
alone - down Avenue A passing the pharmacy
where my mother received her little round
pills - down Avenue A where my leg's carried
me over red ants hiding between cement.

I ran, ignored the neighbors who waved.
Told to rush - to run - not walk - to pick
up pills before mother died - she told me
so. . .

I did not choose to crawl up our staircase
to my grandmother's house, stopping midway -
to sit alone on the landing. . .
hearing mother's Irish temper explode, but,
she is Irish, I was told. . . and in a minute
- it was over, and she smiled.

I knew Grandmother stood tall at the top -
her apron stocked with chew gum - never gum.
Her hands in the pockets of her apron. . .
A finger to her lips - my little legs
crept up the stairs - she whispered, "New
cookies from Woolworths" -

A Sicilian, upstairs talked different from
mother downstairs, but I cherished both. . .
I did not vanish when I had to ride a
borrowed bike - or smile when a cousin
near the border of Vermont - gave me another. . .
I loved country rides on back roads.

I did not choose to flip flop in white
panties in a bright yellow pool while
Grandmother watched from her window
on the second floor - guarding her white
sheets - hung perfectly straight on a clothes
line draped from a garbage shed to our back
porch. . .

I played near her pear tree, her grape
vines, tomato plants, and beans. . .
close to a shed where dolls slept.
A shed furthest from our cellar door
where I split my toe - on a nail, on a
door where grey paint peeled near rusted
handles - opened to a place where the
boggy man lived.

I did not enjoy watching mother press
pretty dresses for me to wear - watch her
knit, sew, and leave everyday for work -
help pay bills - I created at birth. . .

I did not know my parents could not hold
me - three months - stared through glass
to see their child hooked to lines attached
at her forehead. . .
I did not single out my parent's but I felt
lucky I survived to be their chorus. . .

I did not hand pick my socks, shoes, or
choose the style of my - hair - mother cut
ringlets - stored them inside a red
and white striped box, clips of white
still attached - closed with white ribbon.
Curls chopped off because at five - a school
nurse warned every mothers in our neighborhood
about bugs - about bugs - bugs jumping from
one head to another.

But - I may have selected to stay alone while
playing at the playground. But, I don't
remember why?

Nancy Duci Denofio

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Retired Man

Dare - I open the drape. . .
Oh yes - light -
excites me - as you lay at
peace, sleeping.
Sleeping - extending night.

I close the drape - leave -
to run along a shore where
toes are kissed by white
lace - where salt water shifts
shells or swallows them for
another day - in and
out. . .

Here - I listen - I smell sea
air - feel the dampness on my
face - while you sleep as if
you were a retired man
from the red and white motel -

but - he too awakes as sunlight
changes the color of the sky to
a sudden pink horizon. . .
He walks around his property
and sweeps cigarette butts
off a faded - chipped -
redwood deck. . . his feet
shuffle in morning light.

How gentle are the waves, as
sea gulls play - as if
attached to strings - begging.

The old man - he must have
planned this day, as once a
dream, attending to his

To be here, to be sitting -
resting - closer to me. . .
Closer to where my feet play -
and sink in sand -

The retired man stares at dawn
as a smile lines his face, the
coming of a new day. Perhaps -
remembering yesterday - when
his red and white motel was
filled with company. . .

His bald head - tanned - pants
rolled above his knees, a pot
belly rests -
on his thighs. . .
His eye's. . . see more than you
who sleeps extending night.

He tosses yesterdays
garbage - inside a brown
paper bag, resting at his feet -
scatters it across
a brilliant sky -

Sea gulls flock - flap to
applaud - kiss his hand.
The retired man, he knows when
day is day, and sleeps at night
when sea gulls fade.

Nancy Duci Denofio

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In Full View

With a wide smile you
knock on my window -
still… as you stand on
my porch. . .

You looked - disturbed.

I turned to my left,
I step to the right -
In full view

In the midday sun
a bit of silver shined
as you lifted your arm -
pointed at your head -
your right hand, a finger
on the trigger. . .

I startled you?
I suppose -

I never stopped smiling. . .
as beads of sweat poured
off your face - and
your hand - began to shake

I closed the drapes.

(This selection was written in a
group session, with a purpose
in mind.)

Nancy Duci Denofio

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Sold to the Peddler

Sold you to a peddler
on our street, and
he took his time -
examined you and all
our junk…

You were too old, worn
out - cracked ceramic
skull - nails bitten,
fingers missing, dress
torn, and missing shoes…

Needed some cash back
then, and you seemed so
worthless - needless,
useless, stored inside
a cardboard box -left
in the dark.

I begged for you - as
a child – to hold you –
feed you fake milk from
a magical bottle. I
burped you too – small
hands gently patted
your back - tipped you
forward when I wanted
you to cry, and combed
knots from your hair.

You made me cry one
day when you would
not open your left eye. . .
Mother, she oiled you
with Crisco, and took
time to sew your torn

Now - I want you back –
but I let you go with
the peddler, in another
cardboard box….

Nancy Duci Denofio



When you enter a church
you get this – empty – feeling
as if . . . no one was there
but everyone – is – looking.

(Those wide wooden floors
in my grade school, and doors
opening to the hall, everyone
was looking.)

The altar at church is so
extravagant – God – lives
there inside a golden box near
little booths – a line forms
and nerves happen, the closer
we get to the red drape.

(The drapes Grandmother
made for her parlor are
nothing like these)

We all wondered why God
needed the man behind the
screen – to listen to us – to
hear us when we said, “I’m sorry.”
And at five, did we do anything
too – wrong?

(When I was bad at home, I
ran away to hide behind my
bedroom door.)

It was the Priest behind the
drape with a soft voice. A
Priest who would never let us
see him, and - when he whispered
his breath hit my face.

(When I talked back to mother
she sent me to my room where
I sat and stared out the screened

Inside the little booth with red
drapes, our fingers would tap and
thumbs twiddle as we sat in the dark
A slight reflection of red from
the drapes, waiting – for our
punishment – how many prayers
would we have to say at the altar?
And, in front of God, waiting in the
golden box.

(I never liked the dark, so Daddy
turned the night light on before I
went to sleep.)

Now, the Priest moved behind
the screen, his face no longer leaned
against it, his breath no longer
touching my cheeks. He now told
us how many prayers we had to
say to be forgiven, in front of
God and all his Saints.

(Grandmother she knelt everyday in
front of her table, at the foot of
her bed, and prayed.)

When it was my turn he told me
to say ten Our Fathers and ten
Hail Marys – the others watched
you finally knelt at the altar,
prayed – prayed – as they waited.

(Mother told me to hurry when
the street light turned on, because
it was getting dark)

We left the quiet place where
no one was – but, everyone was -
looking. Outside, on the steps of
the church we all looked at one
another and laughed – pointed at
the one who prayed the longest.

(But I knew God was not laughing
inside the golden box, like
Grandmother never laughed when
she prayed.)

Nancy Duci Denofio