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


Monday, August 30, 2010

The Black Sheep


a doll lays near a
hay stack
in overalls
like Uncle Jim -
black sheep of our

Jim drank his supper -
fell on fresh sheets
on to his feather bed

Disliked by his family
despised by his wife -
a smooth talker,
could flatten you with
words – strangle you
with his eyes –

his best friend died
by his ruthless hand
both drowned in drinks
both cheated and stole
both spent days gambling
but Uncle Jim - he never
got caught – came out
ahead -

one day after a big bust
sleeping in dirty
overalls, snoring on top
of the haystack - side
by side with a rag doll -

not long after he turned
over on his back – his
eyes stared toward beams
his body sinking deeper
in hay

if only he knew it would
be his last day –
but family praised him -
others - still threw
sticks and stones

some played, fingered
the hay as a preacher
prayed -

you see - one really
knew Uncle Jim - all
he had buried close to
the rag doll -
and won

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Saturday, August 28, 2010



Six o’clock on a Sunday morning
as the sun rises and peaks out
of the sea – I stand and move
the shade; time to leave.
I must see him -

Quietly I slide the screen door
open to walk along the shore
It is dawn -
those who feel freedom - a
morning on a beach - run across
sand, or walk peacefully; most
nod and say hello.

It is as if this covering of moisture
liberates me, sand between my
toes – tickles – I wiggle them.

Now, I see him – his dark hair,
perfect body - his leg’s taking
giant steps. He continues, appears
to be leaping; his leg’s extend as
he jogs . . . further, and further.

I believe it was this momentary
glance in my direction. He may
be turning from the sun. . .
How could he possibly may see me
through fog?

One more glance – one more.
He leans forward, as if to bend
and find a sea shell, like the
lady carrying her plastic bag
to bring shells home, then toss
them into the trash.

I see a white band of skin, below
his waist where sun has not
changed him; it excites me -

I reach the sandbar, and his body
blends with earth - a wave
claimed him

Nancy Duci Denofio
All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, August 25, 2010



you make people feel
you are filled with wisdom
you are smarter and I
should listen

they haven't seen darkness
only stones of sapphires
glowing - when I stare
into your eyes

a path you paved - one
step at a time,
you placed a rock -
each step you took
for me to trip and fall

you have stopped water
for a way to keep moving -
you have opened up the
dam where I have drowned

where is this wisdom
they tell me to follow?
for I have taken many
steps behind you

have you hidden all the
wisdom they have seen,
from me?
to fear but one more step -

behind -
will be my last

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved



In the meadow I have
found comfort – among
high grass and weeds
yet not alone - did I come
here to be touched as
nature sees

In the forest I have seen
not the dark - but love
of night. . .
It is there I go - but not
alone to taste how
darkness feels - far
from home

In the mountain I go but
not alone to walk paths –
but to follow steps before
me – to wallow in pines –
It’s there I find a hand
clenched tightly to mine

In the streets I go - not alone
but with strangers in my way -
lonely when eyes meet -
where people have no
time to stay –
In streets where music plays

Perhaps - this is why
I stay away

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Monday, August 23, 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
all rights reserved

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Nails in His Hands
Nails in His Feet
Nails in His Heart

I thought
why did everyone
stare at God?
He is only a
statue - his
heart was bleeding,
his hands, feet,
covered in blood
with nails -

nails like grandpa
when he died

God had to scare
more then just me -
Gods eyes they moved
when I moved, as if
to follow me -

grandpas never followed
me, I never knew him
either. . .

we all sat in the
front row - near nuns -
God, he was dressed
in red roses - like
the blood dripping
from his hands

God, he never wore

Nancy Duci Denofio
all right reserved

Saturday, August 21, 2010


One More Victim

He has aged –
during the “sixties”
both he and I ran
for a position – he
wanted to be class
President, and I
would have been
his secretary – his

Well, he’s still
running – he runs
after ambulances,
the disabled,
fire trucks and
police cars.

The difference –
he never smiles
his advertisement
on your television
in big white numbers
his connection to a
world where every
person cries for help –

He lost the race
for President – and I
became the editor
of a newspaper –
learned about people
who chase flashing
red lights

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Charlie Manson Kill the Pig

guards help small children
cross a busy street -
guards tell us to shut up
in front of a pizza shop
during a noon hour dance
guards monitor the corridor
at school – send girls home
if they roll a skirt too high
paint our lips, swear under
our breath, toss a rock at
a stop sign or walk too close
to the opposite sex

a generation without
sense or sensibility - our
heads empty - so some
smoked weed, left home,
slept naked under a full
moon - without a guard.
we felt freedom and could
run, be – do – say – sing
or spit – swear or dance

then the boy next door,
sent home in a casket…
last I saw him he was flying,
on a Harley, wanted to be one
of those hells angels - he
got tough without a guard

So – protest the war.
death, limbs off of bodies, eyes
blinded by fire - works of war
gangs multiplied –
protesters took to the streets
with magic of art – graffiti –
kill the pig – kill the pig,
the establishment, rich or
We found peace, free love…
we loved each other - except
the guard.

We ended up the doers and
performers; a lawyer,
doctor, mother – aunt or
uncle - teachers hiding
behind metal detectors at
school - you see,
freedom we once called
ours - a road we traveled,
has twisted into foreign knots,
don’t know who the guards
are, anymore

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Friday, August 13, 2010



Three fifty foot lots seemed far, so distant
to a five year old. A five year old; gentle
meekness of a child, innocent yet filled with
fear - which lasted through the years.

A child tolerates what is learned, gives
permission - to elders – although a candy
man reacts to frayed arteries on a Primrose
Path; giddiness, twitching, twisting a
common leaf then ripping it to shreds.

Misbehavior, common to the onlooker –
perhaps today labeled attention deficit
disorder – some mental block – or far too
shy – or far too friendly - a child smiles.
A child knows the arteries to Primrose Path.

Loose stones are kicked, heads look down,
and the smile gone - for awhile. The distance
a child walks pollinates a vine, layering
failure – as a path brightens in a new lip of

One day a child full of grace, and an
angel – wings carry the child above the
wickedness of wrongdoers – when simple
wings were observed as naughtiness
inside – full of sin – inside - anger builds
as a child walks a Primrose Path.

Children learn to behave and do as one is
told, even if words string webs where one
is trapped by personal damage – unlike
thorns on bushes.

An angel has no capacity to tell or ability
to convince, unskilled talent; a child
remains inside a capsule, a personal
space where words are muffled; then
heard as whining –

Blind dishonesty becomes a way of life
clouded by destruction but to one so
young what is destruction but a broken
toy – or ice cream falling from a cone: so,
the silencer still reins. . .

Why didn’t a child run on Primrose Path?

The silencer to a child is clown; a
round face, one who smiles, cheers
and praises those whom play his game.
A false affection, unknown to a five year
old who believes in clowns and grins.

At the end of Primrose Path the silencer
waits, an opened door, peacock feathers
on a wooden floor – hallucination will
play tricks – and everyone is watching
calling out your name.

The lady two fifty foot lots away, is
known to have mental problems, and
her only daughter killed crossing her
Primrose Path.

All around children fear the lady on the
porch who rocks back and forth, hands
out popcorn, laughs, and calls your
name to come and sit for awhile. All the
time the evil lurked next door.

Next door where new gifts are given –
and no one hears a whimper, and tears
dissolve; what was that? A child thinks. . .

Another time – a story stale, and those
living near Primrose Path love to watch
a belly jiggle, when someone laughs.

The poor, and needy, accept wrong
doers, denying any claims as false –
as the silencer inside stone walls
wallowing in personal wealth, steals
more than money, more than pride.

His soul sold to the devil before his
life became a pre historic charge
plate, his commission, offers of
penny candy to a child.

Proprietors knew the cost of being
poor, and so they learned to be
in business for themselves, a child
for collateral.

No window shopping on this path,
no neighbor would betray a friend
one trusted – no neighbor knew
about the piles of wooden boxes
where a silencer played.

No laws protected children from illegal
operations - a child stealer working
his own rackets - bargaining with a
child’s mind. His assault became his
sexual possession.

No one talked about the end of
Primrose Path, or believed any
child should walk with fear – too near
to be a prisoner: he hands out a
popsicle, or a stick of gum.

Those who walked the Primrose
Path left names etched on a brick
fa├žade. Those who played on a
Primrose Path, kicked the can, jumped
rope, ran to play hide and seek, and
skinned their knees.

Those who played at the end of
Primrose Path, never spoke.


It remains inside like a piece of metal
rusting, corroding any possibility of a
future - children have been torn,
or crumbled as a piece of used paper.

A silencer warned – all hell would let
loose - if a child spoke.


A neighborhood praised the silencer
as if a prince among the paupers
bringing gifts to thank him for his
business, and sharing drinks, or a puff
on a cigarette; shown as a home movie
on a wall.

His world of destruction had no expert
witness, or media, or tip off – and he
knew the preacher. A silencer told
his own stories, but never revealed
his true tattletales.

Memory chases without real pain
or formal cause; no reason to kill
a child’s recollection of a simple life,
and a child closes lips, tight as a
clam trying to survive without water.
In front of you as if you knew blacking
out as black and white TV.

A parade down primrose path; a beaten
path, ruts and grooves and arteries
carried on informally: a hobby horse
occupying space on top of boxes, near a
festival of color, near feathers of a peacock,
his hiding place.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Thursday, August 12, 2010



he was sweeping
in front of the bar
told him my name
his arm’s opened
“Jesus Mary and Joseph”
repeating my name –

two years ago we
stopped to say hello -
he was younger
looked a lot like Mama -
his voice – sounded
like Mama

he said things she
would have said –
we all knew Mama
It seemed she fell
into his body – took
over his voice

took on talking just
like her, even my
husband stared my
way – then he reached
to hold my hand across
the table – he never
reached before -

now his face - hallow
his walk uneven
his pants falling from
his waist – tied with

wore a baseball cap
never saw him in a
baseball cap – but
he still told all his

still swore he knew
everything about
everyone in town –
then told us he was
opening the bar – been
closed for sometime
but for his son – telling
once again his Mamas
wish – he would never

promised her he’d
never drink, never take
a sip – he never did –
but served it well inside
a bar where a bear’s head
was stuffed, and deer’s
eyes followed you

showed us around the
old place, told us he
refused a new sink –
liked the open kind
put cleaning stuff in
clear sight

his blue eyes a different
shade of blue – half
closed as if they were
tired – as if a shade -
closing life in front of him

he called Mama’s
home his – when he
was in the service
took a train and walked
up to the avenue

he called it home
when he reached our
yellow house – before
I was born –
it was Mama who

paid for him – to
send him to college –
going to be someone
someday – she would

so he went to college
and Mama paid -
he opened the bar
taught his son to ride
a bike – forgot about
the money Mama gave

did he recall all the days
he popped into the house
and Mama fed him –
and Grandmother
listened as he spoke
of sixteen children –

he talked about his
recent bout with
cancer – we never
knew – showing off
twenty six stitches
in the back of his

we never knew he
was sick or had
cancer – he bragged
about how quickly
he healed, he told
us, “no scars.”

he talked about his
wife who doesn’t
remember much –
she’s a baby once
again – Alzheimer’s
she has a brain
disease, he told us
but getting better

he insists on no
nursing home, and
continued to say his
children were coming
home – one to run
the bar – another to
live up on the mountain
where he built a camp

he owns fifty six acres
bought it when he
placed a bet on a horse
and never did bet again –
he told us
he told us he’s got most
of them coming home

his children
he kept telling us how
great his wife was – and
ignored the past – when
she spent months away –
but he loved her, anyway
and brought up her baby
as his own

he seemed to forget
about the gossip
about the time she flew
away like a bird with
his own brother – and
now she removes her
clothes – in the living
room, when people are

I remember some
brothers of ten forgave
them, and others never
did – and the girls – some
never walked into his
bar – or smiled or looked
him straight into his eyes

he seemed to forget
about the house up on
the hill - Grandmother
lived – when she tried
hard to play a piano –
she thought she was

her children listened to
the same song over and
over – the more they
sang the harder she
pounded on those keys –

I watched as my own
Father stared at him,
remembering the days
he spent sitting with my
Mama at the bar

Father mumbled over
and over about how long
he sat, talking – but he
never did give free drinks
to the family – since all
that lived in that small
town, was family.

my Father talked about
the slate from Vermont
and he managed to get
it to the bar, my uncle,
because men would do
anything for a beer

his pool table still
sits in the center of
the room – I recall
the feet of small children
above the bar – back

his wife – her dark hair
beautiful she was – and
now missing all the
memories she made

he talked about his
cancer and how he
asked the doctors
“so what’s up?”
didn’t get it all,
at the top of the spine. . .

he said, “if I take the
stuff – makes me sick –
what will it do doc?”
he told us nothing –
so he said good bye
he’ll live as long as
god wants him to –

who would think
about his wife –
forgetting life – and
who thought he
probably will die
first – and the children
home, how pleased
he seemed.

he said goodbye with
a grin on his face,
promised when he
died, I would get his
seven books he wrote
about the bar –

his smile grew – his
eyes perked up – and
he knew he had one
hell of a story to tell,
and I asked him –

“Why have you waited.”

he never answered only
told me he picked
overgrown grass
around the grave stones
of all the kids, his Mama
and Papas too. And he
makes the sign of the
cross when he sees my
brothers name at the foot
of my Mamas father’s
grave, he too - talks to Mama

Nancy Duci Denofio

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


NOTE: I recall writing this one late night in a college dorm after a long battle with myself. This is how I felt then, many - years ago - and a simple emotion can be healed by other hands - other love - even if you at the time wanted to run.

Free Water

slap -

slap bare feet
naked legs
crossing - crossing
inner halls

midnight -

arms stretch

hand -

tears falling
a gentle touch
of love

feel air - breathe

blurred faces
free water -
a heart –
stone to dirt

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved