Invited to take inspiration from the genre known both in painting and photography as “still life”, Alessandro Silva and Giusi Montali have chosen to catch a moment where nature is still because it is dead, and they both have chosen to do this through very dynamic images, which build up a movie scene. In his work – characterized as usual by a refined musicality and a language which is just as refined – Alessandro Silva elevates the prosaic act of spreading weed killer to the quiet and dramatic death of plants and insects that involves even the stars, looking down from the sky. A drama that, in the atypical sonnet by Giusi Montali, opens up an apocalyptic scene where the unrelenting rhythm and the scientific terms scattered here and there show a clip of a sci-fi movie that harshly criticizes man’s assault to nature. A more classical still life is Patrizia Sardisco’s poem, a true ode to a shell, almost a sacred hymn based on a tight weave of sound correspondences whose predominant “c” alliterations and spiralling melody convert the entire work into a long onomatopoeia. Giovanna Di Giacomo touches a more delicate note with her short and clear poem as she consciously lays her resigned eyes on the wilted flower she finds between the pages of a book, the image of a youth that can only be preserved in memories.
Twenty herbicide’s drops
bitter drops, dissolved
they won’t make a sound
picking up blades of grass
between a glass calm
and a restless torpor.
In the rustle of the sky
the belated eye of a star
suffers from a collapsed light
on cold plant’s ashes.
Not a dew dripping
on the surrendered soil.
Only bare Pietà of bugs
in crystallized cocoons
(calm diamonds, opaque).
Like a peach flower inside a book
unable to hold the spring
you are enclosed there
and quietly wither
without a heartbeat or a sigh to save you
between walls unable to hold
the homothety destroying quantities encloses branch, root
and tree in the same geometry, while chlorine makes fingers fade
at dawn and bleaches the orchard, excrescences are cauterized
then comes the mist mushrooms mangle the field, here is
the benomyl, the fertilizer, the morpholine polishing apples, now
coleoptera collapse, and so do the water-lilies in the pond, water
turns yellow, all is swallowed by buildings and along
the motorway there are electronarcosis, the cut jugular, the bristles
removed with the stratum corneum, immersion, removal, then
flaming and douching, then what is left? the entrails
only for a while, the body cut from side to side that arrives
on the shelves of the town which is a single sign, people who
flow fastened to carts, but then the earth ingests it all: shops,
lights, ghosts and closes in a gorge
custom spire logarithmic ramp
God’s eye on man-made crochet
fish out of water accumulating curve
sedimentary cave concept of sea
calcareous clean cochlea
curved orbit in place of wave
immaculate globe or lobe
strobe probe memorial spiral
from a season of reasoned medium shot
exterior day an entire era
here and now
ransacks eye ear uproar’s road
probing the good breadth
of the depth
all the way nature calcium navel nest cradle
and primeval echo,
elemental pile of eggs and time
in the lounge.
Hard and bony are the things
carefully following the daily schedule.
Leila Falà’s clear, ironic and auto-ironic writing pays attention to ordinary things, its light-hearted grace sometimes changing to biting humour but never resulting in open sarcasm. Besides these distinctive elements, Mobili e altre minuzie (“Pieces of furniture and other small things”) is also pervaded with a patient and melancholic sweetness. It’s the “ironic cantabile, the oblique words” – as Sergio Rotino sharply notes – that in these verses help enduring a state of unease. The discomfort comes from a stability that is ready to dissolve, a balance (“equilibrio”, a word which is also the title of a poem) that sometimes seems to be about to break and sometimes is already in pieces but is maybe destined to recompose itself, in the development of a fluid plot, rich in multiple branches and with an open ending. Mirror of this condition are the pieces of furniture and other everyday objects, whose reassuring stillness starts to sway in the first poem, which deals with a move. The shelves, the carpet, the sofa, the abat-jour, the freezer, the washing machine and many other objects are the main characters of the book’s 22 poems and sometimes act as an objective correlative, sometimes acquire a metaphorical meaning. The window plays a key role as caesura between “indoor” and “outdoor” poems and also as a possible way out. The curtains temptingly blowing in the wind remind of the possibility of jumping away, but not in a dramatic sense, rather as the funny and innocent fly of a cartoon’s character like, for example, Will E. Coyote. It is love that moves like a delicate silhouette on every object, delineating a two-people’s story in the moment it vacillates causing other people and objects to vacillate as well. It is a condition of instability which is both physical and existential, and you feel like the piece of a messed up puzzle, like a cloth hanged out to dry, which patiently endures rain and is ready to welcome the sun or the wind that will take it away, like a traveller who doesn’t understand whether it is his train that is leaving or the one beside it. This theme contrasts with the structural solidity of the whole collection, skilfully built through keywords, leitmotivs, symmetrical pairs of poems (both formally and for their content). The spontaneity of these verses is the result of an accurate work on the language, which pursues musicality through a thick weave of rhymes – also internal –, assonances and alliterations. A first publication which finally validates the career of a really interesting and original poet.
Leila Falà, Mobili e altre minuzie, DARS 2015