Monday May 27

CoakleyWilliamLeo-creditJosephBatista William Leo Coakley has published in the Paris Review, London Magazine, the Nation, and elsewhere here and abroad and has won awards from the Yeats Society and Sotheby's International Poetry Competition. Since the Poetry Center Discovery series, he reads often in public, most recently at the Leslie-Lohman Museum and the Union Square Barnes and Noble bookstore in New York. Born in Boston, he is publisher of Helikon Press.



Pieta: 1990—in memory of Alain Roselló

A second Christ lies down upon the pall,
Stigmata in his palms and on his brow.
The scene is set; the actors are the same—
Something has changed: We are the mourners now.

The kneeling figure weeping here below,
Shadowed in purple, lifts a hand to wake him—
His fingers turn to stone at the virgin's touch.
The time is come: Let the twelve friends take him.

I found him in this cave of dusty light,
Its earthy velvet clung to his pure skin.
If the dead rise, the hooded cock shall sing:
Open your lips, and he will enter in.

The naked soldiers at his foot and head
Have gone to rust, but keep their careless pose.
His nipples stiffen, haloed with downy gold—
My tongue will answer the only prayer it knows

The sons of man drown in the human sea,
Waters of grace in which we dive and swim—
Maker of Mercy, what is left to do?
When the light fails, I shall lie down with him

To kiss him good night.
                                           O God of Abomination,

Out of our love we make our own salvation.



Photo Credit: Joseph Batista