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Issue 4.2

Summer 2024

Salvatore Difalco


In an effort to achieve a degree of impersonality in my poems, that is to veer away from fixed or stale ideas, lexicons, emotions, etc, I started playing around with different approaches, some influenced by the early work of John Ashbery, particularly The Tennis Court Oath. Through John Ashbery I was introduced to Raymond Roussel, who used a radically impersonal and random approach to constructing his bizarre texts (Locus Solus for eg.). To a lesser extent, Peter Gizzi’s recent book Archeophonics—which jazzily stretches and pushes the limits of diction and syntax—resonated with me. I enjoyed its strange but familiar music. I started using a process whereby I isolated random passages from Classical literature (i.e. primarily Graeco-Roman texts, for instance from Virgil, or from more contemporary but adjacent works—like the poems of Giacomo Leopardi). Upon isolating workable passages, I would then cleanse them of all superfluous words, like articles, conjunctions, participles and so on, retaining only the concrete nouns and a few active verbs. Then I would scramble the remaining chunk of words and from that remnant attempt to stitch and smooth and force together some semblance of a poem, with a distinct if odd sound pattern.

Organum Musicum


Fulfill the offered cup of self

day & night all this peace 

hemispheres me unquiet, unhappy.     


Electric-afflicted weary,

I closed my eyes, a deep sleep void,

consumed in light fever delirium.


Created uncertain murmurs  

while silenced, while failed

burn of blaze, little breeze


fanned flame blew way.     

Sleepless till dawn

horses stamping outside the ancestral home.     


Eyes open in vain—

balcony darkness, last words           

fell like leaves, like whispers.


Bodiless voices strike

doubt, a sphinx-chill

doubling in the bones.


Dear voice, the final remix

of phaeton wheels, horses, whips—

left defeated, huddled, trembling.

Sicilian Canadian poet Salvatore Difalco lives in Toronto, Canada.

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