SPOTLIGHT: Landscapes of You and Me by David Calogero Centorbi

The Divine Is Always Right, But Not
All Humans Believe What IT Says

I thought about making you into a mannequin,
then instantly died.
At the pearly gates, Athena said,
“I’ll give you another chance;
I know why you thought that,
you wanted to preserve
forever your lover’s beauty,
but only a fool
thinks that way.
Beauty is internal
and eternal,
and shines
like all your precious, sweet, souls.”

So poof, there I went,
back into my lifeless body.
When I got up
I wanted to call you and tell you at least one
Greek goddess was still living,
but since you’re such a militant monotheist,
and frown unapologetically on polytheists, I didn’t.
I waited until we were together that night,
and when I was at the bar pouring you a glass
of your favorite Jean-Claude Boisset Pinot Noir,
I said,
“I really don’t care about growing
old with you,
beauty is internal
and eternal,
and shines
like your precious, sweet, soul.”
And wham,
you threw the popcorn bowl at me
and yelled,
“You bastard,
who are you fucking.”


This Place Is Really Quaint

“Really. If you say, like out of a movie, I will leave”

Well, so now what do you do? It was, out of a movie:
it was that one where two strangers
meet, then realize they always knew
one another because the scriptwriter
said they were soulmates—
after watching it, we all walk around
wondering, when will we meet ours?

And yeah, we all want to believe it’s real;
how easy would it be: one look
and presto, the fireworks,
then the romance, with more fireworks!
No fuss, no self-doubt, no constantly
wondering if it will work out, and then
constantly overcompensating
because you are terrified the Fuck-It -Up-Fairy
will show up, and you’ll be standing
in the middle of the room watching the door
close, thinking, something just happened,
but I am not sure what part of “make a decision” I messed up on.

So yes, soulmates: the universe
does all the heavy lifting and you just
sit back and let the magic
take the wheel and drive you both to Blisstown.

But, because you don’t want her to leave, you say,

“No, I wasn’t going to say that; I just mean, isn’t this quaint, like, you know, when two people are having a really good time and they just hope it’s all supposed to mean something, well, not mean something, no, it does mean something, it means a lot. it’s just a feeling and you know…”

But during all that you missed her asking:
“Do you wanna appetizer or should we just order the entree?”

You end up staring at the back of her
menu and read something and think,
that’s what we will order. The menu
comes down and she looks at you and says,

“What did you just think?”
“Ahhhhh.” You stammer.
“I was just thinking the same thing!
“Really, well, see…”

And for that moment
you settle into something
not quaint, not scripted, and not soulmatey,
but just two people the universe
brought together to share, hopefully, an amazing
and romantic, Two for One dinner


Why Is It That When You Make
Your Nachos They Always Look
Better Than My Nachos

Your cheese is always meltier, your black beans always blacker, your tomatoes always redder. Even your lettuce is greener.

I sit there and watch you build your masterpiece. I think, de Kooning & Pollock. You turn to me and frown. I think, Mitchell & Frankenthaler. You smile, then hesitate—

it seems like you’re deciding if you should make yours first, or if my painterly conjurings please you enough to make mine.
To nudge your deliberation a bit more I think, Kahlo, Kahlo, Kahlo.
“Ok, you win,” is what I hope to hear!

Finished, you walk over with the plate, set in front of me, and grab the first nacho chip. I watch a long yellow cheese streamer follow it to your mouth.
I hear the well-deserved crunch:

and I am humbled into the place I belong: where I wait my turn to taste what I know will be
the most nachoey, nachos ever made. But then, I watch you and your masterpiece

head toward the door. You think, Art is Pain. Then say, “Bring me a Mango Whiteclaw when you come out with your plate. I’ll be sunbathing on the terrace.”


On Remembering That Time The Mermaid Messed Up A First Date

When you asked,
“Are you free tonight for espresso at the Coffee Bar, instead of Starbucks,”
I thought:
what do you have against Starbucks, I go there all the time?
Should I tell you?
Should I care?
Then I thought: how amazing,
after you told me the owners
were from Rome
and modeled it after Antigua Tazza d’Oro.
Then I got really worried: it sounded like you were there once.
And I hate to travel,
and I’m afraid of flying.
But who cares.
I decided I would let you take the lead,
listen to whatever fascinating
stories you had about Romans and espresso.

So, that night,
after telling me how amazing
your Segway tour around the city was,
and how it ended in front of the breath-taking Trevi Fountain,
I heard myself saying, “you know what’s funny,
I just read that Starbucks is planning on opening a store in Rome,
in some place called, Piazza S. Silvestro.”
And that’s when it happened: you seemed to stop breathing, but in a few quick seconds after that, started to laugh,
“Oh my god, how funny are you?
There is no such thing as Starbucks in Rome.”
And then, with a slow lean toward me, which I thought might be the start of our first kiss, you instead, whispered into my ear,

“But if that is true,
it means God is no longer in his heaven,
and nothing again will be right in the world.”



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