Susana H. Case – Telenovela 4

Susana H Case LEP&W V2 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two December 2022.

Telenovela 4, poems by Susana H Case.

Telenovela 4

His parents worry—Patrizio sleeps
too much. He needs to be forced out
of the crumpled sheets. Clara
has broken up with him.
So sad over this obsession, his words slur.
His career making sandwiches
in the restaurant is in shreds.

General Conrad von Hoetzendorf,
architect of the apocalypse during WW I,
was also obsessed with love—
a married Italian aristocrat,
Virginia von Reininghaus—
he was more distraught over her
than the killing surrounding him,
the death in battle of his favorite son.
Another career in shreds.

Clara has a baby with Alberto.
Now she doesn’t want anything to do
with Alberto. Patrizio hates Alberto, pushes him
down the stairs, hopes to thus win back Clara.
Alberto lies that his bones
were broken in the fall. Everyone rolls their eyes.

Conrad wrote more than 3,000 letters
to Virginia, some over sixty pages long.
He couldn’t attack her husband, but hoped
a victory in war would lead to victory in love.

Alberto swears he won’t take Patrizio to court
if Clara moves in with him so he can see his son.
Clara says no, then yes, then no, then yes.
She wants a separate bed, a wall between them.

War and eros, like Ares and Aphrodite.
Ares was bloodthirsty
and Aphrodite was beautiful.
Her husband ensnared them in bed
with golden threads and the other gods laughed.
Ares, Conrad, Patrizio—all of us—
humiliated with love’s inevitable losses.

Telenovela 5 (Duplex)

The course she’s following seems useless.
She no longer wants to be his mistress.

Of course not. She was the mistress
of a man who repeatedly stepped out.

The narcissistic man who slept out
now wants her back—we’ve all been there.

We all know he doesn’t have her back.
They have a child, so she’ll go live with him.

We scream at the TV like children—Don’t!
With her small demands met, she feels in charge.

She’s not in charge. Hopelessness and irrationality
move the plot forward (Italy’s favorite soap).

To move the plot forward, she’ll make other poor
decisions. Misery is not commercially useless.

Telenovela 6

Note the lines around her eyes, as she shoots
an episode in the main square of Procida,
first time on the island. Her lover kisses
her hand again and again, as they redo a scene
in the sun, his white shirt becoming
more rumpled, she, remaining cool and crisp,
not needing her makeup refreshed,
as she twirls in her skirt for photographers.

Her husband is a drunken lout.
Too many promises, too many excuses—
she’s done with discussioni bruttissime.
Perhaps, he, too, will look on Dream House
for a new home. No—instead, he downs pills
with whisky. This is a family in which
all is not fine. Note the flashbacks—
other abusive men in the family line.

Her lover schemes, wants her to come back
to him, pleads this time will be different.
Note the sheared beaver collar on the coat
she puts on at the end of the episode.
She’s preparing for a cold season.

© Susana H. Case

Susana H. Case has authored eight books of poetry, most recently The Damage Done, Broadstone Books, 2022, which won her a third Pinnacle Book Achievement Award. Her books have previously also won an IPPY, a NYC Big Book Award Distinguished Favorite award, and she was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and the International Book Awards. The first of her five chapbooks, The Scottish Café, Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press.

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