Edward Caruso – The photographers

Caruso LE P&W January 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing, January 2024

The Photographers, poems by Edward Caruso.

The Photographers


Morning sun,
just a shadow of your company,
an inner smile in a fleeting moment.
Beneath these porticos our cameras
capture the most wonderful graffiti:
‘2001, un oddisea dello spaccio’;
‘fatte canne, mica guerra’.

There’s a world in your laughter,
sadness in your eyes.[1]


A picture snapped by a black Vespa;
its mirror reflects an arched window
and your loosened hair.

Grant us the breeze.
If we could photograph sound.


Ever walked through
an unfamiliar avenue that invites you on?
I’m only alive in places that inspire,
so take this camera heart of ours,
the life we choose: beyond freeways,
castle walls and crypts where heat can’t reach
the moods we share.


Just when it’s daring to clean graffiti off walls,
in our search for more,
we find the scrawl:
‘Questo muro è pulito’.[2]

After our flight to Istanbul,
twilight and the fourth prayer,
the Bosporus crowds and bridge to Beyoglu,
we search for simits,[3]
feeling close to home.

The trouble with travelling is that you find yourself.
It gives the impression of discovering some essence
that gives the heart a chance to rule.

Every time I’ve found myself I’ve escaped.
To stand by the Bosporus,
smell burnt rubber and refuse.
To think of home – live, for God’s sake.
Here by the Blue Mosque,
faces, foreign tongues.
Just a walk from the Genoese tower
to the shore along pencil-thin backstreets,
their views of barber shops,
children with footballs at their feet,
fading light and putrid water.

Don’t let this moment fall through the cracks of memory
with a bottle of whiskey and two half-empty glasses,
ashtrays full of cherry pips,
and half-burnt candles.
There’s not one painting that can be rescued
from the street vendors below that could turn
this hotel room into a home.


Home: the first afternoon back is spent cruising.
It’s the best way to reacquaint
ourselves with the crowded centre
and all that medieval stuff.

On leads to new jobs,
after one week in Hell
things start to make sense:
the better you know yourself,
the more impossible life seems.

To amble beneath a hot sun
when in some other part there’s snow.


Tell it like it is,
you could never break this island in two:
we’re both captains and, sure, some woman
dragged me across her skin once,
and you won’t let me forget how far I’d fallen.
With every look you get from others,
if we could explore beneath the skin
what grade of liqueur flows
when stalking a yellow moon,
or a stranger’s voice …

To drown in words I wish I never had.


Three weeks since our return,
lights on in the house,
we both wear shades.
Tell me everything on your mind
and I’ll tell you everything on mine.
There’s no touché, change in rhythm
or forgiveness.
You’ve dyed your hair crimson; mine is black.
Sometimes I think we’re twins.

I’m sure it was a cold, wet day when we met
and that you’ll prove me wrong.
We’re still here, one more whiskey.
Just mention the word humidity and we’ll be there.
Each day a hidden message,
a reflection of the red curtains of this city,
let’s go insane for one another.

Foot notes:
1. ‘2001, an odyssey in drug-dealing’; ‘make joints, not war’
2. ‘This wall is clean.’
3. Crusty circular Turkish bread coated with sesame seeds.


Why in a game of Briscola
did parental photos fall
between Queens and Kings

On playing with family
friends I knew fleetingly
during childhood

Who inserted family photos
into the pack
& dealt me
a picture of my parents
just engaged
lying in a field & gazing
into their post-War futures

The more we played
the more I won
As my pile increased
I asked how many points
my family photos were worth
None came the reply

I cleaned up with the Ace of the main suit
I didn’t realise it until I was told
that the winnings were mine
Then I produced a Three of Wands
that would have cleaned out everybody’s hands
but it disappeared among other cards
No one could find it
no matter how hard we looked

I was so far ahead
Everyone and everything
all except the family photos
in 1970s garish Kodachrome

© Edward Caruso

Edward Caruso has been published in A Voz Limpia, Australian Multilingual Writing Project, ‘La Bottega della Poesia’ (La Repubblica, Italy), Burrow, Communion, Kalliope X, Mediterranean Poetry, Meniscus, n-Scribe, Right Now, StylusLit, TEXT, Unusual Work and Well-Known Corners: Poetry on the Move. His second collection of poems, Blue Milonga, was published by Hybrid Publishers in 2019. In August 2019, he featured on 3CR’s Spoken Word program.

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