Edward Caruso – San Giacomo Apostolo

Caruso LE P&W June 2024

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing June 2024.

San Giacomo Apostolo, poems by Edward Caruso.

San Giacomo Apostolo

White-marbled Canova sculpture
and painting of Christ’s flagellation,
with its faded blue of a clouded sky.

A priest asks my impressions of the outside world,
but apart from raising the futility of the Gulf War,
this refuge is all I find.

So much angst within thoughts
that take me where I don’t want to go.

Even the quietest space has to be free from fear.
Even the violence of one insect towards another
smacks of the gravest defect of this universe,
aggression that prompts violence.

On leading a just life without savagery.



An emaciated figure, arms extended,
legs to the right, feet to the left, nailed.
Pilgrims stroke and kiss the image
beneath the sculpture of an agonised mother.

One could ask why this man
never claimed innocence.

Faith asks so much.

If any priest could peer into my bloodshot eyes.


On a book cover I find a Caucasian Jesus
clad in a worn leather jacket.
Imagine this outcast speaking English
on our side of cool, high-fiving,
palms or wrists yet to heal.


A face restored on a 600-year-old church wall.
One can use infra-red cameras and touch up frescos,
see how they were painted,
whether from the ground or ceiling, right or left,
or if one hand commenced a profile
and another completed it.


St Francis’s basilica after the Assisi quake.
Had I wandered into its nave
to glimpse images of the saint, arms extended
as he’s lifted into the air on a cloud.

Faith transcends so much.

If any priest could peer into my wary eyes.


A crypt beneath the floor of an altar,
nave filled with hymns.

Via Francigena: dense mist and icy winds.
On this road, verdant countryside,
a camino of loose stones,
rain that turns everything to slush.

Torrita Tiberina cemetery

Dreams of death.
Not eternal peace.
Not even memories.
Not even awareness of nothing.


A drunken punk picks up cigarette butts
and sings about sex;
her American companion,
orange and black hair spiked,
tugs her through the crowd.
They vanish inside a department store.

© Edward Caruso

Edward Caruso has been published by A Voz Limpia, Australian Multilingual Writing Project, ‘La Bottega della Poesia’ (La Repubblica, Italy), Burrow, Communion, Kalliope X, Mediterranean Poetry, Meniscus, Melbourne Poets Union, 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 of that year, he featured on 3CR’s Spoken Word program. In 2024 he co-judged the Ada Cambridge Poetry Prize.

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