Antonio De Lisa- Between Sound and Silence (Selected Poems)

Antonio De Lisa- Between Sound and Silence (Selected Poems)



Poems 1979-89


I enjoy the suspension
of an hour without minutes
in no-time
of a parallel world.

An apnea of thoughts
where it is not cold nor hot,
where no one is sad
nor happy.

And it is feeble the damnation
of the desires.

The colors have an appearance
flaky and insincere
in the border area
between day and evening.

The sounds tend to the grave
but without intention,
for natural force.

It is the slow scan
of the  zero-time.

The quiet of the balance,
the closed circuit of oblivion,
the limited field of farewell.


I have to bring you in the
nightmare necropolis of R’lyeh
-Sophie was in agreement
that enchanted evening –
is there that lie
the great Cthulhu and his hordes.
We had been kidnapped from Dublin,
sadness, depression,
the composure of the people
(except in the pub, but that’s okay).
On the evening of our arrival,
after three Temple Bar glasses,
fatigue has been
(or maybe the fact that they were not three)
-it was bitterly cold,
but not felt-
we saw the nightmare necropolis of R’lyeh.

That night in Dublin

In Dublin, the first night
has marked the path,
The other were sisters
mischievous and disturbing.

But that first night
-and when we recall
Sophie and I are we doing
great plant, as kids-

That first night was the dawn
of a world, but he was born that was over,
adorned by beautiful ice crystals
but already shaded from the vein

of regret that he would then
over the scene.
Dublin accomplice and spectral
diaphanous as a vestal.

Along the Royal Mile

Sophie detests the crowd
and it is not easy with her
cross the Edinburgh Royal Mile.
Besides the usual pallor
she exhibits a cold
defiant and proud.

Even when I talk to
of the three Scottish
great writers, Robert Burns,
Walter Scott and above
Robert Louis Stevenson
I can shake it
his temper.

But down the steps of Lady Stair’s Close,
in front of the Writers’ Museum
I feel a bit ‘melts
and she makes me a question,
but with sideways glances
as a capricious girl,
immediately contradicting
on the true meaning of Mr. Hyde.

Usually when I talk I fade
feelings, but this time
is different. I feel her scent,
mixed with a certain smell of cold,
coming from another universe.

Wind on the Walkway

The wind crept
light along
the Water of Leith Walkway
but altered the vital spirits
shaking at times
the words of the young lovers
creeping into the pile
and flirting with the incipient night .

But that icy hiss
seemed to appease
the  looming anxiety
of Sophie, away from the crowd.

And that was enough.

In this Celtic madness
swimming plan
my Latin spirit,
bewildered, fascinated,
perhaps provided
softly to dialogue
with Gothic spectra,
of kind word
but sharp like blades.

But it was not easy
Sophie back on earth
and I was flying
when she was there.

Whitehorse Close

I’m giving at a glance
at the ornamental steps gables
of Whitehorse Close, with skylights
and projecting upper floors
and external stairs
when Sophie seems to mean
something. She has a deathly
pallor, like that of a priestess
of an ancestral religion.

She deviates the I Pod headset
from the ear. It ‘s a strange color
that shines on his lips,
but of a miraculous beauty.

I do not expect much,
I just look at her.
She does not say a word,
nor I want to hear it. Maybe.

She limits herself to lick my little finger
with its, a gesture sweeter than honey,
more harsh and bitter than absinthe.
A prayer to a distant totemic god.

It is not scratched her pain,
caressed by my mild sadness.

We’re like two drifts
that cut through the ice
that comes from the North Sea
in the sounding hour
of silence and sunset. We sink,
ignoring the time; but I would
not be anywhere else,
with any other person.
In memory of no other.
With any person stop time.
Say goodbye to the story.



Poems 1990-2010




The water flows slowly
Calling the measure
And dignity of silence
In the slowed mediocrity
Of the night.

1. Recalls

Weak Plot

Like a whisper
A piece of paper
A love poem
In the weak plot
Of our indecision
To give voice
To the words
We know
And silences
To what
Do not know.


I know a Siren
Who sings only in secret.
She is as an image
Than in the water sister of the air
Moves quickly and appears only
Sometimes, like an optical illusion.
But I hear her call
As a silence that speaks to me plain.
I wish I had her name
And the face of nobody
In the night that whispers slow.

Thousand  Waves

My roots are in the sea
Lulled and transported
By the current of the waves.

It is the wave that moves me
Like a cork
In the vortex flow.

It is the wave that pushes me
Away from this
To another time.

It is the wave of the time
That makes me cherish
Another sea breezes.

It is the wave that whispers to me
To go among the people,
Away from the tomb

Of false appearances.
It is the wave that whispers to me
As in an echo of sirens

The need to go
Even if the goal is less
Important than the journey.

The wave sings
With sweet words
The path of pilgrimage.

The wave shows
Perhaps the place
For reunification.

Maybe it’s just an illusion, the call
Of another era, but it is the wave
That leads me to the shipwreck.

Mythological Theme Park

In my ‘Mythological Theme Park’
There is a melancholic utopian Dragon
that regrets passions away
And of unpresentable political ideas:
It is the Fire that destroys.

A beautiful Siren
Lives there in the abyss
Of irresistible spell
Who sings only in secret
Because she is ashamed
And moves quickly
And only occasionally, such as an optical illusion:
She is the Water that nourishes and devours.

There is a rebel Nymph
Who refuses to sing in chorus
And to dance in circle
She does not even see the tv:
She represents the fertile Earth.

Also an Angel, former exterminator,
That does now the singer-songwriter
Was placed there
Decided not to exterminate any more
And he is now neither assassin
Nor a spokesman for anyone:
He’s the Air, free and pure.

Then there are my sisters, Melancholy
And my other sister, Passion,
Who does not like depression,
She loves passion, grit,
The thirst for victory.
This park is my Nature.

Game of Chess with Imène

Imène and I now speak
The risky language of symbols,
Which mingle with alternating doses
Intelligence and poetry, reason and purity.
We are arranging the pieces
Of a psycholinguistics grammar
On the board of our unique
Human relationship.

The board is still the center of the square.
Imène is playing white, I with black.
Her white is like a white veil,
My black is deeper than the mystery.

My turn to open, the most difficult:
Move pieces prefigures
The dynamics of being
His incessant becoming.

One wrong move will force us
To strenuous pursuits,
And disastrous reconquests,
But we will probably sufficiently sensitive
To each other not to let us weigh.
None of us will rise from the table
By throwing game pieces.

Imène makes a move, smart,
I was enchanted to look at her,
How you look at the life and death
And she blasted the bishop.

The white symbolizes the faith of Imène,
My black the sense of unease
And mystery that always expresses
My troubled relationship with the world.
And faith in Arabic is called Imène.
Faith? But what is faith?
Faith against whom?
At twenty-three can be
So faithful to give up
Your identity?

Now that of the Imène is a siege,
I am several times in check.
I can only parry the blows.
It is the movement of her hand that enchants me,
It has a secret geometry, fast and elegant.

The faith of Imène is the counterpoint
To my angry wandering,
The stability of Imène is the counterpoint
To my sense of risk and elsewhere.
I showed the photos:
Imène chose a red rose,
Which in our symbolic vocabulary
Is a symbol of fidelity not of passion.

And now I see that she is winning
The game.
She gave me a check.

2. Margaret

Urban Rhythms

I am dreaming on old brochures for trips to China
While Jane is reading Barbara Pym’s old novels
In the kitchen for rent of Winterwell Road.
She repents of having touched the key
To our usual quarrel earlier.
She leaves in a black car like a cockroach.
I am alone now in the house sounding like a slap.
During the night the fog surrounding the garden
In a fairy tale bleary.

I am accumulating sheets, old Viennese lieder,
Dramatic Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim’s dialogues,
Smoking without desire.
My hand is tracking marks on paper,
It is rasping, snaging, scratching,
As the key in the lock.
Jane is back, but not alone.

Lying on the carpet of Nepal
We are sucking candy vanilla,
Whispering distracted memories of love
Articulated by hydraulic salon fashioned clock time as a lie.
It is sweet to put the bridle on  forget vanity,
Gasps of pride,
Wasted ambitions.
Jane unfolds like a bored cat,
A little angry at times,
Languorous feline lurking
And Margaret intimidated.

We are going up the reggae-button Brixton Hill …
To risk his life, a life to bear, it’s just nothing.
The city is a field of rubble,
Buzzes with irregular breathing at night,
Bright as a butcher,
In an hour and the other is always moving:
Coffee cups, gossip and mental shampoes.
The city is a field of rubble.
It is dirty but seems happy with its  polished windows.
A drizzle vain
Is dusting interminable
Lies in short notes
Like a  annoying song.

In the  looming fog
Humans attend to my fighting-love-dream.

3. Sounds and silence

Female Voices

I am enchanted by the female voices,
Like magic, a spell of timbre secret hidden magic.
I remember as a boy I fell in love
With the voice of Janis Joplin.
I had a dream, I saw her dying.

Falling in love with the voices of women,
Making me fantasize about the rightful owner,
Is constant feature of my time,
Do not even remember since when.

Maybe there is not even a beginning.
Or, if any, is lost in ancestral babbling,
Babbling and sighs abysmal opening,
An unknown that devours.

The female voice exercises a sort
Of seductive attraction on the strings
Of my unfathomable inner journey.
Just one thing,
A stray harmonic
And you’ll be enchanted, listening, fascinated,
Over the phone, on buses, on the street,
In the dubbing of films with crackling phonetics
Of old films, theater, music of all kinds.

For me, the woman’s voice is the voice of melancholy.
Perhaps because it is a voice of mystery.

(Translation by Tracy Mcewan)

One Word

One word, one that strikes.
It wounds, penetrates, upsets.
It offends you and rampant flies away.

I know I am unable to retain it,
Liquid undeserved and rustling
At sunset, at nightfall.

She says that word with childlike
Innocence while the sun is flirting
Away with a sliver of mountain

Lascivious as a deity.
The word enters regardless the secret
Path that my guilt

Knows well and that resonates.
I was  ready to be kidnapped
By a watercolor landscape

Designed with quiet virtuosity
But the  word
Took me away the magic

With a wave of capricious clouds.

4. The end of the long wave

In Memphis a shot.
It stands in the titles of news.
They killed a black leader,
Martin Luther King.
I try to ask my father
Who is Martin Luther King.
Somehow he explains me.
But what can’t be explained
Is because I have all that urgency
In my eyes.

5. Passions and visions

Counting Steps

Counting the steps of this room
Is like trying to enumerate the infinite,
It’s not enough -to make it commensurable –
A song of hate and love by Leonard Cohen.
My mistakes chime the hours and minutes
One by one, unaware of what awaits them,
As children unawares of tomorrow.

The night creeps on the day
To numb it with its edges
Until it is pale and striated
While a swarm of memories thickens
And touches the wall to tell me
That nothing is ever finished
That nothing is ever really began.

The wait evokes strange figures
Saying to me with suffered but feigned indifference
That the voice of that face will not come
Than on the love you once again
Love never really lost
Never really recovered.

6. Mediterranean and other East

My Mediterranean Dream

From Marrakesh to Carthage
To the desert of Sinai
In Tel Aviv that never sleeps
To the magnificent Istanbul
My Mediterranean dream…

… and then Corinth
And the majestic silence
To meet each other myself
And the slowness of a gesture
That has opened for a moment

The world that I did not dare look …
And from Corinth to Epidaurus
With the wind of the motorbike
Drying the sweat
Of a scorching

Mediterranean summer…
But in serene Epidaurus
The kingdom of Asclepius
Is like the peace and charm
Of an endless echo …

Every night
In journey
A dream
In the dream
Of all dreams.

On El Kantaoui Beach

On El Kantaoui beach
At sunset the wind
Carries the melancholy
As an happy wave.

There is a siren at sea
Through the waves
Light and lithe in the absolute
Solitude of the evening.

I am looking into the distance,
But not seen,
The country that does not
I would like to see.

While a radio transmits
A slow Arabic litany
A pair crosses the beach
Light and sensuous as a dance step.

The lights begin to dot
Sunset and goes off in a lulling exoticism
The fury of other waves
That sneak into an austere anxiety.

They are folds that weave
In a labyrinthine path wrote in esoteric letters
In the darkness of the unconscious
Like those of a veil.

At The Gates Of Jerusalem

From a distance it’s like a picture
Of dream the promised land.

A soldier at the checkpoint
Indicates me the uphill road

For Jerusalem Golden City
With a gesture and a consent

That is both prayer and surrender
Indication and gesture of understanding.

Earthly Jerusalem.
Heavenly Jerusalem.

An armed territory.

I am leaving behind

With markets of barbed wire
Swarming and teeming

Of people coming from Berlin,
Budapest, Warsaw, Odessa.

The desert is a spectrum of salt
With Masada, Qumran,

The Dead Sea rolls, Jordan away.
The desert is earthly wilderness

With the mirage of the heavenly city.
The desert. Who speaks a language

Old as the hills.
The radio in the car emits

Sounds that could announce
A war at any moment.

People travel with supplies and food,
Willing to live or die,

Ready for anything. Even go all the way.
From both sides Jews and Arabs

Put in the account of wearing
The clothes of an eventual mourning.

Traffic hours brings them into a single garment
Of pilgrimage, but only a gesture,

A single call could deploy Jews and Arabs
On one side or the other as two armies.

They are all ready, ready for imminence
On both sides of the heavenly city.

India Song

On the lineup of Air India plane
that will take us from Rome
in New Delhi and Bombay,
a young woman ahead of me in ‘saris’,
the graceful traditional Indian costume,
with the daughter in her arms
four or five years
that turns to me
behind and smiles.

On the side of the plane
half of the boarding ladder
I read the words:
‘Your Palace in the Sky’.

In the middle row, two pairs of Indians,
slow and solemn in preparations for the trip.
A man wearing a turban,
the hallmark of the Sikhs.

That smile, that  written
are of good auspicious, as would a Hindu.

Without my noticing it
I am inside.

Mother India whispered to me
her welcome.

Travel Companion

My traveling companion
Is an English lady from Manchester
Going to Bombay, now Mumbai.

She wears a black suit
And has the red shoes;
I imagine her
Ancient beauty.

We’ll talk in the course of the whole trip,
A whole night,
Touching dreams
Of the sleeping passengers,
Skiming over their thin
And ill-concealed fears.

And we do have
Dreams to tell as well
And all the dreams of a life
In the punch of a single night.


from “LYRICS”

Your Sense of Rhythm

I love your sense of rhythm
unknown, lovely lady.

The sparkle of your necklace
seeding the platform of lights
in a powerful attraction
resplendent in the clamor of the hour.

And I would like to take flight
at a hundred paces from the ground
and kiss you a thousand times in flight
while comes the bright dawn.

Your Body that Dances

Your body that dances moves space
in ever new designs: I observe it,
that escapes the cold accumulation
of the ordinary prohibitions, never sated.

I like his hidden rhythm
and while I call it at unusual steps
I control it and admire his rise
and the concealed arabesque of the wings.
It happens that I take its place,
it my own, there is no better understood.

The open challenge seduces me, no surrender.
Why do not we see more? Where are you?
We close ourselves in a cool fair play.
But I’m still not satisfied.


And her absence
I feel more alive
than thousand presences,
and it seems to me then
that it takes place, perhaps,
as a metamorphosis
of the absence in essence,
it appears to me,
almost I see it,
but not the metamorphosis: She,
I see her, along
with the metamorphosis
which of her is mirror,
and then I think,
shattering and melting me
at dawn
into a thousand splinters of light
of a bright dark day,
sniffing the ambiguous
smell of cold
that stuns and restores
-after a sleepless night-
I think, but I do not know what to think,
and do not even know if I think,
and you fill  the time
of her absence,
but it is an impression,
like the memory
of her looming presence.


from “STRINGS”

As a landscape of ruins
the land who takes care
of the slow river.

Images are detaching
from a book peeled by the wind.
They feel the recall.

Crazy of waiting
my lonely
Sun Dance

Day foams
for the enchantment of
vanished moons

I dull my senses
in her silences
like clouds



Poems 2011

I’ll call you Poetry
and finally married.
A treatise on metaphysics
in fourteen lines.
A journey into the infinite
no return.
After millennia
fresh as a daisy.

First Movement


Do you know when a little dog wags
his tail around you awakening
or even a child
of whom you felt on the cheeks
the contact of his kiss
before opening your eyes?
So an idea appeared at dawn
that I’m chasing in thousand nights.
None other than
a ‘definition’ of poetry.
A little voice kept saying:
‘What is poetry? All music, more sense. ‘
Now I will think it throughout the day.

On the Wave of Breath

Perfect on the wave of breath
I am hearing the sound, a whole song.
She whirls divine and alters
touches the piano as a fury
and lights up the night and love.
White keys, black button,
music  as a frenzy of gestures.
Sometimes she lets slip
references only to me
-interested and malicious listener –
phrasing a concert
of madrigals  and allusions
as they used to be
before I passed from lover to viewer.

The sounds of the night

The sounds of the night
have something of the music
and something of the randomness
of the noise.
They mark the space,
mark the time,
are like an echo
of the day.
Friends that keep us
from going too deep
in ourselves.
They look after like faithful dogs.
Silence does not exist.

Sun-music Dance

The sax is made vivid by a ray of sunshine,
which disturbs
his quiet but filling him with fury,
ready like a lover’s first kiss,
trembling from its perch in a blaze
of accomplices reflections:
covers the range of gold and lust.
To his right a guitar, white,
lunar and already scantily clad.
The piano is stretched out
In a darkness of quiet.
The battery is covered with tattoos,
vibrant spirits of throbbing warriors.
Even if the music is just in my head,
lethargic and private,
is here that the sun beam has opened the ball
as a sun-music-love-dance.

Between sound and silence

It starts like this,
sounding unwilling.

The greyness of the world
not persuade
to overcome the threshold.

Sounds are lost
in dumbfounded silence.

The infertile static
in a desolate swamp,
flooding with breaks
the sounds,
with frowning glances
and the frustrated desires.

It sounds more alive
the thunder
out there in the sky
and this is the spark
that vibrates the rehearsal room
and shakes
with fertile traction
rhythms happily meshed.

We are imitating the thunder
which took,
no one knows why,
a particular configuration:
that of our state of mind;
first lazy and mumbling
then elated and foreboding
of heavy and vital rain.

Like life,
beyond all death.

A gift

I received
a valuable gift
by unexpected hands,
fragile like a secret,
suggestive of a gift
ever given.

I spend all day
gazing it
every crease a memory
every minute all the past.

The unlace is slow
as a ritual,
by an abysmal gesture
often signed
but never fully

Sometimes it is better
to stop himself in time
to taste then
after a time
that seems endless
and is a flash
that is more beautiful
the concealed
secret of dream.

Ritual dream

In ordinary life
slipping and leaving nothing but vague shadows
– infested of wounds-
you, the more alive than ever, immaterial
like a ritual dream,
renewals in my memories
old feeling, that time has not faded,
as a mortal blow
on unburied emotions.
Undecided whether to call you, exhausted
of desiring,
I walk again your breasts.
The fine weather with you it will return.

Second Movement

The Largest Network

Caught in the majestic network
we explore the fourth dimension
where appearance is mixed with real
in a thousand places.
The large net is woven by herself,
looks like a game
and triggers riots;
the dark network blinds and save
managing relationships
accelerating the history.
It blurs the distinction between the sublime
and the banal but we do not realize it.
Just click to become evident.
We alleviate wounds
plot betrayals.


The webcam
is a mirror.
Symbiosis disturbing
(As well as convenient
and attractive) –
you talk with another person
across the ocean,
but it’s like
reciting a Shakespeare’s
in front of
the bathroom mirror
while you make your beard.
It’s like entering the abyss
in slippers.

Dyadic  vision

According to a dyadic
vision of sign
my signifier
pronounces words
of that I should be
But it does not match.

Third Movement

A solitude of sand

At five o’clock in the morning alarm sounds
at our hotel in Los Angeles,
there is a fire alarm, which then proves to be wrong.
It’s dark on California.
We take the opportunity to smoke a cigarette
in the smoking area outside the hotel.
We are five, all arrived the night before
from the Arizona desert.
Without knowing, it seems an appointment,
we all have in our eyes the memory of that extraordinary
experience. In turn, we tell the world
through the deserts: Sahara, Sinai, Negev,
someone even those of Australia and the Far East.
You must know the world through the deserts,
each with its own characteristics,
each of us focusing on its solitude.
A solitude of sand.

Fourth Movement

Mindless fun

The mindless fun
of the  droplets that punctuate
the breath of rain on the asphalt
providing a hidden music
to  the silence of the living around.
Rares, wary, hooded.
There is only it as protagonist.

A silence
Only at one point I realized
with some amazement that
I was spending the day in silence.
Without sounds, words, with feelings
muffled, even the sounds were sparse,
able to not hurt and wary. Educated.

Thoughts unusually discrete
have renounced the temptation
to invade this world in darkness,

with that I’m in love now,
also available and ready now
to give up what remains.

And then I got into my own
dream and I lingered
and I wandered a long time, around

in the Hades of my past,
slowly, looking incredulous
faces and eyes forgotten for years.

Even my mistakes were exposed
in plain view, each
a letter of the alphabet.

This coded language of symbols
will have meant something
or is it just a well-ordered world.

Then they say that the private universe
of its own mistakes is a subjective
world. Biggest mistake ever.

Even some forgot hope
it was there,
in the silence of no-return.

Night on night

Today the night entered
on the day in depth,
prolonging the dawn
until early afternoon,
leaving behind
a breath of dreams.

The day has given
outrage of the night,
not without indifference,
but resigned and hostile.

Today the day
had nothing to say.

And night is rejoining
to divert every breath,
any urgency.

With Myself

And here I am finally alone.
The trouble is that I do not know
what to do with myself.
I miss the language.
The Training.
The attitude.
The aplomb.
I miss it.
I would like to escape.
Talk to someone
who knows nothing
about myself,
which has never even
heard something about me..

Between Sound and Silence on Youtube

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Categorie:C02- POESIA / Ritmi urbani. Poesie 1990-2010 - Manni editore 2011 - Urban rhythms - Poems 1990-2010, C06- POESIA / Between Sound and Silence



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