the poetry that matters

Tony DeGenaro

Tony DeGenaro is an Ohio native and MFA candidate at the University of San Francisco.  His poetry and essays have been published by Quiz & Quill at Otterbein University, and most recently, had a poem featured in the launch issue of Beirut, Lebanon's "Rusted Radishes."


from the Phoenicians’ first dictionary


Heth - Fence

as in, buriers, or lack/there/of,

between body and sea


Sadhe - Fishhook

caught, captured


net, god: a fisher of men,

or the sunset - geological



Samekh - Support

no shoulder to rest upon,

instead falls into the sea


Mem - Water

as in, the lord takes rest

underneath the waves,

quiet hymns hum in Batroun.


All the while reading an alphabet

crocheting laid into stone,

stone tablets,

   far from Sinai’s shadow,

(the mountain came at last)

the promised land but a dream many kilometers South,


Is it not the language that carves rules by which we live?

   conversation a vocal lovemaking

so when god passed the Ten Commandments on to Moses

   (fire, plant)

really, he was just giving us the tools to touch,

                (let my people go)


Resh - Head

  a manner to speak,

a body forming shape beneath each gesture

felt in lines painted into the walls of Byblos.


                                Teth - Unknown



                                                                                mirage upon desert’s Ayin

                                                                (so as to say - Eye)


                                                I see you,




                                                                                                                                beneath a dictionary of memories,




                                                                                                                                                figures of lines, which I memorize

   but cannot speak,

                could not speak,

                                                pictographs leaping fish out of sea,

                                splashes of ink dripping from pen-tip,

                or sparks flying off iron in stone


captured, drown’ed

above waves slowly washing my feet:

   i was a disciple,

I took upon the world You’d give

and held it, gingerly

like stone eager to crumble,

slippery like tablet:

   tablet of language,

language speaking of a Mediterranean sunset


captured it, as in

locked away as in immortal

in timeless,


   Daleth - an open door


and beyond the threshold of                        Byblos,




                                                an ocean of thoughts,

                                                no sea could contain:


if you squeeze your hand long enough,

a droplet of water will perspire through its grasp,

and gods will escape, soul will soar


Nun - Fish


we hunger for truth

as in a sea of doubt,

but unlike loaves of bread & fish for none

spread for plenty

sustenance is dwelling not within

some miracle,

but is


in the

Kaph - palm of my hand.



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                                                                                                            May 8, 2013