Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dennis Villelmi- A Poem

Spending and Saving

I haven't been the same, not since that September
It was the nighttime city-crisscrossing with a half tank of petrol,
and a soul full of badly printed fliers: my campaign to gather
The loose and poorly produced.
Yes, I've not been the same, and the convulsions, which I
  dutifully log on in my daily planner, are wringing my
Citizenship in the new year out of me to be given over to the
The coffee shop -my favorite one- closed business last week;
The silver dollars I placed on the bedside were given a weak
The blame lies with their having been in currency before they
Were collected.
Every live birth is for currency's sake, and it's the stillbirths that
   keep their mint.
In waiting rooms and ER's I've seen the elderly; the spent.
Saw them so many nights this past September to realize
Big Grim as a collector of tarnished coins.
(Is the trip over Styx in the tarnish itself?)
So...it's a dry cheeseburger then past midnight.  The diner's
Light plays to my badly printed fliers to where I could swear
   the very few other customers are simply myths.
The coffee isn't hot enough to help the rawness in my throat;
I almost cry now for my favorite shop that closed last week
   for want of patrons, tarnished or newly minted.
But I think Grim's sitting there behind the boarded windows,
   sipping from the last ceramic cup my lips touched.
He knows I'm for this night to spend, as I'll be spent by tomorrow
   night, and so on, till the disease and this city have finally
Obscured the year of my birth.
Five dollars and thirty five cents on the counter.  Time to return
To putting up cheap fliers around town, or else no one will
   attend the church newly opened in the projects.
Bad place if you ask me- tender illegals with no loose change
   for donations.  Don't they know you have to spend for the
   boat ride to the next city?

Dennis Villelmi is the author of "Fretensis, In the Image of a Blind God" (temporarily out of print) as well as numerous published poems, and is a freelance writer for the webzine Gruemonkey.com. He lives in the state of Virginia.  


  1. Utterly fantastic. The image of the Reaper sitting in the boarded up coffee shop, sipping from the same cup last used by the speaker? THAT got under my skin.

    This is the best poem I've read in a long time. Congratulations, man.

  2. This is excellently crafted in the way that its central motif is carried throughout the poem. And it is a wonderful interweaving of the speaker's personal experience and classical imagery.

  3. I am undoubtedly in accord with Mr Nolan. Arguably Villelmi's greatest poem. What always strikes me about Villelmi's work is his poignant of Hellenic imagery juxtaposed with the concrete and smog of the New World. The idea that the old gods are still working under the veiled ignorance of a heavily Judeo-Christian nation creates a somewhat sinister atmosphere. Villelmi's is a world where the living have dollar signs in their eyes and the dead have coins placed on their lids. A terrific piece!