Amy Barone - Poet
(Kamikaze means “divine wind” in Japanese)
When Kamikaze touches down,
In a lover’s trance
all nature stirs—
their melodious arias in synch.
A teasing sun
plays hide and seek,
casts shadows on the Orfento Valley’s lush green,
dares the clouds to reply.
Woman of earth,
I was parched for breezes,
danced my childhood days
in windswept Philadelphia,
Mountain days here
in Abruzzo’s ancient spa town of Caramanico Terme
transport me back
through the wind’s whispers and roars,
where the adjacent park’s wild residents rhapsodize
away the indigo evenings,
as I seek shelter under chameleon skies
and again dance with trees.
In Italy they name the wind,
the one force of nature people there fear the most.
Spiffero is the dreaded draft.
Venticello and brezza mean gentle breeze;
Scirocco, hot Southern winds that blow in from Africa.
The dry, frigid Bora hits the northeastern city of Trieste,
a seaside wonder where natives eat pasta and goulash.
When I lived in Milan,
I shunned the cultural aversion to the wind.
The land-locked city needed dusting,
something to carry away the gray,
a balm that only Mother Nature’s respiro--breath—can bring.
On the street where I lived,
porches were standard.
Laughter filled summer days.
The local firehouse alarm signaled danger.
Classic hits poured from a beige transistor radio.
We cradled tunes from War, Stevie Wonder, The Jefferson Airplane.
Blossoming buttercups entertained a trio of sisters.
My mother, who couldn’t swim,
watched over us at Aunt Mary’s pool.
In between flights off the diving board,
from Dixie cups we drank real iced tea spiced with fresh mint,
chased exotic yellow-and-black-speckled butterflies.
Fear meant the neighbors had unleashed Frisky,
the wire-haired terrier next door, or sightings of Mr. Talone,
who couldn’t talk and hid inside most days, or a strange “Lost in Space”
episode that wreaked dread as night darkened.
When I last returned,
sheltering trees that whispered in the wind had fallen away.
A quaint stone cottage had vanished.
Hospital officials, enamored of property,
flaunting pockets of big change,
had enticed families to abandon sturdy homes
to create a shallow view,
where flimsy townhouses will rise
on a street frequented by strangers, and robbed of a glow.
Rio (The Way I See It)
Hot pink is the color of Brazil,
but green is the color of Rio,
a tropical urban jungle pulsing with life.
Yellow is for flickering lights from the favelas
that hug lush mountains
offering prime city views,
where poverty, drugs, and samba mingle
and young children bounce on a trampoline in Cantagalo,
immune to foreign visitors’ downcast glances.
Blue is for swank homes in artsy Santa Teresa District,
echoing France’s Montmartre,
but where few workers speak other languages,
preferring to communicate in smiles and laughter.
White is for Cristo Redentor,
with arms outstretched and oversized heart,
who protects cariocas alongside city patron São Sebastião.
Black is the color of rosary beads that dangle from taxi mirrors,
promising safety on and off the road,
the only jewelry we wear in this dangerously fun town.
Amy Barone’s new chapbook Kamikaze Dance was published by Finishing Line Press where she is a finalist in their New Women’s Voices Competition. Her poetry has appeared in CityLitRag, First Literary Review-East, Gradiva, Maintenant, Philadelphia Poets, and The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, among others. Her first book is Views from the Driveway from Foothills Publishing. She spent five years as Italian correspondent for Women's Wear Daily and Advertising Age. A board member of the Italian American Writers Association, she co-organizes and promotes their monthly readings in New York City. She belongs to PEN America Center and the brevitas online poetry community that celebrates the short poem. A native of Bryn Mawr, PA, Barone lives in New York City.
Finishing Line Press Announces the Publication of
Kamikaze Dance by Amy Barone
Georgetown, KY — March 10, 2015 — Finishing Line Press is pleased to announce the publication of Kamikaze Dance, a new collection of poems by Amy Barone. She was recognized as a finalist in the publisher’s New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition. In Kamikaze Dance, the author celebrates nature, music, and the essence of place. A consummate storyteller, Barone recounts tales of tragedy, joy, and longing, injected with the author’s singular humor and candor.
“In these graceful, tightly-formed poems, Amy Barone traces a global trail, splashed with color, light, and music … A swirl of cultures dots this landscape in the compelling language of a woman who has felt the winds of the world, only to discover a more infinite panorama in homebound, unscheduled journeys to the land of imagination,” says Kat Georges, poet and author of Our Lady of the Hunger.
At the age of five, Barone dreamed of being a foreign reporter or diplomat. At eight, she began playing with words, and since then, has honed the writing craft and developed into a first-class poet. Although she grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, hardly an exotic locale, she is inspired by the core of place, which figures prominently in her poems. From her hometown of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and adopted homes of New York and Milan, to Rio, Salvador, and the Greek island of Zante, Barone takes readers on mini-sojourns. Many of her poems are exquisite autobiographical sketches packing meaning and heart into a mere stanza.
Barone spent five years as Italian correspondent in Milan for Women's Wear Daily and Advertising Age. A board member of the Italian American Writers Association (IAWA), she co-organizes IAWA’s monthly reading series, held on the second Saturday of each month, in New York City, for which she manages press relations and promotions. She regularly performs at spoken word events at venues in New York City, Northern New Jersey, and Philadelphia, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Villanova University and a Master’s degree in International Management from the Thunderbird School in Glendale, Arizona.
Barone’s first poetry collection is Views from the Driveway, from Foothills Publishing of Kanona, New York. Her poems have appeared in Apiary The Hive, Avanti Popolo, CityLitRag, First Literary Review-East, Gradiva, Impolite Conversation (UK), Maintenant, Philadelphia Poets, and The Rutherford Red Wheelbarrow, among other publications. She is a professional member of PEN America Center and a member of the brevitas online poetry community, which celebrates the short poem. A native of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, she lives in New York City.
“Amy Barone's special talent was obvious the first time I read her poems … Barone's poetry is of nature; it reconnects us to our essence,” adds Alan Wherry, Former Director of Penguin and Co-Founder of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.
About Finishing Line Press
Finishing Line Press (www.finishinglinepress.com) is an award-winning small press publisher based in Georgetown, Kentucky, which has provided an optimal outlet for poets since 1993.
Leah Maines, Editor
Finishing Line Press
555 West 23rd Street, S8B
New York, NY 10011