Susan Scutti
Susan Scutti's poems are published in The New York Quarterly, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry, Philadelphia Poets, New Observations, Aloud: Voices from Nuyorican Poets Cafe and other journals and anthologies. In addition, a collection of her short stories, The Renaissance Began with a Muted Shade of Green, was published by Linear Arts Press in 1999. Two of her novels, Second Generation and A Kind of Sleep have been independently published. She runs a reading series, Tone Poem, at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC.


He'd never made any distinction between his mother and other 
women come and go, even if they do seem necessary for a 
moment by moment he lives, he has no truck with the past, takes what he
needs are not what matter, he can locate a woman's desire as 
swiftly, he fashions a string of words, a convincing lie, a fictional
line on which he hangs his mother's dirty laundry, she was 
a junkie, he loved drugs too until they became so fashionable among the 
girls from Amherst think he's sexy and they're the ones who bestow 
trophies fill his suitcase, he wins all the merit badges in a career composed of 
constant travel, he arrives at another destination, signs books, reads 
poetry is his natural articulation, metaphor never confused him unlike 
his mother is no longer alive, she never found it within herself to give, to 
continue by train, by plane, speeding forward, he moves on, the next 
woman, why would you give this man your precious minutes when
his next volume is a bloody, beating thing as mysterious as 
his mother felt no tenderness for him, none, and this he can never 

Originally published in Philadelphia Poets


The first time I came up to you
My father held my hand and I
Tasted your exhausted breath,
Felt the rush of your steam
Against my thighs
and looking up I saw
Your dark skies
Squared by buildings
Rising up, up,
Higher than heaven could go.
I pulled my hand from my
Father's and hearing the
Grumble of your subway voice
My fearful heart curled inside of me.
Smaller, smaller
I grew backwards: seven then six, five, four, three, two,
One, fetal again,
Finally only my
Soul remained, a
Pale spirit adrift in your
Dark streets, my heart was silent
As if I had never been born.

Father Manhattan,
Burst your pain inside a womb of pleasure:
I want to be your daughter.
I want to survive you when you're sold.
I want to echo your siren speech.
Father, Father
(Art in heaven)
I still haunt your skyscraped nights.
O, Manhattan: 
conceive me.

Originally published in The Outlaw Bible of American Poets


And then there's this incredibly long
pan where the camera moves
from the dirty china
to the empty Heinekens
past a few slices of fluffy cake
and a single cigarette burning to ash in the tray
until the pan ends with a brief shot 
of some burgundy stain spread dead center 
in the white table cloth.

There's another part, too, at the beginning of the video:
the camera zooms in on the couple  
alone at the altar
and you see Maria move:
just a flicker. 
She turns to take a last
look at this man she's marrying. 
Even through her veil you see
fear scorch her face.

But the best part comes near the end
when the camera starts on the dance floor
then slides from table to table
and you see all of us there
and every expression on every face
looks the same.

     we have held desire in adulterous arms
     we have loved selfishly and aborted desperately
     we have wanted what is not ours

We are related.

Finally, the camera returns to take a departing
shot of the married couple
who stand united
against the chaos of living.

    having tasted the body
    having drunk the blood
    we walk free within the bonds of family

Originally published in Aloud: Voices from Nuyorican Poets Cafe