Rickey LaurentiisUSAWriting2014

I call recall that afternoon I received the message that I had been nominated for this wonderful opportunity – to live and make art in a castle! – and still today, some six weeks into my residency, the news is just as incredible. I spent my first few days here marveling at the overwhelming weight that this Italian landscape impresses on a person, eventually leading me to think specifically about my place – my particular body – within that landscape, within any. What I’ve been writing, therefore, are poems that I hope critically interrogate the erotics of my body—the ways it enters certain spaces, the ways it has itself been entered. We’ll see where it goes . . . But to be amongst so many interesting, innovative and talented artists at Civitella did give me license to experiment, to take risks, not only via the writing but via visual art and photography which (I’m learning) occupy at least one other half of my brain. I am forever grateful.

One Country



I want to be released from it.

I want its impulses stunned to lead.

This body. Its breath.

Let it. Let the whole pageant

end. If my body had a river in it

I would drain it. If by the river

was a city, let a storm shock and drown it.

If in the city was a boy made sick

from his body, the freak passions of it,

let him come out—his brown skin

lifting as a shell. Let it. Let all

his limbs pop and unhinge. First

his penis, its quick flight, as if a comet.

The eight fingers next, then thumbs,

then tongue, till every star is on the floor,

dismissed, each pointing in its own

direction, each another door

to the one country where his body is

loved and made for.