Viviana Fiorentino is a versatile migrant literary bird born and bred in Italy and now living in Belfast, Ireland . The griot in Fiorentino has mastered the art of word activism. He subject lines are deep with both sense of belonging and miseries related to nostalgia. Her rhythm packed and lyrically correct versifications are tensely confessional. Confessional poetry is the usual soul food to the audience and is closely linked to psychical and spiritual matters, something to do with memories, experiences, identity, history, traditions, realities and complexities of life, with a clear assertion that life experiences can be both rosy and gloomy. After reading more carefully and listening attentively to her voice, you pick her love for humanity, her quest for the rain of freedom, her passion for those thrashed by lashes of poverty under the steel yoke of racial hegemony , shrieking in dust ridden hovels of stigma, choking in dungeons of rejection , those roasted in hot pans of abject sufferance by toxic politics and those with souls stewing dumping sites of moral decadence. Every verse carries rain clouds, promise, sunrays of hope and sometimes gloom, paradox raises its ugly and beautiful head in most of her versifications. This set of poems is a testament of belonging , the beauty of life, the ugliness of it thereof ,nostalgia and the love for human freedoms by the distinguished poet using artivism to for and about the plight of refugees ,exiles and other vulnerable human communities. Viviana Fiorentino is a distinguished scholar, acclaimed humanitarian, advocate for human freedoms and hallowed poet. Greetings to all Scholars, Poets and human freedoms in Italy and Belfast. Together We Rise- (Blurb by Mbizo CHIRASHA).
In another country
I was in another country
Whatever happened that night is lost.
What she saw on the forsaken grass I’m now imagining.
The way past listens to shades
or it looks back for hues
The way love grafts the blossom to a root.
I still remember myself watching from the airplane window when I came here for the first time.
A green country below
the starving Ireland of the past
made of lilac bushes in the gardens
heathers and gorse on the hills.
I met her once, years after my arrival in this country.
Her hair the colour of black grapes harvested in the darkness
of an old summer somewhere in the South.
Her mouth the shape of a snaky bite
like a bitter seaweed of the Lough.
Years ago she kissed her mum on the cheek
before opening a door that led her this far
and she’s come
to a forsaken field and it was June.
To be no one, her name kicked inside her body
to see how far she might descend in the ruined home of bones.
She put a price on her body
as fire forgets the cries of the twigs.
The way life and death are side by side like something made of the same flesh.
Grasshoppers stopped chirping
when she was the nude branch bended
in the hollow of the night under a stripped sky.
An inverted surface, blank under the rain of barley stems
she inside a silent razor
sharpened by the body’s crime of living.
Her flesh so accurately dismissing to fail.
On the way back home, rape was still there
behind the pupils of her eyes
in everything she crossed.
It was the infinite reel of the road
the excessive colour of traffic lights
at each junction.
Everything shaped by a pain
with no horizon
under lime trees on the cement of the avenue.
Yet she saw the prehistoric man
again the wild eyes the spit on her chest
the torso of a wild universe nailing her on herself
Every leaf on the street was refusing to rust. She said autumn now and
despite the green of the country the fields the hills.
She said murderer she said suckle she said lilac she called it switchblade
the sharp deep purple against herself.
I wished to be the sky above – to hold everything that wants to fail once and ever.
She crouched on her knees in the kitchen.
Dawn vibrated its colours on the pane of the window
retaining the world outside.
She hit the thermos on the floor
and she watched inside
the little fragments of the glass free from the curvature.
A mosaic of mirrors reflecting her image a broken darkness on the ground.
But she wasn’t there. She was the dark recess left inside the steel container.
A life no longer able to keep warmth.
I pretend now nothing is wrong. That the greatest risk is not death but captivity.
She lived on, under the fingernails of the days. She lived under my fingernails. I learned to take care of her. Of her beauty. Her sorrow.
From then on, I was in another country.
I kiss you
between my tongue
and your tongue
(I look for a place /the exact space)
I bury the scents of memories
(a new tongue cannot tell what we’ve been through).
This is the land, a pause of time,
this is the land I looked for.
This is the land, the gesture of your fingers,
when you open your palms
as a rose.
The place where we wait for
where I see your hand
move my hair
away from my face
with no sound
it falls onto my page like a word.
Life stripped our clothes.
Naked, a ground still has flesh below.
You ask me
why is the sky
open and without limits
for swans, for geese, for terns
but not for us.
Here, we cannot even see the sky;
this room is suffocating,
hot, without windows,
strip lights cast shadows
of our hands across this table.
we are trapped
in white light
crying out into the dark.
Left to our own instincts
we could find our way
on cool nights
with the stars
**This poem appeared in Anthology for Dedalus Press.
Viviana Fiorentino is from Italy. She now lives in Belfast. An award-winning poet in Italy, her poems appear in the recent ground-breaking anthology ‘Writing Home: the New Irish Poets’ (Dedalus Press). In 2019 she published a poetry collection in Italy In giardino and her first novel Tra Mostri Ci Si Ama. Her poems, short stories and translations have appeared in international literature webzines and magazines (as Nazione Indiana, Poetarum Silva, Carteggi Letterari, Brumaria, FourXFour NI Poetry Journal, Poethead, The Blue Nib, Paris Lit Up). She has co-founded two activist poetry initiatives: on migration and displacement, Sky, You Are Too Big; and in support of artists in prison, Letters With Wings. She is on the editorial staff of Le Ortique, a bilingual (English/Italian) initiative that voices and rediscovers forgotten women artists.
Mbizo CHIRASHA, Time of the Poet Republic Curator
UNESCO-RILA Affiliate Artist.Freedom of Speech Fellow to PEN- Zentrum Deutschland,Germany. Alumni of the International Human Rights Arts Festival in New-York, USA.Literary Arts Activism Diplomatie. Globaly Certified Arts Mediums Curator and Influencer. Internationally Published Page and Spoken Word Poet. Writer in Residence. Arts for Human Rights Catalyst. Core Team Member of the Bezine Arts and Humanities Project. His illustrious poetry , hybrid writings , political commentary ,short fiction , book reviews and Arts Features are published in more than 400 spaces notably the Monk Arts and Soul in Magazine in United Kingdom. Atunis Poetry.com in Belgium. Demer press poetry series in Netherlands. World Poetry Almanac in Mongolia.Poesia journal inSlovenia. Bezine Arts and Humanities Webzine in USA. The Poet a Day in Brooklyn ,USA. Litnet Writers Journal in South Africa. African Crayons in Nigeria. Poetry Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. Pulp-pit USA.the FictionalCafe international Journal , Texas USA. Best New African Poetry series in Zimbabwe, Zimbolicious Poetry Collections in Zimbabwe. Co-edited Street Voices International Publications with Andreas Weiland in Germany.Co-Edited Silent Voices Anthology, a Tribute to Chinua Achebe. Co-Edited the Corpses of Unity,solidarity collection to victimzed Cameroonians with Nsah Mala. Curated and Edited the Zimbabwe We Want Poetry ,Inside Digraceland speaking poetic truth to the Mugabe regime and other bad regimes. He owns the Time of the Poet blog zine ,MIOMBOPUBLISHING that published the #GlobalCallforPeaceProject titled the Second of EARTH is Peace.A LETTER to the PRESIDENT his experimental resistance poetry colection was released in August 2019 by Mwanaka and Media Publishing.. Co- Authored Whispering Woes of Ganges and Zambezi with Sweta Vikram in India. Good Morning President his first poetry collection was published in 2011 by Zimbabwean published based in United Kingdom, Diaspora Publishers.COVID 19 Satansdeadly fart is forthcoming. Chirasha is Founder and the Chief Editor of Brave Voices Poetry Journal.