Mark Zegarelli
Mark Zegarelli

The Wedding Poems


Written for Robert and Sarah’s wedding




Only love


All around me I see


Or Navy Seals?

A new life


The sound of turbines


Sound of distant ships

Headed which way I wonder?


I thought I knew

What life must hold

So I climbed high


Out of harm’s way

Out of life’s reach



Where air grows cold and thin


Then higher

Where atmosphere itself dissolves

To molecules like ping-pong balls






Not even dark


Not even silent




Nothing like a Strauss waltz


Nothing like a rose garden


Frankly, you are being strung along


By mystery who’s hiding in plain view


Two old men in the park for chess

Their eyes meet


A winter supper


Candle in a blackened window


We are met on an extraordinary occasion

We have gathered holding roses

They signify our fallen state

For all our Kennedys have fled


And here in our inheritance

No day has ever been like this

Or will again



Hearts pounding in pride

We listen for the next suspended echo

Of a bluebird’s song


And somewhere you have never seen

There is a deep freshwater lake

So cold the water almost seems to thicken


We’ve tried to leave the fortune of our world

But gravity of grace has held us home

We couldn’t let us go because it was

Our home


And under that horizon

Below the curve of blue

We find that we have fallen

To great heights


We’ve spared the fatted calf

Cause we’re vegetarians

Who love Marc Chagall


Who’ve thrown away the book of rules

But held one rule asunder


Who’ve recognized this moment as our own

And claimed our place beside us

On this earth




Only love







In Eldorado

Written to Robert, of Sarah, on their wedding day


There is a vision I have taken from Tobias Wolff

Of a blind man stumbling through the gates of Eldorado

Lost city of gold

Not knowing the place


Angels, they say, send visions of light

That blind the beholder with their beauty

The heart heals in fire

That burns the body to charred disintegrate


I don’t know where I am

Or where I am going

My own heart, that little light,

Burns low and dim these days


Never extinguished – this much I know:

Its fire’s fueled and fed

Its secret source of air –

But bushelled – chained - sequestered


A heart beats still in a subbasement cell

In such a still dark place, I guess,

A heart hears its own beating

As particle after particle of sand

Drop singly through the neck

Far below to the hourglass floor


In this place – it’s here we always meet –

I can go through centuries of neglect

Unheard, unheeded, and unseen

And still end up here


Borges writes of God’s script, forking paths,

Fugues of eternal convergence

But you have glimpsed beyond these cycles now

Beyond breathing in future and heaving out past

Past purgatorious cycles of peace

Punctuated by the purges we call war


All this in a room –

No, smaller than that –

In a shell we recall from some beach

Of whose sand we built castles as kids


We held it to our ears

Heard whispered serpents’ words

These same words haunt us now


Then we set down this shell

Its words had earwigged



Hear now in your heart?


Those words weigh heavily wherever harbored

They are the gravity that draws tides anchored

To and fro in endless unresolved exchange

The gravity that finally implodes







You know now here you can’t be harmed

Feel that in your heart

It’s only my imagining

But image what she said, somehow


Somehow had you hear

Had you hear for real

Helped you see for sure and all



Is here

And when you stumbled in and didn’t see

Somehow held your hand

And somehow helped to guide your heart


How I cannot say

Perhaps that is irrelevant as well

Or just the private touch

That bonds and binds two hearts


In any case – exists beyond my ken, beyond imagining –

Which must be where the heart begins

And any heart can see

She must have shown you that


And when, so touched, you stumbled in

Somehow you sensed that you were there

She shading Eldorado’s golden glare

You trusted her and saw now

You could see






The Way Forward

Written on my 48th birthday, 2010


Are you willing to renounce

All roads

That don’t make you happy

That will never make you happy?


Then we’re ready to begin


With these words

Empty of all ambition

On this threshold of spring

Nearly nine years have passed

Are you willing to remove them?


Then embrace your blocks

As blocks to build a brand new love

And life of love

There is nothing catastrophic in this world

That the mere mention of love

Cannot cure


I stand before you here

Embrace this open empty hand

Stand outside this world

You don’t have to know how

The world works beyond your ken

Science has always known

That the world works fine without it

I want the way forward.