Sidorela Risto

Sidorela Risto

Sidorela Risto is a published author of three bilingual poetry books, written in Albanian and English - April, Where the Truth Lies to the Truth, and The Blind Map. Her first book, Pegasus, was published in Albania when she turned 13. Poems written in her teens were considered Avant-guard and won several prestigious awards. The pursuit of talent and opportunity prompted her to immigrate to the United States. Sidorela completed her Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance and Literature and a Master's Degree in Literature from Hunter College in New York. Following the completion of her degree, she published a collection of literary essays titled Joyce and Wagner critiquing works by Wagner, Joyce, Naipaul, Rushdie, Blake, Milton, Pound and Hemingway. Currently, Sidorela resides in New Jersey with her husband and two daughters.

Sunflower Seeds

"If a black butterfly
massages the omen of tears
on your forehead,
death whispers grow
audible," grandmother said.

"If a purple one
lands on your shores,
pomegranate seeds sail from afar."

Barefoot, walking on
black waters, filth and sand,
I saw one circling above me
on a sunny day,
simply dancing its prophet's vision.

Gently to my womb it whispered
the incantation of fertile crops.

Purple-black wings
weaving caterpillar veins
within my womb –
ancestral rites of birth waters and dust.



Grandmother's Wake

No moles on her face.
No stars shining,
just the white sheet,
my kiss on her forehead,
seagulls crying,
and her scripture: "When you massage my foot,
do not touch
the mole in the center –
black butterflies will steal it."



Something about Swimming

I.

When I was a child
I swam like a fish.
Hands in the shape of a
prayer
danced over the sea.
My feet fought the innocence
of waves.

Half waltz, half flamenco,
half fish, half flesh,
facing the mud, back against the sky

I was a child.

II.

Butterfly stroke

I embrace life with fallen arms

prayers are bullets
my mouth the throat of a gun

with God as my commander I shoot!
Enemies I have none...

Naïve dolphin.

III.

Life is the stomach of a fish
Like Jonah inside the whale
am I a dirty pearl in the world's stomach.

IV.

Part waves part!

I need to flee
these sharks

swimming
in the ocean
of my being.



Between Continents

My blood – the Red Sea between continents;
I have no staff.
Veins are ships traveling to sunsets and sunrises
feeding joy and sorrow to my heart and their hearts.

Faces mirrored on my palms,
lines connecting my soul to their souls,
will these bridges lead me home?

I am the salt, the bride of the waves.
I kiss the lips of two different worlds
unable to taste which one is sweeter.
A tear of joy and sorrow.
The Red Sea between continents.



Dancing with my Sister

The old record slowly spinning
like the umbrella of a dancing geisha.
We step, step, step into the 1920's,
heads up, hands tiptoeing on shoulders,
smooth movements.
I spin, spin, spin like frozen yogurt on an ice cream cone.
You step, step, step on the little piggy who can't go home.
I trip, you laugh.
Pick up the bamboo stick,
I am ready to walk the old world of the 20's.



Androids with Heartbeats of Nightingales

Give me a nest of feathers
to rest from the long journeys
on the iron fish-scales of the metros,
over the sea of hot vapors
and bodies – magnets with opposite poles.
A marathon without rules, without winners,
drunk
in the stomach of the giant fish
like in a cradle of dope without dreams.

The sun but a short breath taken by a swimmer;
head submerged in water,
all drink in the smell of others,
speak the language of sleep.

Like bombs to the office where
spherical eyes weep the hungry
twelve-hour shift,
enslaved by machines.
"As you wish, Mr. Square, as you wish!"

Like sponges to the geometric classes
we discuss Whitman's Leaves of Grass,
and analyze life with dead thoughts.
What is grass? asks the poet,
and laughs. Have you practiced so long to learn to read?

We have forgotten the color of dew,
the taste of earth.
We wait to lie inside that box of white cloth
with the lid over our brow,
tied body and soul to the mud.

With the yarn of life we knit turtlenecks of stress,
the shackled throat of the migrating voice
of creativity.

The eternal voice comes from the mountain.

The sea embroidered with the feet of Christ,
the bent oak, the summer cicada,
the ears of wheat, these are the prophets, and
Issa in three verses:

In the midst of this world
we stroll along the roof of hell
gawking at flowers.


In the city coffee-espresso,
with skyscrapers like needles
on the steamy pillow of the metros,
we are androids with heartbeats of nightingales.

Not I!
Give me a nest of feathers!
From the branch of a cherry tree
I sing with the tongue of sea waves
embroidered with the footprints of life.



Motorcycles

They ride in the desert of souls
drunk with the liquor of the sun,
mirages of water to eyes
that have not tasted
the wilderness of passion,
only heard the soundless voice of
cactuses and little beasts –
elements of routine.

Bodies of iron, wheels harvesting sand
cutting the air with fire,
wherever the spirit went
they went
without turning,
their voices dressed in power
like the Baptist's thunderous cry
"Repent!"

My confession –
no rhythm
a tongue-less heart
no water
only heat feeding
the lips of life
with torpor.

To feel the dance of wind and earth
holding on to motorcycle wings
that roar like rushing waterfalls
is my hope of baptism.

Wherever the spirit went
they went
without turning.



Take Me to That Place

Take me to that place
where fireflies dance the tango,
smooth stones become roses without thorns
That sanctuary
where gentle willows whisper vows of love
the wind says "I do"
the blushing nightingale cries,
oh, how the tearful nightingale cries.

Take me to that place
where tears melt in verses and dreams
are sweet waves caressing the sandy shores
That place
where glaciers burn
where tongues of ember whisper vows of love
the snow says "I do"
the silent swallow cries
oh, how the silent swallow cries.

Take me to that place
where birds are rhymes
their wings the bleeding hearts of butterflies
That place
where rivers drown,
where moon-like lips whisper vows of love
the poet says "I do"
the broken poetry cries
oh, how the broken poetry cries.



The Lullaby of the Purple Rose

Sleep my child
for daddy will come home
someday
to say "I'm sorry"
today you only have
my breast
to rest
in peace
asleep.

I do not know romance, my child,
but my scent is sweet.
The thorn that pierced my heart
made me bleed
a stream of blood so sweet.

You rest
for daddy will come home
someday
to say "I'm sorry!"

You saw him paint today my child
the tender flesh in purple.
My beauty often becomes art
of his first and hunger.

But don't you worry, little one,
don't worry, just sleep.
Momma is a purple rose
with fragrance so sweet.

And daddy will come home
someday
come back
to say "I'm sorry!"
and I will dish him soup and stake
I'll tell him not to worry.

His art is beautiful.



I Love Myself

Curves rupture my body like waves
licking the motionless stone.
I am beautiful
my body of water can melt in the chocolate flesh
of a man I call my own.
Our love swirls,
hot cocoa dance in the cup of destiny
where I taste the burn
of today's passion and tomorrow's parting.
I have joy.
My dark flesh can be seen and felt
outside of the private room
of fiction.
I breathe hard at the caress of my hand
and his soft groan.
Melted cocoa dust tastes sweet,
so does sin confessed to the world.
Listen to my song!
Feel my body's moan!
I am real.



Abandonment

The veins of the golden apple are dry
and I –
an abandoned boat
in the shores of the polar stars.



Sakura

My body a silk scarf
wrapped around the cherry tree
waiting to taste the fruit.

You the bird tiptoeing on branches
feeding me your song of passion.

Our love –
the bleeding heart of a cherry tree.
On its violin strings we play
the heartbeats of bodies.

You the bird kissing
my cheeks, ears, neck,
tasting the icy plums –
a flute in the heavens.

My fingertips caressing your lips,
your beak whispering sweet words
to the blossom
thighs, hips, ankles, feet, legs,
the elegant stems of the flower
you inspire to bloom.

Circling above the
waves of my ocean, sprinkling
honey dust on breasts of tulips,
you land softly on the salty ear,
on the shoreline of your desires.

You stand between the parting
of my lips
with the swaying body
of tiptoes.
Dive in!

I, the tigress, roar the language
of waterfalls.
My belly the drum, your tongue
the vibrating beat.

O for ocean
R for rippling
G for grasping
A for arriving
S for surrender
M for mad ecstasy

Dive in my bird of passion!
Take root in my flower
and soar!



Dinner along the Hood River

River water, foundation of the rich hotel,
what is special in life?

The peace of the soul, the love of the sky,
the walk in the light, the sincerity of heart.


I would like a special combination,
please.

Anything to drink to refresh
the sight of feelings?


Quiet waves from the river,
thanks.

Perfect choice, the secret
of the beauty of life rests in the waves.


Now I can breathe without fear.
I value that precious information.

Value the colors!

The colors of truth?
Of course, I will.
Thank you.



Served in New York, L.A. and Washington

On glass tables of Japanese restaurants
naked women lie as trays
carrying raw fish on their flat stomachs.
Painted lips, lilies blossoming on their breasts,
they don't dance on poles or smell the sweat of strangers
in their beds.
Like mermaids of marble, they stretch
their frozen legs, long necks
to seduce man's appetite for fish, not human flesh.



Improvised Tears

Droplets of water
tap their feet on
the cold surface
like frozen drum beats
of poor jazz.

In a tub of water
two leaf-shaped candles
float on rose petals –
empty boats kissing
the red horizon.

Underneath,
a stream of memories
plays silent melodies
on tender strings
of pruned fingers.

Sweat nibbles the plum-like breasts,
touch – the phantom of desire.

Alone, I wither.



Eunuchs behind the Cage

In a cage weaved with golden locks
two love birds breathe
the anguished spirit of freedom.
Disguised by love,
they sing to satisfy the eunuchs
hidden behind the cage.



Time

Time is a petal
flying in the wind,
a painting of the first cloud,
the following rain,
the last, eternal sunshine.
Time starts breathing
once created within the womb
of dust.
Like a falling star
it dies
once swallowing
the lie of perfection.
It ends
singing a lullaby
to the perpetual love,
sleeping in the flower's cradle.



Winter

Hailstorm:
a wounded sea
in search of a body.
The limp of the wind:
a marionette chained
by the sighs of time.
Muted thunders
cut through sand-like hands
of castled rain.
A naked vagabond
steps on the perfidious
mushroom of Hiroshima.
Dismembered limbs
flow down the orphan river of life,
and await for the sculptor sea
to build a new body of ice.



Horchata

We dive
in dunes of cinnamon,
milk and sugar heal our skin
so soft
the drink to our lips
a moustache of white cream
smile,
your mouth is a waterfall of joy.
We dive
deep
and find precious pearls of rice and sugar.

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