Poetry of John Manesis
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Poetry of John Manesis
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A Beginning


The anatomy professor

ushered our student retinue

into the large dissection room

as light slanted through the windows

that autumn afternoon.


Bespectacled and reverent,

he called our names and assigned

a foursome to each cadaver

where we, the acolytes, would serve

the coming year at medicine’s altar.


After initial anxious moments,

we lifted up our instruments

that gleamed in halos of suspended lamps

to study muscles, nerves, vessels and bones--

the covers and bindings of their books.


Since then I’ve come to ask myself

about the missing words and sentences,

the blank pages of their days.

Where did their travels take them,

did anyone record their stories?

How many went unclaimed,

who among them willed away the last,

perhaps the only thing they owned?

"With All My Breath" can be ordered at the following  website:  jmanesispoetry.com
       John's email is     

"Consider, If You Will" was published in May, 2010, a collection of sonnets in which John Manesis reexamines children's stories, nursery rhymes, and classic myths, casting them in different light and variant points of view.  This book can be ordered from amazon.com     Included are these two poems:

Public Defender

Distinguished members of this avian jury,
the bird before your beaks, Passer domesticus,
could not have harbored such an awful fury,
would never have perpetrated a crime so vicious.
Not a feather of evidence, a forced confession,
sensational headlines in the Jailbird Gazette,
the usual witnesses that sing in unison,
the coroner a flighty, inexperienced vet.

While Cock Robin’s killer is flying high,
my client’s caged, indicted for this deed
because the prosecutor needs a fall guy,
a member of an overpopulated breed--
the sad, familiar tale of a common sparrow,
an immigrant who was framed by a bloody arrow.

In This Infernal Place

I push the stone upward, laboring,
head down, elbows locked, imploring
every sinew that I have to not relent,
but near the top I always falter, spent,
and once again it rolls back down the slope.
Then I begin anew, flushed with hope,
undaunted by the challenge of this task.
Why do I continue, you might ask.

Without the stone, how would I ever face
the endless hours in this infernal place?
Without the heavy burden and this steep hill,
how could I test the limits of my will?
I don’t complain and never stop to rest.

I have seen the X-rays
of those children's bones-
cracked and bowed extremities,
zigzag skull fractures,
displaced growth plates,
the broken clavicles and ribs.
I have seen the shrouds
of calcium being laid down,
the new bone that wraps
around the sites of the injury
as skeletons mend themselves.
After many weeks, the evidence
of trauma usually disappears
and the bones seem whole again.
But I can not see
in any shadows before me
the marrow's memory,
the soul within the bones
that never forgets
the fist and boot,
the kicks and blows.

He went to market to sell our cow, did Jack--
and what do you think that he brought back
A handful of beans! I threw them out the window-
what can I do with him? I'm just a widow
and here we are, down to our last shilling.
I scold him all the time- why he's willing
to trust the people peddling poppycock
Those beans are worhless as a worn out sock.
When Mother's mad a me, I wait until
she's gone to bed and come and sit real still
in the garden where I know each plant so well
and listen to every story that they tell.
I can't make things grow, I let them grow.
Sshh, it's coming up---I told you so.