Music-Themed Haiku from Maurizio Brancaleoni

Huge church organ in front of a round window on a sunny day. Many pipes.
Per Urna Chahar-Tugchi
S. Maria in Aracoeli

Santo Stefano:
la sua voce raggiunge
l'Ara del cielo

For Urna Chahar-Tugchi
St. Maria in Aracoeli

On Saint Stephen's Day —
her voice reaches into the
Altar of the sky

Beatrice Rana:
il legno carezzato
dal vino vecchio

Beatrice Rana —
the wood caressed
by old wine

Prokofiev: dopo
la sonata riposo
per il violino

Prokofiev —needing
rest after the sonata
the violin

messa a Natale:
ogni canto tradotto
in lievi gesti

Christmas Mass —
every chant translated
in light gestures

Maurizio Brancaleoni has had poetry and prose published in numerous journals and anthologies. 
He has a bilingual blog where he posts literary gems, interviews and translations. 

Story from Maurizio Brancaleoni

Who Cares About the End of the World

The end of the world is nigh. So what? This doesn’t change things. All my life I’ve been wishing to do something important, go down in history and now I know that it’ll never happen. So let the apocalypse come, who cares. Finally something really democratic. Not even the greats of the past ages are safe, everything will disappear from the face of the earth. Pardon, that’s going to disappear too. The Big Crunch, the return to the singularity: few believed that it would really happen.

I was talking about that with a female friend just yesterday.

– I don’t see why we should get desperate. In any case, each one of us would have to die sooner or later.

– You’re insensitive as usual.

– At least we’ll die together – I said, although my love is unrequited.

– You creep me out – she replied, and started chatting with her friends on Facebook.

I remained at her disposal anyway. Shortly thereafter, she ordered me to go and rent all the disaster movies I could find because she would throw a party that night.

They want to overcome the fear of death, I said to myself, by mocking it, laughing at it. It was a good guess: on my return, I find her making out with two guys in skeleton costumes.

– The best is yet to come – she says.

– I’m partying too?

– There’s always the dog.

That was one of her friends. Soon after other people dressed up as the occasion demands – gravediggers, ravens, worms and whatnot – walk in with crates of beer and any kind of commercially available drug.

Moral: there was little interest for the movies and only I and the “dog”, wearing a tombstone costume, watched them, until she left me to participate in an orgy with two skeletons, a coffin and a mausoleum towards the end of the night.

At dawn they had all sunk into comatose sleep, as in one of those music videos that stage the typical post-party morning of the latest pop star. I walked out in the garden and watched the sun rise.

I’m still here now, contemplating the sky. It won’t be long until the end.

Komm, süßer Tod!

Really, that’s what life was? We could do without it, thanks. Adieu.

Maurizio Brancaleoni has been widely published in several journals and anthologies. He has a bilingual blog where he posts literary gems, interviews and translations. The original version of “Who Cares About The End of the World” was first published in 2012 in an anthology of apocalyptic short stories.

Poetry from Maurizio Brancaleoni

What It Lacks

It’s the lyrical accent
that's lacking, the sharp snap
of expressionist dramaturgy,
the steadfast steer of the infested line

whose absence is bewailed 

pathetic, stupid are the subjects
your life is trivial and hopeless by now;
being poor, you suck up
raw chatter and companions

and pull them in

the nobleness of verse traded 
for a few threepenny tricks
rhyme the most humiliated
and rightly so

you're dead to sense too
under your pretty shroud of postmodernism 
I take you along in my daybook
as seed, fruit and offspring of mine

on regional trains and eatery tables

Maurizio Brancaleoni has had poetry and prose featured in numerous journals and anthologies. In February 2023 he published his first short story collection “New Parables and Other Oddities”. He has a bilingual blog where he posts literary gems, interviews and translations. 

Poetry from Maurizio Brancaleoni

A Brilliant Solution 

Following the recent onset of awareness
               on the part of major political figures 
                                      national and international
      of the criticality of the current conditions
        of planet Earth, home to a wealth of creatures
                                        among which algae, human beings,
                                                              and beavers
     mind-boggling and praiseworthy measures have been taken
grounded on the unshakable respect towards
                                                    polar bears, almighty lobbies,
                                            and pictures and videos depicting
                                            malnourished children 

being the above-mentioned strategy
 — although already criticised by imbeciles and activists — 
           set out to address these all-encompassing issues
    in an unprecedented manner
    as everything points to the fact 
 that nothing else might be done
    at the time being
that is,
       hope everybody dies
       before hunger and climate change
       might be held responsible
              for their deaths

Maurizio Brancaleoni has had poetry and prose featured in numerous journals and anthologies. In February 2023 he published his first short story collection “New Parables and Other Oddities”. He has a bilingual blog where he posts literary gems, interviews and translations. In 2016 the Italian version of “A Brilliant Solution” was among the poems selected for a poetry and photography contest organized by the cultural association Civico 32 and the journal Versante Ripido. 

Haiku and Senryu by Maurizio Brancaleoni

Villa Glori Cross

dormito troppo:
la formica di caffè
sul mio pollice

overslept —
the coffee ant
on my thumb

binario 1:
la gran croce bianca del

platform 1 —
the big white cross
of the hawkbeggar

Roma Termini Christmas Tree

Roma Termini:
il santo in ciabatte
guarda l’albero

Roma Termini —
the holy man in flip flops
gazes at the Christmas tree

ite missa est:
e fuori l’inferno a
bocca aperta

ite missa est —
and outside hell
gaping wide

notte d’estate:
incollata al lenzuolo
la mia insonnia

summer night —
glued onto the bed sheet
my insomnia


Santo Ignazio:
s’inginocchia il turista
per uno scatto

at Saint Ignatius —
a tourist down on his knees
for another shot

sbianca la luce
gli sbrecchi della tazza:
sera d’inverno

the light whitens
the nicks on the cup —
winter evening

Fountain and Pigeon

l’amore della bimba
per le monete

tombola —
the little girl’s
love of coins

spia paparazzo
dalla finestra
sull’unghia dell’alluce

a paparazzo spies
from the window
on my big toe nail

pesce scontato:
il giorno dopo
saltella ancora

discounted fish —
the day after
it’s still leaping

San Paolo

annoiati a morte
tutti i fantasmi

specterbusters —
all the ghosts
bored to death

penna ïn resta
respingo moscerini
dal volo a zig zag

pen in rest
I repel zig zag
flying gnats

persino la salvietta:
spesa post-Covid

even the Kleenex
gets sanitized —
post-COVID shopping

Posing Crow

Giorno dei morti:
nel cric croc dei muri
si rispondono

Day of the Dead —
through the creaks and squeaks of walls
they respond to each other

solo d’estate:
persino i ragni hanno
le loro mosche

lonely in summer —
even spiders have
their flies

affreschi a Pisa:
anche Satana soffre
di emorroidi

frescoes in Pisa —
even Satan
suffers from hemorrhoids

Urban Intimacy

studio medico:
contaballe aggancia
sexy menope

doctor’s office —
fibber hooks up with
menopausal hottie

per il dottore:
al mio turno tocca al
nuovo arrivato

at the doctor’s —
when it’s my turn
the newcomer is up

Roman Ruins

pronto a scattare
parte prima l’allarme
del ranocchio

ready to shoot
the frog alert
goes off first

stasi ardente:
tutt’uno con l’antenna
l’uccello grigio

scorching stasis —
one with the antenna
a gray bird

La Fornarina

La Fornarina:
la folla si delizia
della tettina

La Fornarina —
the crowd delighted
with the tit-ina

Maurizio Brancaleoni has had poems and short stories published in numerous journals and anthologies. In 2018 he received an MA in Translation Studies with a thesis translating and commenting on Thomas Wolfe’s “Passage to England”. In recent years he localized Adrian C. Louis, Jean Toomer and Justin Phillip Reed. Earlier this month, he put out his first short story collection “New Parables And Other Oddities” after a twelve-year publishing career.