Poetry from Giovanni Mangiante


some people fall apart alone in their rooms

with a bottle of rum and a photograph

while others looking for coins in their pockets

as people begin to pile up behind them

and the bus driver’s face

twists slowly into a smeared painting

of boredom and rage.

some people fall apart looking out the window

and scraping the bottom of a can of tuna.

sorrow isn’t blue.

sorrow is the orange late afternoon sun

and the warm breeze of dusk

in 1978, in 1982, in 1999, in 2008,

in a yesterday that left us all behind

a long time ago.

mental patient

in the hotel of my mind,

every hallway is covered in missed-opportunity doors,

and in every turn there’s a shadow of unsolicited pain

creeping from its splintered walls.

I am a vagabond in my own home

unsuccessfully trying to smash open doors to the past,

running up and down broken stairs

while some cosmic creature watches from the outside,

and places a new shadow in the next hall.


somber tones

for my drought-stricken heart,

40 days away from


I think I smelled my childhood

for a second there,

but it went away with Lima’s

lung-breaking twilight smog.

I need to go out for cigarettes,

I need to go out for wine.

I need to go out for the sake of going out.

something is telling me

tonight I might need to reach

inside the back of my head,

speak again

to the angels from the past,

and see

if we can finally

come to an agreement.

sooner or later,

one of us will have to be

let go.

ripped apart by silence

these quiet nights are nails

being pushed down through my temple

by the hands of loneliness:

friday is again just friday,

tuesday is again just tuesday,

christmas is coming soon,

new year is coming soon,

she is not.

in these quiet nights:

I need the factories to roar, every dog to bark,

every cat to hiss.

I need window-breaking winds,

every human to scream, plates & glasses

smashing against the floor.

I need an epicenter in my bedroom.

in these quiet nights:

I need to silence the sound of trickling water—

the sound of the shower being shut off

as she steps out of it

in someone else’s bathroom.


the first sting would set the whole room on fire

and make everything come alive at once;     

                        and if

the chairs

the doors

            the shoes

            the clothes

the lightbulb

the curtains

            the windows

            the walls

had a mouth,

they would all have screamed at once

as I tore myself to pieces, dead-eyed and silent,

searching under my skin for the sleeping newborn

in his mother’s arms, sometime in 1996.

Giovanni Mangiante is a poet from Lima, Peru. He has work published in Newington Blue Press, Rusty Truck, The Daily Drunk, Anti-Heroin Chic, Heroin Love Songs, Rat’s Ass Review, Three Rooms Press, and more. He has upcoming poems in The Piker Press. In writing, he found a way to cope with BPD.

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