Adrienne Veronese

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The Low Spark of Wise Men Origins


   Before there was a Christmas,  

before there was a star of Bethlehem  

or three wise men even 

there were winters 

cold and deep, 

and tho…

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Rainier and His Chaos Demons

My brother and I agree

our father returned from

that frozen reservoir in Korea

with deities attached to him,

but not just any kind of deity.

What followed the lieutenant home

was the kind of deity that thrives on chaos,

on division and terror and bloodshed.

For lack of a better term for it…

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Giving in the Key of C-19


What if I were to say

I did nothing more

last Christmas

than pick tinsel

from my teeth, dismissing

the customary Christmas poem

as nothing more than a pathogen

of dubious origin?


(Would you point out

the obvious, that

most good poems are,


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Weapons System

They accuse us of weaponizing our tears,

yet when those tears are spent 

and we have no choice but to 

wave the white flag 

and change the locks, the 

best we can do in the endless cold war

we’re left with 


file the necessary forms 

in the bureaucracy they buil…

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It's All of Us


To know this the way I know

we can make music together

when separate,

to know this palpable presence

in the emptiness of silent rooms

& then embrace it for what it is,

and to know it isn’t just the singular you

but the plural when I consider

your survival …

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With Gratitude


 With Gratitude


(a Thanksgiving Poem)


I will eat these late-season berries


as the sky on better days.


I will roast this squash

with oils pressed

 from fruit of the the olive branch  

the one the dove carried in her heart

through a s…

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The Ceiling Stares Back (but never answers)

& so the question
comes down to
whether to
stay or go
after all.
although not even
the most prescient
among us thought to
ask the ceiling this:

          what cost does any kind
          of future come to?
          is this the day
          i grow the…

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He was woke.

He'd been on a pilgrimage to Maté Latte.

His man bun was untidy and his five-day growth perfectly trimmed.

His mother sent him skinny jeans and quinoa facial scrub for Samhain each year,

and his lover wore it natural downtown.


It was the best of times, it was t…

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In dreams

the winter is deep

and children are taught the nature of cycles

as carefully as we teach the cycles of nature.


In dreams

symbols dance among the sta…

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From the time when only men wrote about road trips

I squeezed myself into the narrative,

these winding roads my only companion

on this journey where mountains meet sea,

home neither ahead nor behind me

because it is a thing I carry with me at all times

& that is something which…

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skeletons of

blackened trees

erect a monument

to themselves

in this twisted landscape

where corruption

burns itself in effigy

and settles for pennies on the dollar

in which a spark of anything but Light

(well past the point

of redemption)

can signal the first s…

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Let us speak entirely in metaphor today

let us agree to believe

in a literal interpretation of this love only

as it passes between us in its journey

to places beyond the sun that remain unnamed

even in our wildest imaginings

(because the answers are never as important

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(or... Love for Love's Sake, Ego for God's Sake)

If this is love, give me another metaphor

for Sisyphus rolling that stone uphill

to the feet of Prometheus,

only to watch myself devoured by crows

while repeating never more

again and again


bound to these roles


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There Might be Dragons

as unlikely as it is

there would be a savior

whose birthday still confuses us

with respect to what gifts to bring                             


and as unlikely as it is

there would be a jolly man

whose pastime fills volumes

with images of el…

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The Knave Before Christmas


'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,

a rogue he was creeping, watchful for a spouse.

No husband to stop him from creeping and lurching,

no one to surprise him or stop him from searching.

Just that old rogue, once again sni…

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The Golden Ticket

They sleep on bus station floors
wrapped in each other
on well-bought sleeping bags,
their guitar the perfect piece
of accent furniture
for shelving s…

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Circular Ellipsis


at twenty I wrote a poem

that would be a song sung

by a woman in her twenties when I was sixty


at thirty I wrote a poem

that was a dream I had at twelve

of a woman who is eternal


at forty I found that place

between the biding time and fully awake

which activated at fifty

when …

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When Raised by Princes

This is what happens when royalty

which exists independent of the empire,

which springs from the loins of the tribe itself,

makes it past the checkpoints

& other measures meant to filter them out.


This is what happens when that …

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This was the scent that marked the end of summer

and the inevitable waltz into autumn's

colorful dance of crisp air and sweaters:

Cousin Tommy's delivery of

his annual bushel of gravensteins

from the tree at the end of his drive.


This was an afternoon of peeling and slicing -


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Diogenes Shrugged

 “Fuck Atlas,” she sighed,

pouring another glass of wine

and adjusting her tiara.

“He doesn't interest me nearly as much

as that dude who wandered through the dark

looking for an honest corporation.”


I didn't have the heart to tell her

she had it wrong

or perhaps she didn't ha…

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