Nicole Caruso Garcia


Once raped, you wear it daily, learn to see
The cut, the color, clarity, and carat.
Each time you try to square asymmetry,
It cleaves, reveals another jagged facet.

Fool, you think it fits inside one poem.
No, map with calipers and microscope
Your story since you came to wear that stone:
Flawed and heart-shaped, bluer than the Hope.

Since you must wear it, hone it with precision.
Leave your wrists unslit, the blood unbled
To cut and polish sin to scintillation.
Woman, rise up from the rhinestone-dead.

Yet what can cut a diamond? Nothing can,
Except the hardest substance known to man.

On Desire

Nirvana is extinction of desire.
Just think of all the problems it would fix:
I cannot name my hunger; I deny her.

Is this peace so easy to acquire?
As with the asteroid that tamed T. Rex,
Nirvana is extinction. I desire.

(I'm not the Dalai Lama.) I require
A smidge of crème brûlée and kinds of sex
I cannot name. My hunger, I deny. Her

Call that torments me to taste an empire.
With honeyed verse and lyre, the Siren shipwrecks
Nirvana. Is extinction of desire

Not itself a thirst, a purifier?
If monks can score that spiritual Xanax,
I cannot? Name my hunger. I deny her.

Yet in the tropics of my brain, I abide her:
Native cactus flower. Paradox.
Nirvana is extinction of desire
I cannot name. My hunger? I deny her.


Nicole Caruso Garcia is Assistant Poetry Editor of Able Muse and a Board member of Poetry by the Sea: A Global Conference. Her poems are forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, PANK, and Modern Haiku. Her work has appeared in Measure, Light, The Rotary Dial, The Orchards, The Raintown Review, Antiphon, and elsewhere. A past recipient of the Willow Review Award, she is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a fellow of the Connecticut Writing Project Invitational Summer Institute at Fairfield University. She holds a B.A in English and Religious Studies from Fairfield University and an M.S. in Education from University of Bridgeport. She resides in Connecticut, where she has taught at Trumbull High School since 2003.


Michelle Blake
Erica Charis-Molling
Kay Cosgrove (Featured Poet)
Anna M. Evans
Nicole Caruso Garcia
Kelsey Ann Kerr
Jeanne Larsen
Susan McLean
Claudia Monpere
Diane Moomey
Stephanie Noble
Suzanne Noguere
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The most recent addition to The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline is Rosa Newmarch by Jean L. Kreiling.

Marie Ponsot was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Celebration of the Timeline reaching 75 essays, Lincoln Center, Fordham University (Sponsored by Fordham's Curran Center) Friday, October 20th, 2017.

Charlotte Innes is the recipient of the 2018 Mezzo Cammin Scholarship to the Poetry by the Sea conference.

Rachael Gorchov: Recently I completed a body of work that focused on the landscapes that define suburban office and industrial complexes, contemplating their subtle relationships with the history of landscape painting. When looking at these places I saw English landscape gardens – orchestrated nature that gave way to picturesque landscape painting. I documented my subjects onsite by drawing their reflections in a Claude Glass, a convex black mirror popularized as an observation device in the 18th century. This tool appealed to me for how its skews and bulges its reflection, making my work highly subjective from the start. I then constructed paintings in the studio based on these drawings. The three-dimensional nature of my paintings further emphasized the forced perspective in my initial drawings and required viewers to explore the paintings much like they might explore a physical space by moving around, crouching and craning their necks.

Irregular versions of geometric forms such as cubes, parabolic curves, cones and triangles comprised the dimensional shapes of these pieces and eventually gave way to my working nearly exclusively on concave surfaces and ‘rocks with cast shadows.’ I settled on these structures for a few reasons. When a viewer stands directly in front of the concave works, irregular half-spheres with the convex side attached to the wall, the paintings fill their peripheral vision for an immersive experience. The rocks and shadows, amorphous objects paired with adhesive-backed prints, are reminiscent of portals and geologic abrasions. They invite viewers to question if the dimensional form is emerging from or entering into another space. Like in other works, these pieces frame the physical space the artworks inhabit.

In 2016, I visited Europe where I recognized parallels between the interiors of Renaissance spaces and my own paintings, such as the power that foreshortening possesses in its ability to collapse and intensify space in cathedrals– similar to my Claude Glass works. This experience coincided with a visit to an exhibition in Vienna featuring renderings of synagogues that once stood in the city. This piqued an interest in contemplating architectural space in my work and prompted me to consider architectural language in my own Jewish cultural heritage. I then began a series of tondos, a Renaissance term for circular artworks, of European Jewish architecture.

Beginning with paintings and mixed-media, in these works I build a photographic image that engages the space wherever it is installed, becoming part of the architecture. I arrived at the tondo format through my own history of making non-rectangular paintings, and appreciate its relationship to reliefs and rose windows found in synagogues and cathedrals. In gathering source imagery, I rely heavily on documentation – photographs and engravings as most of these buildings have been destroyed. I contemplate the collective memory images of architectural space can reveal. In this spirit, this work depicts layered environments where scale, color and depth shift ambiguously, revealing experiential space.

I consistently begin works by looking at a particular subject because of an art historical or personal association, and then through a process of extracting details from their surroundings using an accumulation of marks, color and a tactility, I sacrifice specificity of form and place, ultimately revealing a specificity of experience as my subject.

32 Poems
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