Killers for UPicture

The best of the poems, photos, and meditations to appear on UPICTURE have now been collected in a book,  KILLERS IN TUTUS, available at Amazon.  Click here.  The cover photo appeared on November 2, 2012 in an essay on Fasching in Ulm, Germany.  The black and white does not do justice to the pink tutus on those guys, but I am working on a color edition that I hope to have out soon.  Below is the back cover blurb:

“How can we rescue and nourish a sense of wonder, especially if we live in chaotic and violent places like Beirut and New York City, which teach us to be skeptical?  This is the conundrum that courses beneath the poems, prose, photos, and art that William Marling composes in his seventh book.  In work that ranges from the Middle East to Middle America, from New York to Eastern Europe, Paris, and painting, Marling alerts us to the fallibility of the senses and the small victories of innocence and wonder.”



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You never see it coming


If you could see it coming
there would be no slow
motion in film, no Bernini,
no Grecian Urn for Keats.
Who tells you that, in the
moment, all was slow time,
they are so practiced, like
waterfalls that notice a man
in a barrel cresting their lips,
forgetting that first time,
they never saw him coming.

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We is I, I is We

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Children play in the confessional:

We is I and I is We.  There are

problems with canes and crutches

always, as prostheses discarded

are reclaimed on Mondays.

Nous rendons grace a

But the chantier fund

needs chanting up.

No hymnal, but the choir

which had seemed recorded

was real.  Professional beggars

and a cold sun on Rue St. Jacques.

The suicide’s apartment

has been cleaned up.  The piles

of jouets d’infants  gone le matin

and winter on my tongue.

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“Congress shall make no law”

Palazzo dei Congressi.


Of the congressi,  

by the congressi ,  

for the congressi.

You might as well

read a book, people.

The congressi, like

a dormant volcano,

are not coming to

your life.  The congressi

have gone to the lake,

to the bar and the bank,

themselves to consider.

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Giuseppe Penone, at Palazzo della Civilta Italiana, FENDI ROMA

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Pigneto Street Art

A wonderful off-the-beaten-path neighborhood of Rome. This is not graffiti.  These are not taggers. It is organized and, surprise to me,  adds to the community, which is home to a spectrum of socialist through anarchist views.

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Annette Messager at Villa Medici


These are two of the installations of French artist Annette Messenger now showing at the Villa Medici in Rome. At first they appear conventionally grasp-able, even softly lovable. But as they draw you into them, your presumption of familiarity evaporates, and you are looking into something unsettling, wondering “Can she really mean that?”

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DEF:  “a person or animal having both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics, either abnormally or (in the case of some organisms) as the natural condition.”

The pose of this hermaphrodite is one of the most common, but the sculpture is one of the oldest, brought from Greece to Rome around 100 BC.  It is in many ways the most subtle nd beautiful of all.

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Cleveland — The Flats


Ruin, wreck, wasteland,

a Sunday morning poem,

a green light for seagulls:

Take it.  Take it out of

itself.  Make fences flower,

find rhythms in rust, there’s

flats and sharps on this staff,

if I make  it sing.

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Gelateria Fassi


I am the only one left
in this deserted gelateria,
the only audience sustaining
these lovers. Even the scoopers,
who were flirting, are collecting
their coats. It will be awkward,
baggy lovers, soul-smooching
with your cashmere gestures,
for you to continue without me.
What will happen if remorse
creeps under the door? I can
stave off stinging regret too,
the thousand compromises that
will destroy you, yes I alone
keep you present — mostly
I think, because your hands.

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