The Works of Vince Corvaia

Vince Corvaia has an MFA in creative writing and currently lives in Boise, Idaho.

All Poems © Vince Corvaia




I never expected to end up here.

My map indicated a green campus

dotted with red brick buildings

and young people carrying books.


But instead I live on a ranch

I share with my sister and brother-in-law

where a horse and two sheep run

like children in the sandy corral.


I feel like an exile from another country

who is making the best of a new land

but sometimes longs for the path

he started on long ago.  My compass

is broken and points everywhere.


All I know of Kansas
is the white interior glow
of a lone combine at night.
I lived there ten years—
readings, parties, betrayals—
but what remains
are scribbles of lightning
in a blackboard sky
and the last farmer
to call it a day.

"If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away."  -Matthew 5:29
It's a fine line
between faith and lust
a punch line
whose joke is always on me.
Keep it up God says
and you'll go blind
but has he never seen
a woman jogging in the rain
her long ponytail beckoning
and the slippery sheen of her thighs?
Then like W.C. Fields
I start looking for loopholes
and "I want" becomes a prayer
that yields no absolution.
All I can do is laugh at the stars
while my heart
old tumult of muscle and memory
hurls itself
against the bars of its ribcage
like a prisoner
whose last supper grows cold
and the footfall of the priest
having shut his book
of jokes for all occasions
fades down the corridor
of sightless men.

God threw a red queen
on a black king
and said
there must be more

to eternity than this.
So he changed into
his best rags
hung a sign on his throne
and came back to earth
for a repeat performance
in the Big Apple.
He had fun
overturning the gift shop shelves
in St. Patrick's Cathedral
raising the twin towers
from the dead
changing rotgut whiskey
into mineral water
and giving sight
to the politicians.
He knew Judas
in a three-piece suit
would shove him
off a subway platform
for season tickets
to the Met.
It was in the cards
God said
and spent his final hours
dropping pennies
into the open guitar cases
of his children
their free acoustic hymns
rising like balloons
from Washington Square
into a clouded sky
of his own making.



What do I want
with Mars?
At gunpoint
I couldn't pick it out
in the night sky.

But rich people
are lining up
for a one-way ticket
with only
the carry-on baggage
of their lives.
When I was sixteen
and Neil Armstrong
broke the moon's cherry
you didn't hear me saying
me next.
A girl whose name
means nothing to you
was the center
of my lonely orbit
a planet whose surface
I had no hope of conquering.
Just think of my life
as a planetarium
with a ceiling full of stars
and me in the dark
without a ladder.
So go rich people
go to Mars.
I'm busy enough
trying to steer
my heart
from its collision course
with unrequited galaxies.

Space Toilet


A shuttle is headed toward

the International Space Station

to fix a toilet.


We have that in common,

my nameless neighbors and I,

that a broken toilet floats

somewhere above us.


If I lived on the Space Station,

I would know my neighbors.

Sadly, that is what it would take.

I would be glad we shared

the same toilet.

The Evolution of My Mother as a Beatles Fan
My mother didn't get it.
Then Paul sang "Yesterday"
in sixty-five.
"What a pretty song,"
she said.
Fifteen years later
my mother heard the news
and said, "What a damn shame."
Thirty years later
she asked for ice cream
from her hospice bed.
"One scoop vanilla, and microwave it
for eight seconds."
I sang old songs
as I lifted the spoon.
"Oh, I believe," she sang along.

Things That Make Me Sad

Snow, the delicate way
it’s falling right now
as if unsure of its welcome.

Saying goodbye to the school
where all the teachers are new
and no one remembers me.

Playing Gorecki’s Third Symphony
as I move living room furniture
at 3 a.m.

The expression
on my unrequited lover’s face
as she listens to God.

Mourning dead celebrities
as if I knew them,
as if I had all the time in the world.

What I Can't Bear


What I can’t bear

I find a way to bear.


Doors open in

from the outside.


The door I can’t bear to open

stares me down like a gravestone


until I mourn into my hands

and the dead invite me in.