Many of these poems will be of the city of Schenectady from early 1900 to the present.


Tuesday, July 27, 2010



golden threads,
woven near a
crusty beach

bottle caps
empty cans of

float near my
I brag - as queen

a paddle kissing
disrupting water

one owner of this
ruby land, emerald
sea, sapphire nights

emerald peaks at
brilliant light beyond
a twenty two foot dock

my court flew but
twice today
never spoiled wood...

friends engrossed by
poverty, unable to
see a personal sea...

tomorrow, I shall be
alone, as you recall
nails as carved stones

preserved since
earth began...
swamp tangled feet

tugged a mighty
seam holding life
at bay

splinters of your

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Magic of a Leprechaun

Collected all the details;
charts, records -
then organized the day -
we knew – you would
never give up.
Etched in my mind,
your eyes.

Years have gone
since hell broke loose
but time is still filled by
memory - your strength
and courage – your battles
for living -
On the day you were to
die we were brought to
your side – near the head
of the bed, to the right, I

No one moved. I recall
the sound of the respirator,
your eyes opened, but you
stared at the ceiling as air
pumped your chest up and
down -

I don’t recall what I was
thinking, it was what you
were thinking that bothered
me – watching you stare -
tubes and tape and blood
draining from your mouth –
then your eyes closed.

A friend shared rosary beads
from Ireland...
out loud I asked God,
"If only you could wake
one more time see the beauty
of these rosary beads..."

I placed them in her hand.

You sat up, waved your
arm toward the door as
nurses came into the room,
and I smiled for awhile –
you glanced at us,
gathered around your bed –

It was that last spark of
life – you lived another
day – you joined others
when the magic of a
leprechaun touched
your skin.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Saturday, July 17, 2010


To The Gentlemen

Bow, to the gentlemen
Saratoga Belle…
congregating in the
park, dressed in fancy
Sip magic mineral
waters, listen to a band…
bow, to the gentlemen
tilt your parasol – flirt -
flirt - if you can….

Hard faced, manly
features, wearing
laced buttoned shoes…
Let your smile loose,
raise a corner of your
mouth, for just a little
It doesn’t hurt to flirt -
flirt if you can…

Expensive Saratoga
trunks packed neatly
for the stay… filled
with glitter, gowns
taffeta and lace…
Bow, to the Gentlemen
stare from the corner of
your eye… you’re just
a passing fantasy, so
go on, flirt for a
little while…

Nancy Duci Denofio
All Rights Reserved


A Child Buried Today

A child buried today.
I listen to women of
rain. . .
tears covered by veils
of darkness – shadows
of women.

Cyprus, Sri Lanka -
mourn the
prostitution of their
daughters, and
empty stomachs -
deformity, and disease.

A blaze thickens in
a woman’s heart -
Invisible -
imprisons a soul, as
fear saturates their

A brave assault,
motionless - a
life swept past -
ash - beneath a rock.

It’s March - oh
I shall weep as I
see those abandoned -
abused - left on a street.

April. - “I shall
seek not to deliver,”
she spoke – touching
her swollen belly,
sick, and dying.

In May – brave souls
on the edge, arrive to
help those crying tears
and too - doctors
are torn apart by war.

June - I sit patiently
and no one hears
the sting.
She told me,
“I buried my child

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved


At times I don't return to my
childhood, or picture what you
are doing and write about it -
or climb a mountain, or want to
fly - this poem - unlike most of
my other work, is one you can sit
and draw your own conclusion!

Free Water

slap -

slap bare feet
naked legs
crossing - crossing
inner halls

midnight -

arms stretch

hand -

tears fall
gentle touch
of love

feel air - breathe

blurred faces
free water -
a heart

stone to dirt

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 14, 2010



That damn radio
day and night with
church songs
she would sing
with the announcer
blessing Jesus for
everything she had.

Pray tell,
what did she have?

That same old
formica table -
white with red
chipped paint.
One over sized basin
for a sink -
soiled dish towels
hanging, drying
draped over one
piece of wood.
A dented white
metal cabinet
filled with foggy
plastic glasses -
ceramic cocoa bowls,

Every other day
she held onto a ice
pick – clenched in
her aging hand
defrosting her old

Those knees...
they had to be raw.
She knelt on linoleum
day and night
Praying out loud -
half crying, saying -
"Thanks. Thanks."

Her slippers worn
her apron dingy
she never wanted
anything new - God
wouldn't like it -
she had to sacrifice -

I still see the old
black iron pan
resting on a stove
without a lid...
scolded herself
holding it in place -
her pantry had a liner,
red little frills at the
edge, red and white
flowers –

cups, saucers
lined perfectly in
No one touched a
single item in her
pantry – And,
If the old door
creaked, or the
calendar shook
on her pantry door -
Grandmother appeared
wondering what it was
you took?

A pull string
hung in the middle of
her kitchen – hit her
head, since a cord
connected it to her
damn radio –
it connected life.

As she aged a hassock
placed at her feet,
lifting them…
her knees too old,
too frail, to hold
her as she prayed...

Her home made
curtains blew in the
wind - she ached to reach
the window sill,
staring at a pane
of glass.

Old and aging,
She never, never
wanted to cry - but
I felt her tears,
her aging heart.

She never gave up
old "Zebra Bread."
a toaster – proud, as
her curled thumbs
flipped the sides,
testing to see if the
toast was done.

Each morning I sat
with her at her kitchen
table, both of us had
cracked ceramic
bowls – and we
tossed, dried old
Italian bread – Dandy
Crackers, Ritz and Graham,
Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes,
and cookies from her old
antique cookie jar –
a bear smiled at me. . .

I loved her cookie jar
filled with striped
cookies from "Woolworth’s"
Those cookies made
me happy.
On Tuesdays, Grandma
climbed the inside
staircase to the second
floor – holding a brown
paper bag. . .

I followed – watched as
her old hands filled
her jar with cookies –
patiently waiting, and
she handed me one;
her gold tooth shinning
as she smiled.

I waited, squirmed
in the chair at the table,
begging with my eyes
for more.

Now - I wonder why
Grandma’s pans hung
from nails in her pantry?
I wonder why her
bread box was nailed shut?

The cookie jar, I
remember most - yellow,
green – eyes of a funny
bear watching – but,
those damn church songs
embarrassed me!

Her homemade curtains
blew in the wind -
echoes of how God
was going to change our

I played beneath the
opened kitchen window -
near Grandmother’s
plants -
her bleeding hearts.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Monday, July 12, 2010


Space Between Nothing…

Every day we search
for what is final
and we want it with
all our might,
this thing we call
this space between
nothing, and everything. . .
where memory calls
home, and hands, never stop
reaching for a lifetime.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all right reserved

Saturday, July 10, 2010



Italian bread -
two establishments
side by side.
every morning
filling bags the
color of the
Italian flag

two bakers fought
for thirty years,
over a parking lot -
a piece of property
shared by their

neighbors watch
from their porch,
women bending forward
listening, squatting
in broken kitchen chairs
nylons rolled to
ankles, bellies jiggle
while they laugh -
sip espresso coffee
talk loudly in Italian
while bakers fought

across the street a sign
reads open, even if closed -
on display, cookies filled with
cream, sprinkles, pine nuts;
shapes of circles,
stars, and moon

In the corner on a table
you’re greeted by a plastic
bride and groom… placed
near a cow bell – hanging
on by a rope hitting the
old wooden door.

Jay Street, on a hot August
night, windows
cranked open – people, more
now on a porch across from
two establishments – on the
side where cookies and
a bride and groom greeted
you – a little house selling
Italian ice

women, their leg’s spread, still
sitting on the porch…
refreshing themselves with
a home made fan, the Italian
flag, of course...
a red kerchief tied around a
flabby neck, catching sweat –
laughing as two bakers
close up shop -
never talk.

women knew who congregated
where, how long they stayed,
who ate Italian Ice, bought bread
in different colored bags, who
drove fast down Jay Street, on a
hot summer night

and still the parking lot stays
divided by two establishments
one remained the same,
selling bread – the other moved
out and new one fights instead.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Friday, July 9, 2010



They have robbed us of innocence
replacing it with arrogance –

do those who talk about the negative
those things to help the needy – really
think in such a way - or is it - only a crowd
they cling to like a fraternity – repeating
what others say?

do they cling to money – not give a damn
about the well being of our elderly –
suffering inside a two by four room –
soaked in their own urine?

how dreadful life would be if everyone
joined their society of well doers – who
grip a dollar in their fist – regardless of
those who exist.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Fish Seller

Monday morning
A-li! A-li! A-li!
whip snapping
climbing a
far from the
blue sea

Ciceri - Ciceri - Ciceri
"All hot, all hot, red hot."
another vendor
struggles up the
mountains side...

American Nuts!
American Nuts!
shouts the loudest -
donkey sobbing
for air, blood streaked
a whip carved and
sliced flank...

On the mountain
top, from side to side
garlic, iron wares,
straw hats and aprons...

The last cart drawn
close at the top
of the mountain, with
cherries, slabs of ham,
fish and fish in
garlic oil...

The old woman,
directing a parade
wiped the donkeys
face with a white
cloth blessed by
an ancient saint...

so the animal could
climb the mountain
again on Tuesday.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It Was Not Yours

it was not yours . . .
it was not yours . . .”

something is keeping me
awake; I turn, watch my
husband sleep – peaceful,

inside of me I feel a
bouncing ball banging
against my heart

“it was not yours . . .”

a toy globe, the base
chipped missing red
paint – small – I remember
it well – on my school
desk –
a desk daddy got from an
old building – one they
were going to wreck with
one of those large balls

it was not yours . . .”

a broken doll, once danced
wore a ballerina costume
wore toe shoes – my ankles
too weak, never danced on
toe – only slippers

It was not yours . . .”

a framed picture my brother
had given me at Christmas
I really loved having it, and
hanging it in my bedroom –
he was away at college – he
is the artist. . .

Who are you?
first choice on precious
memories mean a dollar
to you . . .

something keeps me awake
at night as a ball fills up
the inside, expands and
begins to slam against my
heart –

Who are you to tell me
it wasn’t mine . . .

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved

Thursday, July 1, 2010

She Travels Alone

She Travels Alone

The sound of the train traveling over
tracks reminded her of her legs
pumping, rocking back and forth
on a fancy metal foot rest of a
Singer Sewing Machine.
Legs with strong muscles; and a
thimble on her thumb, pushing cotton
over metal and then the sound stops.

Out the window of the train
hills, large meadows,
streams, a small pond and
naked trees kissing icicles
as a warm wind brushes snow
gathered late last night.

Traveling slower, close to a town
small children wave at
all the strangers in small soiled
windows where she peers at
impatient motorists at a railroad
crossing, she hears the whistle.

The train rocking now from
side to side, crossing Main Street.
A common place, people cross
cobblestone – as familiar as the
odor of garlic browning in olive
oil – a fresh tomato ripened
on her vine, or the apple shared
from the fruit man.

The conductor shouts, “Schenectady.”
Legs uncross – cross – nervous
squirming in her seat, fidgeting,
fussing over a wrinkle found on
her blue cotton dress; fingering a
corsage pinned to a gray overcoat.

In her mind she kept touching the
holes in her husbands socks, reaching
for the pin cushion near large spools
of white thread, she’d stitch, and
break loose with her teeth.

The flowers disappear from her
dress and a dingy apron
drenched by dirty water is tied
at her waist. Her hands, raw
scrubbing her husband’s
skin. Her body a machine, like
her sewing machine, over and
over until soot is removed from
where he works.
Her husband, nude, as the water
from his back is closer to black.

And now - she travels alone.

Nancy Duci Denofio
all rights reserved