Dean Kostos

October 17, 2019 Kostos Dean


Listen: mute bells peal
as you step into the room.
The longed-for lover

shuns a cluttered house.
Sun-bleached books & browned papers
pile on shelves & chairs.

Avoid the blockage
of qi, of coffee tables.
Hostile corners jut

A bookshelf facing Travel
& Friends must be tamed

by a necklace of
mirrors. The Guas for Love &
Success appease eyes.

An inlaid-cypress
box contains photographs of
cats. A gray one sprawls

onto a settee
with vertiginous rosettes.
Gaps in smashed windows

leak relationships.
Voices seep into late night
as you listen for

heart’s compass rose. It
pivots till it locates the
needle pointing: here.



X-Rays pierce a painting’s layered glaze.
Negatives reveal the chambers of eyes’ maze.

A woman’s portrait began as a man’s.
Impastos hide a stranger in eyes’ maze:

Warnings seep from a painting’s craquelure.
We see danger in an eye’s maze.

Dendritic cracks splinter in gesso—branch
into optic nerves: teal embers in eyes’ maze.

Ultraviolet rays expose charcoaled lines,
sealed in the amber of eyes’ maze.

Phantom figures in a canvas plead
to the blind who try to remember eyes’ gaze.

Dean Kostos’s collection—Pierced by Night-Colored Threads—was  published by MadHat Press. His previous books include This Is Not a Skyscraper (recipient of the 2013 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, selected by Mark Doty), RiveringLast Supper of the SensesThe Sentence That Ends with a Comma, and Celestial Rust. He co-edited Mama’s Boy: Gay Men Write about Their Mothers and edited Pomegranate Seeds: An Anthology of Greek-American Poetry (its debut reading was held at the United Nations).

His work has appeared in over 300 journals, including The Bangalore Review (India), Boulevard, Chelsea, Cimarron Review, The Cincinnati Review, Mediterranean Poetry (Sweden), Southwest ReviewStand Magazine (UK), Vanitas,Western Humanities Review, and on Oprah Winfrey’s website His libretto, Dialogue: Angel of Peace, Angel of War, was performed by Voices of Ascension. His literary criticism has appeared on the Harvard University Press website and Talisman. A multiple Pushcart-Prize nominee, and a finalist for the Gival and Jot Speak (UK) awards, he has taught at Wesleyan, The Gallatin School, and CUNY. His poem “Subway Silk” was translated into a film and screened in Tribeca and at San Francisco’s IndieFest. He presented his paper—“Schemes and Schemata: Endless Play”—and read his poems at the Mahindra Humanities Center of Harvard University.School, and CUNY. His poem “Subway Silk” was translated into a film and screened in Tribeca and at San Francisco’s IndieFest. Dean Kostos’s memoir, THE BOY WHO LISTENED TO PAINTINGS, was recently released by Spuyten Duyvil.