Saturday, February 02, 2008

This morning
forty years later
I’m walking around humming hey jude
I’m humming it like it was yesterday
You know what I mean

humming right along
it just surprised me, that’s all
those four mop-heads got old
well, two of them got old
and look what happened to you and me

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


We just got another ball off the Vatican christmas tree. It’s the fourth time we happened by when they were taking down the tree and we got one of the balls.
The balls get weathered, so they just give them away.
Easter must be early because they usually don’t take down the tree until after valentines day.

The first time we got a ball, in 2000, we were going to the post office at the Vatican. It was February and they were taking down the tree that day.
Meri said, “why don’t you go get one of the balls, they’re giving them away.”
"You want a gold one or a silver?" I asked.
"Gold," she said.
"We're a little late, you know."
"Just get one. I'm going in the post office."

I looked at the crowd and thought it was impossible, but started walking over to the tree in the center of the Vatican piazza. Hundreds of people surrounded the tree. Surely we were too late. About half way across the piazza from out of the mass of people an older couple walked toward me. The woman was happily holding a large gleaming sphere in each hand.
They stopped directly in from of me and the lady said, “We got two balls, but can’t pack them both. Which one do you want?” She held out a large gold and a large silver. Surprised and pleased the quest was over as quickly as it had begun, I took the gold one, and she seemed pleased with my choice.

after getting the christmas ball today
we were beyond piazza cavour
sitting down on a bench and
our friend bruce who we haven't seen for a few years
walks up and finds us

it’s another one of those roma coincidences
were you see someone you don’t expect in
another part of the city



Nico’s ninety-four, can hardly see me
waves his hands and says
i’m like a big shadow
he’s not very tall

used to be a dancer acrobat
traveled europe with his pretty partner
i’ve seen photos of him holding her
above his head with one hand

he lives alone in the small third floor apartment
where his grandmother lived in the 1860s
where his mother was born
and so was he

about once a month or so
he cooks another pot of vegetable soup
that’s all he eats, and some nuts
that’s all he desires

much younger than a man of his years
he keeps talking - hopping about
overflowing energy, enthusiasm, and joy
with good wishes to all he encounters
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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

roma - italian senate archive/library

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italy’s senate is on
corso del rinascimento,
meaning street of the renaissance

next door is the senate library – the state archive
with great double doors framed in grey heavy stone
and a pointy roof like a birdhouse
an entranceway eighteen feet tall

from the bus stop directly across the street
I could see a couple of tourists, dark silhouettes
just inside the open doors looking
beyond the sun-lit interior courtyard
over the pillars of the building on the back side
and then above to the decorative white, spired
belltower of the church behind the library

an acquaintance, roberto, had been
the senate librarian
for a lifetime
now retired, another takes his place
while the usefulness of this centuries old building
goes on

Monday, January 28, 2008


the other day meri saw some guy from the 19 tram
that morning she saw him at roccos breakfast place
in another part of the city

many times I have seen familiar faces
on the other side of town
on the same day

a few days ago I had the idea to call ambra from the train
she already was at the next stop
waiting to board our train

she got on at the tiburtina stop
we had a nice talk for a half-hour or so
then she was on her way

there are two and a half million people here, but
I’ve noticed, and so have friends, that you see people
when you don't expect to.

roma is like that

Sunday, January 27, 2008

sunday in roma

With no particular destination in mind we left home this morning and took a bus a few blocks to Piazza Venezia, the historical center of Roma.

We crossed in front where the well uniformed Carbinieri stand watch at the national monument, then walked around the side.
An art show of works by Paul Gauguin was underway at the Veneziana. There was quite a line.

On the side of the monument we started down the walk on the old crude pavement stones. Years ago we were there when tour group was coming up the hill and heard the guide call instructions to his group. Then a a few moments later a member of the group repeated the call to some stragglers “This is a part of the original Roman road, we have two minutes to get on the bus.”

Near the back side of the building we descended a staircase to the old jail where it is said that both Peter and Paul were prisoners and miraculously escaped. There are no signs to indicate this, and as with much of old Rome, you have to know what and where things are.

Then on the back side of the monument we stood over the old Roman Forum that stretches several hundred yards and two thousand years to the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum. These Forum ruins are what is left of the Rome of the Ceasars. The worn buildings have been stripped and tumbled for centuries and recycled, in part to provide material to build the current old building of Rome.

Much of old Rome remains in the Forum, and today the tourists were about as plentiful as the residents and merchants on a market day of old. Oddly, the population of Rome is about the same as it was two thousand years ago, two and a half million.

Then we walked up and around to the Campidoglio, saw the statue of Marcus Aurelius on horseback and the square that Michelangelo designed to show it off. Today a wedding was taking place at the popular spot for civil weddings.

Then around and up again to a breathtaking terrace view over rome.

“Where’s the camera?” I asked reaching out for it.
”Didn’t you bring it? You were going to bring it.” She said.
“I thought you were bringing it,” I said.
“I charged the batteries, you were going to bring the camera. That’s the last thing you said,” she reminded.
“I asked if you were going to bring the camera.”
“And, you said you were going to bring it,” she said.

Then down, across the street and through the ghetto. A ceremony was going on as we passed. The president of the Hebrew community was speaking for the day of remembrance. The Nazis of World war II will not be forgotten.

We boarded the tram across the Tiber to Trastevere. We tried two different tables at a crowded Italian restaurant that was filled to overflowing with deaf people this day, so we opted to return another day, left and had Chinese food at our nearby regular Sunday restaurant.

Our friend maria met us, and said next week she’d take us to an old Roman eatery nearby.
We had coffee, talked and then returned home at dark. It was a fine day in Roma.