Saturday, February 16, 2008

today - no problem

we bought tickets for the train
it should have been easy
but train was canceled

things happen
an hour later caught a train
that went part way

stopped, waited for the next train
found a little place to eat
lunch was good, music loud

six people in the place
music enough for forty-five
did they want us to eat or dance

enjoyed the food, ate well
prices reasonable
ears sill ringing

caught our train to the country
a fine day
came back without incident
on the bus

Meri told me the ugly old
man in the silk stockings
was a woman
almost missed our stop

just another day
no problem

Friday, February 15, 2008

most all asleep

when the city sleeps it can't hear me
creeping about in my pajamas
when standing by the window
i listen for it

only the clock moves
in absolute defiance
to the silence of the night

an appliance
and electrical wires
hum on for me
forever a subtext

a lone plane passes over
a car door closes
a voice down the street

fractions of the day
still awake
even the cats are asleep

Thursday, February 14, 2008

clerks quirks

why do the grocery store clerks always ask for exact change
when the cashiers at our bread store never do?

also at the grocery store if the amount is three-ninety eight
they keep two cents and start counting back change at four

if my bill comes to nine fifty-six
the cashier will pause
look slowly into the cash drawer
wiggle around in there with her fingers five or ten minutes

talk to another employee for a while
then look up with eyes glazed and dead pan face
and ask if I have fifty-six cents
every time

i notice that if i don't move at the speed of lightening
like an old west gun slinger in the movies
she is already back in the drawer making change
the question to me was just something required by law
means nothing

if this were a movie, the director would yell cut
"ok, jack, step aside. we're bringing in a stunt man to go for the exact change. this guy is really fast, incredible."

by the time i have a few coins out to help
she is handing me change
not counting it out, just putting it on the
special plastic place that was built for change
along with my receipt

the bread store rounds off one or two cents
or loads me up with one and two cent pieces
that i carry home and put in a jar
until it's too heavy to lift

i’ve never seen an italian coin wrapper
i think they use buckets and scales
where are the oxen pulling wagons on the street
and big guys riding shot gun

ever since that guy invented the
drop ceilings that are sold all over the world
everyone is looking for another thing that can make a billion bucks and be used everywhere
that's what those change holders are at checkout counters

i expect to see those grocery clerks in their spare time
on the corner asking for change
just to keep in practice

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

via cappellari


our little apartment building dates from 1500
the arch was erected about 1300
my source is an architectural historian
from john cabot here in roma

on the wall under the arch
is a sign on the wall inscribed in Latin on a marble slab
dated 1733

it says not to discard refuse under the arch
offenders risk monetary fine
and corporeal punishment

the city of Roma now puts
our refuse cans under the arch
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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

abramo & zakaria

abramo is one of the waiters
he's served us several times
back by the wood oven is zakaria the older egyptian cook
i asked his name a year or two ago
complimenting him for the pizza he makes so well

both have biblical names
here in italy it used to be the law
you had to name your child after a saint
my god, now they are putting chips in people

roma is tough, they endure with patience
what desires have they for the twilight called tomorrow
we greet them, chat little, must not slow them down
they work long hours not getting wealthy

i respect these friendly fellows of another world
here colliding asteroids in city space, bump and go
we eat and go, countless tourists hardly see them
they are but a necessary convenience

zakaria said hi to me the other day at the hardware store
i didn't recognize him out place, without his cooking whites
his little hat. his pizzas are the best you know
why are egyptian cooks often the best for italian pizza

abramo is youthful, slight and quick
he will bend in the winds of time, see many changes
possessed with good spirit and force
god bless his energy

we don't look over, around or through these two
they, as we, are seeking acceptance

Monday, February 11, 2008

mickey rooney

we didn't buy tickets right away
we heard he was going to be at
the state theater in sandusky, ohio

big deal, who cares, he's old
then we read it was his birthday
and we started talking about it

the night of the performance
we were pumped
went there and bought
last-minute, top balcony back, the last seats

and we knew it would happen
just as we said, the last thing in the performance
they wheeled out cake and the music began
we stood, leaned back our head, smiled

and loudly joined with everyone in the theater
and it bounced off the ceiling
filled up each row and ran down the street
that's why we went, and what we got

how many times in your life do you
get to do that?
we always will remember the night
we sang happy birthday mickey rooney

Sunday, February 10, 2008

porta blu

Alberto leads the game
He’s the core, The master who created the space
sets the rules and the pace at
his school for art

press the button, enter the place
all those seeking to climb to new lights in abstraction
gather amid music and fine company to treasure black chalk lines
or brush a bit of paint as they work
styled just right
under white light
below the streets of roma

an artist’s life is lived in experiment, chance and betterment
it only appears as chaos
until one gets the hang of it
and learns to cope with what you’ve got

time-out comes with tea and cookies
a diversion for the learned still learning new ways
among contented faces

then back to work
forgetting time until it calls
to wrap the lion heart of the artist in silence deep
where it aches to get back out
the next time
here under the street
at Porta Blu