Saturday, March 08, 2008

hear me

i’m at the age
where I begin to understand
why a man not primarily an author wrote so many books
there is always more to do

and have burnt my thumb enough
to know why church boys use
long brass stick-things to light deep candles
it pays to be careful

and i know why i’m not
like a seven year old
that pops up in the morning
and starts hopping and running around
kids can do that

i’ve done circles
and pop in the morning
so i get up sounding like someone eating
breakfast cereal out of a box

Friday, March 07, 2008


nearly gone are creaking man-pulled carts

amid narrow stone alleys
the tired depths of old roma
nearly quiet
well after midnight
a woman's clicking heels on pavement stones
tap sharp
rhythmic echoing clicks
small, light hammers on an anvil
like voices from those passing on the street
that scale the walls to windows above
and to the roof tops

then, early
in silent dawn
a small delivery truck
the size of a golf cart
starts its engine

roars, barks and sparks
loud without a muffler
limping from a storage area
under the arch, heading the other way
toward the outdoor market in piazza campo dei fiori

here, thirty yards from the arch
the sound like a chainsaw gone mad rattles our windows
people who live the way he passes
those people
those poor sleep interrupted people
i pity every market day
for roma has no ordinance
against noise

Thursday, March 06, 2008

some country mile

on a rolling back road slowdown
not quite lost
we paused our car just off to the side
the air was still and nearly warm
we sat looking, talking a while
"let's get out and walk,"
she said and i nodded

enjoying the quiet woods on foot
once by a pattering stream
where sun glinted on
the tapestry of life
this dramatic natural scene

i thought
to stroll with her is always new
now and then we'd hold hands
it seemed we'd gone quite far
you are my everything,
dear partner, all the things you are

interrupting my reverie
calling me back from afar
tenderly she whimpered into my ear
"honey, where'd you park the car?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

to divulge sad facts

meri thinks i have obsessive compulsive behavior
because i take the milk off the stove before it boils

we drink italian coffee and our small apparatus makes the equivalent of two half-cups at a time
at first i used cold milk, but then meri started heating it
but we have to watch it
milk practically explodes when it boils

now i guard against that and attempt to take the milk off the stove early. meri thinks i remove it too quickly.

"i am being prudent," i explain.

"you're like jack lalanne.".

"why jack lalanne?" i asked.

"because he ties his feet to the side of the pool and does
and hour of swimming the breaststroke - everyday," she said.

i see

"it boiled one time and i wanted to prevent it from happening again."

"that's obsessive compulsive behavior!" she declared.

i call it the difference between boys and girls.
tea anyone?

our apartment

one apartment over
one floor up
across our tiny street
is a million dollar apartment
i can practically see in the window

only fifty feet from me and happiness

we have friends in the states who
proudly proclaimed they have a home that was never previously lived in
i bet while they built it the workers used to pee in the corner

our lousy apartment on a former worst street in roma
is over five hundred years old
back then they used to throw crap out the window
(that is a euphemism of course, i don't know what they threw, but they didn't have indoor plumbing, and the romans aren't known for their consideration)

michaelangelo, cellini and bernini could have been here in our building
and if they were, they were probably drunk
this is a former spot for gambling, drinking and a whorehouse
forty years ago even the police wouldn't walk down this street

a hundred paces away is campo dei fiori, the former execution ground
giordorno bruno was burnt at the stake by the church there
because he contradicted the church when he said the earth was not the center of our universe
that bastard

hey, sun goes up, sun goes down
and our crappy, dark, tiny apartment is still here
now on million euro row.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


"hello, hello, where are you from?"
he calls to the tourists to bring them closer
in english, french or german
a smattering of languages

near the center of campo dei fiori
by the statue of bruno
at times in the sun
sometime in shade
a simple long table
covered with a cloth
is set with demo vegetables for cutting into curly shapes and spires

prospero he is called
who sells small plastic novelty, yet practical cutters for vegetables
does it from a chair at his table
not from behind the table
but outside, alongside his audience

the jovial old roman
with a look of alert kindness about him
lived thirty years in the ghetto
always did laborer work
now for seven years he has been here

as i pass near i hear tourists chuckle when he blows bubbles
and puts on his entertaining presentation for them
making them laugh
he laughs with them
and enjoys the work
clean and simple
this is retirement done well

Monday, March 03, 2008

a way

the hard part is the thing
between winter and spring
when i need to check twice
to see which coat to bring

the heavy one has a hood
and the day i removed it i started alternating
my light jacket with the hood-less heavy one
depending on how cold it is

depending on the weather
i change all my stuff from one jacket to the chosen other
bam-slam two-fisted organization is the key!
okay, so i kinda got the organization idea from meri
but then, hey, i figured it out my way!

everything gets a certain pocket
so i know where to reach for it
i get my money, coins in one pocket and folded money
i bring my phone - hopefully charged, a pen
my keys and any notes, my id, just the essentials
my bus ticket, cigarettes and lighter
then bam

out the door
on my way
i forgot my keys
what can i say

what do you mean no keys?
i'm locked out!

i was just going to the corner to get a loaf of bread
takes about a minute
meri will be coming out in three to six hours maybe
and i'm locked all the way, way out

this is worse than a couple of months ago
when i came home and didn't have my keys
and heard a voice yelling my name
it was my friend with a shop down the street

i had stopped and sat on the coach and talked a while
my keys fell out of my pocket and she saw them before i reached my locked door

this time i forgot my phone cause i just was going to the corner
meri was home on the third floor in the back room
the door buzzer for the building is broken
but i got the loaf of bread

there was no rock to throw at the window
i tried that once when i was a kid
and broke a neighbors second-story kitchen window
with a mudball that landed in my neighbor's grandmother's pie

thank god my current neighbor on the first floor looked out
saw me and let me in

this time, no problem
i got in
so when all seems lost
don't give in and don't toss rocks

Sunday, March 02, 2008

button fix

you talk about a heart ache
when all we do is wake up
to find another thing that doesn't work
another nail in the board of pain
something simple, to be sure
god, i hope it doesn't rain

we can't heat the water
the indicator won't light
despite pushing repeatedly
results were out of sight

the water heater button's broken
of that there's no doubt
finally, the fourth store i checked had another
we're half way to being fixed

i got a card of an electrician from the electrical store
cause we seemed to have an excess of wires
this guys has been working at the italian senate building for twelve years so he must be good
or somebody's cousin
he said he'll show up in three hours
we'll just patiently wait
hot water will be ours

practically easy
nothing is lost
we'll wait and see
how much it will cost

all we need is resolution
to keep to the road until the end
it just seems harder when your older
things take longer to mend

three hours pass and i call the guy again
his phone isn't on, but he calls back in a few minutes
he delays his arrival time and add two more hours to his estimate
so i sit down and wonder and wait, will we really have hot water

he calls and is near, i give final directions and he comes
i'm out on the street when this guy is walking down
i see him and he sees me, there is something about
the way were both looking around that we identify each other

this guy looks like a messy carpet stuffer with a coat on
i don't know what carpet stuffers look like either
but marcello fits the description
and he talks romano which is a street slang, and that gets me worried
who did i hire to do the work here in our home?

i bring him in, marcello asks my name
two minutes later when we're talking he calls me jack
and this is a big leap, cause most italians either can't say my name
or can't remember it

there are problems and he works around them
we talk and get along well
a second switch has to be changed and he does it
he improvises and easily makes things better

what a pleasant adventure to meet a new guy who is sympathetic, normal, and competent.

everything is neat
when i asked the price he said twenty. i gave him thirty and we both are satisfied.
i made a friend and so did he