Saturday, May 03, 2008

this internet

this internet
the new greatest show on earth
information galore
slimy, quick cheap, down and dirty
pivotal, pointed and prostituted

how much do you want
how much do you need
how much can you take
how much do you care

a blog is something that must be worked
tilled and toiled over
not like paying money
to name a star after yourself

now ready for that
i'd rather stand by the sea
wait for a fish to jump
and say, "that one is jack"
(that one is me)

this little piece of cyber space
i'm going to measure off as mine
then work on it, lay it out
to make it shine, shine, shine, shine, shine

Friday, May 02, 2008

on the streets

on a mission for pistachios
absorbed in filtered exhilaration by the beating heart of the city
i waited for a bus
i had on a black t-shirt
an artists bag over my shoulder

an italian couple approached
"do you have a cigarette?" he asked
i held up mine i was smoking and said, "this one. I'm quitting."
then she asked bus information to via nationale

a couple in a passing car stopped on the busy street to shout over a demand for directions to the termini
i must have looked like the information guy

then a pair of french women in passable italian wanted to know how to get to the coliseum as my bus, seventy, approached
theirs, the eighty-seven, was right behind
"take the eighty-seven" i pointed

the final query of the day came later as
i left the old esquilino market
this from an older unkempt guy holding something, a pamphlet?
i nodded him off when he asked if i was a roman

though i like to talk
what he had to say i didn't need
it is necessary to qualify even the inquisitors
while bearing the necessary resignation of existence
on the streets of roma

old corners

through turning alleys of old roma
weathered angles i know well
old corners repainted
some bearing visible repairs

around me italian faces change
yet remain the same over ages
above church bells chime the hours
rolling below the great river flows

Thursday, May 01, 2008


born in the winter of forty-five
franklin roosevelt was still alive
had a pair of six-guns the day i turned five
that was a long time ago

When I was a kid my friend's grandmother kept her father's old civil war uniform cleaned and pressed, hanging in the closet. The memory got me thinking so I added it up recently and discovered I was born eighty years after Lincoln died. Sixteen years after Wyatt Earp died in 1929.

Now to put it into perspective for you, kid, because someday, someone will say to you "Wow, you were born B.G. Before Google."
Google began in 1996.
Let me hold your arm to steady you.


passed fontana di trevi and recalled
two weeks ago when friends were here
we were twelve deep from the rail
all the way around the fountain and down below
today you could have driven a large bus through there

a light-sprinkle off-day in roma
is like a cornfield after the first snowfall
the crows go home
to spend the day watching crow television
eating micro-crow popcorn

for tourists a sprinkle
creates a museum day

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

the Ritz, our town theater

how could you resist
the photos out front pulled us in
we were guided to our seats with flashlights
older folks lined the back in the soft seats
as voices of kids on the hard wooden ones
echoed all the way from the front row
a while ago

now torn down and way gone
not a brick or stone remains of that space we still have in our heads
that place we watched the big screen
ate the popcorn
heard the big themes
sang and danced to the stars
laughed at the clowns
fell in love on the beach
and rode west with cowboy heroes

where has it all gone without a trace
i'm sure there are others who recall and smile
so, for them and for us
here's a salute to long ago and very far away
that special place

when i woke

when i woke i had you on my mind
i must have sung your song ten thousand times
and every time i start
it's like cannons in my heart
going off half-cocked
while i'm half blind

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

roma sunlight

yesterday i again noticed
the appealing angle of roma sunlight

how golden is the morning at eight
in late April by the river

you cannot avoid the glow
you wouldn't want to

morning bird

there is a bird in the morning
quite loud and near
i thought he was caged
in spring he returns
like blackie who visited for years

who would have imagined we'd find a new bird associate in the heart of roma
best friends you take when they appear
and birds are the same

paolo above us leaves at six ten like a ghost into smoke
then the soldier above him closes, loudly locks his door and clomps down the stairs in heavy military boots
the floor below ours has a broken step
he hits it everytime
then slams the front door and shakes the building

the bird in the morning
starts before paolo
and leaves before the soldier

Monday, April 28, 2008

hard as stone

To the store. It's eleven a.m. and she's in the air out'a here. To the store. I need water.

At Despar, as in desperate, I got milk for cereal and orange juice. They didn't have the water I wanted and with one cashier and fifty people and a couple dogs in line, I put back the milk and orange juice, pulled my empty cart home, then passed another half mile to the other side of our neighborhood to our least favorite store.

When I got there workmen were cementing the wall in the middle of the entrance and exit isle. The other three hundred shoppers jammed in the doorway didn't seem to notice.

I got milk. They didn't have skinless. Got orange juice in a strange set of containers that I couldn't see cause they were wrapped up in dark plastic, and I got water. Again, not the kind I wanted, but there were six of them and I brought the cart to get it home.

I waited in line with twenty-five older shoppers, and I didn't call them old ladies cause I know they're tough and if you blink or quit paying attention they'll squeeze in front of you. When it was my turn to go for the register on the left, straight or to the right I saw a guy come out'a nowhere and go left, so I went straight and was third in the new line. Nobody said anything about the line cutter, including me, cause we all know we'll do it when we have the chance.

When the clerk tallied up my stuff I gave her a fifty bill cause it was all I had. They usually ask for exact change but she took it and gave me over forty-five euros in change. They don't, can't or won't count back change ever. So when I saw my purchase cost less then five euros I took it and stuffed it and the receipt in my pocket wondering how I faired today. Years ago I would have counted it and helped the clerk out if she gave me too much, but that was years ago. Now I take it and hope for the best. For all the torture they put us through going shopping it is worth a good break once in a while.

I am supposed to have low calcium for my kidneys. The water I bought probably builds strong teeth and bones and maybe hardens cement for highways.

At home I had to use pliers to open the water, so the guy who fills the bottles out back with a hose must use glue on the lids so you feel it's really sealed.

I added up the figures on the receipt and found it correct. I didn't make any extra today, but I'm home and she's still flying. Next week she'll go shopping cause she always thinks ahead. I can wait around and see what we're going to eat and I know we will cause she gets hungry first.

Sail on, silver girl.

spectacular trash

very colorful, looks great
that's why they pass it out or mail it
you don't lack a pack, do you?
i have extra

what's the use
i'm cleaning up the scraps
the museo di roma in trastevere
printed well, nice pictures
two brochures on quality paper
my expired bus pass
a restaurant receipt
another thing from who knows where
on and on, taking up space

trees are cut and turned to mush
so we can rush this stuff home
put a happy face sticker on it
and throw it away
have a nice day

Sunday, April 27, 2008

double up

a break in tradition from
the occasional chinese food luncheon
this sunday we went to bufetto due
meri had a salad
i ordered the giant house pizza

thirty seconds after my pizza arived
i was cutting it when it did
an involuntary triple axle grand slam
inverted one hundred eighty degrees
and smashed itself face down into my lap

after lunch we walked to the stone benches
in front of palazzo farnese and sat a few minutes
i was examining the pizza stains on my pants
when a bird flew over and shit on my hands
both of them

how was your sunday?

nico's day

my friend nico is ninety-five today
if i see him i'll greet him

this guy is full of love for the world
and energy

the bridge - ponte

the weather is fine
no jacket needed
just shoulder pads
what a crunch

so friday was rome's birthday
i asked a roman why saturday was packed
it's the ponte, the bridge
you don't just have a day
you have a season

they always need a day or more
on either side of a holiday
to get into it
and to recover

like a dream

it must have been our age
because it was as if the radio had just been invented
we knew the tunes and they had our number
how well i remember the hits of '58

fifty years ago i was thirteen
the edsel, the hula hoop and BOAC
began the first transoceanic service
we looked both ways before crossing

we had our heads on properly
were looking at life right straight ahead
mom had to keep telling me
not to slam the screen door