Saturday, December 27, 2008

the 116

took the 116 electric,
the little bus,
didn’t really take it,
just rode on it actually,
it already had a driver

went to the bank,
not the river this time,
the one with the money,
had dealings to do
alas, not high finance
just paying the rent

Antonio at his desk
in striped open collar shirt and stylish wide
tie with a dash of color, two phones going
tiny beads of sweat on his forehead,
kept answering calls, wanted a smoke
secretaries dashed in and out
saying words, passing papers
as he assisted me, now pointing where to sign,
and as we talked I had the feeling
he’d rather be off somewhere on vacation
perhaps fishing, but even the thought was out of the question
where I sat opposite him, watching him perspire lightly
the women coming in and out speaking rapid abbreviated Italian
It flashes to me that I was long ago Ohio born,
grew up with trees near the wandering river
and bushes and dusty paths through light woods that skirted town
a milk man that delivered to our porch and TV in it’s black
and white small round screen infancy
he pointed, I signed again, we shook hands when I left

later, while looking for poems
I saw a few on the bus,
poets themselves,
walking upright, for the most part
leaning, some of them
just hanging on,
searching for words,
storybook creatures,
ready for animation,
they need only the words,
and probably deserve a few

passed by San Silvestro,
where we took Tom and Jul in the Spring
to see John the Baptist’s head,
and other things including graffiti
from two thousand years ago,
preserved by the church
because it was carved in stone,
so remember that,
if you want your graffiti to last

Friday, December 26, 2008

from our window

let me put you in our window
in the old center of Roma, not on display,
just looking out where there’s action by day,
revelers by night, absolute quiet near dawn

under that arch and through the alley,
stands the Cancelleria, built upon fourth century ruins,
a grand church office, the first to be built in the new renaissance style,
fifteen years in the building, finished in 1495

when they were assembling that ivory travertine edifice,
the workers lived here, on this street,
an historical architect explained to me
they didn’t plan all of these old buildings

in the beginning these buildings where we live now.
were shacks, hastily built and covered with a tarp
then a roof was added later, and when they needed more,
they build a second floor, then a third, and yet it stands

look there, that guy with red pants passing now,
unkempt shoulder length and matted, thinning hair,
a beige sports coat over a tattered blue plaid sweater,
faded jeans, in unlashed dirty, scuffed work boots,

with a heavy gate he swaggers down our street,
oh my, oh my, a bohemian lifestyle prerequisite
to being someone, who wants to be
an important artist, or look like one

the guy is no Giancarlino
now he’s our local nutball artist,
come back in a hundred years and
you can read about him

Thursday, December 25, 2008

sleigh dumped

I woke up with toys all over
knee deep in toys, Santa’s sled turned over
and dumped a mess of them all over
toys, toys all over

those lazy reindeer just stood around
didn’t pick up anything, no thumbs. ah, come on,
I’ve heard that one before, so I had to help pick up toys
so Santa could get on his way and fly all over of the world

I was going to ask him if he goes
to China and communist countries
but forgot and he was gone already
by the time I woke up

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

happy holidays

the world is kinder
people are happier
holidays have begun
welcome to ‘em, Kimosabe

now follow that star
stay light in the wind
and the loved ones you rode in with
happy holidays

Holiday Meal

the extended family around a grand table
awaited the feast to begin
in joy, much drinking and laughter

a chorus of oohs and aahhs while grandma
placed the golden plattered turkey
in the center of our festive throng

fine spirit abounded, then all lights went out
there was a scrambling, some shouts,
until a cry of pain did command

when the lights came on,
grandpa had tears in his eyes, a turkey leg
and seven forks in his hand

(This poem appeared on Twelve Days of Poetry
on the site Poets Who Blog.)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

dream ride

the image of the name
flashed like a flame
now it’s a shame
not to recall

where, how, who it is,
what was happening and why,
I should have awakened and made a note
and written it upon the sky

debris on Wild Sleep River moved on,
floated tumbling, passed while I dreamed,
whatever so concerned me then
is not so important now, as it had seemed

Monday, December 22, 2008

festive weekend

in an old stone church one street over
an eighteen voice choir sang
hymns for the Holiday Season
from various countries, languages and centuries,
singers trained and well led

then to our local restaurant to get well fed,
pasta and wine amid crowded tables,
a final stop for a glass of wine at Juliano’s
the homey bar on our street
this was Saturday's evening treat

Sunday we went to Rome’s music auditorium
to hear the youth orchestra, near one hundred fifty in their unity
that played like the young masters they will be,
we applauded encouragement, they bowed joyful acceptance
an afternoon well spent for all

Sunday, December 21, 2008

coffee to go

Juliano, I’ll have another Coffee Wombley, please
yeah, I don’t know either, just made it up
sounds Presidential, doesn’t it?
oh, and here's today's poem

after a night of solid slumber
roaming velvet treasure swirls
it’s a pleasure to emerge to exchange my
fogged over dream form
for this dogged down worn wrapping that I use everyday,
with substance enough to function,
to get another calendar page torn,
as back to the strife of life in this world I’m reborn

What’s that Juliano? Oh, thanks, you really think so?
but I didn’t spend hours on my hair,
it does it by itself,
I sleep spinning on my head

turn down the music
both hands on the wheel
take your time, remember to smile
you know that I know how you feel

if you want to know more
then buy the book
if you have to ask where
it's not worth the price,
one may question your judgment
and throw away twice
the dream cocoon you crawled out of
soggy, yet still crispy on the edges
have a nice day, Earthling
you too, Juliano