Saturday, March 28, 2009

a bank worth a lot of jingo poem

the 1893 Villa Banca Italia on Via Nationale
opened its doors to the public
for the first time,
one day only, today
must have been a thousand in line
not degrees, not euros, just patient people

maybe nuthouse patient candidates
way too quiet and orderly
didn’t throw a fit after
an hour and a half in line
before we took a step

ninety-eight point six per cent Italians
unreasonably orderly and quiet if you ask me
especially because one at a time,
two line jumpers got in by us
both short guys over sixty

one started with the ploy of talking to M.,
saying he had to use the bathroom,
remember and use that as an icebreaker
at your next social gathering

of course i chimed in and had to tell him
where he could go to find one
after five minutes i realized he
had established to those behind us
that he was talking with us, must be with us

the second line jumper,
another pro with a ploy
slipped in and began
peering ahead intently,
like he'd been doing it for a week,
and stayed that way,
not looking around, hardy breathing,
an infractor actor playing statue,
after ten minutes he was in

we strategically stayed ahead of both of them
and let the people behind deal with them

those people acted like they didn’t notice
Italians being polite? no way!
they were being non confrontational

okay, okay, so we went into the villa
walked around a while and saw
where the rich people had
a fine bank palace, a lot of marble, big stairs
and held meetings over a
table maybe fifteen steps long
the longest table i have ever seen in my life

what did i do on the second floor?
i had to peek through some front window curtains
and look down on the street
we came from

then we left,
end of poem

Friday, March 27, 2009

spring to chaos

spring to chaos
stuffed with energy
here to the brim, back again
carried by people
in sighing light wind
laughing bright colors
leaping over piazzas
honking from buses
blue shadow and makeup
wine served with pizza
the short-skirted on mini-stilts
tap-tap clicking down old alleys in heels
checkered cloth and waiters
bells chime the hour
to the cobblestone sun
coffee at outside tables
amid smiling faces
talk a lot

Thursday, March 26, 2009

off line

off line and fried
am always tied
to the black machine
packed with electrodes
that touch me together
with the world, it’s my life
like a fish on a string
i feel the sting
of that flash‘n’glow stop and go
bring me to life, Herr Frankenstein

been down maybe an hour
no way to tell
didn’t lose power
it’s a looking glass black hole
with road signs to hell
i really can’t wait
for now i am toast

Aces Wild

Okay, Annie, Julie, Tom, Sweet Talking Guy, you’re all in the game, aces wild. Now before we look at our cards I want to tell you thanks for the comments. You have all been helpful and I’ll try to mend my ways.

This is a highly personalized note to each and every one of you. Let’s do dinner! That’s a private joke I’ll let you in on.

One time M. and I had to vacate an apartment after only a few months tenancy because I got fired for the first and only time in my life from the last regular job I ever had. The owners of our apartment were being gracious and had us over for a glass of wine. As we were leaving they said that they’d invite us over for dinner sometime and asked if we liked fish. That was the capper, asking if we liked fish.

Of course that was the last time we ever saw or heard from them. To this day, every now and then, after someone makes a promise or invitation they are not likely to keep, M. privately says to me, “You like fish, don’t you?”

Okay, you can look at your cards now, and I’ll try to do better in my responding to your comments, but don’t bet on it. Now, one question, who dealt this mess?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


a street sweeper with a long wood handled straw broom
the kind witches flew on, no kidding
was down below cleaning last night’s reverie
doing half a job she was,
all the way up the alley

i did better sweeping my dad’s bar when i was eleven
without city wages or a hat and badge
and a uniform with a wide iridescent orange stripe
up the middle and over the back
so no one runs her over

sweeping cobblestones isn't easy
i'll say that for her,
a lot of cracks, you know
yet it is something to do

so she’ll go through the motions,
put in her time
make her wages
knowing her father won’t come by
to check how well she did the job

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Weather Everywhere You Look, Up and Down

everyone is talking
about rainy days these days everyday
it is raining all over the world this year
or so it seems, so they say, my uncle said

because i heard neither the planet nor God
is making any new water
maybe a dash of global warming
is increasing the humidity

so it appears there is more wet about
at the same time, don’t you know?
didn’t mean to get ultra scientific
hope i didn’t like lose you

what i am saying is: maybe the amount of water
is the same, but because there is more rain
it’s not drying up as quickly and it looks like more
i'm not selling umbrellas or anything

Monday, March 23, 2009

keep moving

moving slowly, making plans
the slate is clean
haven’t had a slate for years
that’s how to keep one clean
easier than the car with city parking
scratches, road dust
kids doing whatever they do
running in like dog packs in the night
slate is the flat rock that breaks off
and falls in the river we used to swim
strewn with plastic bag pieces now

working out details when we get to 'em
for what comes next
be prepared like the boy scouts used to
don’t know what they do now
maybe they lost money to operate too
we never had money and we did okay
volunteers and mom and dad helping
and I roll tumbled ahead into whatever
not knowing and nothing to compare it to
just going ahead, sometimes with the crowd
sometimes with my own stupid ideas
at least working came easy
even getting up early in the morning
cause it seemed the right thing to do
and I had learned how to do that
my family taught me well
it was work and sleep and eat
and right straight ahead
and still is
time's no limit
it’s all we have
best use it well

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Marathon Sunday

woke early in silence
slept deep all night
jeeze it’s quiet when the neighbors
two floors up don’t party 'til dawn
a regular Sunday start, eyes open
shower, coffee, getting ready

a morning walk and heard helicopters
checked our car in a legal parking place
no one damaged it, the side mirror still taped on
two streets over by the river we saw them
something i read in the paper two weeks ago
then of course forgot to remember

over all, how quickly a year passes
here it is again, Rome marathon
with fifteen thousand running
legions more on the side cheering encouragement
convincing spring to open up for real
while morning was cool, no one seemed to mind

certainly not those running, throwing their shirts on the street
she rejected a few than picked up a good one
from the Dunlin Marathon 2006
five minutes at home for the finish by the Coliseum on TV
then off for Chinese food, spring rolls and shrimp
saw Alex and his band jamming for coins in the piazza
still a regular Sunday in Roma