Saturday, November 28, 2009

noon late november

sky blue noon late November, jacket open
as i crossed the new Ponte Sisto
a replacement for Pons Aurelius. 300 A.D.
renamed for Pope Sixtus IV , 772 A.D.
this new stone foot bridge was built 1473-‘79

on the middle of the span
a guy sleeping on one side
three guys begging on the other
haphazard semi -skilled professionals,
raggity lousy beggars really, too intimidating
real poor people don’t often enter Roma’s heart

saw Alex when i crossed to Piazza Trilussa
out posting flyers for his music school,
footwork keeping his dream a reality
one well- placed notice at a time

then, sat outside at San Callisto coffee car
near the main piazza, Santa Maria in Trestevere
had a latte and cornetto with James,
off booze five years ago
he’s planning to open a school for children

bought a vegetable sandwich for 1.60 euro
pizza bread, tomatoes, cheese, some greens,
costs 4 euro on the other side of the river

back across the bridge, flashing blue lights
on an emergency van
they took away that sleeping man
didn’t run the siren when they left
the blue flashing lights were off
a some body that won’t need rushing

Friday, November 27, 2009


i missed fusion the first time
like missing an exploding dinosaur
unless you were kin,
in the kitchen with it when it happened,
or it owed you money
it’s nothing to regret

outside the apple of the witch
with castle lights across the river
amid heavy traffic and exhaust
under flying clouds and half moon
running, as from a dog
Giacomo picked me up, took me to the Auditorium,
Rome’s fantastic new home of concerts

to hear his nephew with five others doing fusion
music on speed and steroids
melted glass frozen and shattered
then dark and mysterious
growing into a tyrannosaurus spitting bits of pterodactyl
morphing into a runaway locomotive
a turbulent nightmare
expect a giant Schwarzenegger Terminator to rip
through the walls
have a nice day
oh, and look both ways

Thursday, November 26, 2009

armed and to the point

so elderly neighbor lady
sees M. outside
leaves house of disease
and saunters over

fumbling with her hands,
asks sotto voce
after checking both ways
if we’ll be leaving soon for Italy

then nods as if helping
with the anticipated answer.
M. says The Man has left
while she’ll go in another week

neighbor lady sagely nods again,
considers, and says
uh, call if there’s any problem
a long pause

M. leans on the rake,
waiting her out
under long blue November skies

until at last neighbor lady,
fearing for M’s safety
clears her throat ,
quite serious now, glances askance
then looks earthward
to humbly explain

that if M. calls
uh, her husband,
the grumpy mid-octogenarian
will run right over
in the middle of the night (chuckle)
as he’s licensed to carry a loaded weapon. (OMG!)

this is the groundskeeper who mows
three times a day
with various loud riding mowers
because six of our vagrant leaves
have carried deftly his way
on the prevailing
autumn light winds

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

the field of flowers

Campo dei Fiori means field of flowers
that was yesterdays vision of the area
today in 2009 i had to stop and look both ways
to cross through the center of the field of flowers

i wore my heavy jacket
others had on t-shirts
from our third floor dungeon window
i have to lean far out only to see the sky

the market is jumping in full flavor and scents
traffic, food stalls, fruits and vegetables, pots and pans
musicians, tourists, workers and locals of every venue
and yes, three stands that sell flowers

living nearby i woke out of dream to a persistent car alarm
and thought of the keystone cops in silent movies
running, clamoring, bumping into each other in comic confusion
in silent films the words flash on the screen. this says - alarm

only no one ran today, nothing unusual happened
no one laughed
for an hour the persistent, clear-voiced, changing squeal sang,
echoed along stone buildings and cobblestone streets

i awoke after twelve hours sleep
now a week has passed since i flew here
groggy yet, my body’s clock
is wound but not set

the cannon on the hill fired the noon shot as i left our apartment
to rid myself of the alarm
better to enter the field of flowers
and look both ways

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

now and tomorrow

met up with an old friend on the street
said he was working with a friend who yesterday
was sitting in a chair calmly talking with his wife
and then died quite unexpectedly

i continued on my way to the Laundromat
the door was wide open when i got there
the fire department chopped it open
to get to the flames the night before

walking back home i stopped to see a friend
of my friend who last year had a stroke
on a cruise ship to Italy
was robbed when he got here

had planned to visit his cousin in Switzerland
she died the day before he boarded the train
not the family visit he expected
he arrived in time for a funeral

but i stopped to see a friend of that friend
i pass that store on my way home
they said she didn’t work there anymore
her last day was yesterday

it’s true for all of us
the last day we had was yesterday
generally we don’t think of it that way
what’s our concern is now and tomorrow

Monday, November 23, 2009

dusk on the way home

dusk on the way home
saw Alberto at Porta Blu
afternoon classes underway
seekers of art ability
drawing circles, mixing color
perusing modern ways

walking back in evening’s cool air
on a narrow way into Piazza Navona
i pass the minister of the interior
a glint of recognition in his eye
in dusk darkness and alley shadow
i see him only when we are face to face
he lives around the corner from me
usually his guards are in formation
and then it is easier to see him coming

leaving the piazza i was distracted
and forgot to look again at the beauty
passing earlier today i paused a while
in the sight and scent of that grand piazza
to admire Bernini’s work again
the two smaller fountains with mythical characters
the larger splashing waters in the center
tribute to four great rivers
topped by an Egyptian obelisk
reaching above all
tomorrow i may look again

now it’s to home
too cool without a jacket anyway
a few paces before Campo dei Fiori
the tune Autumn Leaves from the familiar sax
of a group urging coins from tourists
floats in the air, ricochets off cold stone
where, as years pass changes are small steps taken
seems that autumns are reluctant to come and go

Sunday, November 22, 2009

your call

your call
will be answered
in the order
in which it was received

i called once
how much order is one call?
was I out of order before I called
or as soon as?

why can’t it be said in English
like, wait your turn on hold
until a human is available
or, is that like difficult?