Saturday, December 26, 2009

if i could

if i could write each poem
as a precious drop
warm sparkling clear
i surely would

instead, with my back to the rock
surrounded, i reload ready to run
like Butch and Sundance
into freeze frame

as the great theme grows under
the credits roll on the screen
lights come on, people go home
with proud steps and good memories

hey, when you’re in the game
you take the pieces you have
and create with them
as best you can

Friday, December 25, 2009

vigilia, the night before christmas

rode with Roberto from the center
cross town to Parioli for Vigilia
eight thirty in the evening, no traffic
surreal tranquility in the city

more parking spaces than usual
many Romans are out of town
it seems even birds had flown
home to see the family

we wore light open jackets
on the evening of soft rain
unseasonably warm for Christmas
it was different to drive the city
without stop and go
no pressure from too many out there
a rare lazy meander across town
while at the Vatican the Pope was knocked down
some one was making a fuss

after dinner with Paola and Sandro
it was well after midnight
when outside the Vatican
workers had slipped the infant into the Nativity scene
as we departed our dinner with friends

in the same quiet we returned home
even buses had stopped running at nine p.m.
adding to city silence by the noise they left out
silent night, holy night

no snow, clouds over fields
no blue light from the Christmas star
drunks counting sugar plums asleep in doorways
even gypsies have taken holiday

Thursday, December 24, 2009

electric bus

hopped on a whirring electric bus
that soon turned down an alley
then suddenly stopped stuck there
cause it couldn’t get by

a car was parked in that alley
protruding out into the lane
our way forward was finished
while cars packed us in from behind

a quarter hour later the guy showed up
that got in that blue car, and then
like taking the lid off a pressure cooker
we sighed off our steam and all drove away

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Natale is Christmas in Italian

preparations for Natale
now the day before
a good day to begin

bought a desert pie for the night before festa, Vigilia
with a physicist and two professors
who all love pi and pie and their wives

at Feltrinelli’s bought books for gifts
called Giacomo to compare notes
my Roman pal who is quick, alert and ready

his son Alex’s group is leaving now
to play for cash outside the bookstore
in the hum of street activity

said hi to Franco outside the store
his motor bike was stolen last week
didn't ask how he got there

closer to home
sat down for coffee at a table
outside Angelo’s coffee bar

intense people traffic
here they come
there they pass

a pigeon just got by an electric buses wheel
as I sipped coffee to a, look around,
a persistent subtle whining sound

it’s the dog under the next table
saying his piece without
moving his lips

and art show tonight, got ta go
crowds shopping now
all on alert, hurray the day

a woman comes buy
dressed like Pinocchio’s mother
Christmas is on the way

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Alberto's car

his worn vintage car quit again
on the cold rainy road into Roma
no one in traffic stopped to assist
Alberto pushed it two hundred yards

then opened the hood
tapped the engine with a hammer
tried the motor again
this time it worked

proving that as with some people
now and then it’s a matter
of getting a machine’s
full attention

Monday, December 21, 2009

campo dei fiori

i know this campo
of flowers and markets
a circus in progress
many new faces in groups
slow walking and talking
some carrying sandwiches
now tourists Italian
all caps and dark warm jackets
slow passing non stop
through the piazza of Bruno
sun going down, lights coming on
many regulars out for the season
even beggars have rotated
near over the line, yet still in order
with just above freezing
no tickets or towing
cars, motorinos and bicycles
visible police and undercover
overflowing action no on can follow
too cold for mime or musicians
in season’s chill December
four days before Christmas

Sunday, December 20, 2009


stepped out this morning
suddenly a guy yelling for help
limping on fire to the knee
flames leaping waist high

i put him on the ground
put out flames with my hands
windows opened above, shouting
soon an ambulance came

i calmed him, said he was Leonardo
a street person with a small fire
keeping warm under the arch
next time he’ll remember me

the ambulance took him
put lotion on my hands
i had stepped out for a smoke
not to burn merry Christmas

I have repeatedly posted this as Leonardo, then changed it to Leonardo Burning, four or five times in the last 24 hours. I like the title Leonardo Burning, but don’t want to offend the worth of this street person Leonardo by seemingly trivializing the event; and the poem ends with a burning reference and I didn’t want to lessen the effectiveness of the poem. To burn merry Christmas is a swirling mystic somewhat ambiguous reference and I wanted it left like that, unrestrained.

Maybe I’ll have to stand back and let time pass before I can make final cuts.

As it is, the energy in there. It happened, I came upstairs and wrote it. At this point the poet is too close to the event to judge what has effectively transpired in the writing.