Saturday, January 02, 2010

up predawn

up predawn
and i like it
nothing is going on
the ringing in my ears is me
straining to hear something

when i open the window
i swear i hear sweet dampness
on grey stone walls
from overnight rain
the city sound is not a hum
it's near rain dripping
humidity from damp January

there, a church bell
counting seven
not that early now
it took a while to start writing this

got up an hour an a half ago
arranged engravings on the wall
set the lights a new way
played the piano and got into it

don’t get excited, it’s only improvisation
quiet, dramatic, eclectic, i take my time
musically looking into how i feel
how it sounds to me
what i can imagine

headphones, electric piano
used audience concert hall settings
so it sounded large to me, distant
but all was quiet in the room, not disturbing
she is asleep in the other room

gray and white gulls on roof tops down the way
off a few blocks
or could be over the river
i haven’t been out at this hour to see if they’re flying
or just sitting above somewhere conferring

a friend used to tell me how much gulls and pigeons bothered him
always making noise
he lived above all
and i envied the light he had, the view
i can only imagine
this building is empty, only she and i

thinking of the top floor
i’d like to take a look from there
roma, the church tops, far hills and obelisks
the sky change, pale dawn light
i can only imagine

first light now, sky change
up there
while here it is mid street
half way up
between buildings
mostly quiet at this hour

make that very quiet,
i have to listen carefully
to sort the emptiness
to think of things to hear at this hour

there, the dragging of a suitcase over the cobblestones
now that reminded me of old times
early morning hand carts of the market vendors
taking out their carts from storage areas
beginning in pre dawn

but that was twenty years ago
now they start much later,
fewer in number
the market is fading in the advent of supermarkets

a door closed somewhere up the street
the only hum of the city is from the refrigerator
some voices talking down the way
it starts slowly, another day
building blocks in the story of the ages
i'll make coffee now
day has begun

Friday, January 01, 2010

the New Year in Rome

few buses were out
walked to forum then up Via Cavour
more or less, had a bus part way
we thought of riding to the end of the line

good thing we didn’t take a long pleasant ride
buses stopped after noon,
we would have been stuck
we’ve done that before

as it was, we went to a fine Indian restaurant
we agreed it was better than our Christmas meal
had curried spinach, chicken and rice
entertainment was a bit overpowering
singing and dancing full volume
on a TV video

near Piazza Vittorio
if you care to find it look for it by name
seek an establishment called Indian Fast Food
M. broke two forks that were quickly replaced
at no extra charge
they don’t make plastic like in the old days

no buses after, not a car
or a truck, a motorbike, bicycle or taxi
we walked the alleys back, way back
down hill, way down
then flat on home
it was very, very far

stopped at Saint Pietro in Chains
to see Michelangelo’s statue Moses
seventy people were patiently waiting to get in
but the church was closed
we saw written in Italian what the tourists didn’t
that the church was on closed on holiday schedule

it is fine to exercise a bit after a meal
weather had turned to cold and rain
no traffic,
only many wandering tourists
all on foot
waiting for non existent transportation
we found it too windy to use our umbrella

Thursday, December 31, 2009

blue moon end of december

out late morning walking
to Trastevere in sleeveless vest, no jacket
warm yellow weather carressing my shoulders
why has winter gone hiding in wait?

light clouds, turning, whirling
in bright sky blue
i squint toward the sun
gull on wing over the river

crossed my favorite old stone bridge
exchanged hi and smiles to the Sunday accordionist
on Ponte Sisto working early this week
in preparation for the holiday

at the corner by the gray church
Giacomo calls down from his balcony
went up to his place for coffee
his son James there but for a minute
always in motion planning

returning toward home
along Lungo Tevere
blurring traffic running in tandem
ten thousand destinations
patiently moving in saunter
no blasting crush today
folks on foot in good number
treading in passing
a hurry about them with no commotion
chatting in flocks
some solo on cell phones
clutching it to their ears
children on holiday drag along, skipping

the cannon at noon
thumps once on windows a mile away
a piece of pizza bread from the forno
to carry home, enjoy slowly
with greens and cheese
where from window open
over slow sipping coffee
church bells call the quarter hour

in the clangs i hear the undertone
telling all it is new years eve tonight
make good plans with friends ,
do it well now
the new year begins,
be ready,
stay alert
to celebrate departure of the old
and to welcome into being
the formidable, erratic circle of the new

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

mid week

cloudy dark rainy cool mid week
our lane up and down
more than a hundred yards end to end
and thousands of years back to the beginning

our building rooted five hundred years ago
yet there are far older for sure
nearby is a building from the twelfth century
painted, cracked and redone countless times
the old salt road of pre time is nearby
how far have the old ones gone?

tonight night lights are few along the way
all is still, even breeze so light
buses are resting
cabbies are reading, waiting, near sleeping

no one out this moment,
no one walking
no dog, no cat
through narrow alleys
silent dark walls, cobblestones
still puddles barely reflecting dark gray
can’t begin to imagine a part of
what has taken place
on this brief length of Roma

home to so many over the centuries
in fights, in love,
birth and death
chickens, cows, carts, pigs and horses
dogs and cats birds, bugs, and rats
soldiers, drunks, candles, thieves and beggars
papas, mamas, priests and nuns
singers, poets, police, officials, the dandies
and nobodies
most of all
plenty of no bodies at all

a treasure of life
that endures

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

enough jack

there was jack london
and jack kennedy
course it started with
jack the baptist

i know they called him that
oh, yeah, i almost forgot where
i was gong with this
i’m changing my name

you can call me nabisco
it was either that or shell oil
i didn’t want to work to make my name famous
thought I’d start known and work down from there

my choice of name was made carefully
more than my parents did when they named me
late comer, number three
they already used their favorite boy name and the girl name

i was nine years later
lucky they didn’t call me the first thing out of their mouth
“You’re What?” or
“Holy Shit”

Monday, December 28, 2009

bused up

bused up
on the little bus
to the hill over Rome
where the noon cannon is fired

ever since the pope back in 1847
wanted his churches to
all know what time it was,
at least once a day

a crowd gathered to hear it
the cannon is loud
wasn’t precisely noon
should have covered my ears

then walked warm weather down
to old Trastevere
where our new favorite restaurant
was tried and confirmed

while walking back traffic was stopped
a helicopter hovered overhead
we waited to watch
something was about to happen

one cop called it a VIP cortege coming by
his word not mine
some Italian cops are literate
glad to hear it, anytime

fifteen cars and as many motorcycle police
and more police afoot every corner
all the way home they go to the Vatican
because the pope king went out for lunch

event over, we walked home
didn’t stop traffic
and didn’t cause any trouble either
as we shuffled along, all the way home

my cell phone has a clock on it
i could have told anyone the time
but no one asked
they must have heard the cannon

Sunday, December 27, 2009


if you’ve seen
no bumps
you’ve no time
on the road