Saturday, January 16, 2010

these poems

these poems are
a sturdy little cabin in the woods
just a bit more than you imagined
where wind outside hums gentle hush
a rushing in and through the trees

now pause, take rest
enjoy evening's quiet time
before bears and birds
and others prowl about

do, sit now by the open stove
a light warm shawl around your shoulders
and an inviting wooden rocker
with a colorful clean soft cushion

a fresh sturdy length of log is added on the leaping fire
sparkling red and orange glowing coals
dancing reflections, crackles in the quiet
all smoke goes up the chimney
perfect in every way

a cabin rustic and reminiscent of times past,
call them the good old days.
a warm drink?
coffee, tea or beer, also liquor if you prefer

good crackers and cheese
the like of which you have never had,
a taste that will surprise you
delight you, just right

we can sometime be a ship
at sea in good weather
sure the wind is always at your back,
a pleasant rolling, dolphin, soaring gulls

the right air breeze
ripe sea splashes
pleasure for your taking
enjoy the space
at your pace, my friend

we may talk a bit and laugh
eat a good bite
chocolates or a sandwich
an excellent soup of modest design

while you tell a story, or I will
and moonlight shines
the morning sun will rise
pastel sky and clouds fill the skies

soft music on a guitar,
maybe a piano in the next room
all things, all ways,
just right
in this cabin in the woods

Friday, January 15, 2010


terror has no warning
while good or bad
life itself
is a lucky streak

expanding like the universe
all is chance
do the dance
nothing lasts forever

Thursday, January 14, 2010

the end of an era

thinking about my mom when i woke today
her memory lives
in many ways

M. and i got on a 60 bus, out
one of the old gates of Roma
beyond Porta Pia,
on Via Nomentana

M. had a plan
so we went
to a spot, once in the country,
now in the city,
a quick ride away

to a church built in 400
for the daughter of Emperor Constantine
the sarcophagus is empty now
the body was taken to the Vatican
she had connections you see

in an adjacent church
as we enter a service ends
they carry out a coffin
another story ending

M. whisper asked about Claudio
a woodworker who married a Polish lady
we’d seen him a week ago
said they were moving to Poland
we'll not see him again

bused back near the termini
for pizza at Rocco’s
worker Caudia was there that morning
is pregnant, felt sick and left

no, she won’t be returning
that is the Italian way
out the door, we don’t know why
and gone forever,
that’s for sure

gone for always, like my mom,
like the one they carried out of the church,
like the daughter of Constantine,
like the body in the catacombs,
like Antonio to Polonia

first it's today
and what was yesterday,
is swept up,
given to the ages
the end of an era

so long, Claudia
here’s wishing you well
though we didn’t see you go,
or say good bye,
we’ll remember you
in good spirits
as you were

in good spirits

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

bus driver for the dead

less than two decades ago
buses in Roma filled with chatter
a plethora of voices
and every two speaking with each other
at the same time

like televised news segments
showing typical Italian disorderly debates across a table,
commonly there is no pause for the counter view
both speakers vehemently argue their point at the same time
each trying to talk louder than the other
this is both unbelievable and it is true

in those good long ago days past
yapping voices on a bus
like pups in a kennel
rattled the bus windows
in jocular and obtrusive good spirit

now with cell phone, there are times of the year
when everyone is on the phone talking
no one is listening,
i long suspected there is no one on the other end
in some of these long winded conversations

today, cold and wet miserable,
post holiday winter sales over,
the faltering economy generally down,
no one speaks – absolutely no one -
silence pervades

the bus driver is a driver of dead spirits
wait – some voice in the rear of the bus
ah, teens – well, they’re out of step,
and no one listens to them anyway

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

over on the dark side

over on the dark side of town
whizzed by the big charcoal gray stone church
santa maria maggiorre, or saint mary major
one of four Papal basilicas in Roma

it’s just over from the train station,
we splashed in the fountain there
one fun night years ago,
only now it is morning

passed the church on the bus
to Esquilino the market – the big one
jammed packed alive crawling like
mice over rice on the run, alive i say, alive

had a coffee, then half of cold thin pizza
to carry home, along with our shoulder bags
laden with three pounds of clementinas,
two pounds of polenta, peas and pistaccios, and pane
(which is bread – but pane starts with a P
and this is like happening poetry)

presto we were out of there
busing home with our booty
on two expired tickets
looking for ticket checkers all the way

we made it – wait
some one is lying in the street below our window
it’s Leonardo again – the guy
who was on fire last week

lying now in front of Mario's store
Mario was there, his nose broken by his
stick swinging nephew, little Manuale
also last week

went out and helped keep Leonardo comfortable
shortly an ambulance came and took him away again
i think his burnt leg gave out,
i know he did

Mario is doing okay
he has a good attitude
mind if we take a break now
enough action for one day

Monday, January 11, 2010


writing something
waxing the table, learning a skill
like riding a bike

follow the masters
take instruction, sharpen and hewn
then you do it, over, again and again

ten thousand times over
with care and attention
find joy in repetition as means to an end

learn well, this is your life
do the job ,
do it right

Sunday, January 10, 2010

poor violin

in the piazza again, plays without giving
without tempo, lean, shabbily dressed
sans feeling, songs run together
effort expended is to show up

three minutes pass, the repetition pauses,
passes into the crowd, no one looks up
extending a paper cup, seeking coins
he just got there, most ignore him, now he is leaving

moves on in his round, they don’t see him go
to the next outdoor café, few notice,
repeat motions of the last hour, the last day
there is no end, melody fragments the same

months pass into seasons, some give coins for no reason
as years slip by, he has a poor violin, not quite in tune
faces at the tables revolve, he need not notice,
does his rounds again, plays the violin heartless