Saturday, February 06, 2010

if you're really Dave

somehow i evaporated comments
for Mr. Hill and woodsmoke
guilty i am - and no wonder,
without a secretary who else to blame?

if you’re really a Dave,
and you’re really an Andy
that makes three of us
who are whom we say.

as world population, now 6.8 billion,
grows a quarter million a day,
though some die, mean growth is steady
and eighty percent live on less that two euros a day

my retired friend used her life savings
to put a down payment
on a small 300,000 euro apartment
and can’t afford a computer, who will cry?

my dear, very crazy, very intelligent friend told me
we're all doing the best we can.

offering recognition now, here's to Julie
do read this heart to love

and, to you all, thanks for reading here
the augmented verse i'll continue to offer

until i’m through.
and you know, i won't be the last
other have said, by God,
it all happened so fast

now i am one

times ago when a novice to Italia
went on the road two months,
a touring play with a dozen Italians
coffee together, every meal, every day

coffee in the morning, you say
i can do that, start my day
or so it seemed, so i’d say
yet when it came all was outlandish new

disorderly turmoil, without deviation
coffee with these, the experienced,
weaned by the ages, since the beginning,
habitual action conferred by generations

my patterns needed compromise to function
i watched, i participated, adjusting i learned,
how long it takes, precisely how it is done
many roads that lead to the one

not of my bloodline,
infelicitous and extrinsic
day after day, until now,
now i am one

Friday, February 05, 2010

Mr. Hill

Mr. Jack, someone said the other day
my minds eye brought forth Everett Hill,
fragile, thin, gray, well beyond retirement age,
stayed on the job as the sweeper

there was an agreement,
when the old owner/boss retired,
he left word that Hill, as we all called him,
could stay on long as he could push a broom

it was a large city TV station
where a regular evening crew
cleaned the offices, waxed he floors
and took out the trash

when someone would get angry and cursed,
if Hill was around he’d call out
“don’t chew be bitter now, Mickie”, or whoever,
light heartedly he enlightened us

Hill was a daytime fixture
in the lobby, if it seemed interesting
or, in one of two large studios
casually dragging his long handled push broom

our work was in the studio
getting ready, working a show
then putting our things away
Hill was always around, just around

Mr. Jack is what Hill called me
he called everyone Mr. whatever their name was,
the important ones he used the last name
we the workers were Mr. First Names

for as long as he could show up
that was the deal that Hill stuck to, often reminding ,
as he does now working with the heavenly crew,
with a smile and a shake of the head,“now, don’t be bitter”

Thursday, February 04, 2010

wood smoke

i split part of a small bottle of Chinotto,
an Italian soda since 1949,
somewhat like coke, but bittersweet
M. and i sat talking and sipping

she said our flower girl, who was eight back then,
this week sent an email saying she saw
Claraville in the Sierra Nevada of California
and our old buildings on Google satellite

thirty years ago we were married amid the pines
on Piute Mountain, when we were young, before
Google, email and we'd ever thought of living in Italy
now flower girl has her own daughter eight

our friends Lonesome Al, Piute Jerry and Cutter Bill
have all gone off to some hidden mountain cabin
reeking of pine, sipping hooch and laughing
i am sure they all are all laughing

now and then, in contemplation, M. and i recall
those rollicking times, warm fires and adventures
precious, pleasant memories all,
filled with friends, long starry nights and wood smoke

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

a little sun

a break from the february cold
we're in reprise with good sun
from the window
i confirm fair weather

below, the blue coated white haired woman
over from seaside Ostia on a day trip
teetering along with her elderly daughter
to their smiles i salute with cheery greetings from above

out the door then we encounter Mario
the antiquarian in front of his shop working
a piece of furniture over a pair of saw horses
we nod as he keeps sawing

then Stefano, flakes of white plastered face and clothes,
greets us, he reports that in all of Italy there are
three cases of chicken pox, one of his small children
has it, ready to pass it to the other

high up the lady who walks her two small white dogs
is at her window in the arch
that spread across our tiny street
talking to a neighbor in another window

we say ciao to Franco One
then a step later ciao Franco Two,
both do furniture restoration
in their workshops on this street

Marjia passes next, just back from a month
visiting her mother in Finland
with an imperial salute she reports this high,
snow there is chest high

Marina the ceramic painter crowds through
in her auto, where one rarely comes by
it’s the only vehicle we encounter
in a half-block walk on this cobblestone way

finally, at the corner an old store keeper
sits catching sun in a rocker
her old husband is nearby talking with a friend
we good morning them all

then to the market, the Chinese side of the train station
loading our cart, see a tiny old woman, tall as my waist,
bent forward walking, her sailor’s deck-mop sheep dog grey and
white hair blows ahead in the light wind, and proceeds her

i take the cart the rest of the way home
while M. goes for a free Christmas ball from the Vatican tree, but
returned to report the tree remains dead, decorated and standing
usually it is down by Valentines Day

we have to be there on the day they are taking it down
no notice is posted, we keep checking
as in all of life
timing is everything

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

in a while

once in a while,
the very while
that occurred
this afternoon

it seemed learning
or along that vein,
had to do with
keeping mouth closed

when then we saw Bruno and Wendy
Wendy’s sister was there too
that’s what Bruno said, and better that i waited
instead of asking if this was Wendy’s mother

their two kids were also tagging along
ages seven and ten
we knew them before they married
not the kids - Wendy and Bruno

the kids we never knew
because they never were
when that ago time existed
once, in a while

Monday, February 01, 2010

day watching

day watching each slipping
gracefully along
nearly asleep walking
blinking then away

gone drifting
one moment droplets
in life’s stream, drip passing
to clear dark cool river

flowing steady beyond
lake to locks
becoming roll folding
soft blue oceans

whispers fog again
globe breathing
circling with fishes
gather mists

clouds building grey darker
all above sailing
over birds
on wings of winds

gradually reformed
now droplets
fall again lovely
light rain

Sunday, January 31, 2010

january emptied out

making notes i am
sorting words, stacking cards
one dog barking

i glance up at dark blurs
some birds boring blindly
misted into running low grey clouds

on the hill above, the Gianicolo,
a cannon fires a wisp of grey into the chill
the city beyond hears the signal and knows it Is noon

we board a bus of content silence, scarves and caps
off for a bite of lunch, our own words begin, blend,
weave and overlap with the others

then a little walking
through the crowds
a lot of talking

don’t hear what they’re saying
making plans I suppose,
some gesturing, pointing

laughing young women
heads together
recount social victories

few small children pulling against their mothers
today many little wrapped ones in blankets
lulled to silence in four wheeled strollers

temperature is dropping
who is content?
some calm hangs poised over complacency

after evening buses slow, then cease
overnight becomes the soundless
when imagination is the only border