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Why do

                1.
Why do such faraway places exist?
Napoli, Roma, Venice, Tuscany
They were just names to me
I wanted to see what Mom had seen
so many years before in Florence (Firenze), Pisa, Burano
She talked in awe then of the magnificence of the David
and came home all worried about whether Venice
would sink forever back to the sea

                2.
The ancient places never leave but sometimes
they reside only underground, in what is beneath us—
Hidden, compressed, squeezed in an animate deep
Who understands these crazy women?
And men, men get just about what they want here, usually
Here is where we invented and mastered that
weird collage of simplicity of figure, complexity
of color and mathematical precision

                3.
This is the surface genius of the place, this toyland
We live in a wry construct in which our
every significance is undisputed
She seeks him out through the cloud of years
An empire built on fish and salt—
Extraordinary things made precious, tinged in cruelty
Some women are taught only to charm
and they’ll never show at all what they feel

                4.
When it errs and hallucinates
the mind always seems to err toward
giving life to inanimate objects
Deception is a key means of survival
Optical illusion is the gist of this art
You have to be quite sophisticated
to be so direct, subtle and simple
The essence of our lives ripped from stone

                5.
The photo doesn’t show you
what’s so great, so human, about the David
It has to be seen live in its majesty,
ambition, perfection, grandeur and simplicity
The wound festered and wouldn’t heal
nor would his obsessive hatred
We speak the same language but can’t
talk ever, to each other, again

                6.
Me and Matt at this silly restaurant “Ma Bell’s”
Its thing was there was a telephone at each table
and you could call anyone local for free
We got drunk and started saying foolish things
like “Coffee for everybody, coffee all around”
Got tired of calling people and
wanted the check which wouldn’t come
So we telephoned the waiter to bring it

                7.
When the other pilgrims dream of soft grass
he seeks thorns and stones for his feet
When they come upon a brook and drink pure and
cool, he drinks from the sun’s scorched heat
When they long for shelter he sleeps in cold snow
And when they come down from the mountains
to Spring he covers his eyes and is blind to the
flowery sweet greens, purples and pinks of their valley

                8.
The inspirations of passions high and low
The doors that break open that we try
our whole lives to keep shut,
the simple white bandages torn from raw gashes
The Renaissance painting Dad gave me
when he came back from a trip to Italy was
a small little reproduction with an elaborate frame
It meant a lot because he gave it to me

 

 

 

-May 23, 2015-