Sunday, July 31, 2011

It's alright ma... and "only"

I found myself all of sudden, answering to an email from a friend asking me how it was going, quoting:

"It's alright ma, it's life and life only..."

The final lines from the song lyrics of "It's alright ma, I'm only bleeding". Too many associations are linked to Dylan's songs of those years...
but this one: maybe, maybe it's a kind of understatement the sort of cool tone with which the "all right ma" is in contrast with "I am only bleeding".

But it's the "only" which constitutes a masterpiece.

I was attracted by an "only" myself several years ago walking on the beach in winter and coming across the umpteenth "only one shoe". Well it's a different, even if not so much I think, "only" but, with the feeling of particular restriction it creates, I remember I had tried my best to express its strength.


A trainer. Just one.
On the sand, without laces,
in the field stormed by gunmen,
in the debris after the blast,
in the mud where they show you
the whole village has left,
on the deck where they passed,
among tins, dirty blankets
and plastic bags.

One only.
You never stop seeing it.
On the desert strand ,
unable to leave the roar.
With all that is lost
it’s the –only- that lasts.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Dear blog friends, the poem I am enclosing to this post is one of the most "difficult" probably I have ever written and also the one which underwent more changes. I am sure it was published in the past, I don't remember where, but it was different, certainly with a very different conclusion. It's part of a series of poems about the notion and feeling of "heaven". I would like, in time, to put the others of the series in this blog.

I am not sure I will ever submit to any journal the present version of this poem, I am afraid it may sound obscure or, as some editor can put it, "dense" which is an adjective I think has got a negative meaning, basically, which it hasn't in the very similar Italian "denso" that only means thick from a materially point of view.
Anyway this poem continues to be one of my dearest. If some of view finds it obscure or whatever, well...even a not encouraging comment will be very well accepted.


Looking for those roses that
-Had the look of flowers that are looked at-
you keep longing
for the sharp wind
that can hone your will
and make your gait spare
cleansing your acts to the bone;
you remember when you could guess,
on horseback,
the dashing intent of a vein in the air,
your legs giving the right pressure
to the horse’s flanks,
your heart and his already beyond the fence;
or the appropriate twinkle in your gaze,
your voice a light, guessing gust
when you called your dog
back to the leash,
you knew before knowing that he would come.
Heaven, a thin dashing line
on a hidden side-road,
where roses ask for a stare to reciprocate
and your will grows
trying to be perfectly lost in the air
in dots of blue, somewhere
towards the horizon
that, you know well, can claim you
just quietly and quickly, in a blink.

Monday, July 25, 2011


There’s a quietness
in their rumbling, over the mountains,
turquoise openings breaking the dark.
The horizon lines resettling at dusk.
An expanse of stares you can hear,
knees of air drawing their routes,
pushing on always one more sinew.
You want them to stay for the night,
their violet grinding will enrich
the pattern of hedges in the field,
their vast muttering will be a blanket
you’ll lie spread out under, trimming
gravel and grass for sleep.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


While the motor boat rattles on
I see them there suddenly taking off
as if shot from the roofs in a gust
away from Venice stone banks
that are rows of houses really
with windows directly over the water expanse.
A small flock fluttering in haste
over the lagoon, towards a horizon
of sandbars and brambles, and the brewing
mainland’s heart.
A small flock and then another,
yes, they are many, but wavering, even vague,
not at all steady as the gulls,
as if they loved being unnoticed
and in that way regularly let pass.
I have never imagined birds like these
taking such a long air plunge,
maybe they have been preparing themselves
all their life for it
and now the moment has come,
the big leap.

Fast beating wings
like soft arrows
in the dawn sky
and, below, ripples on the water.
Stage after stage something of ours
continuously leaves
and stays, a ceaseless
succession of wings
asking for readiness
while brushing the gaze.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


After the swim you are faced
by the clouds in bloom,
a swelling of bright grey
and an arabesque of curls.
Rich –you hear yourself say.
Drying yourself you once more feel
the fulfilment of the sea-salt:
it rises and lashes about
with the wind and whips
the sharpened margins,
it teases you with the jostling
pointed wave crests
and binds you with darting
eel-like laces,
your skin delivered to the horizon
in unending flashes.

You’ll lie down in the sunlight,
in a stinging permanence,
by the waves
and their memories on the stones,
the glittering chinks
and the winding
white carved lines
you’ll finger with closing eyes,
the bright grit
that’s the first and last
layer of what you are
and the granite rocks
that will absorb your breath
when dozing off
you sail just a bit further on
in the heat.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Warm day, light breeze,
not waves passing, just ripples
caressing the surface and the long
billowing gentle swellings
you would like to ride
with the skimming specks of sunlight.
Quietness, hints
of what you may call transcending
but also the roots of your longing,
the spark you never stop craving for
that sails forward and stares.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bones and Beyond

I wrote Dave King I would look for a poem, I was sure I had written, in order to "converse" with his marvellous "Twigbones" in his latest post. ( Oh hurry up Dave's latest post lasts only one day, tomorrow the latest will surely be another, I have rarely seen a blogger more regularly active than him... ) I haven't found the poem I, vaguely unfortunately, had in mind but one which can be considered his "brother", actually "sister" in my geographical area, in Italian "poem-poesia" is female...

Anyway here is the poem.

to Tina

Sunlight is strong now,
it goes straight into the bones,
the planks carved and gnawed by salt
in dazzling furrows of white
and nails whose rust has overlapped
-on the wood faded orange stains.
In front the wrinkled blue of the waves,
their heart-cutting lines.
Here the vast pulse
of all that’s undone streaming by,
the sea swelling in the windy heat,
the glare blinding along the stones,
and your windswept skin, quietly torn,
extinguished to the bone
and the bones themselves crumbling into dust
under the breath of the light’s still swarm.

At noon you are
the crossing shadow of a gull
or a swirl on the water-skin
skimmed by a quick gaze
or a vein of salt winding among the barnacles
gathered up by whales.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


And well, life goes on. For me everything is both the same and completely different.In my Time After.

The circumstances that made me write the poem I am going to enclose here haven't changed one bit. This dull, blind acceptance of rules most of teachers ( sorry but even if I am I can't consider myself part of them) "ineluctably" keep implementing.

Since I found myself talking about this while answering Jim Murdoch in a comment, I feel I can continue in this post.

It's almost a merely descriptive poem and maybe, I am afraid, the end can be considered obscure but it came so strongly and so at once that I have never since touched the work.


On this long corridor
between two rows of desks.
Stiletto heels with their thin
steady hammering,
or sandals, flat,
too easily pretending relax
or squelching rubber soles
so full of road,
in this hazy light from the low
glass walls, a drowsy glare
on the beige floor.
They sit at their desks on the corridor,
their faces change every year
but not their eyes
with veins of scared smiles
in the blank space
from the ceiling to their papers
between a packet of biscuits
and a bottle of mineral water.
And coughs and whispers,
the shifting of infinitesimal rustles.

You walk and sit, you survey.
And give advice, your job,
dispensing certainties.
And you can’t avoid getting caught
in the surging river of comments
of others like you,
the murmurs and silences,
the eddies of sudden small outbursts
with in the middle of it all
the practised surveyor’s smile,
the broad –I know, I know…
time and again we’ve passed
through this.

you never manage to say
if we will ever awake.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I said to one of my favourite students
when her oral exam had finished
and her relief was almost palpable in the air:
“The awful lot is over now, over”.
Sensing in a flash how immediate
the “over” is when we finally get to it,
absolutely an ineluctable end of the track
with no going back.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

My favourite spot

While this poem was taking shape in my mind, it was conceived actually as a text message, I fell downhill on the steep path, I rolled head down really, not very far from the place which is the title of the poem. I scratched my knees, wrists, chin and I tasted a mouthful of brown earth while falling with my mouth slightly open for the surprise of finding myself sliding, cruising, so thoroughly on the trecherous gravel. I woke up from the poem's "trance" at once.

Well, only some bruising, nothing more. I was glad when I stood up that it was nothing more serious.

And in a way it was a plunge back into my childhood for the knee-grazing in particular. There was an eternal redness at their centre.

As a child when you fall you have much less, almost nothing, to lose, in all senses.


A flat white stone in the tall grass,
a perfect shape to host my ass.

Sunlight, butterflies, oaks, cypresses,
up on the hill, here, nothing misses.

And maybe, maybe even a little bit of regret
could be ground by the cicadas' loud net.

At my feet the map of the plain,
widespread curlicues with no strain.

Sitting on my favourite spot,
where I could also allow myself

to be not.