Saturday, January 28, 2012


On the top we found snow,
a lot of it, virgin, powdery.
Snow and sunlight.
We ate our lunch on a bench,
a fir-tree grazing our heads.
We munched silently
surrounded by the infinitesimal
eyes of the glitter,
the blanket of blinding dots.
To go back down we took a path
swallowed in snow
and our sinking in it was slow
but definite, in the thick carpet
white like amnesia.
So we turned back,
scared by blankness,
and found another path
where snow was friendly
and not much, just enough
to cushion our steps
and soften the descent.
The other side of the mountain
faced us snowless, mauve,
soft to the eyes, a stare-
our ancestors’ maybe-
like an assisting nod.

A nod that stays, now,
stuck with the obstinacy of the stones
that, though scattering, keep close
and roll while clustering
around memory’s feet.

Like faces and names
that no matter how forgotten
don’t want to go away.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


A last branch in a shard of wind,
your lurch into the sprawling light.
A tongue of land after one more leap,
a flash through a slash of leaves.

After bridging gaps, finding short cuts,
exhausting all the possible paths,
in the dirt and nettles,
just moving forward.

So, you have arrived,
a faded grey cabin, a corrugated roof
rattling, reaching
into the tendons of the sea.

And the space of the bare here and now,
fierce essentials you take in one by one,
a squeaking metal door, grazed threshold,
empty walls, a table, a chair, a bed,

all brushed by salty scraps,
wallowing in the doors of the wind,
your things now, in the silence,
shaking, getting settled, blinking.

This has been one of the first poems I have ever written in English, still in the 90's, it has come to my mind reading David King's "Two Poems On Borders".
I remember I had written various versions of "Outpost" before this one which I also think was published although I don't remember where.
At that time I was fascinated with the "Essentials", I later wrote also poem with this title. I mean "Essentials" in the sense of getting in touch with the bareness of things which in so much as bare and essential assume almost a sacred status.

Monday, January 23, 2012

T.S.Eliot and David Foster Wallace

Almost eighty years far from each other and very different from each other in their tones but so close after all:

After such knowledge, what forgiveness? Think now
History has many cunning passages, contrived corridors
And issues, deceives with whispering ambitions,
Guides us by vanities. Think now
She gives when our attention is distracted
And what she gives, gives with such supple confusions
That the giving famishes the craving. Gives too late
What’s not believed in, or if still believed,
In memory only, reconsidered passion.

Destiny has no beeper; destiny always leans trenchcoated out of an alley with some sort of Pssst that you usually can't hear because you are in such a rush to or from something important you have tried to engineer.

You substitute "history" with "destiny" and you get the same tremendous truth.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


At the water’s edge you always hear
the same near pressing elephant trumpeting
into the invisible air’s heart,
you imagine a gaze still amazed
despite the looming blindness
and, brushing your side, its tusks
on the verge of being uncovered
revealing crying rags of sunlight.

You love their insistence, bringing all the unseen near
on the bank of the canal along the sand-bar
facing cotton wool emptiness, the air
a marvelled pressure like fingers
carrying the silence of weightless pearls.
This rhythmic hum of sky is searching for your centre,
waiting to give mellowness to your heartbeat,
voicing your belief in the light and the present you relish
when you sense and touch the cells of the honeycomb,
the lungs and womb of your spreading shore.

Friday, January 20, 2012


Evening already, the lagoon is still and cold,
we are swaddled together in the smooth tightness,
we share it with the pulsing puffs of our breaths.
The pressing closeness of the world lingering unseen
binds us together on the deck.
The radar rotates, hovering and alert,
a soldier’s gaze ready to face an ambush.
But there’s not much anxiety, not much fear,
it’s as if we were born here, getting accustomed
to chatter with the dull vast shadows,
the other bank being not very far
with its long belt of stones like marbles,
its humming bustle and children’s shouts.
When there always seems to be one more stretch to go,
in thick emptiness, on the dark oily water-skin,
we sense we can almost touch the voices on the bank,
they are ours as our own breath and heart,
what happens is just that we are blind
to what most lasts and weaves us onward,
while we wait for our meaning.

The Fog-horns are moaning in this very much fog I have lived in, in more than one sense, in my life! Today the fog has penetrated into my heater's pipes stopping the system and setting off its I had to call for help, the usual man came...screwdrivers and all.
And once more I felt "piped-in" and pipe-dependent...a ball inside a box in the heater had got stuck for the dirt and dampness and had paralyzed all the engine.
Very un-poetical, even if I am sure Seamus Heaney could all the same write a great poem on a matter like this!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


The ropes have just been cast,
they are coiling now around the bollard
screeching like snakes striving to choke the prey.
They are bright and rough, vivid,
their ochre spiky thickness stinging the swollen air,
you gaze and grasp their starkness
on the bank segmented by cotton-like pillows of damp.
Just before stepping off the boat
you take in the busy silence of the faces
lined up on the pier: you marvel
at their otherworldly air that doesn’t come
from any particular feature
but it’s like the dots of silence lingering
despite the running garland of voices.
Yes, you are going to disembark
into the sleep we are made of,
you have just bridged that gap
covering an almost forbidden distance,
you are going to hug your dear undeparted
and taste the salt of the stones under your feet,
you anticipate a solid otherness that won’t be thwarted,
the here-and-now that like the yellow furze will bloom.

This poem appeared in "THE SHOp" in 2004.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


This wall of nothing, all over.
Back then it meant a lot.
On the beach in the winter afternoons
we were things waiting to be seen,
voices in their own pulsing desert.
Our cloaks in the damp, reservoirs of whispers,
our gaze in the early dark busy with pearls.
And the wet sand, our footprints, our words,
invisible bees working on shining swords.

Since the fog has come powerfully back with all its Venetian lapping sandbar mood I can't resist digging up poems about "This wall of nothing..." and I have so many of them that I can keep "fogging" for days.

Friday, January 13, 2012


I have come across, by chance, this huge apotheosis of a novel "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace, published in 1996. Despite its difficulty I can hardly put it down. It's difficult to say anything about it, -although it's inevitable to think that the author belongs to that group of anointed and then destroyed by the "gods" like Sylvia Plath, Hemingway etc. since he committed suicide in 2008...- what I can say is that it is a real feat of a work as much huge as intense, words swirling on the page in an apparent drunkenness but with a tremendous exhuberance, irony and conspicuousness.
I would be happy to hear if any of you has had the experience of reading this novel until the end, I am beyond page 200 now, the book is around 1000 pages!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Memory in a breath.
In the winter dark before dawn
you look at the man jumping on the jetty
and the other on board throwing to him
bundle after bundle of papers and magazines,
the silent cold at once filled
with busy breath-arrows:
in the boat arms in see-saw-like arcs
and on the jetty legs expertly bending
and supple forearms and hands slightly cupped.
In a glance you take in
the same wooden planks gnawed by salt and frost,
the flickering lights along the canal
and the same early, ready silence
suddenly filled with gestures and loud talk.
In an instant you are plunged
in your early workdays by the bridge, water pitch-dark
and on your skin the texture
of paper, plastic, cardboard and elastic
and fast fingers sorting out a beehive of things,
a chain of passing, swishing rims.
And whispers, jokes, yawns, routine-rites.
Breath of a hard, never ending time
that glitters now with this cloud of breath
as if it could just call you back:
hard time but hard to say
you wouldn’t do all that again,
maybe it’s the air’s eager heart,
hard to say you wouldn’t re-taste it all,
feet banging on the jetty to start with,
and most of all this puff of breath in front.

It was in the late 70's. I was working at the Venice post-office, a three-month job helping the postmen to deliver their post. I was working in the meantime for the final papers for my degree at the University. My job at the post office consisted in waiting and helping for the post to be collected and with a boat delivering huge parcels of letters to various strategic places in Venice, markets etc, even a that the postmen, their bags already loaded with letters to the brim, could find the other letters along their routes not having in this way to make another round. It was a good job for me, I had learned the routes and the twenty or so strategic locations better than any other boy so I could always leave by boat giving instructions to the boatman and other younger boys helping me. The Venetian canals and logoon were my home. Today I passed by the Rialto bridge, it was the point of departure. I looked at the door from where I had left every morning for three months more than thirty years before: another life.

Friday, January 6, 2012


A few weeks ago, in absence of it for one or two reasons, of a real Christmas tree I mean, I decided to go back to a poem I wrote about the fir-tree once.
But I couldn't find it in the files of the computer at hand, not my usual one but, let's say, a secondary computer.
So I decided to re-write the poem trying to regrasp the original perception. But as it happens I wrote only a slightly similar poem. I am enclosing now the two poems, the first below is the more recent. I am not at all sure which of the two could be considered as the better ( Or, actually, I am maybe not even sure if it makes sense to suppose one should be better than the other). Any opinion will be cherished.

I smelled and smelled it
as a child, my greedy nose
indulging among branches
and decorations.
I breathed eyes and wind
and the enclosed essence
of the rock skin,
needles on my knees
while I kneeled under
the dark green, in the solstice
and severe "ever" of the green
feeling protected while
befriending the boughs’
echoes of wilderness.

Time now
has passed.
I feel the border
coming closer.
And being sincere I say
I have learned something,
but not much more:
heaven if anything
was back there,
my smile under that canopy,
bathed in a bottomless stare.


It’s inside now, in a vase.
It’s the time of the year when we need
a memento from the forest.
Once I smelled in it
the fullness of iron green
and was gripped and swept
into a road of breaths
and shuffling dark green.
The deep North in an instantaneous gust.
Now, to be sincere,
that smell is faint,
it’s the memory of what it was.

But I breathe it
as if I were treasuring
the few drops I could gather
from the forest sap
in my cupped hands.
More than enough
on the way to the border.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Walking up the mountain as ever, on the Sunday morning, mist left behind on the plain, leaves mulch twigs dogs sniffing shuffling running munching, perspiration in pace with the breath at each steeper bend…..
And the river river river inside “riverrun”, what I have always figured as a third eye, the voice speaking inside, going back to its own same track, the slurring, sliding, staring, stoning, stabbing and swaying conundrum that’s life.