Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 123 in June, 2010.
The cassia – bis road cuts through a degenerated countryside, but it’s still countryside.
The Macchiaioli would have had something to say,
even if displaced by the proliferation of Californian-style buildings.
But it’s when I get to the town that I suddenly realise
how life too has its pictures hanging up, its private galleries,
its Vermeers and its Hoppers, painted in the reflections of spring,
in the burnt dawns of the labourers and the workers,
in the bottom of the orgeat syrup that stagnates in the bottom of all the glasses.
How life too has its Italian gardens,
disseminated between reinforced cement, leprosy and the savoir-faire.
Life has everything. It lacks only one thing: the dark room,
that small but fundamental device that develops the negatives of our premonitions.
I ask myself then, if I should take my cue from the man with the beard,
who enjoys himself every day with charades, rebuses and the diagramless crossword.
In any case one needs great strength, real courage, to kill time
because it is time itself, that from the day it introduced itself to us
it fatally wounds us and afterwards it puts us all in a line on its panoramic terraces,
like hung up washing that never dries.
Maybe it would be worth getting used to the door banging continually, when there is no wind blowing.
To learn to forget, to forget by heart,
Because the present holds more nostalgia than it reveals,
because I and this long line of bobbing heads getting off the metro
are only a together of parts that do not make up a whole, but just another umpteenth of a part.