Sunday, December 23, 2007

St. Jerome

Bitter roots and Penitence
Jerome, with a book, writing
I dreamed of you last night or
Augustine, writing a letter, Jerome
I dreamed of you
last night I
dreamed you were dead.
Ring the hermit's bell
to scare the devil away.
The lion, alone,
now licking his paw.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Ferruccio Brugnaro, Italian Poet

In Venice, Beth and I met up with native Venetian Beat Bard Alessandro Spinazzi. Sandro said to meet him on the Rialto bridge at 2PM, and when I asked him how we would know him, he said "Because I look like you!' We spent the afternoon at a very pleasant street cafe, and the next evening we went to the home Sandro shares with his wife Katy. Sandro had invited the poet Ferruccio Brugnaro and his wife Maria. A wonderful evening of food, wine, poetry and friendship.
Ferruccio is also a native Venetian, and worked for much of his life in the industrial zone of Marghera, just west of Venice, on the mainland. A Communist, an activist, a lifelong poet, Ferruccio has recently read at festivals in San Francisco and Cuba. His work is available here in the United States in a collection called Fist of Sun, translated by Jack Hirschman and published by Curbstone Press, and in a collection for his wife Maria, called Portrait of A Woman, also translated by Jack Hirschman and published by CC Marimbo Press.
Here is a poem called We Don't Want Bosses, Period (from Fist of Sun)
We don't want bosses of any kind,
They've already splashed around
in our blood,
already feasted plenty
on our lives.
Stop asking us so many questions.
Look at our injuries
the damage done to peasants
and miners.
We've gotta yank this plant out of the world
once and for always.
Don't ask anything else of us. We've really
made up our guts.
We don't want bosses
because they're
the same as ever:
because they want the land
all for themselves,
because they want the sun
all for themselves,
because they never stop
robbing, trampling,
and killing, killing
day and night under every kind of sky.
and a poem from Portrait of A Woman, for his wife, Maria:
Sometimes Maria sings
the most intense songs.
Songs I've never
heard before
that aren't heard
She sings, sometimes explodes
with her songs
packed with
She sings tirelessly of things,
she moves, sways,
she sings
profound joys to me.
Sings to me, invents, makes up
songs for me
does Maria
returning sometimes
in the middle of the night
songs that can't be described
can't be re-told.

italian history of the west

In San Gimignano, a hilltop town of many towers, we stay in a small hotel facing the central piazza. On a table in a common area I find, among the Italian fashion magazines, two issues of Mountain Gazette, where I find this "New History of the West":

Kill all the Indians.
Kill anything with fur.
Mine all the mountains.
Cut down all the trees.
Dam the rivers.
Ryan Dingus

Friday, December 14, 2007


nobody knows us here we're
moving down the mountain we're
looking for a river we're
looking for a cloud we're
looking for a language we're
looking for a sign we're
looking for a story that will
tell us when we're home
gary lawless