Maybe my case helped
push you into shrink-hood in
Burlington, land of
Strung-out hippies, permanent
New Yorkers who need
cows need grass, Ben
needs Jerry. You listened well
when I needed you.
You made me
want to keep writing,
to teach, to snuggle up to
women I could have,
not just dreams. You hired Brian
to babysit; this
left me to
Stroud’s wife, and forever seek
redheads. Your knowledge
was less than
mine, but you coached it out of
been thirty seven
years: are you alive
old man? To
me you will always be, so
not. Our friendship kept
me alive. Thank you.
Your pen, so
lively, your class notes
on Faulkner, Steinbeck
impeccable, your legend
could last forever.
Mostly, devices like the
poets, and the brains
to guide quietly.
No place has ever been thus
defined by a
Still, how can I skip
the time you got booted out
of the women’s dorm
(there are no men’s dorms
after hours, asleep on
the couch, not
even in her arms,
thank God! The saving
you married this one, the one
who writes from
her heart: pure, feeling
Your id, untainted
by such normal and
asking all passing
females for a date, even
though you have a gal
just over half your
age waiting for you,
which is why
you want to hang out
Even if it’s two
in a very small
town, you’re willing to make a
“new friend” every hour.
You, sir, are
the walking definition
of a cad,
taking manhood to
a new low. You asked
if you could
sit in my class. Oh for God’s
sake you take
me for a fool or
are completely lost.
New Ones Above, Old Ones Below
We ran into Naomi and Ed tonight
High above the Tuscany valley.
We felt a zephyr as we took in the sights
Of the duomo and its campinale.
In English we talked of the towns we had seen
On our travels away from the states.
There’s so much to capture here by the stream:
The food in this town is first rate.
The gypsies dried up, or so it appears
As McLaughlin takes photos “al Dente.”
Nothing is worse than the two-dollar fears
Except for God-awful Daisy Fuentes.
Which brings us to Florence, surrounded by trees
That go unrecorded these days.
And the continual saintly pleas
On walls so cracked up they’re a haze.
All this prevented me from taking my life
Too seriously for a week.
So you sit, and I talk, like somebody’s wife
About which stores out-chic the chic.
I’ll best remember the boy on the bike
Or the face of some scurrying maid,
And the bridges with lovers that I don’t look like
Because I never get laid.
Here where Ice Cream is measured in grams
And Gucci eats spumoni
The whores on the bridge sell gold, what a scam,
And the prosciutto is bologna.
Here in the hills that spawned the art
When the world was dark with fear
The Arno flows, no stop, all start,
While your lover nibbles your ear.
The invaders now are not on the backs
Of elephants from over the hills.
But short of cash in their knapsacks,
Unable to pay all their bills.
So they sell themselves on the church square
For everyone to see.
I doubt the locals think that it’s fair
But what perfect irony:
That Dante wrote of nothing but hell
Surrounded by visions of heaven.
And the butcher and baker that used to do well
Are usurped by seven-eleven.
It’s not what you think or what you say
But how well you ladle a brush.
Excuse me but their must be a way
To shit without having to flush.
“There is a way,” says the man at the desk
As he swears in Italiano.
“Just take off your shirt and stick out your chest
And we’ll pull it out my Pisano.”
But that will cost the type of tip
That you can not afford.
You’d forever stop you summer trip
To become one of the insurgent horde.
Which takes us back to the line in front
Of Uffizi or some other museum.
To a time when the art was all balls and no cunt-
Look at them lined up to see-’em!
The church lost control long ago in these parts
When money could buy any treasure.
Which led men to labor all day at their art
(They did well by any measure.)
Not even the Japs can buy this stuff now,
It is the local economy.
The pilgrims have come, and boy do they bow
To the art, not the love of astronomy.
The shoppers still shop, the clerks here are cold,
And the sewer stinks up the streets.
And after a hard day of peddling gold
The ladies are staining the sheets.
But what makes Firenze the place to be
Isn’t David or Verdi, it’s June:
And the slow water flowing, cool summer breeze
And the lunatics under the moon.
Ode to Federico Fellini da Firenze
Today I watched as my swoot fell
For for the tomb and fresco di Dante.
She had no idea of the stories I’d tell
After a mezzo Chianti.
We saw some statues and churches and art,
All that the good boot could offer.
As for the economy we did our part
With tithing at Gucci’s alter.
We dined with drag queens at Minore
And we offered manages with wine.
But my swoot, well aware of the story
Was not about to have a good time.
But we had a good time in the Tuscany hills
Regardless of Dante’s hell.
She liked Rome better she said in a shrill
(She must not have noticed the smell.)
To me any culture is measured by art:
Just look at Hollywood glitz.
Compared to Fellini, oh boy was he smart
To tell his own story in bits.
Marcello lives on and banks the genius
In an era of Pucci and Leda.
Each art form tries to capture the penis
Or some other Dolce Vita.
Except for the fools who linger in black
A nuclear product prolonged.
The art quickened-up under threat of attack,
Modern triumphs are petty and wrong.
The key in this time is to talk it out
Which leaves little time for creation.
When will the messiah come back to tout
The virtues of life toward salvation?
He will when the art is replaced completely
By all shows pernicious and seedy.
When even the rich man is boxed in so neatly
That the poor man no longer seems needy.
So talk to your friends and see what they know
About history as comparative art.
Then sit back and cry or get up and go
To Florence before it blows apart.