Leaving an Island

September 9, 2017 § Leave a comment




Leaving an island is always leaving 

a paradise and a prison at the same time.

And the islands you have to 

leave behind in life are many.


Think of the childhood and, for some,

mum’s protecting arms, for others, 

wrongs and pain.


Then think of marriages

where you once found heaven 

but then hell.



Think of school,

how some sailed away on knowledge, 

how helpless others sank under its weight.



Think of ideas and saints,

expensive dresses or flattering friends 

or alcohol or cigarettes or food.



But most of all think of love.

All the loves you’ve left behind. 

Those beautiful islands, or the others, 

without water, without shade.


Leaving an island is always leaving 

a paradise and a prison at the same time.



June 17, 2017 § Leave a comment

Behind the curtains of the “Brown Villa”, where the Party offices were from 1932 to 1945, you can now see the museum built to honour the works and life of the Jewish painter born a few streets down the road and sent to death to a land far away by the ones holding speeches from the front balcony.

When the Jewish painter was a kid in the same town, the villa still belonged to the family of the wealthy fabric factory heir. His grandfather had brought from England the first steam engine to be used in a fabric factory around here.

After the war the villa became the headquarters of the British occupation forces, then a Natural Museum, then a Cultural Museum, then an Art Space. The current exhibition’s name is “Homeland”. Homelands are complicated places.


June 11, 2017 § 2 Comments


Again sometimes I feel wiser.
I feel as if I knew why
these long evenings in June
are so full of Septembers.

And why when we sleep
in someone’s loving arms,
Death will look away
for a couple of hours.

Mondays I am never mad
at other people because
they must go to work too.
That’s how work pays off.

(But I won’t sign that
even if you forced me.)

As my memory declines
I do fear sudden flashbacks:
hands, moons, bottles of milk.
They strike me like lightening.

This afternoon, for instance, I saw
a three-year-old daring a high ladder;
remembered how I had to look away
and not always run to help.


June 6, 2017 § 1 Comment

Somewhere between breath and light

there’s the sense of disappearing,

of becoming the dream in the past,

the faint memory in the future.

We’re not a definition in an encyclopaedia,

nor our bodies will obey words. Any.

We know though, we will know

what to kick or to kiss. How deep

to scratch that wall, to leave a sign. 


May 20, 2017 § Leave a comment

He buried the pumpkin seeds deep into the volcano craters he had carefully formed. Then he straightened with his palm the earth in the middle and repaired the rims on the sides so that they’d keep all the water inside the crater. That’s how we do it in Zimbabwe, he said. That way we don’t have to water them every day. 

Each refugee had got a tiny piece of land to plant anything they’d like. 

If I’m still here in autumn, you’ll see how well that works. You’ll see even if I’m not here.


May 15, 2017 § Leave a comment


We’re mostly busy in trying to keep ourselves together: the parts of our bodies, falling apart; our memories, fading away; our families, taking a flight; our loves, losing time. What if the labyrinth is sweet home? And why is Ariadne’s laughter so contagious? We have Minotaur’s sign on our forehead.

We Are

May 7, 2017 § 1 Comment

I’m sure we are waves.

How else to explain the force

with which we throw ourselves

onto these sharp volcano shores,

our despair when we must withdraw.


The moon poems haven’t helped,

the night watch felt asleep on duty.


I’m sure we are winds.

We find every little crack

on each other’s shabby cabins

we tear them apart and disappear,

come back, whistling, in daybreak.


The dawn songs haven’t helped,

the morning birds have migrated.


I’m sure we are a bad dream.

Someone will tell about us to a friend,

she’ll laugh and say: You poor little thing!

She’ll touch their hand and kiss their cheek,

our traces all gone, a bright day begins.

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