Jul/Aug 2002 Poetry


by Chris Barnett

Art by Bob Dornborg



In Florence
The skirt of the moon eases into the ocean
As nameless dots
In search of their wonderment
Go rest
Hear the happy children fresh with nude joy
Hear those able to stay up late
They climb gates
Mixing with the amazing
They end up on old man Francilla's roof
In a flash, his light is on
He stabs his broom at the ceiling
Screams undesirables in his mother's language
Silence again
The light bulb swings
The kids disappear
Conducting elsewhere
Old him and his broom are Florence

Florence streets smell like beef
Pickle carts pucker up to shoppers
Merchants negotiate from rocking chairs
Folks of all kinds and tastes and chats
Peek from under benevolent hats
The old scoot for fresh sausage links
Some hop terrified with young hopscotchers
Others just watch the action and smile
Middle-agers hurdle into kissing
Umbrella hiding
Their eyes bend down to books on sale
As their gum bubbles exhale
Younger girls snack on Russets
Fixing their hair
Flirting behind the fruit
Some even play flute
Some have straggly hair and sing for free grapes
To be free and nine in Florence

In Florence
Men the shape of barrels
Waddle through the square beefy cheeked
They smile and tip their hats
As friendly as new paragraphs
They give out daisies
Emit sky-high belly hoots
They sneeze during mass
They investigate behind all umbrellas
They waltz with the brides to be
They waddle back up the hill beefy cheeked

In Florence taverns
Women outnumber the men
Some sip anonymously, select in their Scotch
Some come from hiking wearing lipstick
Others play dominos in black boots
Still others ooze
Like unaffected jewels
They edify the men
About stubborn man problems
8:19am loving
They pull away from cigarettes
Moments before his flame extinguishes
They tell men to go home
And make up with their mothers

During tourist season in Florence
Town wives marvel at the young passing through
As nightfall comes
These wives approach mirrors
Often personally
More often than usual
They cling to words like "always" and "forever"
They ponder about their husbands
Wondering if they still
So they keep wondering
Trying on outfits, new shades, a dialect
Night falls
And a new zip is brought to a dress
In Florence


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