Month: June 2016

Roman Cats

Rome Four Girls 3

Many thanks to Red Omnivore, an online literary magazine, for publishing the following poem late last year.

Gatti Romani

                                                  —at the Roman Forum, 1980

The ancient stones, the uncut grass

  skinny feral cats arching bony backs

    mincing for mice, nosing for toads

.

I’m part of a pack of five loose strays

  we, too, prowling; only not for lunch

    we nose for bowls of adventure

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Brazilian shorthair, royal Persian snob

  two Texas tabbies mewing out meows

    and me, their teenage tom-tom up a tree

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Dogs who chipped and chiseled earth

  who sweat to raise these crumbling walls

    they haunt us here like last night’s rain

.

Like four felines posing by a column

  clawing the air, shaking tawny tails

    our own fossils chiseled into film

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Passports packed and visas stamped

  we leave our footprints on a path

    we cede another century to cats

.

Crimes Along the Côte d’Azur

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Many thanks to Route 7 Review for publishing the following poem in their May 2016 issue.

Crimes Along the Côte d’Azur

                                                                                —Spring 1980

My trespass takes me to the harbor

 big-rock jetty, cool-blue bay

  Monaco behind me, shiny gold

   casino coin glittering in sunlight

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Yachts roll in, wealthy drunks aboard

 chopped duck liver, sparkling wine and cheese

  I’m chewing cheese myself—Smiling Cow

   stolen from a store this afternoon

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Same as stolen glances, half-nude tourists

 olive-oiled breasts topless in the sun

  me a thief like those Arabs yesterday

   snapping secret photos in Antibes

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The train to Nice, a woman sleeps

 we alone in our cramped compartment

  bar of English chocolate in her bag

   gone before she bats an eye:  Merci

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I slip away from the hillside hostel

 sleepy village porches early dawn

  on one, a basket—cold milk, fresh baguette

   I snatch it like a furtive photograph

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Down by the one-clock railway stop

 I peel the paper lid, lift the chilly top

  five dumb pigeons watch me break my bread

    they peck at one another over thread