Sunlight and Silhouettes

Some mornings seem to twinkle
brighter than others
as I sink deeper
into my snug, chocolate
worn leather arm chair

The cool late August breeze
washes like a stinging splash
of salty-cold cape cod ocean
over my still waking eyes
filling my nostrils
with the meaty scent of brine

Sunlight and silhouettes flicker
slip slowly ‘cross my thigh
then pounce like a lynx
onto cream-colored walls

Shadow puppets morph
into giant jungle-green, leopard-skinned soaring-necked giraffes
exotic knuckle-kneed, glade-wading
powder-blue flamingoes, imperious
golden lolling lions and tigers
and ruby-masked knights
tilting at urban windmills
on medieval paths

Animated tales
told in cinematographic light
and shadow of a shifting
vernal equinox
of wind blown leaves
on trees that block the bright

Indifference foretells the tail
of yet another
luscious fleeting summer
of vibrant green hues
and vivid august blues

Born of solitary moments
spontaneous, she leeps
in shimmering single slivers
life dances, for a breath
across scintillating silver
unscripted screens of time

Fists of snowballs, paper-white
hydrangeas pinken softly
signaling us, sparingly
of autumn’s imminent, unrelenting
sweetly ominous, arrival

Junkyard Pyramids

In the outer-cape town of Truro
where rubbish removal
but a fusty, fabled, foreign myth
known only to the provinces
of far off fairylands

Evidence of life
and a blue moon’s month
of passed over profferings
to the putrid, fetid
junkyard pyramids
burst at the seams
of my creaky, aged
wooden garbage bin.

Pungent, wafting
maliferous bouquet
the spirited olfactress
hovers hauntingly to gloat
a tiresome reminder
a bullhorn of reproach:

“On the insipidities of life
you’ve been swimmingly
on the things keep others ticking
efficiently and fluid
all but bound together
like the waxing, waning lunar pull
on the ebbing and the rise
of ever-shifting ocean tides!”

A question of attending:
lent laimbrained concentration
on life’s vacuous, abhorrent
and tedious details?

Waiving white a loath confession:
“What I’d rather do is jump!”
avoid the gnawing mission
to the dreaded, humdrum dump.

Mediterranean Summer Salad

J: “I’ll have the Mediterranean Summer Salad with Feta and Shrimp, but I have a shrimp allergy, so instead, may I please have the scallops?” 

W: (with dramatic, feigned furrowed brow of empathy and regret) “Why I’m sorry sir, unfortunately we cannot make substitutions on The Mediterranean Summer Salad with Feta and Shrimp.”

J: (with equally feigned furrowed brow of incredulity and a subtle smirk of defiance and self-satisfaction) “Hmmmm, OkAAAy, well then how about The Mixed Green Summer Salad with feta and scallops?”

W: “Well that, we can certainly do sir!”

J: (inner voice) Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?”

W: “Excuse me sir! How is The Mixed Green Summer Salad with feta and scallops?”

J: (beaming with enthusiastic curled-corner-lipped sarcasm) “Fantastic! It’s almost exactly the same as your Mediterranean Summer Salad with Feta and Shrimp, but this one instead has scallops, and is shrimpless.”

W: (with oblivious sincerity or stark theatrical brilliance) “Why I’m happy you’re enjoying it sir, and I apologize that we couldn’t have accommodated your preferences on The Mediterranean Summer Salad with Feta and Shrimp, but I will most definitely inform the chef of how much you’ve enjoyed this one!”

J: 😳


What is it I cannot say?

A clock’s resounding shrill
squeals away,
“all feet planted on the floor”
toward a car, a train, a bus
a door
pulling people-conveyors, travellators
an airbus breaks tentatively
free from terra firma
winging equivocally, launches in flight
unspoken sadness, a hungry goodbye:

sweet and tender longing
for its sumptuous, red-blooded
eternal, Latin soul
seizing the time to live, lustily
amidst ancient, sculpted
marble proboscises
veined with pulsating, robust
Roman virility
prolific, sentient
chiseled-granite silhouettes
hewn nimbly
with singular artistic humility
shimmering all shapelessly
in a creamy vanilla sheen
of light-emitting diodes and a full moon’s bullish rising

Like a languishing
Federico F film
steamy summer nights
and roll foggily
on Tevere’s rippleless, rushing
black waters
tacit coy voracities
lie barely, just beneath
seductive, full-lipped smiles
untill we meet again:
good riddance!
I will miss you…
all the while
one meteoric moment mutually possessed
and never
again, and again



Fiore, Italian for flower, is also the name of the beloved local Ortigia artist, “a man of the streets” as he likes to refer to himself. When I asked him his real name, he told me: “It’s Roberto, but I don’t like to tell people that because I don’t want them to use it – reminds me of my mother when she was angry with me.” As I sat in his studio, brimming with old, new, still drying and works in progress, the smell of fresh oil paint, stale cigarettes and the acrid sweet of evaporating alcohol permeated the air. I was there to pay him 300€ for the 2 pieces I had bought a few days earlier, and as he impatiently counted it, reporting with shrugged shoulders and the satisfied smirk and impetuosity of a child opening a wrapped Christmas gift: “In Sicilia we count the money for the paintings we make, eh?, grazie!” Then he gave me the 2 ceremonial air kisses, one for each cheek, and proffered me a drink that he poured from an interesting green bottle he’d pulled from his ancient fridge. I declined, telling him I’m allergic, he mumbled: “gli americani sono tutti allergici”, but he insisted it was good luck for him to have a shot after every sale, so we sat and talked about what makes his work tick. He stated succinctly that his favorite subject to draw is the fish, “because it’s easy and drawing the shape reminds me of being a child, I need to feel as free as a fish, I’ve never liked fishermen though, I don’t trust them, because they trick the fish into loosing their freedom. I like birds for the same reason, fish are birds in the sea, and cats, because they are always watching and so are very wise. Watermelon is my favorite fruit and I use it a lot in my work, mostly because I love its color, I like it more than any other.” I had called the number painted on his studio door about 5 minutes prior to the slender, 5′ 2″, suntanned, agile 80-something-year-old’s arrival on his squeaky rattletrap bici, something out of a WWII period movie, wearing fitted black jeans covered in the drips of pastel colors, a tight black T-shirt, black Ray Ban Wayfarers, flip flops – black, showing black-painted toe nails, a wide closed-mouth smile – in all, a package painted in a certain vintage perfume of alcohol, cigarettes and a license to live.