Venezia, Venezia

(1) Leap joyfully over
the Bridge of Sighs,

(2) Fly as a disturbed pigeon in Piazza San Marco

(3) Glide as a lacquered gondola, inebriate as another
early-morning espresso bar grappa-gobbler.

(4) Unleash still further Titian colors.

(5) Love like the Grand Canal feels.

(6) Appear daily as the Rialto Bridge.

(7) Change with the yellow weather to gray,
moody as Byzantine’s shift to Latin rule.

(8) Wonder the total absence of autos
while sinking-Venice somehow thriving
bears its singular mandate to

(9) Be truthful, beauty’s only verity.

 

Losing Myself At Night In Berlin

Four of us overtired and crabby in Berlin first night.
I take a walk alone to clear my head.
October crisp night air familiar
but different language in supermarket window
speisekartoffeln.

I’ve told everyone,
“This time I just want to go with the flow.”
They laugh and of course I add my own conviction,
it seems I can’t help myself.
I always tell myself I can help myself
that none of this counts that I am
along to enjoy myself no matter,
so why is it so painful to hold my tongue?
Am I squeezing it too severely?

Here in Berlin walking alone in the dark
along this Heerstrasse quiet district
where now I grow a bit paranoid
with two polizei eyeing me.
I hear their feet shuffling leaves.
I pass the Turkish consulate.
I’m rehearsing what I might tell them if they question me
that “I’m an American tourist,”
but why am I walking here
where American tourists don’t?
Perhaps this is “consulate row”
Perhaps they’ll fancy me a terrorist.
Perhaps they’ll disappear me.
Perhaps my own government
will have nothing to do with me.
So why am I taking this late night
walk away from people who love me?

Estranged in this foreign place
merely and literally seeking a
breath of fresh air
following a stifling day in airplanes
among San Francisco, Paris
(five hour layover in Paris)
and finally Berlin
with both of us ever more exhausted.

And now the German police
no longer heard stirring
the yellowed October leaves
in the darkness behind me,
apparently determine me harmless,
and I am getting my breath of fresh air
lots of it, crisp German autumn air
leaving me alone with myself
to speak with myself sharing no space
not needing to wait several intervals to speak
not craving to speak at all
except that this is what I do.
I paint my soul with words
and do it here alone in Berlin
as well as home in California
where little is different
except as I color it so,
where I alone is the same “I alone” as
“I alone” walking this night in October in Berlin.

But suddenly — shock —
I’ve become totally lost
like Hansel without Gretel or a trail of crumbs.
What is the value in becoming utterly lost?
this perfect conclusion to such a night in a strange city
in a different land with a foreign tongue. Has it been
my insensate quest to lose myself perfectly?

And as I walk and as I dictate this, I realize that
even with directions I have received,
I remain without a clear appreciation of
where I am, and I’m not even so afraid that I’m lost
because of course this is where I have
intended my self to be.

 

Triolet On Djenné

In the West African country of Mali
Lies the splendid mud mosque that is Djenné
Where free worshippers practicing Sufi
In the West African country of Mali
Don’t know who made shapes that seem folly
Where the women paint bodies with henna
In the West African country of Mali
Lies the splendid mud mosque that is Djenné.

 

The Inescapable Effect of Every Little Thing

Beijing with
all of China
leaping vertically
as rickshaw driven
ancient hutongs
disappear

centuries to moments
Mao through Deng make
find no sense at all in
apartments condos
real estate sellers
upselling buyers

craving American
easy flush toilets for
purchased skeletal flats
West meets East
Tourists astounded by
whistle clean streets

Vuitton Armani
market economy
Democracy slouching
lugubriously on
toward Shanghai
to be born

Against this as once
befell Soviet Russia
a dialectic with the state
a plunge into chaos while
a Whopper wrapper will
waft unheeded as a first
drunken street sweeper in
Beijing drifts off to sleep

 

Paris Metro

EN RAISON DE TRAVEAUX
EFFECTUES SUR LES DEUX VOIES
il y a DANGER DE MORT à ouvrir
les portières pendant la marche
du train entre GAMBETTA et
MARTIN-NADAUD et entre BOURSE et
SAINT LAZARE

 

GARE OPERA

Fear gulp rippled under chin
Of horse shaped odyssey
Begins and ends with guilty eyes
In brown and orange emptiness
Burning higher ever knees
Unmassaged again and more,

 

4 SEPTEMBRE

Footstool to my vacant angel
Tripping ankle pointing at
Solitary newsprint lady
Free but for Lilas-bound

 

BOURSE

World of pen upsetting
Mustached women, I’m
In love with grandma
Standing near the empty seat
Of hard faced peasant
Green Lautrec chick,

 

SENTIER

Sit and meditate, grandma
On other worldly vision flashes
Dubo, two fromage, machine
Washed, tobacco, Gillette, then

 

REAMUR-SEBASTOPOL

Frozen in mid yawn by pop
Lock here are we in
Long corrida’s white tile twinkle
Heels of boots flamenco
Sounds of change in life.

 

PORTILLON AUTOMATIQUE

il est interdit d’empêcher
son fonctionnement ne pas tenter
de passer pendant la fermeture.

Quiet afro smile a roar
Amidst the Merry Christmas
Dead eyes, murdered softly

 

ÉTTIENE MARCEL

By our missile gliding
Head to back transversal
Nothing new save Islam’s birth.

 

LES HALLES

Rembrandt’s mother red with
Knitting for the cubs of shrew
And leopard wailing on their
Final day when quietly destroy.

 

CHATÉLET

Gallic marshal U.S. gothic
Tired pointed greasy eyes.
Hair and nose of utter
Classic correspondence.
Automatic terminating
Roadway kneading feet, and
Civil servants get us back on time.

 

PONT MARIE

Forward vector youngster turning
Arm’s length round a stanchion pole.
Warted face of lonely victim
Reviews the diamond red brigade.

 

SULLY-MORLAND

Boyish revolution’s ended,
But purge of time continues.
Straw thatched roofs of pink barns
Burning stoked by futile babble.

 

JUSSIEU

Mocking girders remain to watch
Doors like jaws on yellow
Raised circle cues —
“Ready on the right, left, firing
Line” — ZAP — snap shut.

 

CARDINAL LEMOINE

I recall untouched red
Hair fragile over my shoulder —

 

MAUBERT-MUTUALITÉ

All began with the empty
Ticket omen taker’s booth.

 

STRASBOURG- ST DENIS

A new beginning, try at least

 

BONNE NOUVELLE

British chap in gray tweed
Will not reveal the secret
Of his plastic mystery sack.

 

RICHELIEU-DROUOT

Forewarned, forewarned, and
The little hunched woman exits
with unspoken accusations.

 

ST MICHEL

Rivet eyes, there’s no escaping
Inside an oil storage tank.
Eyes yellow blue knitting
Braid my bloody finger.

 

CITÉ

Awakening screams of leopard
And cub trapped by a
Chinese ten-year girl forgotten
Behind steel spectacles.

 

CHATÉLET/PONT NEUF

The barnyard empties,
And I am left with ice
Throated urge to warm
My hands between her
Shockable legs

 

PALAIS-ROYAL

Before the maple glassy doors
And cuckolded businessman
Opened by old killer lady
Next to me in the gray glass.

 

PYRAMIDES

Bereted father time with
Fetal head and useless hands
And teenaged baby new dawn
Watched by rouge and blonde on off
White fur and pot – a –
– pot – a – pot – a – pot – a –
Waaaarrroooommm

 

ATTENTION

LES BANQUETTES
sont reserves par priorite
1º AUX MUTILES DE GUERRE
2º Aux Aveugles Civils. Aux
invalides du travail et aux
infirmes civils.
3º Aux Femmes Enceintes
et Aux Personnes Accompagnées
D’Enfants agés de moins de quatre ans.

 

Ed Coletti

Ed Coletti

Ed Coletti is a poet, painter, fiction writer, and chess player who studied under Robert Creeley in  San Francisco (1970-71).  His recent work appears in The Brooklyn Rail, North American Review, Big Bridge, Hawai’i Pacific ReviewSpillway, Lilliput Review, and So It Goes – The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial  Library. Coletti’s  book, When Hearts Outlive Minds, was released June 2011. Germs, Viruses, and Catechisms was published by Civil Defense Publications  (San Francisco) during Winter 2013.  The Problem With Breathing from Edwin E. Smith Publications(Little Rock) was published during June 2015.  Apollo Blue’s Harp (and the gods of song) also will be published by Edwin E. Smith in 2016.

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