The dark sun casts enchanting espresso laced shadows

across bridges adorned in dresses of orange, pink and yellow.


Anorexic cats dart from abandoned parks

like so many ballerinas of the night

who, with painted faces and skin-tight minidresses,

conduct their orgies nightly in soft vesper whispers

out of sight of the carabinieri.


The pigeon-headed statues of Piazza Santa Spirito

silently gaze upon the exuberant nightly crowd of giovani

petitioning one another for pleasures so badly needed

when the heat of stone and family

drives them out among the cobblestones and gelato.


A clamorous noisy sun drenched morning

flung out like a large white sheet of old ladies with shopping bags

and nasty old men sparring in Italian word salad wars

the piazza, now empty of crowds,

is witness to the approaching libretto of shoppers.


At the cafe I get thick coffee and a newspaper

all things in moderation.


By afternoon the summer's long tongue licks my face

with its salty shower stinging eyes for which the only consolation

is the sight of long legged Florentine ragazze

golden brown, promenading their treasures in a special high-heeled walk

that swings the ass ever so gracefully

in an arc as perfect as Brunelleschi's dome.


Now at night with songbirds swooping

young lovers entangled in each otherís embrace

the Arno flows forth along the mysterious Ponte Vecchio walls,

darker pastel colors of ochre and umber

and I pause every few steps before another splendorous vista

and another alter to the Partigiani dead.




by Jerry Ross