‘sweetness of many imperfections’


Far from Kingdoms
Patrizia Cavalli
Far from kingdoms
how steady is the room!
Come, breathe close with me
so I may discover the sweetness
of many imperfections, some missing
tooth, some extra wrinkle, and your body
worn out slightly by carelessness.


Lontano dai regni
come è ferma la stanza!
Vieni, respirami vicino,
che io scopra la dolcezza
di molte imperfezioni, qualche dente
in meno qualche ruga in più e il corpo
appena estenuato dalla noncuranza.

Photo by Fancycrave on Unsplash

cruelly resurrect and kill


Umberto Saba
I don’t care for you at all. It used to be
that when I turned a corner in the street,
the premonition of your coming would cut me
like a razor. The still slender shadows
of bare branches cast upon the still bare earth
make me uneasy, as if I too
might somehow be
reborn. Ancient
spring, even the grave seems uncertain
at your approach. You of all the seasons
most cruelly resurrect and kill.


Primavera che a me non piaci, io voglio
dire di te che di una strada l’angelo
svoltando, il tuo presagio mi feriva
come una lama. L’ombra ancor sottile
di nudi rami sulla terra ancora
nuda mi turba, quasi ancho’io potessi
rinascere. La tomba
sembra insicura al tuo appressarsi, antica
primavera, che più d’ogni stagione
crudelmente risusciti ed uccidi.

Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash

“waiting is another life”


You Ask Me What It Means
Giovanni Giudici
You ask me what
the word alienation means:
it is to die from the moment of birth
in order to live in a master

who sells you – it is to hand over
the things you carry – power, love,
total hate – in order to find
sex, wine, a broken heart.

It means to live outside yourself
while you believe you reside within
because the wind you yield to
knocks you off your feet.

You can fight it, but one day
is a century of dissipation:
the things you give away never
return to you, their source.

Waiting is another life,
but there is no other time:
the time which is you disappears,
what remains isn’t you at all.


Mi chiedi cosa vuol dire

Mi chiedo cosa vuol dire
la parola alienazione:
da quando nasci è morire
per vivere in un padrone

che ti vende – è consegnare
ciò che porti – forza, amore,
odio intero – per trovare
sesso, vino, crepacuore.

Vuol dire fuori di te
già essere mentre credi
in te abitare perché
ti scalza il vento a cui cedi.

Puoi resistere, ma un giorno
è un secolo a consumarti:
ciò che dài non fa ritorno
al te stesso da cui parte.

È un’altra vita aspettare,
ma un altro tempo non c’è:
il tempo che sei scompare,
ciò che resta non sei te.

“to flee cursed and cursing”


No, I have rarely been fooled by Italy (luckily) but have crossed paths with Italy and Italians in the years since I declared one of my main rules in life, i.e. “Don’t Let Italy Fool You“. Years and years ago, I did meet a rather sexist, reactionary, jealous Berlusconi supporter called Marco who told me he hated this poem because “clearly a lesbian wrote it”. Do I even need to say that I spoke with him no more?

Patrizia Cavalli

To simulate the burning of the heart, the humiliation
of the viscera, to flee cursed
and cursing, to horde chastity
and to cry for it, to keep my mouth
from the dangerous taste of other mouths
and push it unfulfilled to fulfill itself with the poisons of food,
in the apotheosis of dinners when the already
swollen belly continues to swell;
to touch unreachable solitude and there
at the foot of a bed, a chair
or the stairs to recite a goodbye,
so that I can expel you from my fantasy
and cover you with ordinary clouds
so that your light will not fade my path,
will not muddle my circle from which
I send you, you unintentional star,
unexpected passage who reminds me of death.

For all this I asked you for a kiss
and you, kind and innocent accomplice, didn’t give it to me.