Fausto Pauluzzi

The following poems were written in the 1980s on the coast in Daila, a village that all of Verteneglio (where Fausto Pauluzzi was born) has used as its beach. These poems are part of a collection, HOSTAGE OF DEATH/HOSTAGE OF LOVE, partly as a response to his mother's terminal  illness.

Evening in my Homeland

A sacred concert would fit well here 
as the wavelets turn gray 
and fishermen row towards the sinking sun 
away from the dock 
surgically blown up 
by advances in warfare in 1943 

An orchestra 
could raise its cries here 
blandish with its harmonies 
in tune 
with the spirit of it all 
spreading into wheat fields 
lilting into oak woods 
but most important 
collecting the many bathers who came here today 
to escape the modern city 
and seek protection of this quiet bay 

in my homeland 
is a time of muted colors 
the hot pinks bright aquas
tangy oranges
fetching blacks 
all made somber 
with the sunless waves 
as the shore quiets down 
and no longer
mother and child laugh 
no lovers
to whisper enchantments 
glue for their next embrace 

I stay 
to accompany the lapping of the waves 
to stroke with gentle thoughts 
the smoothness of this sea 
breaking now on the rocky shore 
at the castle of pebbles a child built today 
pleasure boats 
not far off 
are rocking back and forth
back and forth 
and the very last of today's bathers 
is coming out the water now 
thinking of his simple soup 
a chunk of beef 
and all those splendid garden salad greens

Never Forget Venice

A postcard came from Venice
Spinster sisters who make lamps
and sell them from a little store
along the tourist walk
remember me

It was the Grand Canal they sent
a profile
as from a slicing of the eye
not where grandness overcomes the tourist in St. Markís
but where the waters start their snaking run
as you exit the railroad station
and are faced with steps
leading to the drink

A life I used to know came back to me--
first fears, first love
the emblem-lion of Saint Mark
who could have roared but never did
from marble plaques in the town of my birth
Wild-maned he was
and kind
his gentle paw steadying an open book
that wished but peace
to a man who bore my second name

It was
a life I used to have

How do I release it
and re-live it now
on days when leaves must be blown from the lawn
the roofís in need of silicone
and a postcard beckons--
with its past
the fury of its grandeur
(eleven thousand ships they owned one time)
and sailorsí hearts that sang of beauty
the mirror sea
the diamond sky
the clouds come from the Alps
swept by a playful air
whisked and smoothed
so one could stare at them forever
so close they seemed
to the meaning of the Almighty

A film
was made in the Eighties
itís title: FORGET VENICE
As you can see
for me thereís not a chance
How do I say no
to Titianís Mother Mary
gently ascending full-bodied
from the most open of spaces
up into the house of the Lord
How do I say no
to Giovanni Bellini
whose lizard greens and deeply mournful blues
mix the sacred with our daily tribulations
on one plane
the grand plane of the spirit of art
I canít forget Venice
and if you said to me
go stand against the wall
under the plaques to pope John
and pope Luciani
next to the entrance of their patriarchal palace
Iíd be a puddle soon
meltdown would come
my one regret not reading those lines again
that tell what hearts and minds did care
for the people of Venice from that place

Dearest priests of mine
what love you gave each day
as you paced the narrow streets of your city
asking of one and of another
so that brotherhood was all
and not your high estate
nor the cloth one wore
to speak with you

Iíll never forget Venice
Itís my heart
my lullabies
the world that formed the men Iíve loved
and open arms waiting
a mighty force, a goodly smile
and kinder eyes
that tell me
when Iím out blowing leaves

Third World

The third world has children 
lots of children 
going places in groups 
to a beach, on a mountain hike 
watched by adults who are stirred 
by evolution herself 
and paid by the State 
if that State is not in the hands of a strangler 

Mothers have status here 
the minute they lead a child by the hand 
the minute they go shopping 
to feed their family the best of family meals 
and fathers 
though said to be near starving 
have a job among other men 
and on Sundays and other days of rest 
they trot their little family out 
decked in their best 
to show what they contribute 
to the beauty of the land 
When the sun 
goes down 
in summer 
beaches are filled with low chatter 
and while older women soak in the shallows 
their grandchildren play with basins and pails 
not far away 

Eventually a water fight develops 
and it's not unusual for son-in-law and mother-in-law 
to square off 
dumping pails of sea water on each other 
right near shore 
The wife and daughter breaks things up 
making appeals to the impropriety 
of drenching other bathers' clothing 
and so 
the water fight gets taken 
into deeper water 
where the losing player 
dunks her own self into the sea 
ending the game 
and more than cleverly 
tying the score

Tourist Home

If sleep is what you've come to seek 
they tell me you can close your eyes here 
and feel you've been cast in concrete 
until morning 
when the sun shines through the shutters 
as seven-hundred points of light 

Then it's time 
to think about the fields everywhere around 
the fruit you'll eat today 
the veggies your aunt Mary will cook 
to soothe your digestive tract 
completely choked by the forces of tourism 

You sip your coffee 
and you hit the front balcony 
where a cool breeze 
a deep shade 
combine to prick your skin 
and stir the lengthy sliver of your soul 
a deep breath 
a quick wish 
for one thousand mornings like this 
bring you close to the why why why 
of everything 

By the time you're down at the rocky shore 
in front of your tourist home 
a married girl of thirty 
bare nipples pointing at the sun 
is questioning with slashing looks 
why is it that you're wearing earphones 
and what's that fancy fountain pen 
doing in your hand

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This page compliments of Fausto Pauluzzi

Created: Sunday, January 26, 1997, Last Updated: Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Copyright © 1998 IstriaNet.org, USA