The city described by the poets selected for this issue is an inhospitable place, where people move around and rarely meet or, at most, bump into each other. With her dense and precise lines, Martina Campi captures a cityscape where natural and artificial elements conspire to expand the sense of solitude and oppression. Sonia Lambertini shows the devastated scene of a hopeless struggle for survival in what may be the last still of a disaster movie whereas, in the midst of a merry-go-round crowd coming and going, Rita Stanzione lets the possibility of a genuine connection leak out in the innocent impetus of childhood, ending with a question that is hard to forget. With his elegant and evocative style, Alessandro Silva portrays the lively and delicate figure of a man that is on the verge of departure against the dull background of the bowels of the town, a dancer who resembles the moving character of the song La Construçao, by Chico Buarque de Hollanda. A farewell, which is simply dreamt of in the melodious lines by Adele Musso, almost a nursery rhyme that playfully expresses a melancholic longing for freedom.

The dancer

by Alessandro Silva

Red Line, stop: Rovereto.

Two sweet minutes left to hear the sky
and brush the smoke of light

The man with the hands in his pockets dancing
footsteps by the underground
obliterators – his beard
with the hair drawn close according
to a strange madness – this morning
appears as a distant figure. With sealed
lips, he sings besides the depths.
Some people avoid him as he dances like a fool
suspended in the void, his lips are
bites of brief darkness feeding
on days, his fierce blood rises
coagulated and may collapse.

Waiting for the muffled sound on the platform
the eye silenced by a shining whiteness.

You said

by Sonia Lambertini

You said
wait for me
down the cul-de-sac
East Side encrusted
dirty yellow wall, dust
abandoned toys
and the two of us like dogs
stealing the scraps from each other
at the end of the world.

The hand that holds the kite

by Adele Musso

The hand that holds the kite
knows that it could fly
the fist is satisfied
with clutching
a thread of wind
Fragments, of explosive colour,
shred cobalt blue skies
It is the weight of life
that keeps us down
while the air acrobat
circles and derides us all
fleeing
upwards.

A sail is unfolding – the sea is moving

by Rita Stanzione

A foreign look stands in the middle of the square
you can’t ignore it and it won’t always be an accident
The busy comings and goings against the wind
the elegant rustle without a trail of dust
while under the shoes scraps of poor dinners accumulate
with handkerchiefs soaked in waits and arid rainfalls

A little boy stops going round in the void, wondering
whether he should follow that flow disciplined by distant eyes
or play with the stranger who owns nothing but his smile

You feel moved as you see him offer a marble, his pale
hand is unfolding a sail: it moves the sea
He is carried away where his heart goes – small and magnificent
and unaware

‘Cos at least one of us
will explain him humanity
that is such a long way
in a single, brief word.

Note by a hollow heart

by Martina Campi

The sun drops down in bulks on the street.
The street is empty, the double shutters closed.

There are no brothers and no sisters

There is nothing left but this fierce sky and grids of buildings
supported by cavities of solitudes in the heat

Waiting for the light that doesn’t feed the endless night.

SALENTITUDINE

The first volume of the “Trilogy of the roots” by Vanni Schiavoni, Salentitudine, is a collection of “verse postcards”, a definition given by the author himself. These poems are as concise as postcards – poetic skeins to be unraveled, marked by a dense and elaborate language that has nevertheless the value of communicative immediacy. Neither the visual aspect of the postcard is lost – the words manage to make it up for by capturing views from different perspectives, sunny landscapes, everyday scenes. Here the passing of time is often perceived as sleepy, burdened with an after lunch peacefulness in the sun or slowly ascending stony tracks, across which the shades of the historical heritage are thrown, like those of the rocks left by Magna Graecia to keep watch. The eye dwells on details, without neglecting anything: people, animals, fruit and vegetables, natural and artificial views. You can hear sounds (echoes of Bob Dylan, bell chimes, crickets singing, whistles and hoarseness…), smell scents (of figs, of thyme, of a woman). The author lingers on physical details: a peasant’s callous hands with nails yellowed by nicotine, ceramics hands on an apron, lips with a cigar or a pipe on the leash, feet and thighs on which the sounds of pizzica coagulate. These places, where the poet skillfully draws us by catching our senses, generate thoughts and questions that are strictly intertwined with a described geography. We move ahead between bushes of ideology, in yards of countless logical connections, while magpies polish thoughts on which iodine drops may fall. The places themselves ask the questions that punctuate the book (the five Ws: where, when, what, who, why). As the question mark is missing, they nevertheless may be assertions that will be developed in the poems of each section. This book is a journey in search for oneself, in which personal roots are investigated by a look that has partly become alien, like that of the tourists with whom the author mingles in the first poem. Therefore, in the air “wrapped up by old habits”, we are guided through the round journey of a “life accustomed to the circle”: the circle of the trulli, the chisel’s rotation on the Lecce stone, the circle of this book that you can’t help reading once again.

Vanni Schiavoni, Salentitudine, © 2006, Lietocolle

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