Thursday, October 18, 2007

in the manner of my bad '80s poesy (apols to john keats, robert browning and INC)

Ode to the Frescoes of Mike

OR Broken by the Vatican

[this is a manner of writing that i sometimes slip into when i want to write about something which was meaningful, but at the same time it shat me big time.]

The contempt with which they treat you
As you are Herded
Like so many fucking sheep
Bleating in ever increasing, rhythmic chants

Is this it! Is THIS it?

[The Sistine Chapel. Must get to the chapel.]

No, you are told. No, not yet.
As you pass through
Rooms filled with "art"
Oh, the Vaticanus ART
Of Yore.

Most is Shite
Perchance by hand of minor
Fra Pandolf AKA Papal Wannabe.
We are fed through rooms
With Roman Numerals above
That count the huge numbers
Of spatial repositories for this
Fucking Bad Art.

Is this it! Is THIS it?

I'm dying.
Being killed by the Vatican.
Right her, and right now.
[How ironic, they presume to save souls.]

But finally, FINALLY
We five, weary solds (heh)
Burst into the room
After being tantalised,
Nay taunted,
By lesser hands
The prior paint a travesty
On the walls and ceilings
I'll admit, some fair tapestries,
Yea, I will nod to them.
And having taken
A vast number of digital images
On my photography machine

But none compared
To the Fair hand of

The fingers almost touching
Just so.

A chapel full of paparazzi
ignoring the signs of "no photo"
I am swept with the fervour
With the "must take as many
photographs as possible, oh look
At that one, look at THAT!
It's coming right off the ceiling
Right at you, can you see it,
Like the Spiderman ride at
Universal Studios Japan.
How did he DO that?!"

Silenzio. There is none.
Cameras. There are many.

We leave, exhausted.
Husks of humans.
Drop into taxi.
Go to our flat
With the nice parquet floors
Drink quickly
And scoff potato chips
And cold left-over pesto pasta
From the bowl, like animals at the water hole.

Tomorrow - Calabria.

And for those who like:

Robert Browning, My Last Duchess.

That's my last Duchess painted on the wall,
Looking as if she were alive. I call
That piece a wonder, now: Fra Pandolf's hands
Worked busily a day, and there she stands.
Will't please you sit and look at her? I said
"Fra Pandolf" by design, for never read
Strangers like you that pictured countenance,
The depth and passion of its earnest glance,
But to myself they turned (since none puts by
The curtain I have drawn for you, but I)
And seemed as they would ask me, if they durst,
How such a glance came there; so, not the first
Are you to turn and ask thus. Sir, 'twas not
Her husband's presence only, called that spot
Of joy into the Duchess' cheek: perhaps
Fra Pandolf chanced to say "Her mantle laps
Over my lady's wrist too much," or "Paint
Must never hope to reproduce the faint
Half-flush that dies along her throat": such stuff
Was courtesy, she thought, and cause enough
For calling up that spot of joy. She had
A heart---how shall I say?---too soon made glad,
Too easily impressed; she liked whate'er
She looked on, and her looks went everywhere.
Sir, 'twas all one! My favour at her breast,
The dropping of the daylight in the West,
The bough of cherries some officious fool
Broke in the orchard for her, the white mule
She rode with round the terrace---all and each
Would draw from her alike the approving speech,
Or blush, at least. She thanked men,---good! but thanked
Somehow---I know not how---as if she ranked
My gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name
With anybody's gift. Who'd stoop to blame
This sort of trifling? Even had you skill
In speech---(which I have not)---to make your will
Quite clear to such an one, and say, "Just this
Or that in you disgusts me; here you miss,
Or there exceed the mark"---and if she let
Herself be lessoned so, nor plainly set
Her wits to yours, forsooth, and made excuse,
---E'en then would be some stooping; and I choose
Never to stoop. Oh sir, she smiled, no doubt,
Whene'er I passed her; but who passed without
Much the same smile? This grew; I gave commands;
Then all smiles stopped together. There she stands
As if alive. Will't please you rise? We'll meet
The company below, then. I repeat,
The Count your master's known munificence
Is ample warrant that no just pretence
Of mine for dowry will be disallowed;
Though his fair daughter's self, as I avowed
At starting, is my object. Nay, we'll go
Together down, sir. Notice Neptune, though,
Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


city of water and transparent bra straps. the fountains are splashy on white stone sculptures. never have the kids seen so many penii. after conversations in topkapi palace about the harem eunuchs, where clokey goes silent and melbournegirl goes all - well, the men who lived in the harem were aunuchs which means their testicles were chopped off so that they would be safe to guard the sultan's wives and girlfriends - here in rome the little innocents quickly noted that all male nude statues are without penis.

they have their balls, though - princess elegantly comments. she's eleven now, she can say things like balls.

so then we joke about the statues in rome being like reverse eunuchs - you know, no penises but with balls. the kids get it immediately, and we all warble, feeling very witty. except clokes who is quiet.

but the water. the bottoms of the fountains are greenish, but not that kind of mossy green, it's a clear, pure light green. clean and cool. and you can find a tap and just fill you old empty water bottle right up to the rim, unless there is a pushy russian lady in a print top getting impatient next to you and tries to get her bottle under the stream and knock you out of place. you can splash your face and wash that oily orange-juice off that is stickying your hands.

in istanbul we were always buying water. but istanbul won the spunky lothario race hands down. and also the mucho bread on the table, replenished frequently, at every meal race as well.

princess is starting to get looked at. part of me feels proud and part of me wants to go running up to the man-boy-statue with arms flapping, screaming like some demented crone -

but she's only 11. just!

in a way it seems fitting. her blooming on this trip. as her mind opens to all the colour, sound and history, so should her body be ripening in syncopation.

but she still references goscinny and underzo as her major sources when talking roman history. and this is a good thing.

the bra straps - clear, plastic ones - i've seen three. usually with an off-the-shoulder top. i really don't see what's wrong with a charming black strap, or clean white one. plastic seems so tacky and uncomfortable.

the coffee bars are cool. you walk in, stand there and drink your fix. let's not beat around the bush people. you want a fucking coffee and you want it now.