Umberto Fiori

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1.
WALL
There are times of day
when over the petrol pump
a certain bare wall is lit up
and stands against the blue
like a moon.

There comes a moment when
you do really live here
and look these houses in the face, and learn
to stand - to be - in the world,
to speak to a blank wall.

You learn the language,
you listen to people passing.
You begin to see this place,
to feel
in the clarity of their words
the light of this wall.
...
2.
Slide
A playground, in a park. One lady
raises to the top of the slide a ball
of newspaper, gives it a kiss:
'Ready . . . set . . . go!' Another holds
a lampshade in her hands, smoothing
its chenille bangs. 'My daughter,
you should see her dance—
she's already won two prizes.'
'Did I tell you mine—he's three—can already write?'

A girl, in line behind them with her son,
is listening. She tightens her grip on his hand,
hoping no one
will notice he's real, and alive.
...
3.
At the Circus
At the center of the lit circle, rising
from cotton-candy calf muscles,
the White Clown ushers his
eyebrows skyward. He grates his ukulele,
opens a heart-shaped mouth, inhales—
his serenade begins.

Now's the time. From the shadows,
a blast like a trumpeting elephant:
obscene, ragged. The Auguste capers like a fawn,
darts away, pads around
with his trombone. The gold of the slide
slips into and out of the infinite.

Everything smells of panther
and piss and mint. His gaze fixed
on the clash between the welled tears
and the awful laughing shoes,
the little boy grows
ever more grave, ever more severe.
...
4.
OCCHIATA
Col sole, una mattina, ho visto come
la vostra forza vi ha fermato,
care case.
Voi non andate da nessuna parte.

Restate qui, a portata di mano,
ma guardate lontano,
via, laggiù, dove siete
veramente fondate.
...
5.
EYEFUL
With sunlight, one morning, I saw how
your own strength has stopped you here,
dear houses.
You are not going anywhere.

You stay here, within reach,
but you keep looking into the distance,
way off, down there, where your
foundations really are.
...

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