He must have caught
the bartender
in his most vulnerable moment.
He intimated
about a client –
an old man
who would regularly patronize
his small café
& drink beer alone,b
staggering out into the shadow
of evening.
Once he arrived with a rose
in his hand
& waited until the sun
had disappeared.
He left without saying a word
& had not returned since.
The bartender couldn’t
puzzle it out,
that’s one customer less
for the day.
Could he have…
No, he checked his wild imaginings.
It’s nobody’s business, anyway.
Somehow he surmised
the secret sign in his mind,
like the missives stuck
in the crevices of the wailing wall
of Jerusalem,
as most seekers do.
He shook his head, mumbling –
as if hitting the mark on target –
“A most difficult love…”
[As in the tale of Italo Calvino…]

Was she disarmed
by his pesky text,
or scared –
she wouldn’t look him
in the eye.
She sat in the back row,
away from schoolmates
engrossed with the day’s reports.
She looked down
on the campus chapel.
as if to steer away
from a muddled eclecticism
only she would note
in her fone.
He retreated exhausted
into his monkhood
as if imploring the cosmos:
So it is happening again.
O Had he not been burned before?
He kept repeating it like
a mantra of personal curse,
this old geezer of a criminal

She composed her face
to meet her lover’s,
as the trio walked across the lobby
skittering with huge fat rodents.
She pushed her comrades-in-passion
into an adjacent room
while she sought her lover’s attention.
So there, surprisingly like a postulant
of a religious order,
she knelt down
before her imperious lover,
who was the Archbishop
of the priestly domain.
Did she feel good after
the supplication?
O She was dazed by the
Catholic rapture
of her ego,
but quickly got up
& hurried out of the temple
with her entourage in tow.
O Is this the way for love
to prosper?
Enforce the absolute for conjugal unity?
O When will lovers ever learn,
that love isn’t a forever currency?

He overheard the nurse
tell the student
to secure her record
from her original doctor –
she answered
in a very young voice
that hid valiantly
the tremor of fear
in her voice…
Born into an affluent family,
the nurse volunteers,
she was knocked up
by her college boyfriend.
She’s graduating this semester
with linguistic degree
[O But in what language
will she tell the truth
to her forbidding parents?]
O young lovers…
the aging nurse sighs
in her mind the scenario
when the young girl would go
home heavy with child
& terror in her soul.
[In Africa, a Frenchman
says the women end up
caring for the children
while men sowed their wild oats
in the ghetto.]
Is sex a one-way street?
A masculine affair?

She’s filthy rich,
spoiled by a southern family
to study in Europe.
She came home
toting along a white stud
descended from a peasant stock.
Where he lived
was like a bucolic “West Covina
in California”.
But he’s European,
her trophy boy
that would be the envy
of most colonial pulchritude.
Can he hold
conversation with educated
He grunts, changes
subject to elude
being pinned down
about arts, modernity,
the decadence of Berlusconi,
except of course,
the vintage of Italian wine
from his family vineyard.
Each to his own perdition;
love can be hell
if pursued for Apollonian raison.

Her husband
tried to house
his current mistress
in the suburban abode
she built for her children
after toiling as a seamstress
for a countess
in Italy.
O She’s furious
at such indignity!
But the provincial idiot
claimed his marital right –
half of domicile it is his to spare!
Has not her lira
sustained his bumming around
No, he protested instead
he was the abandoned one!
She’s coming home
to set things right.
Never looking back
at a barriotic past
to answer
the circular question –
where has love gone?
She’s old;
she cannot turn stupidly sentimental.
A cougar should not
be trampled upon, dumb.

The widow
had just trounced a political dynasty;
she’s her own woman now.
But she confesses
she owes it to her husband’s legacy;
she still texts him
for guidance from the afterlife.
So do their children,
who would send instagrams to heaven
for his presence
in their mundane existence.
How true love lasts beyond the grave!
It’s one for the books,
the TV host thrilled,
as if she were hoping
for her own surreal covenant
with someone
most loved!

He has Alzheimer’s,
but when his wife died,
did he know about it?
Of course, family members
didn’t dare inform him –
it didn’t seem to matter
in his current condition;
But his caregiver
mentioned the old man
uttered her name
at the supposed instant of her passing
as if a white bird
had darted across
the dark landscape
of his blank, blank pain.
When they were young,
did they vow
like Romeo & Juliet
to grow old together
through heaven & hell?
O Such tragedy
for lovers
who, in late, late age,
still seek consolation
from life’s verities
& the heart’s
fickle weather!

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  1. namelessneed says:

    from an old friend of calvino’s, extensively,good job

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