In numerous stolen night terrors, the blonde Venetian woman of the stars sits
a crowd of herself spread across a red and white dancefloor tablecloth.
Bottles of vino make spirited advances and spear the air with alcohol intent
and she dreams to breathe them in and know them intimately, like brushing
against one another, in the alleyways beside Rialto;
that turn their heads and grant San Marco a stare with cocks in their eyes;
that watch the cruise ships of fat Americans drown in the docks,
and offer a waiter service to empty tables and ghosts of summer;
that run their hands over imperfect Murano and scold at imperfections
and tilt their head in ignorance or reverence at Titian’s final brushstrokes unfinished,
unfinished except by the skeletal hands of Death, driven by the waves of Greek river-daughter,
and every stripe-shirt Gondola step is suicide paid for;
European cents printed in an Irish workhouse, copper coins for grey eyes.
And where, beautiful glasses and narrow jaw, are these blood passions of Italy which dragged me from my bed to the city, to Amsterdam glittering with VD, across the punctured Alps with their glittering dawn towns;
These humours that set Gallish trees on fire and reduced the sands of Egypt to glass with tempered Spanish steel and the blood of the smith and ambition?
Where are they?
Gone into the inevitable void of Jesus’ empty skull and the hollow #Christianity?
Exchanged for bought and ruthless forgiveness and ties of hot family beneath a lazy sun?
Sold to Greece for a conscience?
Left to hang by piano wires of culture; piano wire culture that slips into the water supply like insulin or lithium;
piano wire culture that dribbles with rabid apathy and is nothing more than the naked, choking desire of a whoremonger frothing with the electric syphilis of Europe? The piano wire culture of the twisted fig leaf? Of the Christian fig leaf factory and unskilled Christian hands?
The piano wire culture stretched between buildings of a thousand hues, made from stolen dyes and stone, leaving the air hanging and wet as the streets, as wet as the wire, as wet as the wine, as wet as San Marco and the bloody footprints of resented Tourism – the hallowed religion of drowned stone?
Oh, la mia donna, do you resent me?
Do you resent that I dare to sit above chequered cloth and cut tagliatelle?
Do you resent that I sit here, ugly and choking around my tie;
that I shiver in the same night-terrors,
in the same passionless hunger that dragged you through ancient streets
and alleyways of incomprehensible hostility,
to the model ship of Gallipoli in the window
and the shadow of Italian madness and money on the stone?
Venice is certainly a beautiful place. I don’t know that I’d necessarily go back though. One thing it did show me, however, was that I’m not prepared to live with only my holidays to look forward to every year. I took a lot pictures when I was over there in November, but I didn’t get much in the way of wrting done. I spent a lot of my time walking and reading Allen Ginsberg and Henry Miller.
To be perfectly honest, I think I had more fun travelling than I did in the city itself; I liked the airports, I enjoyed the flight, I liked waiting around for hours with nothing to do but talk and read and watch people come and go.