Luigi Monteferrante

Turisti con Guida

ow charming
These harmless couples
On a fling
Through Venice
And Rome

Sneakers on their feet
With a baseball cap
And a broad-rimmed chapeau
With sunglasses both
And foulards

For experience teaches
That beyond that sunny piazza
Turns a cobblestone street
Dense with plague
And damp

And that cap and foulard
All you have
Against the cold
And disease
Or the sniffles
And a sneeze

She has purplish hair
A pink chemise
A necklace of pearls
The size of bubble gum balls
And trousers of cotton
With an elastic waist band
To accommodate

Oh so delicious meals
They were keen to walk off
On their way to
Palazzo grandioso
Another church
Majestic painting
From the school of Caravaggio

A guy who studied with a guy who
Studied with a guy who studied with a guy
Who studied in Florence for a week and saw
Caravaggio through a crack in the wall
While this altar is stone
Though in fact
It’s marble from

We know all that
We’re from the Bible Belt
Now where’s the vino?
And the delicious food
Why we’re here Senor

Forget the tip, hon
He might – pssst - steal your wallet

While Mister Bill
Is conspicuous
By that thick crop of hair
A shaggy bear
Instead of a shining pate

A head above the rest
The native men
Despite the shrinkage and
Curvature of late
None too drastic from the six foot two
As a college graduate
His hands thick and powerful

The hands of a quarterback
And quick
Long ago
No match for the short men
Still hauling brick
Sacks of flour
Plowing the terraced gardens
And carrying away the stones that
The earth keeps churning up

No - golf is not enough to keep him
In shape
After decades of disuse
His butt as shapely as the office chair
Rising only in the board room
To bang his fist
I insist
No – we don’t do that in your country
To piss

Nor does he fly from the bench to shout orders
At the pee-wee league games
When a player strikes out
And spills balls
But has the child warm the bench
For the rest of the season
And the next
Well – maybe you should try gymnastics
Or bowls

Still life was good
After all those years of work
And dedication
No complaints
Forty years and more to enjoy:

A gondola ride
On a stinking canal
Full of gnats

Luigi Monteferrante's poetry has appeared in Neon, Yellow Mama, Wordslaw, and the forthcoming issues of Poesia (Indiana Bay) and Kudos Writing. His short fiction has appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review and Happy. Originally from Montreal, Luigi now lives in bella Italia. Danse Macabre welcomes him to our pages.