Translated from the Italian by Alessandra Galassi
it was nighttime, I think or at least dark or perhaps I had the sunglasses on, probably my eyes were closed or I was dead I sensed the sky and the moon or maybe it was the ceiling or the low voltage light bulb you had taken off your shoes you even said it to me maybe because you understood that I’m a person that never looks below the knees “look, I took off my shoes” and you wore meaningless shoes they looked like Dorothy’s shoes they looked like the Wicked Witch of the East’s shoes the ruby red shoes and I you know I felt like the Cowardly Lion the Scarecrow the Tin Man all at the same time three in one but I could see quadruple thanks to the abundant dose of wine from hours ago and I would have told you how beautiful your legs are and how you feel without courage, heart, and brain, and I could have told you about that exact instant in which you realize that everything can go to screw itself in an instant but I didn’t do it and it was very dark certainly dark I was alive and our eyes cannot be hidden behind dark lenses since they are beautiful, our eyes at the cost - listen closely - at the cost of burning them like when you look, full of astonishment and amazement, at the impossible eclipse
It’s not so bad after all
t’s not so bad after all, being lovesick. The feeling - I’m not sure if you agree with me – is like having a dog living in your stomach an average sized dog. A pissed off dog, a prisoner in your stomach together with a cat. Yes, because there’s also a cat and the cat – as you can imagine – is a very pissed off cat because it’s been trapped inside your stomach with a dog. And then there’s the mouse. Hickory dickory dock the mouse ran up the clock. - Sorry, just relieving the dramatic tension –. The mouse is desperate. One of the good things about being in this state is that you lose your appetite you have the impression of being stuffed of being sated, so if you're on a diet it’s a great thing. Also you never feel alone cause there are these three miserable creatures that curse from inside of you night and day summer and winter for better or for worse in sickness and in health. Amen. Then you develop a gloomy charm a gloomy charm of sorrow almost like a pirate, or a foreigner and all the girls say: “holy cow, what a gloomy charm of sorrow that kind of a pirate, kind of a foreigner dude has”. But you cannot use this gloomy charm with the girls because you have a dog inside your stomach. And if you write poems or songs well, there you straddle and poor horse - still to relieve – there you straddle between things of lovable sadness and suffering that not even Tom Waits could sing. That said, - and here I close – if when the wind starts to blow if when the wind, the strong one, starts to blow the ugly and mean wind if when it starts to blow you get distracted and let her hand go - ladies and gentleman, a second is enough – then you deserve that dog you do deserve the dog and the whole fucking zoo. [No animals have been harmed in the making of this poem]
Guido Catalano is an Italian poet and writer, born and raised in Turin. He writes for the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano, and hosts RAI Radio 2’s program Caterpillar. Catalano has published eight books of poetry and fiction.
Alessandra Galassi teaches Italian language and Italian Film. She has an MA in Film Studies from Rome’s La Sapienza University, an MA in Italian Literature from Queens College, New York, and is a PhD student at the University of Connecticut. She translates contemporary Italian poetry and prose.