De Chirico

Melancholy of an autumn afternoon.
In Venice it was the weakening, fading red in the air
of late October, the grey stones of the square
slowly absorbing the sky’s marrow
and dissolving it among
stamping feet and children’s cries,
one of my first memories I would later
associate with melancholy.
One with the hue of the air on sandbars
bathed in the stillness of the Adriatic damp
or on one of its beaches on a sultry late summer day
when Dirk Bogarde’s make-up liquefied
and streamed down his cheeks,
weak fingers pointing at the blonde boy
on the receding water and sky.
But melancholy has nothing to do really
with the paintings I am looking at now,
with the ivory-white and Mediterranean orange of the walls
and the neat, polished mannequins’ blank stare
on the tight sheets of shadows and hushing sunlight
under an Augustan full sky
in which your eyes’ tongue would like to lie down,
maybe melancholy here means just feeling small,
lost in gazing at a sail transiting behind a wall,
a luminous canvas you would enter
for a moment, becoming a lit dot, an ember
enduring the fiery silence,
your skin and countenance
so hot and present now
and only passing.



The Grass

Thick and tall after the May rain
it combed acres of glittering silence
overlapping myriads of margins,
our horses’ hooves were shuffling in its rustling
when your mare was scared by a pheasant in the deep,
shifted aside and bucked, you slid down slowly
caressing her flank, fell and disappeared
in the sea of green;
hearing wings still rustling somewhere
my horse galloped back on the path
skidding among the trees, then stopped in less
than a minute and there was only his breathing
and thick stalks swaying in the breeze.
You emerged eventually, unharmed,
and with soft steps the mare appeared
out of a sunlit gallery of branches,
munching a thick bunch, the length of it
on both sides of her mouth,
the dangling bridles covered in saliva and green
she advanced.
I sensed I could be all that:
jaws grinding the infinite
stalks that I want one day to cover me

and I will eat them and will be eaten up extended
in sleep and startled by wings.

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