Quiero hacer contigo lo que la primavera hace a loz cerezos.
This is what is written slightly above eye-level in a narrow street in Firenze. Pablo Neruda. All quiet and cobblestone in the dark winter months here, a city of trapezoids and rectangles and of course, Brunelleschi. Warmth and spring seem distant. I wish to do with you what Spring does to the cherry trees.
Behind the desk at the hotel, as I gather myself for the walk, is Gurpreet. From the country. Hair well-oiled and pulled back, but no turban. Maybe they are not ready for that here, yet. I look at him and want to ask, are you that guy from — ? He looks at me the same way. Neither of us is that guy.
In the Piazza della Signoria Cellini’s Perseus raises Medusa’s head. In the darkness the bronze contrasts sharply with the larger, reflective, marble statues, most of large men, uncircumcised, with power contained elsewhere in their thighs, fingers, and torsos.
Near the Uffizi, a young American with a guitar, a voice like Jackson Browne, and a girlfriend. A folk song. Had he chosen a better location, he would not need the amplifier. Back to a night over a decade gone, at a corner of an empty piazza in Venezia, listening to two young students of jazz, one holding an upright bass and the other a saxophone. Such music under the same blue-black sky!
Portraits of the baby Jesus always with an aged face, often a likeness of a patron or person of prestige. Not symbolism nor enlightenment, but man’s narcissism, characterizes the Italian Renaissance.
In a modern lounge bar called Oibo, the realization it is time to put the modern lounge bar to death. With a flourish, the bartender (“save water, drink champagne” says his t-shirt) shows off a long, triangular bottle. A boutique vodka. He says it is called Pinky and that it is very strong.
It is the freshness of the pasta and the mannered, acceptable portions. All pasta should be eaten in a room with dark wooden beams that complement the color of wine barrels.
Modernity is seeing the portals high up on the Duomo and thinking instantly of the Death Star.
This will be the last visit. A 2009 dirge. Listen here.