S. M. Novella

An Italian man stood in the in the middle of Santa Maria Novella train station. He intrigued me. Five foot and change staring down the empty tracks as people were frantic, coming and going from everywhere. He did not seem to notice the world that passed him by; Americans, Indians, Chinese, African-Americans, Romanians, Albanians and on and on and on. There was no luggage by his side and he never looked to check departures, or arrivals. He was alone.

After a moment he dug into the leather purse strapped across his chest for a pack of tobacco. He looked angry, like he was yelling at himself in his own head. It was chaos. Tourists and their bulky cameras clicked in his ears, each lens like a sniper on his brow. They wanted to see the city and discover an Italian way of life and this man looked like he had enough. He casually rolled his cigarette without a single glance down and observed.

The sun began to fall into the horizon and he had started to roam, passing an American sandwich shop and a row of street venders coaxing everyone that passed by. Soon he was out of sight and I would never see him again, but I could feel his pain. I stood there looking at the empty space where the man once stood and imagined what he was going through. What if I was in his shoes?

Maybe he went to home to a tiny apartment. Or sat in a worn armchair and continued to think. By now the ashes were piled high on an antique table beside the chair and the room was lifeless, except for a faint lamp and a wine glass. Chianti, it was the only memory he had of his grandparents who taught him everything and were kind enough to let him play hide-and-seek in their wine-cellar.

He pressed the glass against his smoky lips and drank. He could hear the American students above him loud and out of control, as they were every semester. He savored the bitter taste and a second glass followed, with more memories of his childhood, each one more horrid than the last. His cigarette dwindled and the empty pack fell to the floor.

His face grew warm from the burning tobacco as it inched toward his cheeks, but this was a normal feeling, comforting him on the cold Monday night. The Americans continued to yell as he sat, still, a handprint on the dusty bottle. It too was empty. Everything was gone and he had become an outsider in his own home.

 

Traveling

We were traveling again – The sun still high from the day before burning my hairs throughout the glass and we had gotten up early, but that didn’t stop us from staying out past midnight and I made sure I was the last to go to bed.

My love, like many others were asleep with hands twisted in their seats, dosing off and startled as the bus speed down a winding road. They were traveling deep into their past or daydreaming of the future, knotting their fantasies with reality and I watched a tiny Fiat sputter by as the driver forced the transmission into gear. The sun still blinding my eyes.

Clothing covered their faces and they continued to daze while I squinted to see the landscape up ahead, open fields and a villa that sat on a lonely hill. I imagined myself living there all alone outside that beautiful Tuscan village. What do those people even do out here, in the middle of nowhere?

I put on an experimental album after my thumb grew sore from stabbing the screen because I could not get into the mood. Song after song, but I was searching for more. I too wanted to travel. Forty-two minutes and four songs later and I had no idea where I had gone. I had heard these before and played them with my band back at home. Fills, solos and that organ, louder than a thousand humming birds – I cannot even explain it. I kept checking to see if we had arrived at the next song, loosing track until the melody came back in. What had I been listening to and what had I seen during my travels?

I still could not concentrate and movie played in the background that some watched and saw a beautiful bride, in the same love story told since the beginning of time. She couldn’t honestly believe that her wedding day would be perfect and she would live happily ever after, just like the film – don’t we all love to travel.

We drove for a few hours, still asleep, some fixated on the only TV screen and me, with my headphones in writing franticly and gazing out the dirty bus windows trying to understand what exactly was going on here. After all we spend so much time traveling, like on this bus, or by car, plane, or while we dream; yet we are so concerned with going somewhere that is better than here. We always want to evolve and see the world, but we only see the places that are tangible and among the most popular tourist attractions. I don’t mind taking it all in.

So if you ask us where we were going I know exactly the place. The driver was headed for Sienna, a beautiful city with historic sites and an utter lack for the countryside. Everyone on autopilot, but we can always sleep when we are dead, right? Now I will try to live, and travel too, not to a city  or deep within my dreams, but instead I will travel here and anywhere I can, no matter how boring it is just so I can claim to have seen the story that passes us by.

Together We Can Leave This Place

Yet again I find myself thinking of your blue eyes and how restless you have been. Come outside because I know you’ve been sleeping. Relax, and I will put those monsters at bay.

The sun is warm on my skin as this bus moves somewhere down a foreign road. You say you will never run away, from me? I want to know why you are afraid, but have lost track of time and now I am back to where I began.

Once again I am thinking of your slender frame – My Best Friend. I listen to your melody deep in my ear and hear the words you cry. I finally understand and I have made up my mind.

Lets travel the world and drown in this sea – of pain and sorrow, no more. I will watch your golden locks drip a salty filth, yet, you are still beautiful to me.

When I ponder of all the women and see these tall mountains left behind, you are the one stuck in my mind. And as I look across these empty fields, I realize, you are all that I need.

Do not be afraid of the tears that drip from your eyes to the cold prison floors. The sun is still shining here so let go. I will unlock that door, as your unsettled voice echoes throughout the rafters

Together we can leave this place because that is all we need. We will fall in love with the world and I will grant every desire that bleeds from your slender lips. We don’t have to be afraid.

Forget her name as I have forgotten mine, waking up with you by my side. Now go back to sleep and dream of that bridge. With your hand firm at my side, we will march and together we can disappear.

I have run ahead, but not to run away – I must explain; I came to explore the largest cities and smallest towns. And  I now share the pain of sleepless nights. I will warn the world of your grace – come with me and we’ll be fine.

I am too your one and only love. Since the second grade, I’ve kept your heart at bay. So think no more and be quick to your feet cause it is not the same here. It is not the same when I am in a foreign place and tears fill my eyes because you are not here.

So when you decide to run away keep me in mind – I’ve gone insane without you here.

Love,

– Your Best Friend –

When You See Yourself Through My Eyes

You rest your head against the  plain glass with great passion wrapped around  your neck – A scarf of the most vibrant colors. If only you would wrap your scarf around me, as a noose, because I’m dying for your love.

I asked you, “how was your day?” But I already knew it was long, as a beautiful kind of tired blessed your face and you smiled at me and calmly sat two rows ahead. I am already too far away.

I am through looking at the tones that cover your back and worrying about the smallest details. Obsessive and restless. I wonder if you dye your hair? I am distracted as it shimmers in the sun and you’re unaware, resting, with your head still pressed against the glass.

I want to wipe the glare from your brow. We will laugh and exchange teeth – yours white like the clouds, mine yellow over time and from several long nights with you running through my mind.

I will pick apart these roses and spread them in an empty room. And at sunrise I wipe the numbers off the wall. For you, so perfect, just as you sit in that chair.

So when you wake or the glass is clear and you see yourself through my eyes, I will be waiting in this empty room. And will you knock at my door?

In good time, in solitary and in love I will dwell – waiting for you to see all that I have seen.

A Silhouette of Angels

Image

Seven angels take my hand and ascend to Heaven. Chills run down my spine – my face flush as the wind cuts – my eyes begin to water and I cannot make out their faces. One dark, a silhouette with wings, another with golden hair and smile white as the clouds. Her eyes shimmered in the sun. Her body so graceful, I though, ‘a butterfly could not survive this high.’

We breach the atmosphere and the curves of the world amaze me. Seven angels continue to rise. I will never forget them and those lips like plums as mine become dry.  We had been floating for days, but it felt like many years passed – I had finally died and gone to heaven, but all I remember was locked among the cold gates. Moisture scurried down my wrist. His whip meets the back of my hand. I scream and flutter in the sky. Burning in flames  – the uneven rails like ice on summers day. The lines still red on my face, scarred. I had become one with him and left the seven angels to play.

My Little Red Wagon

She trips over a lace and plummets to the ground and he reaches for my seat, but mother pushes him away. She’s nagging at his buttons again, hanging from back pockets with both hands, suspended from reality in time – weightless swinging from moms left dads right – nagging and nagging, how annoying! I thought of my duties and  obligations for the day. I wave and she stares into my eyes and I wish I could go back in time. They love getting pushed around. He is a giant with a smile as wide as the world sitting high in dad’s hands. She hung over his shoulders like a Rustic sack walking home from the market. Or the one weeping in her mothers arms, relentless. She toes him down the city street in that shiny red wagon as I daydream of innocence wishing I was a child again.