Woman with Sticks

Woman with Sticks

This stunning photograph is plastered all over the Metro tunnels.  I posted it on mother’s day on my facebook page.  If you take a look at the link you’ll see more of this artist’s fabulous works. 

ADVENTURES IN LANGUAGE SCHOOL Joseph DiPrisco Rome: such a great



Joseph DiPrisco


Rome: such a great city for walking unless 
You are hit by a car, as I was tonight, though it was only 
A tiny car. The cretino driver had my language progress 
In mind as I practiced my idioms and gestures, 
Like what they call “holding the umbrella” 
(don’t ask, think about it). The driver’s eyes 
Told me I had a long way to go if I wished to 
Score a point about livestock and his love life. 
Still, a sorrowful ghostly city like Rome is good 
For dying if it came to that, so many spaces 
For monuments, someday maybe one of Me in Language 
School, in full command of the imperfect subjunctive, 
Which is called the Congiuntivo Imperfetto, 
Which sounds like a coffee or pasta but is not. 
Later this night a girl in a piazza swathed in moonlight, 
Unlit cigarette in her fingertips, asks in her English, 
“Have you a fire for me?” Sometimes even Italian fails. 
You won’t believe how much you use the Congiuntivo 
Imperfetto during foreplay, painting a ceiling, or when hit 
By a car. Night times I spent in the Piazza dell’ 
Orologio—orologio means clock—sweepingly 
Subjunctive and imperfect, and studied the big clock 
On the tower, the one with missing hands, 
And appreciated anew Italians’ conceptions of love 
And death and why they were always late. 
I am the oldest student in the class by a factor of two. 
Also the only male, by a factor of no idea. The Russians 
Have atrocious accents but their grammar and miniskirts 
Are exceptional, especially with the subjunctive mood. 
The goal is to think in Italian, to speak without 
Thinking, so I am halfway home. Maybe it was my toga 
That turned the teacher against me. I ask her to go 
With me to the Coliseum, where everyone soon dies, 
As I will, which is why I first came to Rome. 
The most beautiful girl in school is from Algiers. 
Her black eyes demand I re-examine my whole life. 
Oh, the things I could tell you about language school 
Would fill a book, a little grammar exercise book 
Specializing in the imperfect subjunctive, required 
Every minute in Rome especially while sitting next 
To a gorgeous sweet Algerian girl named Sisi, 
Which in Italian sounds like si, si, yes, yes. 
That’s why, if I have to live, Rome is not so bad, 
It’s such a sad city, with the best art over my head, 
Cars so small that afterward I run back to language school.

The Memory of Things

The Memory of Things

Mute as rumpled sawdust or a hundred muscles serving a single lifted finger, one slight smile on a face visited by days, a wagon stripped of its wooden wheels remembers the name of every road under the rolling sun, the … Continue reading

Today it rained, slicking the steel girders of

Today it rained, slicking the steel girders of the Eiffel Tower, the grey gutters leafless and shining as if scrubbed just this morning.  A calm rain,rain like soft piano music, then piano music from a nearby apartment.  On the balcony next to mine, behind frosted glass, two workmen sparing– their blurred beige backs, their squarish heads, faking gut shots, dancing and laughing.  Laughter is the language everyone knows, and damp petals, a blown kiss, a plump ass in tight pants, a downcast face, chin held up with a fist, or through rain-speckled cotton, a nippled breast.  In Paris we call from open windows, “Who are you?”  Our owl faces, our gargoyle wings.  “What will come?” and the stone answers, “We are one and the same.”  In a shadowless field a wet statue with blank eyes, thumbed divots for irises, granite lids half-closed in pain or in awe.  Image

After nine hours on Air France, and another

After nine hours on Air France, and another two getting to our room, we are exhausted but happy. We walk down to eat at E’Claire, Quiche and salad, then take the short walk to see the Eiffel Tower for the first time.  The language pours into my ears and I understand little, but it’s a music I could hear every day, the secret language of my childhood, my mother’s first tongue, the songs she sang us to sleep. 


Tout la Monde

Tout le monde est une drôle de personne,
Et tout le monde a l’âme emmêlée,
Tout le monde a de l’enfance qui ronronne,
Au fond d’une poche oubliée,

Everybody is a strange person,
And everybody has a tangled soul,
Everybody has some humming childhood,
At the bottom of a forgotten pocket…Image