Sunday, August 1, 2010
la settimana scorsa. 1° agosto 2010
August 1, 2010
Back in NYC. Finally slept 9 hours. Sky pink and blue and famous on arrival. Resembling a Renaissance painting as if to say we are still in Rome, but the sound and look of the streets are my city—grimy, red brick, no motorinos! My house is lovely, still cluttered with sublet's things since she is staying through August while I travel to Nova Scotia, but cool and light and home. Lana my grad student picked me up in Newark with my car, all restored with new front brakes and tires and clean inside—still needs outside wash yes! It is 5am my body time before I go to sleep.
This last ten days have been immense. I have crowded so much into them of Italy's food and beaches and people.
Back on Monday the 19th from Ireland and still with cold the next two days, finally getting antibiotic but still feeling under the weather. Beginning to pack. I cry sobbing hysterically reading from a book of mine from decades ago: From Solids—seeing its prescience. …strangely.
On Thursday 22nd, we go to Capocotta for the last time---the days are blurring for me. It is lovely as ever. Great swimming down the shoreline.
That evening, I meet B outside his house in the piazza to attend public boxing match opposite the Ponte Sisto Bridge in Trastevere.
Starts with teenage boys and then girls and then a bit older. Quite unbloody yet with crowd yelling, 300 people perhaps, there is a throwback to gladiator fights and one can hear the mob, il bruto Romano. We climb back up the hill behind the Spanish academy—the stairs a marvel always.
I have been on most of them but to remember all the ins and outs and turns and wonders. As we come up and it is a hot night…. I am barely wearing clothes… we hear music. Turns out fest at Spanish academy of Cape Verde musicians. The Spanish I can understand, the Portuguese no. We sit collapsed in heat enjoy the a capella singing and then turn in, walking past our Fountain.
Friday night we go to the opera at baths of Caracalla: Aida. Beautiful settings and clouds and nearly full moon came up for last two acts when 'bad' things begin to happen!
Costumes very nice and music lovely, but too many set pieces. Enjoyed most the moon and the balletic dancing that interrupted / introduced the acts. Went from 9pm through 12:15….too too too long. B commented that the crowd's response was tepid. But for me it was and had an excitement. We will see if any of the Canon shooting (my little still camera) will work in the film. The Shelleys had one period when they socialized so this would be for that time of their lives. Of course Aida is created after their lives—end of the19th c— another neologism or error for this work of "determined amateurism".
Saturday I continue to pack, perhaps cry then? The days are blurring indeed. There is an iron chef contest among the kitchen interns. magnificent invention on the theme of 'celery'. funny and wonderful food, as usual. my pals--Michel who played Frankenstein's monster and Sophie won!
Sunday we leave for Procida. Taxi to Termini, fast train to Naples, taxi to ferry terminal, ferry to Procida. Lovely to be on a boat on water. Clouds great, Vesuvius strong in distance, double humped, as Capri and Ischia come into view. Plus Mt. Procida, which is on the mainland facing the island. We get off and wonder if I will recognize Patrick Huber who invited us. I do! He is blonder and with his wife, as tall and slim as he with two kids. The town and island are less touristy than the others off Naples' coast.
A port with colored houses, steep walk -- into their rented apt. 3 bedrooms, living room dining room, two bathrooms kitchen and multiple terraces plus roof. Plus beautiful original tiled floors that are exquisitely hand-painted. The place abandoned for years. They are Swiss and decided to take time off, have their girls learn Italian and here they are. Christine, the wife, has a sister who lives in Procida so there were particulars to their reasoning. They make us feel at home and Patrick, kids and we go swimming, knock the roman dust off so to speak. We climb down and then up, we visit buildings above us, until 15 years ago a prison--in Mussolini's time, Communists jailed here—why the island is less developed with tourist trade than the others, more Italians living there: fisherman and their families. Il Postino was shot here and there are remnants from the film in various places. The harbor full and at dusk, all the boats leave to go back to Naples. I didn't have my camera with me sadly: white streaks in the water tiny punctuations on the ocean surface, determined engines returning tracing a line etched in space. Beautiful under the setting sun. Spectacular views and as we swam, the clouds gathered threatened retreated. Christine cooked for us—sardines with pasta—delicious and tomatoes from their garden…nearly an acre below.
The next day we went off on a long walk to find another beach. We traipsed the length—too much traffic on narrow roads, found a nice beach and then moved out to find a space that had fewer people. The swimming was cleaner and the ports empty of boats since it was Monday. We bought lemon cookies, lemons the feast of the islands gardens. The streets walled but behind them endless gardens so that from above the buildings line the streets as walls to the gardens behind. We head for the roof at dusk— moon is full, pink blue skies—and celebrate B's birthday with champagne. Only---Christine picks out the wrong bottle so no Veuve Clicquot but rather an other. I didn't realize. B only when he began to drink. Here's hoping Christine and Patrick drink the bottle on a special occasion in the future. Then to dinner down by another port--most delicious barbecued grilled polpo fantastico taste and on to fireworks. There was a saint's day at Ischia so we tumble over to an unbuilt house of a friend and watch. They are spectacular if too far away really. I had hoped for them to be right over us but no. Just the moon rising rising rising—
The next day another beach and swimming before we leave. This time one with spectacular rocks. Again great swimming and talk and reading day. I am working on translating B's book of poems into English and though I have the sound my French is nearly non-existent so even with web aids I get things wrong. It will work though and on train home---we catch ferry taxi, slower train in reverse movement—finish going over text or nearly so. The train home is slower but lovelier actually. With compartments like in a Hitchcock film. You can turn out lights and lie down, put your head in your friend's lap and rest. The sun is setting and together b and I face the dusk, the melancholic dusk that saddens both of us when alone. The hardest time of day. Beautiful together.
We both feel as if we have been away a month. The strangeness of the place, the closure sealed it and changed time.
I leave B and go to my room and the incidente happens! In a spaced daze I chop off my finger in the Roman shade! I hardly feel it. I guess shock sets in immediately. I thought I had pinched it only but no it is a raw bloody mess, as if an arm had come off. It is right there but the piece of tip of my right forefinger but I am in shock drifting down the stairs crying softly help me I cut my finger off. The blood on the steps was perfectly round red enamel and stayed for two days. Pina takes me to hospital on isola, the oldest hospital in Rome. The surgeon sees me quite fast and says the tip off is too small to sew on and in fact I was in too much shock to bring it. I find it on return--white dead a small clove of garlic yet skin. Takes too long to get shots in my butt: one of painkiller, one antibiotic. Have prescription and very nice surgeon. Dr Daffino who married a New Yorker so spoke English, some irony regarding his wife who is currently in Florida with his children (!)
Next day is two days before leaving. I pack with Mary Doyle my assistant who is back and B comes to drive us to post office to do media mail which is crazy Italian bureaucracy (not all romantic Roman beaches). She had checked the day before but gotten wrong info. So one post office east of Termini in traffic then another post for stamps then another and waiting an hour and we are first in line. Acccck !!! get stamps and back to first post for final success.
B takes me to different hospital to change bandage later that afternoon…quick quick quick. The people there say it will grow back but not completely…so ugly ugly ugly. Really don't like what it looks like—a piece of meat!
Treat Mary and B to prosecco in garden. The light is magnificent.
Next day we are off to Alessandro Allessandroni near Bagnaia towards Viterbo. It takes a while to get there, as the traffic to get out of city, like NY, is bad. Then we find the place. Thanks to B who is a spectacularly safe and efficient driver and knows all regarding Italian addresses---those mysterious non contiguous numbers. We phone and connect and drive through gates. Meet Alessandro and his assistant whose name I missed—together we look at some of my work. I believe they are freaked by the fragmentation but later at lunch they begin to talk about its unusual originality and how they collect interesting people who do interesting things and I think how similarly Cy Twombly was quiet when he saw my work and then gave me respect. The originality and power reads to artists of originality and power and instead of jealousy and meanness, they perform some kind of recognition towards me. Very gratifying…..and Alessandro is giving me permission to use his work, will send cds to my home in NY! Oddly it turns out the wife Margaret Bourke Clarke is a photographer whose book on the nbele I adore, mark up and have studied. She was surprised I didn't look her name up but between l'incidente and packing, not a surprise. Yet now I am fans of two here!
We proceed to lunch my favorite— melon with bresaola and rucola and cheese plus pasta and coffee. Later b says were we to bring dessert? He knows the politesse of Italia so well.
We leave at 3:30 and realize we can't get back to Rome for Dr. surgeon who leaves at 4:30 from outpatient clinic, so we go to villa Lante which is nearby and see the fountains and the frescos and have a last Italian gelato and return to sit in garden at AAR before dinner and go over last of B's poetry and have dinner—not as good as I would wish and it feels like 10 little Indians since the group is small and somewhat dispirited in feeling whereas B and I are tired but radiant with all the last week.
The next day after little sleep I pack realize I need one more mailing of papers I can't fit in my suitcases, will be overweight otherwise, and b comes to accompany me to airport. We say goodbye, B cries he tells me later and I leave amazed my two bags weighed exactly 46 kilos and I take off--the video screens says we are above the Tyrrhenian sea and I see blue and white clouds and I can't believe this year is over.
I am Roman I feel. I live in Europe but I don’t and another life awaits me across the Atlantic
Molti molti ringraziamenti a tutti che rendano questo anno fantastico.
Tutto e Roma siete caro a me.