for Venezia

My mind has become crowded with Venice
Its streets spoke out through my skull,
(As I’m sure you can see)
Labyrinthing prayers
In passageways shadowed between windowed stonework
Whose terminus is often in water, where echoes die away
I’ve no gondola to send them on
Past the quiet, past the lattices, past the forgetfulness
Which requires that I retrace
Curves to the square.
Beside me always the hassle, always the hustle,
Wheeling, ranting, raving, colors of cloths
Clever spidering lacemaker’s snare,
Piano’s plunk across the piazza,
Glint, glance, gilt and gleam of glass,
Multitudes melded to one melancholy Murano, corner to wall:
Trefoil sputtering lamp-lit stare of the lion on the quay.
Gelato is a kind of baptism
For those who would not normally confess;
Walking jeans and gauzy shoulders ply the busy wilderness
In supposed effortless resistance and all the signs suggest
At least you’ll show something for what you have seen
Art and its many lucid motives, or madness,
Court and cathedral the mind.
Navigation and negotiation
Designate order of being,
Are displayed like nametags,
Fate experience and the balance of trade in the city of trade.
Between my thumb and forefinger is grasped
My pencil; between a pigeon feather and my wedding ring
The hookah violin’s recreational Vivaldi, or
Scent of opera over the dark salt air
Between your thumb and forefinger
The futilely long nose
Of my mask.

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