Ed Coletti

Ed Coletti is a poet, painter, and fiction writer. Recent work has appeared in North American Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Hawai'i Pacific Review, Spillway, Noir Nation, and So It Goes: Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library. His book, When Hearts Outlive Minds, was released June 2011. Germs, Viruses, and Catechisms was published by Civil Defense Publications (San Francisco) during December 2013. He now is working on Apollo Blue's Harp, a poetic-history of music.

Bologna Station Caffé

The October Italian sun
bursts like custard from our pastry.

Earringed Carlo from Bari engages us
with all the colors of Apulia
to the distant South.

We practice our Italian and English,
Carlo owned horses,

Horses in Bari!
A fishing town of primary colors
Van Gogh would have drooled over.

Bari whose lines have been
written in the sepia
of ink from squid.

Carlo rode horses,
his horses in Bari
which I once left for Greece.

The Pugliese people—
Do they know what they have?
Their bread moist, resilient

as Neptune’s pillow
of a thousand sponges.
But Carlo’s in the North,

in Bologna,
in a railroad station
drinking coffee with us,

two Americans
headed for Venice.
Carlo who sold his horses

is passing through
on his way back to London
where this twenty-four-year-old

son of the shimmering South of Italy
will, without apology,
return to work

at Burger King,
for God’s sake,
in sodden London, England

while we,
on vacation
are going to Venice!

So, from this hub,
we radiate like spokes:

Carlo serves
American fast food
to British kids who,

preferring Whoppers to shellfish,
“Large Fries” to pasta,
Pepsi to Toriani,

grays over yellows,
reds and blues only on flags,
would never dream

of using the black ink of squid
for drawing or writing
anything at all,

these will never know
Carlo returning
to Burger King,

in London,
from the dazzling wedding
in hot shining Bari

of his sister Giorgina
to Carlo’s best friend,
where everyone got

good and drunk,
ate lots of fish,
and danced crazy all that night!