Rome

Frederick Seidel

I impersonate myself and here I am,
Prick pointing at the moon, teeth sunk into your calf.
I ought to warn the concrete that my passion dooms the dam.
The poem I’m writing looks up at me and starts to laugh.

Summer! Of course you are! You are my miracle!
Just now we were in Rome.
I have to be in Rome with you to be so lyrical –
Or else it’s noon Alaska-time, the Auschwitz hour in Nome.

At Rockefeller Center, winter in New York, I pause.
Let’s watch the skaters lark around the rink.
The worn out dance floor of ice looks like a blind eye of gauze.
It’s time to have a rink-side drink and have a little think.

I thought I’d never reach hydroplaning speeds again.
It’s Sagaponack and the freezing April Atlantic.
Three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten …
It’s about to happen. It’s a feeling not dissimilar to being frantic.

Oh what a feeling. It’s like America –
It’s like Italy – with nothing else to compare it to.
Excitement mounts till la repubblica italiana is isterica!
Orgasm is an Italian opera aria of bombast and dew.

As in-your-face as a red Turkish fez
With a tassel – as hidden as an Israeli agent’s gun –
‘I’ll call you back in five minutes,’ my vivid Italian girlfriend says
In English. Does she mean cinque minuti italiani or American?

In Via Michelangelo Caetani, near the Ghetto, where
The Red Brigades left Aldo Moro’s body in the trunk of a parked car,
There’s a plaque. There are flowers. I bow my head. I stare.
We’ve covered him with a blanket and I’ve shot him ten times so far.