Download PDF Here
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Special Australian Edition August 2023
Towards Duino, poems by Edward Caruso.
A train is never far off.
Once on board,
those deep in screens,
eyes lost to a countryside whose
autumn rains are as interchangeable
as with cityscapes.
Plains, I’m lighter than grey.
Two seats away
a teenage couple pashes, in laughter
one dares let loose a slap
even I feel.
I fade more each day,
travelling without fixed destinations,
money or ID.
A ticket inspector’s threats of legal
action. What remains?
A fellow passenger who intervenes,
gesture thinned to a tract forged in the gut
as he buys me a rail pass.
To float through; another train
approaching at 250 km an hour, the sound
and air currents that collide.
I’m still here
waiting for the hit of another train streaking by.
In a provincial town railway station,
from a yellowed edition of The Betrothed
handed down to me by my father,
I’ve been reading about plague,
Renzo coming back from the brink.
All these pages that feed my atheism,
this waiting room of emotions.
Breathe in light.
Announcements of prospective cities,
departures for lost worlds
with the Slav whose brother had been electrocuted
on a building site, no compensation.
He takes my hand.
Now that I know where to find him,
breathe deeply, wait for church bells.
Light fades before twilight.
Home, a dishevelled space.
Blood test kits and luminous clock faces.
Cravings for Limoncello
ablaze in dark flights
across paths of muddied nights
(my thoughts a foreign tongue).
I’m still fading,
my shadow stretching.
If snow could absorb my footsteps.
It’s childhood I seek
as if past homes yet exist
and photos of grandparents
remain in the present – movies
from their day rerun.
Towards Duino, after locking
myself in train WCs
for much of the ride,
sea ripples whose tankers,
lights visible from the coast,
are notes in skies that close in.
My life in a day,
biding cholesterol levels and fatigue.
Suddenly I grow agitated:
the bora of my state,
the Adriatic in my veins.
Vultures above confines,
the sea a hunger
that renders waves
– what I call prayer.
As I make out saplings
that will grow into trees,
if only the chill wind and sound of surf
could fortify this sunlight, illumine my skin.
Let me retreat to sea views that blind at midday,
in gardens where I pretend to live in bucolic myths,
composing testaments among mosquitoes,
flies landing between words
that have to be rewritten
because one gets too close
and is hammered.
To live outside years,
as if this countryside
could have a bearing on me.
inductions to greater weariness.
bora, a cold, dry wind from the north-east, blowing from the Balkans
towards the northernmost Adriatic regions.
The barber’s wife passed away Tuesday afternoon
Salvatore shut up shop, spends nights listening
to St Matthew’s Passion,
Schubert’s hymns and the ‘Ave Maria’
Since Salvatore met his wife
in the abyss of wartime occupation,
most nights are lost to a bottle of wine
Salvatore will call what’s left of the old circle to play
Verdi’s ‘Va, pensiero’ as if his life were staked
to where he first heard that melody
Should his heart fail,
Salvatore will depart before the whispered prayers
of a sombre priest and small gathering,
to the undertones of a future life
A cirrus cloud shadows me with the weight of a breeze that departs from
the Atlantic and reaches the Apennines. And I fly with it, with the
impression of having lived other lives in moments similar to this.
On studying the terrain in the opening scene of Andrei Rublev by
Andrei Tarkovsky, I discover the surface from above, in the 1400s, from
the perspective of a Don Quixote riding his hot air balloon, in which the
poplars of the plains accompany me. Fine poplars, with no reason to
resettle as people do, forced by an unstoppable restlessness as I find a
rhythm in thoughts that accompany this stride.
I depart once again, in a dream that traps me in one part of the mind
where everything I spy becomes a film without a soundtrack, such as in
movies that use the sounds of the locations they’re in, actors’ voices or
the musical instruments they play.
In searching out new perspectives, maybe the discovery of colours
through touch, or young children seeing through me with their blithe
ways, the distances I dream become a prelude. It takes me an entire life to
get to the end of a sequence that lasts mere seconds.
© Edward Caruso
Edward Caruso has been published in A Voz Limpia, Australian Multilingual Writing Project, ‘La Bottega della Poesia’ (La Repubblica, Italy), Burrow, Communion, Kalliope X, Mediterranean Poetry, Meniscus, n-Scribe, Right Now, StylusLit, TEXT, Unusual Work and Well-Known Corners: Poetry on the Move. His second collection of poems, Blue Milonga, was published by Hybrid Publishers in 2019.