all the things we carry on a lanyard round the neck

.
the day is bubblewrap
around a corner of the moon
i think she’s dead first
wings spread smoothly on the windowsill, a sea
of orange bedded into earth shades

“how long have you been here?” i ask
opening the window slightly
for the sun to touch her face

i’ve two mobiles, countless mountains,
usb sticks and a heavy colored schedule
in my pocket, three cows, snow-capped fir trees
pen, a tissue, churchtowerclock, access codes
to the brains of–

“can you print this for me?”
“sure”
some flip charts turn their pock-marked faces
as i pass, carrying their weight with dignity

the distance from the far edge of a heart
to the greyish mirror of a pavement, watching
to the soft pull of an old funicular that takes you up a mountain
can be more than you can bear
“we’ll drive you there” i say
“i think i can make it”
“great”

her wings move slightly in the breeze
i guide her with a folded papership into the wind’s wide waiting arms
&wave til she’s a reddish dot against the hills

“butterflies don’t talk to everyone so easily”
“we shift the pause to 10”

i nod
grab my headset and walk to the front
to give the day’s announcements

.

just back from a business trip to davos… will take me a bit to catch up with everyone

Segmentation

The MUSICIAN

The MUSICIAN

.

“it’s a different way of thinking” my colleague nods
when i talk about dividing excel cells
into something more processable
“it’s logical”
“solution focussed”
“hmmm”

at this point
i’m already 12 hours in the office,
when i look up from my work,
everyone has left
the first dark shades of night creep loudless
‘cross the parking lot outside my window

i drive home
pack a parcel
clean my painting space
get a hammer from the basement,
pull some rusty nails
and forget to sign the greeting card
for my best friend

i paint a head
overpaint it with a chicken,
with a flower/cow
a shade of black
then scratch the surface with a trowel and some sand

but everything that was there from the start
mysteriously stays,
adding -though unseen-
complexity

this night i dream of Steve
leaving a comment for me on fb
in his charming way
to play with UPPER case,
the violin man–&
i smile in my sleep

the last tunes of Vivaldi fragile in the room
as i get up
for breakfast.

smart garbage systems/gondolas &the waiters smile just if they want to(which i frankly liked a lot)

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.

the last warm sunrays hiss
playful from the day’s fat yellow spraypaint can

it’s Yom Kippur
&we’re in the jewish quarter of Venezia
a tiny restaurant
bustling with waves of voices

“if you want a friendly waiter
Don’t go to italy” my bro in law said
i smile, try to catch the sea with one long gaze
decoding snippets of the convo

the menu is italian only
“so what is cavallo?”
“horse” i say
“&—”
“i don’t know– let’s just order something and—surprise”

we sit tight against the wall,
the housewine served in waterglasses
“rosso per favore”

“can i get some pepper?”
“there’s already pepper on it” snaps the waiter
i laugh tears

“see that channel?” i say to my husband
”
it is filled with guests that dare complain about the food
or ask for extra pepper”

later we walk home
through deserted alleys
hardly lit
the sirens
of an ambulance boat cut the night in even splints

garbage bags hang on thin threads
softly swaying in the alleys
so the dustman can collect them in the morn

the clothes line just above our head is empty
&i feel the city streT c  h iNg
into me

around the bend///
i rub my eyes&

later we make love
the soccer field next to our flat lays dark
and lightly breathing, dreaming,
sighing in his sleep

“i saw you” i say “in the alley”
as the moon climbs his last steps
a lone cat’s shape in search for prey

&the whisper of the waterways
swallows his answer

no city gives away her secrets frivolously

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.

“so why’re you painting her so dark?” he asks
“i see her much more bright, in sunny colors”
“maybe it’s her soul, her history,
the sea that creeps under her very breath, a carrier, a foe?
not sure exactly”
we walk endless alleys

on the splinters of our marriage,
i wear my yellow dress, the only one
that seems to fit her wide majestic smile

Venice’s not a city to tear/
what was one for 27 years/ /apart
so we make love
as if we had just met in one of the italian coffeebars
in the wee hours in the morning

“i couldn’t live here” i say
i’d get lost a thousand times every other minute
’round the corner just a few steps to the sea
is where this path ends

“we don’t have a boat” i shout
“we don’t need one” he shouts back
just around the bend another bridge
another //yet another
“there are millions but
where do they lead to?”

we are one dot on the map, a giant maze
i trace us
with my hand
“let’s get on a vaporetto”
i walk to the rear end,
get a free seat in the wind,

the engine’s heavy rattle against my back
feet up on the railing,
diesel exhaust spins like one big flag around my head

“not too loud, too hazy?” hubs asks
“no” i say
cause i’ve started listening
to the stories of the boat, told in a loud italian tongue
“see, this is Rialto bridge” it says

“as if i didn’t know” i pout
“but can you tell me where the dragons land that show up in the old man’s bookshop?”

“ohhh” it pauses for a long weird breath
“have you seen them?”

“no” i shake my head

“then you haven’t understood the spirit of this city yet” it says

and spits us out
at Fondamente Nuove

veniCe

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.
her face is channels
&uneven skin
saltpeter in the cracks beneath her breast
a window
to an alley // to a place

an old man on a bench,
his smile caught in the wrinkles of my yellow dress

“too many tourists here during the summer, so– (he blinks)
where are you from?”

her breath flows loudless—milky emerald

&no one knows what she’s carrying beneath
the surface, dreams
of times long passed,
pockmarks and scars,

she finds you
past your masks

makes love to the bookshop keeper
who keeps little bowls around the desk
to feed her dragons

spits you in the face
on marcus place

&licks your sore feet with a mix of grace,
humility and loud italian pride
that you find nowhere else

“can you mark that spot for me?” i ask the man behind the counter,

&he pulls a nail, a plane, a wild cat,
finally a pen from the knitted gaps of his pullover

“grazie”

all the letters from his million books
bend soft black ink towards the sea, a small canal,
the dragon’s exit point,
the moon’s first hiding place after his shift
i feel her rough, full, pouting lips

&a pair of chairs wait for their reader

a father to so many fatherless including me

the thing with real good dragons is,
you never see them
though they leave their traces in the most amazing ways

i still got this email by you, written in a code
that i have to decrypt yet

one part is suggestions
for my profile pic on fb
cause you didn’t like the one i used,
another part about connections
you were masterful with sensing what goes on
beyond//

you would’ve loved
the gnarly bookshop man in that hidden place in Venice
keeper of a million stories, waiting
to be told

&i wished that it was you, playing Vivaldi
in that chapel at San Marco square

you told me you were standing in a creek once
playing a duet with that famous sax guy
that i told you i have seen in concert

bridges–

i have crossed a million those last days,
none as big though as the one you took
and i imagine you up there,
having a joyful party with our dad

i changed my profile pic
not before weighing carefully if you would like it
(smiles)
&i’m still owing you a kiss
that i promise you will get

once i make it there

.

For my dear friend Steve Elsaesser who died unexpectedly last sunday
He was one of the most amazing, warm-hearted and giving people i have ever met without ever meeting him in person
Rest in peace friend

what we lose along the way

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.

“he forgot that he was king“ she says
“the boy?
what did he do then?”

we sit in a sea of voices
friday lunchbreak
&the sky is thick with clouds
an empty corridor

bends into corners of my soul, so slow
that i can feel the cool of tiles
touching my ribcage,

“so, when is your show?” she asks
“my boyfriend needs a painting for his living room”

“maybe he doesn’t even like my style”

“oh i do”
she smiles

&my longing to carve words &suns&moons into the moist sand on a beach
is overwhelming

“so, what did he do while he forgot?”
“he had sex with different women”
“hmm” i say

&feel the emptiness of the dark forest path
i rode my bike along this morning
just a light lake made of fog touching my legs
&the apostle paul who teaches about strength in weakness
through my headphones

“there’s this yearning” i say
“that i cannot clothe in words and
that slips through the fine hairs of a paintbrush &–“

i put my tray on the conveyor belt,
around the bend, in the kitchen
someone’s gonna find &lift it, and he maybe says “empty’s
not a bad place actually”

i let that sink
&wanna ask my colleague if the boy remembered finally
&if some of the women loved him back
or placed their lips on his to ease

his ache?

instead badge in
and walk the long hall
to my workplace