September 20, 2014

Pasquale Verdicchio

THE SACRED LANE/LA SACRA CORSIA

for Antonio Porta

We felt it
the sisma
poetic temblor
that radiated from the capital
of capitals of church and state
and wrapped the body of
that man lost among angels
for what did he know of lanes
and what did he think of percourses
only that it was a freeway
like no other and it led
from one end of a dream
to the other of a nightmare
it was his notebook
to carry across the notions
the smuggled thoughts about it
america this america that america
but an america that was only
what we wanted to find
and so from fast food
to slow drivers it opened the door
to nothing more than a view
our own window and we drank
and ate with them
those who had not come
but were just there
unlike us who had flown driven
hundreds thousands of miles
across continents and countries
rivers and oceans
states and cities and county lines
because that is part of it
the county line crossing it
not knowing on the other side
the welcome the distance between
and so we continued to the cities
all names but initials
SD LB LA SB PA SC SF,
hell, hey! as they say and frisco
which they don’t say
on a cold day is not California
but it still holds the foreigner
in the gold of that orange bridge
the size beyond the bridge of the county
and Marin becomes something altogether
different but it is the place of the dream
and it must be noted
recorded and seen
a photograph does not quite capture it
and so all of it is done and then reported
back by phone across thousands of miles
in late night calls that defy deny and construct
and that’s the book
that’s the poem
and that’s what we remember
for it is not a travel diary
it is a travel life
a nomadism put on paper
a nomadism with stakes
to keep it from walking off
out of one’s memory
out of one’s reach
and back into the place from where
it did not come

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003
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