I love to travel, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen some of the world’s most romantic places. In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to post a free verse poem I wrote after a trip to Venice, Italy. The details are all true.
LOST IN VENICE
I quit the shady part of the Square, where the one so significant to me sits nursing his cappuccino, looking bored.
I work my way through a congealing mass of slack-eyed tourists,
Ambling forward with beer bellies and fast food thighs,
Alongside apologetic mothers towing cranky children,
Not seeing what they should want to see.
I leave them all behind, gratefully following your lithesome exuberance
over the Bridge of Sighs.
The Italian sun makes my coppery hair shine like a naughty beacon,
Should I hide beneath that blue silk scarf, or do I want you to notice me
and my thirst for spontaneous adventure?
For a breathless moment I think that you have – the way you turn your dark head,
Sultry black eyes sweeping over me like a cool breeze, unconcerned and unsurprised.
A handsome young man used to basking in constant attention.
You lure me down streets that are as charming and crooked as your smile.
Through a maze gorged with crumbling little churches,
Quiet bistros hidden by ivy, and faded brick homes
Decorated with white linens – flapping over our heads like noisy seagulls,
This is just a normal day for you, for the grey-whiskered gondolier
who glides past me in the murky canal,
He looks into my hopeful eyes and knows not to offer me a ride –
He can sense I’m on a mission and my quest is you, pretty boy.
I want to see this special place the way you see it.
I want to believe I belong here too.
That would be a gift I could never forget.
Where shall we venture next?
Lead me while I’m feeling brazen and my eagerness has no bounds.
I could saunter along in your footsteps for a decade, a not-so-secret stalker,
While you deliver candles to nuns and priests, waitresses and widows,
Who thank you so profusely, as if the wax had been dipped in gold
And you were an angel performing a sacred task.
(Pavarotti’s talents are nothing compared to your musical voice and wind-chime
We burrow deeper into the timeless, decaying heart of the city,
Finding a lazy bistro that smells of yeast rolls baking
You have business here, so I choose to have sweet wine and bread.
You choose to steal a soft kiss from our scarlet-lipped hostess
She thinks you taste as sinful as tiramisu or spumoni, I can tell.
Soon we are on the move again and I am distracted by a crying schoolgirl
Perched on the edge of a sagging step, looking as fragile as a china doll,
She giggles at my broken Italian and stares at my glittering Celtic cross
Until a heavy-bosomed woman in a window above us spills out a motherly command
Causing the girl to scurry inside, causing me to hurry away, eyes sad and searching,
Knowing that I’ve lost you, realizing that I’d even lost sight of myself – long before I
crossed the Bridge of Sighs.