>the second hand unwinds
>everything in italy is of course beautfiul for the visiting tourists, but i am always suspicious and skeptical of anything this ornate.
michaelangelo, gallileo, medici, da vinci, dante, blah blah blah.
my first day in florence as i climbed up the hill to piazzale michaelangelo, i found myself in giardino di boboli, where an unusual two branched tree sits. the two branches are symbolic for the florentine lovers. they solidify their union by kissing under its branches.
beautiful anecdotes are what made italy.
on a whim, i decided to jump on the next train leaving for pisa, just to see what i could see with only the clothes on my back and my journal in my purse. after 90 minutes of the most lush scenery that only dante could write about, i arrived in a small city with quiet streets, gelaterias, horses clip-clopping for the tourists, and madonnas frowning upon their mosaic laps to the christs in diapers.
winding through the streets, no map, no directions, just the tip of my nose leading the way, suddenly there she was.
the leaning tower.
i never thought i’d actually see her, just one of those things that you think you’ll always be happy enought to read about in text books.
the stories are true, she leans. sinking like sister-venice, her crooked glance flashing me an alabaster smile.
it’s really not that big, not that ornate, not that astounding. i guess its the infamy surrounding it that strikes awe in us.
i couldn’t ascend the tower because the next tour would have been a 4 hour wait, so i sat on the grass that surrounded this unesco world heritage site, and found the real beauty of pisa:
lovers curled up on the grass taking a nap under the hide-and-seek sun.
children giggling and pulling cartwheels.
japanese tourists taking photos of everything, including the grass.
families framing their snapshot as if they were pushing over the tower . . . you know what i mean.
dogs nuzzling each other as they wiggled around in the grass.
i felt warm, like a sicillian kiss.
that night i was zonked. i lay down in my bunk but sleep wouldn’t come. something was nagging at me. i realized i didn’t want to waste another florentine sunset under the unconsciousness of sleep.
fatigue be damned, i took the stairs two at a time and bounded out under the florentine sunset.
the sky turned fresh colours into new shapes. i crossed ponte vecchio, the oldest bridge in (circa 1300s) left unharmed by nazi destruction. walking across it, you really get an idea of how all ancient bridges used to look in their heyday. people built their homes and businesses on these bridges, unafraid of the weight. all bridges in paris used to be the same, but now have been cleaned of all remnants of a life there, simply now for pedestrian use.
as the sun set, the mauve colours with hints of gold stunned me with their undying beauty. the scent of water drifted up to me, and i had to snap a few shots like a velveeta tourist.
really, i couldn’t get over how the sky looked like a fake backdrop for a theatre production. i didn’t realize colours like that actually existed.
or maybe i had simply forgotten in my toronto existence.
a band set up right in the middle of the bridge in front of the bust of some ancient man. i decided to sit and enjoy some free music.
music to my ears, what a lovely saying.
the 3-piece band, two acoustic guitars and one prolific violinist, played a selection of western and italian hits, plus a few of their own.
knocking on heaven’s door.
time after time.
with or without you.
fake plastic trees.
i sang along, rocking my knees back and forth to the hum of the ambient and soulful melodies, watching people lick their gelato like a lover.
couples snuggled under the devoured sky.
kids crawled up daddy’s shoulders.
japanese tourists with fat bellies snapped photos and ran.
african sellers hawked fake gucci bags, then ran as the cops approached.
as the trio sang the heartfelt chords of Time After Time, I realized that maybe time wasn’t against me.
if you’re lost you can look and you will find me, time after time.
i closed my eyes during the crescendo of fake plastic trees.
i can’t help but feeling . . . i can float through the ceiling.
yesterday morning i found my way up to fiesole, the mountain top village that Dante wrote about in his Divine Comedy. the place where Da Vinci may have tested his flying machine. i wound through narrow cliffside paths that rose through the cyprus trees. it was like i was taking an excursion through a personal painting.
i love cyprus trees. they’re like green flames of tall fire. the hillside dwellings have been there since at least 6 BCE, and everything felt like it was too beautiful to be real ( a reoccuring feeling here). painted skies, lush greenery, ornate villas with shocks of red, burgundy, yellow, and alabaster. it was paradise-incarnate.
and i wished . . . i longed . . . i yearned . . . all those fucking words . . . for company.
what is beauty except that which is shared amongst people? it cannot exist in a solo universe.
later, i waited 1 hour 17 minutes in the blister of the early afternoon to wrench myself through the crowds of Galleria Dell’Accademia to stand before . . .
you guessed it . . .
it’s 500 years old, but he has aged gracefully.
with his slingshot behind his back, he grimaces off to the side under his thick brows, his strong nose, his generous lips. michaelangelo even sculpted the veins in his forearms and hands, the spheres of his knees, the contours of his back. anatomically perfect, except for the modest phallus.
pfft, joe’s is bigger.
i kept thinking that “this is something michaelangelo loved, cared for, painstakingly fashioned, roudning here, smoothing there, ran his fingers over delicately. he has his fingerprints all over this.”
i snapped 2 secret phtos, got yelled at by an attendy for said-photos, and stared and stared and stared and stared.
left with a sense of pride. the historical places and works i have visited in my life . . . like a dream for the masses.
in the evening, as i wandered around piazza della signora, a 44 year old man named Theo tried to pick me up. i kept making eyes at a young adonis wandering through the area, trying to get him to come over and rescue me, but i don’t think he understood. he just eyed me intently anyway.
men hiss and kiss the air and utter sleazy breaths as i walked by. there is something on my skin that i can’t rub off.
it’s their eyes.
i arrived in Roma about an hour ago, and the heat is the first thing that glistened off my smile.
and i have a craving for bruschetta.