musings on rome written to a new friend
Posted on February 8, 2014
I feel, in Rome, as if I am fully entered into the ancient-ness of the place.
I feel the history in my blood.
I feel almost Italian (with a mix of invading barbarian).
But I tread lightly in Italy.
I try to penetrate the history, the stories, but I tread lightly.
I don’t leave any trace.
I only steal moments.
I steal away people’s feelings in a one second snapshot.
I take more lingering pictures with my eyes.
I really don’t want to be the center of attention, I would rather fade into the background, and let people live around me.
I am greedy for their life spilling out.
Still as much a thief as I was as a child, after all.
This is why I love Naples.
I dread it a little, too.
I want to slap it around occasionally.
I want to remind it of its grit (as if it needs my reminder).
I want to shake it awake to its beauty and history and art.
I want it to not lose its charm, ever.
I don’t even care about the trash that much.
I love the darkest alleys.
I love that life is lived on the streets.
I love that the windows are always open.
I love listening to the strains of a language I cannot decipher because it always sounds like music to me that way.
That’s how I linger in churches so long…
I can’t understand the sermons so I can spend time looking at the art and thinking about pagans all day as if in a dream.
In Italy I am living in the dream and I don’t wake up again until I’m back home in the cold north.
I return to Italy like a lover who cannot stand the separation a moment longer. I want to feel the curves of familiar streets. I want to taste the crushed fruit of summer wine and feel that sun so different from mine. I want to see the stars again against the faint glow of the ruins.