The days of primrose and banana walls.
An archaic dwelling rich in peculiarity provides
new comfort in my discomfort—respite from foreign speech,
Vespa motors, speeding Fiats, and boorish locals. All in excess.
My walk for exhilaration polluted with beckoning voices from Senegal,
“Beeh Mama! Beeh Mama!”
They’re calling me Big Mama?
Catch a quick glance but keep going.
Goings full of jostling. Goings full of stares. Stares of disgusting intensity.
Maybe I’m exotic.
Then a choice to rest momentarily, taking it all in with tepid water and
deep breathing near Ponte Vecchio.
Embracing the memories of trying new cuisine the past several days,
torta salata and a bit of pecorino pecora from Bolgheri.
But a place here, near Arno, provides a welcome piece of home
—tickling maple on a tantalizingly gritty Belgium waffle and warm, crispy chicken.
The best I’ve had in my life. Here. Near Arno.
I’ve been waiting on my moment.
The “You’re in a foreign land—alone” moment,
so that I may weep accordingly.
But the first few weeks are consumed by priorities,
allowing no time to process.
My new city life. My medieval city life.
Where are the daffodils? The rhododendrons? The crepe myrtles? The deer?
Only stones. Gray stones. Dirty stones.
Brown stones. Stained stones. Cobblestones.
And this city life smells worse than my country life.
Permeating my clean pores and sensual amber.
Interrupting my breathing.
I heave then gather myself.
But now I feel stained and my walk violated.
Exhilaration less a priority and
my primrose and banana fortress calls.