You will find that the story you tell
is very rarely your own. In Lucca,
even the smallest pebbles
breathe in the warm sunlight.
Knotted stones and cobbled roads
beat out a paper-dry heartbeat heat
my city breathes in and out,
inhales sparrow air.
It's writing a story.
You are the pen.
You will find that in Lucca
the daisy chains forge fire
in side streets and back alleys.
Teenagers intertwine. Tell me,
odd flower, are you still closed?
Here we are colored wax;
the heat of the city melts us.
We run into each other, rhapsody
of pigments. Operas are our specialties.
Open up; feel the reds.
If not, try and see them. There is a place
of deep knife marks, a street
long as midnight
you may learn something there.
Valentina's voice glimmers like red wine.
You may enjoy intoxications. Still,
know alcohol has no story
and will swallow your own.
Find the sign with the wolf on it.
You'll know the place. Epiphanies ring true as church-bells.
Lucca still guides the wanderers
to well springs or witch dens. Old storybook magic.
We've kept it between our gold teeth.
Still, if you don't feel it,
all spells sometimes fail.
Try the Polleria Volpi its knives gleam like America,
cleave fat thin as tissue no recrimination here.
Prosciutto thin as pride. Hams
sway from the ceiling. Thin chains. Sword of Damocles
a pig's bone, half-sharpened. Popped joints
wink and glint. Shiny now, devoid of flesh. I've seen myself
as such before, chopped and trussed,
turned inside-out. You recognize that stripped wing, caught short in panic,
There's an old man smiling
behind his glass counter. Green eyes glimmer coin-bright.
Ask him to cleave meat
sheer as shadows. Smell the air.
Chicken eyes are old iron,
scratched and worn dull. Lucca is watching you,
writing your story. Tragedy, romance, comedy?
Byzantine saints know.
Tongues painted closed.
They never tell.
Our tongues are rivers
drowning lost stories.
Paper shrivels like autumn
in dark spaces, in damp heat.
Lucca will write your story
for a time. They don't keep.
You'll eat. Feeling guilty
for your hollow teeth?
Lucca will slice us thinner
one day. All stories
Still, the city watches,
blinks shut the great clocks.
Don't live in black ink.
You are the pen.
I write invisible, script out
other's tales. Lucca told me
to tell you
that you are the pen.