“Reflections of Venize: Frari” – poem by Murissa Shalapata

Reflections of Venize: Frari

poem by Murissa Shalapata

With crimson Bardolino in hand
I taste you, Venize
your mind numbing routes of destiny
like untangling knots of angelhairs
in a hurry by the hour glass of spices
that smell of sulfur, basilico, lemon and grass

I paid little attention to your streets
of uneven marble and stone
besides when I tripped and was face to face
with my own salty self

Ponte Rialto
sick of the view
sick of the weighty feet that wears her down
closer to her teal bowels

I round and there, stone-faced
built-in virgin on the street corner
and me – a tourist, an atheist –
in the thrill of abandonment
discovering someone new
in me

In time

Adriatic sun feeds
sweat stems down my back
growing from my blue floral neck
soaking into black cotton

At the doors of Santa                                                                         Maria Gloriosa dei Frari
.                                smells like an antique old wood shop in rain

kicked a crippled Italiano
with a ringing clinging chalice
in need of spare jewels
from any contemporary Franciscan
who’s willing to be buried beneath the stone

in the floor of the church
knowing it doesn’t matter in the end
I pass him
despite his purple tumors

despite his fortune
that any icy creature of cain
would trade for my
lecture of pictures
and stone
and men that don’t matter any more

Nor do I care
when in the presence of Canova
his tomb of sleep
his pyramid of death

A sleeping winged lion and hidden
mourners that you drew                                                        (for the death of another)
stays guard of our dreams
Does the patron let you roam Venize at night?
When the flock and exchangelings are away
and everything evaporates into the smell of Adriatic

at once you know
it doesn’t matter in the end