Sai la foglia
che sussurra la via
di cadere sù?
This is my first haiku in Italian.
Do you know the leaf
that whispers the way
of falling up?
Sai la foglia
che sussurra la via
di cadere sù?
This is my first haiku in Italian.
Do you know the leaf
that whispers the way
of falling up?
né giù né su
né là né qua
né avanti né indietro
né statica né in movimento
né trovata né persa
né giusta né sbagliata
né figlia né madre
né sorella né nipote
né bambina né adulto
né amante né amato (né amore)
né scrittrice né artista
né cantante né ballerina
sono sospesa tra due cieli
tra sogni e realtà
tra pensieri e sentimenti
tra ieri e oggi
tra oggi e domani
tra domani e dopodomani
tra io ed ego
mi metto me stessa
in una scatola di nuvoli
neither down nor up
neither here nor there
neither forward nor backward
neither static nor dynamic
neither found nor lost
neither right nor wrong
neither mother nor daughter
neither sister nor niece
neither child nor adult
neither lover nor beloved (nor love)
neither writer nor artist
neither singer nor dancer
am suspended between two skies
between dreams and realities
between thoughts and feelings
between yesterday and today
between today and tomorrow
between tomorrow and the day after
between self and ego
I put myself
in a box of clouds
Hmm…It’s Valentine’s Day. I’ve yet to venture outside to witness the parade of couples flaunting their love–no, I’m not bitter or anything like that. 😉 I simply don’t celebrate many special (any) days.
Still, I thought I would do my part by sharing some words in Italian and Englishi that, were I in a relationship, I would use instead of having to say “I love you.”
Happy Valentine’s Day, Everyone!
*Yes, I made a decision not to use the imperative in the first line, which would have been: Amore, non legarmi alle parole piccole…
I’m still undecided whether or not I will change it. 🙂
Amore, non mi leghi alle parole piccole,
insensate, indefinibili, ma inebrianti.
Le parole volano, ne sai, quando sono parlate.
Invece di cercarle nella voce mia,
cercarle nel mio comportamento,
cercarle nei miei taciti pensieri,
cercarle nel mio cuore che batte ogni respiro
fino alla prossima volta quando ci incontriamo,
e cercarle in questi occhi che non ne avranno mai
abbastanza di vederti e vogliono bruciare
l’immagine di te nell’anima mia per l’eternità.
Search for them
My love, do not bind me with little words,
meaningless, indefinable, but intoxicating.
You know that spoken words are fleeting.
Instead of searching for them in my voice,
search for them in my behaviour,
search for them in my unspoken thoughts,
search for them in my heart that beats each breath
until when next we meet,
and search for them in these eyes that will never have
enough of seeing you and want to burn
your image within my soul for all eternity.
Click. Click. Rome. Click. London. Click. Somerville. Click. Open in a New Window. Click. New York. Click. Click. Click. Milan. Click. Perth. Click. San Francisco. Click. Open in a New Window. Click. Click. Click. Click.
The faces blur into one word: No. They blur into an action: Click.
They blur into forgotten memory like many paintings seen only once. I try to assign human names to HotRod4U or CumCMe or BigTits2Day or DownNDirty or MuyCaliente or some similar thing in Italian.
I try to use my long dual-language profile to screen out unnecessary messages and sexmails, and even end it on a quasi-diatribe on exoticism. It’s been working. Sort of.
Click. Block. Hey. Block. Wassup? Block. Got Chocolate? Block. U Busy L8r? Block. Le donne nere… Block.
I’m blocking out the words that counter my usually empathetic mind as I scroll and click pass over a thousand men with their barely-covered genitalia on display. It’s not working.
I read Mark Manson and try to understand the male psyche. I decide it must suck balls to be male, even if they supposedly have everything. There’s not much they can do to express themselves. Men are should-burdened into thinking themselves to be robots, or worst still, sex machines.
Or worst still, pathetic.
It’s shocking what the internet unmasks about society: apparently, a bunch of sex-crazed, racist, narcissistic…wait, I just got a message. It’s amazing how excited you can become when someone treats you like a human being.
Click. Profile. Click. The Two of Us. Click. Unacceptable Answers. Scroll.
I’m not shocked. It’s just another day in online dating, about which I have come to understand a couple of things.
Until Next Time,
Ho deciso di scrivere oggi in italiano (ma anche con una traduzione in inglese per i miei lettori che leggono solo in inglese). Come mi sento in questo momento? Non sono sicura. Sono stanchissima da morire, perché tante cose hanno successo questa settimana ed anche ho lavorato molto, almeno secondo me. Continuo a scrivere il mio romanzo e oggi ho scritto una poesia nuova in italiano. Vorrei condividerla con la speranza che voi mi diate le vostre opinioni. Come ho già scritto, ho scritto una traduzione in inglese, comunque l’orginale è stato scritto in italiano. Quindi la traduzione attuale è molta semplice. In alcuni giorni scriverò un’altra versione inglese. Ringrazio Matteo per la sua assitenza con la grammatica.
Today, I decided to write in Italian (but always with a translation in English for my readers who only read in English). How am I feeling in this moment? I am not certain. I am ridiculously tired, because many things have happened this week and also I work a lot, at least, in my opinion. I continue to write my novel and today I have written a new poem in Italian. I would liked to share it, with the hope that you will give your opinions. As I have already written, I have written a translation in English. However, the orginal is in Italian. Therefore, the current translation is very simple. In some days I will write another English version. I thank Matteo for his assistance with grammar.
Gli Occhi Aperti
Ci sono momenti in cui mi domando perché.
Perché ci sono tante persone che si sentono perse? Perché?
Soprattutto quando sono in piedi l’una accanto all’altra. Perché?
Perché ci sono tante persone che non hanno la consapevolezza
che la vita non è la realtà che può essere vista solo con i loro occhi?
Hanno bisogno di capire che
la loro realtà si allontana…
verso la corpulenza del mondo,
contro la verità dell’anima.
Realtà non è reale.
Realtà non è vera.
Non è neanche un’enigma,
né uno specchio oscurato
in cui non vediamo noi stessi.
Realtà è appena una manifestazione delle nostre paure
che sono state sviluppate dall’assenza
della saggezza in ognuna delle nostre vite.
Comunque questi pensieri sono solo una parte di un racconto vecchio.
Dall’inizio della nostra umanità, non abbiamo noi forse sempre detto
le stesse cose di nuovo, di nuovo e di nuovo?
Esiste sempre una ragione per la quale viviamo noi
le nostre vite nei modi in cui lo facciamo.
Esiste sempre una ragione per la quale diciamo noi
che non possiamo scegliere in modi diversi…
le vie nuove,
le intese nuove,
le parole nuove.
E in questo modo rimaniamo
le stesse persone
con le stesse domande:
<<Perché mi sento perso?>>
<<Perché mi sento solo
quando sono in piedi accanto a tutti?>>
Realtà non è realtà.
Devi aprire la tua mente per poter aprire gli occhi.
E poi, crei la realtà in cui vuoi vivere.
The Open Eyes
There are moments in which I ask myself why.
Why are there so many people who feel lost? Why?
Especially when they are standing next to others. Why?
Why are there so many people who do not have the awareness
that life is not the reality that can be seen only with their eyes?
They need to understand that
their reality is moving away…
toward the corpulence of the world,
against the truth of the soul.
Reality is not real.
Reality is not true.
It is not even an enigma,
nor an obscured mirror,
in which we cannot see ourselves.
Reality is just a manifestation of our fears
that have been developed by the absence
of wisdom in each of our lives.
However, these thoughts are just a part of an old story.
From the beginning of our humanity, have we not always said
the same things again and again?
There always exists a reason for which we live
our lives in the ways that we do.
There always exists a reason for which we say
that we cannot chose different ways of being…
In this way we remain
the same people
with the same questions:
“Why am I lost?”
“Why am I alone
when standing next to everyone?”
Reality is not reality.
You must open your mind in order to open your eyes.
And then, create the reality in which you want to live.
Grazie a tutti per prendere tempo per visitare e leggere.
Thank you everyone for taking time to visit and read.
Alla Prossima Volta,
Until Next Time,
The sound of Italian fills my ears as I stand, tired and sweaty. The number 23 bus is too crowded, and somewhere nearby there is a baby crying. I look behind me and see the tear-streaked face of a little girl, whose dark skin and dark eyes reflect my own. Her hair is artistically decorated with many colourful bands, separating her carefully combed hair. Even as her mother hands to her a small bottle to help calm her nerves, the little girl’s eyes glance around at the many strangers, who tower above her–How scary we must all seem.
In whispered and loudly spoken words, those who speak Italian say of the little girl, “Che bella…” and “Che carina…” Her mother is busy speaking on the phone and does not seem to notice the admiration that her little one has inspired. I am made to smile in the moment, because I can see that those around me are trying in their own way to show appreciation for diversity in beauty.
The elderly gentleman next to me leans over the little girl and tries to ease her worries, speaking to her in Italian as I have not experienced it before. His voice is soothing and kind with a rich tone that makes every word that he speaks that much more exquisite.
“Non si preoccupi…non si preoccupi…non si preoccupi..”
The little girl’s eyes stare at him with wonder as the corner of her lips curve into a smile.
Until Next Time.
I am still listening to Vivaldi…Don’t ask…
(TWBF=Travelling while Black and Female)
I spent last night mulling over what my exact experiences have been as an overseas traveller since reaching adulthood. The reality is that there was a lengthy gap, of almost ten years, between my travels overseas.
I had basically ceased all of my overseas travelling in 2001. Partly because of my own anxiety around 9/11, the war, and also being in the process of becoming an American citizen. Simply, at that time, it seemed to me to be in my best interest to stay put in America. Thus, I did just that.
Of course, one thing leads to another (as in years passed by while I was living). I moved from Florida to Massachusetts, studied, graduated, and then was working.
So, what have been my experiences since coming to Rome, i.e. as a Black woman?
(YouTube is a great travel resource. Please, watch SaitamaFlowers has some wise words.)
Hmm…I suppose, for the most part, I have been treated respectfully here. There are some things that I have come to understand and experience that leave me with some concerns.
In general, however, my grievances are a bit superficial…like not being able to find makeup to match my skin tone (Thank the universe for Kiko Milano! :)), and not being able to find hair products (Thank the universe for olive oil and Cielo Alto!:)), etc. These types of things, which if one is persistent in seeking a resolution, then all should be mostly well.
It is true (again, this is my experience) that some older Italians are not accustomed to dealing with foreigners.
Sadly enough, while I was waiting in line in a grocery store, there was an elderly man who kept hitting me with his shopping cart. At first, I thought it was an accident, but I recognized after the second/third/etc times that this man was having a serious problem with me. Of course, I tried my best to redirect his behaviour, but he simply let loose a string derogatory words about my non-Italian status.
Luckily enough, the people in the grocery store, customers and employees alike, came to my defense and were quite apologetic, and they told the man that he was in the wrong. The experience was shocking to me. The response of the bystanders, however, gives me hope for the future of multiculturalism here in Rome.
It is true (again, this is from my experience and some research) that some Italian men see Black women (really, I should say here foreign women, especially young Americans) as easy sexual targets.
For Black women, it is possible too that we may be thought of as prostitutes as there is, apparently, a significant number of North African women who are considered as engaging in prostitution–This is an exceptionally difficult topic, and I am trying to handle it in the best way I know how. Please, understand that I mean no offense.
One of the things to which I had to become accustomed was the staring. People here stare. When I write “stare,” I don’t mean like a lengthy sideways glance. No, I mean stare. They seemingly try to stare you down. These days I treat it as a challenge…a little staring contest. You know, like in childhood, Just who will be the first to look away?? 😉
Now, when I first came to Rome, I took major offense to this behaviour. You know, it felt like I was being silently assaulted by these stares, because I did not know how to understand them. A part of me was like, Do you seriously have, or want to have a problem with me?
Then, I learnt that the staring-thing was not just directed at Black people, or foreigners (yes, I asked several people), or people dress a little oddly like I do. Oh no, Italians stare at Italians too…and I have witnessed it first-hand. Actually, I find it quite amusing these days.
So, yes, people here stare. Try not take it too seriously if you travel here. Of course, it is true that they may be staring at you because you are obviously a foreigner, but again it’s a cultural thing. So, don’t let it upset your day…try to have a sense of humour about it.
I will say this: it is important to learn the basics of the language of the country to which you are choosing to travel before you leave. Practice aloud greetings and asking for help. Also, it is important remember formalities of the country/culture. The more you know about culturally appropriate behaviour, the better off you are. Perhaps most importantly, it is important to keep a sense of humour, especially at the most difficult of times.
If someone offends you, regardless of intentionality, just remember to treat it like water running off a duck’s back.
Until Next Time!Best,
Rome, romance…They would seem to go hand-in-hand. Taking a look at the multitude of tourists who are perma-grinning all over the place all the time here, perhaps they do. For me, romance is something I am choosing do without (as mentioned in a posting a couple of days back).
It isn’t just the need to focus on my well-being. It is simply the craziness (to me) of it all. I have found that dating doesn’t seem to quite exist here. Many people either seem to be looking for an interesting fling/story…or they are ready to have you cooking and cleaning their houses (notice, I didn’t say marry…because, for some that is not quite what they have in mind). At this point, you may be wondering, D, why on earth are you thinking about this?
(I was attempting to find a video on attraction. I found Yanni instead. Makes me smile :))
The answer is that I went to buy some tangerines at the fruit stand today. What? Yes, it all happened at the fruit stand, where I was openly solicited by a handsome twenty-two year old, who was being actively encouraged by his older brother to ask me out.
Anyway, after laughing off the matter and abruptly extricating myself from the situation, I went home and began to think about my “dating” experiences in Rome.
And honestly, I haven’t really “dated” here in Rome. I have met some very interesting people. Half of whom were too young and looking for a mother/caregiver/advisor person. The other half were older and looking for someone to dominate and exoticize. Suffice to say, I saw through all of that easily enough, and have thus remained single.
More importantly, however, these experiences and this episode made me realize that I needed to ask myself a serious question: That is, just what is it within me that is attracting these types of people? After all, there must be something that I am seeking to have so many of the same types of people come my way. I am quite positive that there are many eligible, single, socially adaptable, independent, successful, internally and externally attractive people out there in the world. So, what exactly is going on with me?
Some people may say, Well, D, you are a strong woman. And strong attracts weak. And to those people, I will say, perhaps you are right, but I am willing to wait for the universe to present me with someone who can recognize the balance of strength and weakness within himself or herself and in others.
So, Mr. Young Fruit Stand Man, thanks but no thanks…I’ve learned this lesson too many times already. 🙂
Until Next Time!
P.S. Excellent quote I found on ViewOnBuddhism.org:
“When we accept the way things are we are able to love everything and everybody. When we are not able to accept even one thing in this world right now, then how could we ever develop boundless love? Lack of acceptance is conflict. Conflict is pain. It is psychological pain. It is a spiritual illness. As long as our hearts are tormented by that pain, we do not have the strength to give our heart to anything and because of that it is impossible to bring about inner awakening. Enlightenment, you see, is just another name for boundless love.
It is almost impossible to practice loving-kindness towards all living beings without addressing, in a meaningful way, the innumerable problems arising in our own lives. It is a contradiction, you see. It does not work. If our heart is tormented because we are not able to accept things the way they are, then it is impossible to open our heart. It is impossible to let go of all of our defenses and embrace others. Therefore we have to constantly practice and deepen our awareness. We have to remind ourselves to accept things as they are. This is pretty much what the teachings called Mind Training are all about. Mind Training in Buddhism is about carrying those perspectives and even reciting slogans, phrases like “I shall accept the way things are.” Anam Thubten, No Self, No Problem
Lasciare il passato
L’ ho abbandonato
insieme con le storie
chi vuole essere una storia?
(e la vita è sempre contraria)
chi non vorrebbe piacere di avere una storia?
In questo momento l’ho trovato.
Qualcosa più importante,
cioé ho travota la mia belleza
Come la verità
che credi io non dica mai,
se vorresti scegliere
di sentirti come me.
comincio a sconvolgere,
il mio comportamento
il mio specchio
me stesso esterno
insieme con tutte delle storie
in cui noi crediamo che possiamo
trovare la nostra belleza,
in cui noi non possiamo
trovare ci stessi
o la nostra verità.
qualcosa di nero.
qualcosa di nero,
qualcosa di strano,
qualcosa di cui dovete
della notte quando,
anche, voi diventate
qualcosa di nero.
L’ombra di me stessa
Che cos’è questa?
La tua casa dell’anima,
lo specchio perso, anche il tuo,
la finestra dimenticata a cui non possono
la vedere attraverso i tuoi occhi… come me.
Per te tutto è buio, un’oscurità
in cui siamo sospesi tra il cielo e la terra,
dove non si può ritrovare se stessi
senza la sofferenza dell’attesa
inutile, di niente.
Questa, dicesti, è la verità della vita,
in cui possiamo sempre credere.
Comunque ci sentiamo sicuri?
C’è pace qua nella realtà costruita
dalla paura vivente?
Non dovrò abbracciarla,
la casa senza futuro,
l’anima senza passato.
Lasciami ai miei sogni d’oro.
Non pensare mai più di costruire.
Seasons’ loss and reason
You, like falling leaves upon a lotus
pond. I, a heart entombed in winter’s frost,
fading circles of love circuitous
as my fingertips create ripples lost.
Then crystal-iced, sunlit, dew-touched, loved.
Unknowingly caught enraptured by id
wrought. Encompassed as a seed beloved
but stifled by unnourished earth unwanted.
But knowledge and keys to hearts once given
prove only useless tools to fools who know
naught of winter’s cold. They harden, unrisen,
unwisely plant seeds in autumn with hope
of a lotus blossom amidst snowfall,
frost, and grasp at love formed, fading crystals.
(The above poems are revisions. I would be appreciative of any feedback, including corrections on the ones in Italian. Thanks!)
Until next time,
It’s a wakeful morning, a bit too early. Yet still, it is not early enough for me to justify returning to sleep. I turn my mind to thoughts of my plans for the day, which inevitably leads me to broader thoughts about my plans for my life–I won’t get into that here though. It is about one of my thoughts, a simple plan really, upon which I would like to reflect today.
I’ve spent a great deal of time roaming the streets of Rome. From the very start, what appealed to me the most, beyond the monuments, was that I understood little of what was being said by those around me. I wanted to be lost in a crowd of people, with whom I did not have to share my thoughts and to whom I did not need to react.
Parlerò di te
Parlerò di te
che mi riconosci il passo
sui mattoni di cotto,
di te che rubi sulla mia pelle
pensieri rappresi, sospesi tra due cieli;
di te, dei tuoi spenti desideri
ormai chiusi in arcani pensieri.
Di te che ho voglia di dire
e di sentire curiosità sopite,
di te che mi sfuggi
come un sabato che se ne va.
Parlami, perché io varchi la tua soglia
sotto l’ibisco che accende lanterne rosa
tra giardini a mare.
Stringi tra le tue dita
di cristallo d’arte
queste mani che ti dicono
quale luogo profondo
hanno scavato tra le mie carni.
E tutto si perde
nella sofferenza dell’attesa,
nelle parole pronunciate e spente
a fil di labbra,
nella palude delle idee
dove ritrovare se stessi
è come avere un poker tra le mani.
Without knowledge of the meaning of all the words, I understood the poem. When I write “understood,” what I mean is that the poem connected with some core part of myself that allowed me to grasp its meaning. Whether reading it in silence or aloud, the poem (for me, at least) elicits a profound experience.
Ho letto il tuo urlo senza voce
e m’è caduto il cuore.
Mi dici che i morti in riposo,
sospesi tra due cieli bruciano
sullo scoglio vestito di sole.
Non saprò più immaginare
sulla cenere di ciò che fu.
Siamo inermi nel delirio
di chi non sa amare
ciò che l’alba del tempo
ha inciso per l’uomo.
Mario Tornello was a painter, a poet, and a writer. He was born on October 21, 1927 in Palermo and died on February 2, 2010 in Rome. He was all that I hope one day to truly label myself to be. At present, I am a bit of a lavori in corso (“work in progress)… but then again, aren’t we all.
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