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I believe in artichokes

Italy did ruin me. After that first trip I came back disgusted by bodega coffee, which now smelled of old socks. Before, it was just fine. I rolled my eyes at red sauce joints, detouring old standbys like a stranger. If eating can be seen as a religious or spiritual experience I had been to the mountain. In time I would return on pilgrimages, always holding the simple pleasures in my thoughts.  An artichoke, methodically fried in good olive oil, with some salt. Black truffles, good butter and fresh pasta twisting around the back of a fork. A very cold and tiny glass of porto bianco sipped in a Genoa bar, with my friend Federico. A man cleaning sardines on a block of wood in the street. A woman selling green figs that she wraps into a newspaper cone. I have thousands of these memories, these artifacts. But I live in Moscow, where there has been an embargo for years now, and there is no population that expects perfect mounds of fresh cheese. They ship powdered palm oil here, that gets …

impossible


The sun does not seem real in Moscow. I can't believe it comes up so early. The green grass and the trees bursting with leaves overnight are all fake. There are tiny oceans of tulips bobbing in the breeze that I know were not there yesterday. They were planted in the middle of the night.

Sparrows are chirping, dancing around rain puddles. I push E on the swings for a long time. She seems taller than she was a week ago, her face longer, her hand larger in mine. She did not write any stories when I was away, but made a lot of drawings of girls sitting in restaurants.



I know we were in Rome, then Florence, then orange green Bologna and a day half-rainy, half-sunny in Venice. I remember the people staring out of windows, or waiting on quiet corners. I remember waitresses, and busy kitchens glimpsed from the street. There were acres of statues and museums that we ignored, concentrating on espresso cups, fixated on bitter apertifs and cold glasses of wine.


I emptied my pockets of lucky pennies, throwing them in every fountain we passed. 
I know there was a flight, and my ears got plugged up. I know we came back in the middle of the night and curled up in bed and I took E the next day. 
The rest is impossible. 







Comments

liv said…
Wow, Italy looks beautiful. Great photos.

Hope the writing went well.
SHAR said…
Really really fabulous photo's Marco, great to see them.....

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