Nail Chiodo

Highway of the Sun

from the Italian of Alessandro Ricci

I know by heart quite a number of poems
by Lowry, some Latin passages, two
or three letters of Dylan Thomas
and even more. I like
and know how to make a car slide
by countersteering in fast curves.
In brief, I am a capable driver
with an education. Sooner or later
the many whom I have overtaken, whom
I shall overtake, enter the roadside
coffee shops of service stations,
but I remain, undoubtedly,
as Teacher told Mother,
sensitive in a way that is altogether different.
It may well be true that this is the case,
you slovenly ones crowded around the register.

Tonight I feel tired for you
as well, I wear your faces from out of the dark
along with my own, I feel
as if from Albany or Mississippi, with or without
sideburns and family, salesman
or immigrant, man or man.
I’ve finished
my sandwich, my coffee, I’ve finished
my cigarette as well, and on this Friday, I’m sleepy.

I would love life even
by neon light, amid the blasts
of the expresso maker, the nickels
left as tips, the idiot trilling
of the pinball machines in the back.
I would love it, but can’t. I now see, clear-
sightedly?, that the nightmare will (not) last.
I stand like this,
among the people who do not know it, who must not
know it.
And why is it so?

The cashier has an exhausted jacket
and banana yellow eyes. No, it’s the other way round,
words get it wrong all the time; God, I pray you
that he not understand, that he not read my thoughts
thus mistaken, that he not be offended.

I look at him with love. He waits for me to pay.

Alessandro Ricci