V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics





We take the ferry to Capri
from the dock at Positano. 

There isn't a cloud in the sky,
that is clear as English, as we
head up the Amalfi Coast.
The mountains remind me
of my father napping after
a large dinner.  I can make
out cars shining in the glare
as they move along the cliff
road that is thin as pasta
and for the first time ever
a bus becomes a gleam in my eye.

Twenty minutes later we can
spot Sorrento that is now
a porcelain dish shattered against
stone and as the waves rock and roll
like Elvis, a seasick young
woman the size of a small village
outside Salerno is helped down
from the top deck.  I know little
Italian but the look on her face
is easy to translate.  It takes
four crew members to help her
on the steps and over to the railing.
And then there is Capri: rising up
out of the water along with something
else to shake my beliefs.  Perhaps
there is a God—who else could
have dropped those rocks into
the Sea of Naples just for the hell of it.

The ferry pulls into Marina Grande.
It's filled with shops, cafés,
tourists and boats with names
like the dinners on the menu
in the little Italian joint back home
on 1st.  We stop in the Café Augusto
for a cup of espresso with a smile
of lemon floating in it, pay
with Monopoly money then decide
to take an open-roofed taxi
since we only have a few hours
until the next ferry.  We take
a road up a hill that is long
as a novel to the Villa Jovis
where Tiberious held court,
and where goats have ruled since
45 A.D. and then to the Salto
di Tiberio, a cliff, where he pitched
villagers into the sea since
soccer wouldn't be invented
for another thousand years.

We meet a local who speaks
to us in broken English—most
in pieces that could never be
glued back together.  He tells us
we need a wick noy just a day
to see Capri, how he loves basketabowl,
The New Yucka Nooks and that once
he spent two wicks in the downatone
zone of Manhattan.  He shows
us a short cut to take on foot,
rather than take a cab, since we
can see more that way.

We follow his route, stop
in the Gardens of Augustus
just to let our eyes fill with cliffs,
sky and water.  Waves roll
like the r's in the mouths of two
old men arguing over wine
outside a café along the Via Camerelle.
The water looks green, young
but gives away its real age
when it reaches the shore, exposing
its white beard of surf.  So we
decide to hurry down and catch
the next ferry before the Sea of Naples
becomes too old to carry one more
boat back to Positano.

© by Kevin Pilkington


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