Umbrellas, red, blue, purple, yellow, and pink
dot the rain-drizzled piazza in front of the Duomo
the mellow light of early evening bathing the crowd
assembling for a political rally, the scene viewed
through a high-up window in the Museo del Novecento,
reflection and shadow lending it a surreal glow,
the piazza like a chessboard with human pawns,
the long-standing facades opposite a reminder
there’s nothing new under the sun or moon, and though
my Italian’s not good enough for me grasp the details
of the politics, I know it’s politics—there’s a party
and an anti-party, and things are more complicated
than they seem, and yet the differences are not so great.
I ask a waiter at a café alongside what’s going on.
It’s he who tells me the event is political—speakers
will follow the band, the cans of beer in everyone’s
hands a little lubrication to ease the entry of the message.
Back at my hotel, I ask the night clerk what he knows
about the event. It’s news to him, but we agree
that politics, however important, however necessary,
interferes with proper digestion and is best kept behind glass.
T. Allen Culpepper