No one messes with you, the duke
of all the dudes in Bergamo:
you block the aisle of the number 4 bus
in front of the ticket punch machine.
Your surfing gear is slick with logos,
from technoclothes in fake skin –
UV protective, fluorescent acid trim –
to thinsole trainers and wraparound
chromium shades, narrow as the slit
in a fencer’s visor. Dragons’ tongues
and tails flick upon your biceps.
I note the evidence of razor fetish:
the moustache a pair of scimitars
carved around the jawline,
the scalp a reverse tonsure –
lower skull shaved bald and oiled,
a topknot of hair pulled smooth
and clamped with elastic
to fall from the crown like an otter’s tail.
You need the feel of watercurl
under the balls of your feet
but in Lombardy, where ocean is only
memory or dream, you’ll ride
the inland edge of anything unstable.
As we head into the cemetery loop
you lean into the roundabout,
feet rocking on the floorboards.
Arms motionless beside your thighs.
This is one of the rules. Nor may you smile.
Widows with dark hose and rosaries
mutter as they squeeze past you
but they cannot distract you
from your focus on a vanishing point
in the street beyond the windscreen,
the ever-receding shoreline
of your own Waimea Bay.
You know its tides and sandbars
better than the driver.
He says nothing.
Just keeps the bus steady on the turns,
smooth on the stops and starts,
with psychoanalytic skill.