"...to enclose the present moment; to make it stay; to fill it fuller and fuller, with the past, the present and the future, until it shone, whole, bright, deep with understanding."

Virgina Woolf, The Years



On Waterloo Bridge I am trying to think:
This is nothing. You’re high on the charm and the drink.
But the juke-box inside me is playing a song
That says something different. And when was it wrong?
- Wendy Cope, "Waterloo Bridge"

I say eleven, you say eleven
I say... what? And you said... what else?
Some details do begin to fade
like they do when old photographs
are exposed too long to sunlight
or forgotten in dark, humid corners

Yet others remain spotless
like the way you tried on that hat
or the way you sipped all those iced coffees
The memory of all that
Time doesn't seem to be succeeding
in taking that away from me

The way your smile
does certainly beam
The way you said
how much you like to sing
even if off key
The way you still
haunt my dreams
Time is not being able
to take that away from me

The way we first danced... 'till three?
When there was nobody else
on the dance floor
but people were watching us
probably murmuring to each other

The way you sneaked your arm
behind me
The way it reached down
to my waist
Or how we both already knew
that one of our faces
would approach the other's lips
and thus waited patiently
The memory of all that
Time just won't take that away from me

I may wonder
for how long will I wonder
why the Gods above me
(who absolutely were in the know)
thought so little of me
they allowed the music to change
from major to minor

I may wonder
for how long will I wonder
if there will be other lips
that will thrill me half as much as yours did
or if there will be another you

What is certain
is that time can't take the memory of you
away from me

(Variaton, the last, on not-exactly-Eleven jazz poems -and songs-, namely, Ella and Louise's Let's call the whole thing off,  Ella's They can't take that away from me and Every time we say goodbye, and Chet Baker's There will never be another you)


Many other nights

Jasper Gywn mi ha insegnato che non siamo personaggi, siamo storie. 
- Alessandro Baricco, Mr Gwyn

Will there be many other nights like
be standing here
watching you
like I could write your portrait
in my mind
while I watch you dance

Like I could listen to some truest self
speaking through your moving body
and come up
with the setting and the props
and characters and plot
that would speak about you
like people would read it and say
that's him

Will there be many other nights like
be standing here
trying to spot you among the crowd
of swaying and jumping bodies
trying to listen to your truest self
while I watch you dance

Variation on Paul Blackburn's Listening to Sonny Rollins at the Five Spot and Alessandro Baricco's Mr Gwyn

(Or variation the third on not-precisely-Eleven jazz poems)

A hundred indecisions, and a hundred visions and revisions which a minute will reverse

Celebrar el naufragio
Desatar al destino
Olvidar frente al mar
que lo mismo es distinto
- Jordi Soler, Los peces del viento

And would it have been worth it
after all
after the cups, the marmalade, the tea
after the sunsets, the dooryards and the sprinkled streets
after the skirts that trailed along the floor
after having beaten off the matter with sighs and cries and smiles
after having squeezed the universe into a ball
and rolled it towards all these overwhelming questions
after having settled pillows by each other's head
would it have been worthwhile
after all
just to say
once more
"I am Lazarus, come from the dead
come back to tell you all
but now I know I should not tell you all"

And how should I begin?
Will I find the strenght
to force the moment to its crisis?
And should I then presume?

(I should've been a pair of ragged claws
scuttling across the floors of silent seas)

(Yet another variation on Prufrock)