Seven Contemporary Italian Poets (6/7)


Michele Zaffarano, translated by Linh Dinh:

a prince

don’t be wolves
don’t be snakes
don’t cry for onions
let the fog cuddle you
let many mountains
let scorpions
bathe in your own tears
travel by ship
take little walks
sketch giraffes
swim breaststrokes
sprawl naked in the woods
running naked over meadows
play as they cuddle you
get dirty
climb over meadows over vegetables
chase squirrels
lions tigers made of ceramic

take a cold shower
give many kisses on the mouth
go up trees
go to sardinia
cut the cake
eat cake with cream
don’t prefer mint
don’t let dying nature die
Saturday and Sunday
make a mess of your house
keep a warm bed
joke with flowers
with death that knows ugliness
forecast bad weather
feel yourself be taken for a ride
go to bed early
go by boat
eat spinach giving you iron
play alone
don’t throw tin cans but on the ground
move about by airplane
yank up the grass the violas
yank problems from your psyche
take a boatride
go up to saturn

sit on your words
watch the sea
watch plants die
frequent a swimming pool
stay in bed
sweat to make yourselves well
be more devilish than the devil
eat bananas not fishbones
stop pollution
replant knocked down trees
play with dolls
observe the sun the moon
then eat cooked apple cooked carrot
listen to the music of benedetto marcello
then listen to propellers too
go to the sea for the view
make friends give you gifts even dead ones
buys cds of tyrannosaurus rex
watch out for earthworms and birds
make flowers rot
don’t waste any part of the pig
don’t dirty the snow or other dirty things
don’t play the murderer

look at trees butterflies prickly grass yellow flowers
enjoy chocolate slide all the way down get sick
get yourselves some war night cream the sky
arm yourselves pop balloons nature’s in ruin

go to the zoo the museum go to the airport
travel by train work rarely stay out of the wind
motorcycle around don’t take the highway don’t ex-
pire as long as you could let loose dogs monsters witches

spoil your winter the cat alone swim
climb up high hills go down on a sled
pass through a fire the countryside
the chirping of birds flowering trees

argue divide up all the cheese that you have
watch skiing stars bathroom flowering cherry trees
be sad get beaten up eat vegetables
travel with dolls with skirts ride a bike around

all the animals that you have the adventures that you have
make a snake face a white-finned shark face
be a brick fish catch the catfish
the television’s on burglars are inside the house

make all the ruckus you want heard the Spring
act like monkeys cut fish with scissors
make holes puncture rafts and more be moles
scream in Italian ski stay home all day long

a red apple

to have a horse
to be small again
may it always be summer
may life be milder
than all the animals on earth
to be a rock
to go forward and back in time to see primitive men
to have a house made of olive trees
to go by horse
to sleep on a fir bed
to go to the sea
to go far away
to go live in america
to play blindman’s bluff
may meteorites not fall to earth
may life be made of beds only
to be a friend to all her friends
to live in an enormous house with a swimming pool
to be on a galleon forever
to be a peach tree
a fox
to fly
to learn all the languages
to be a squirrel
a horse
to go to the sun

to be an eagle
to not go to work
to look at mountains from afar
to be a tour guide
to look at castles
to look at cottages of millionaires
come look in my castle
to be a ghost without head leaving the grave
to be a ghost without head leaving to frighten
a star to be
to have a magic wand and make all sorts of magic
to go into space
to know german
to have a crocodile inside the house
to see men what things they use to eat
to see men what things they use to cut
to see objects
to become a high jumper
an airplane
to live outside with the flowers
to live on the bottom of the sea
to live in los angeles but also in san francisco

to see tarzan nude
to be seven again
an adventure
may it always be spring
to stay at home
may children not harm other children
may nature not be polluted
to throw myself from a waterfall
a magical horse
to go away to mexico
to run around with my friends all night long forever
to ride a dog
to go on a rainbow
to have a garden filled with flowers
a tiger with schiavona-like teeth
to be a snake in the jungle
to know how to tell stories
to be an archeologist
a mummie
to swim with dolphins
to play with dolls
may books be made solely with pictures
to live in a cottage in the woods
if only I wasn’t blonde with blue eyes
if only I had green hair with red eyes
to have a dog
to go on a tgv train
to be kidnapped by pirates
to have as your house the sphinx
to go on a time machine and see the jurassic period
and bring back some dinosaurs to cause much fright

to throw myself from a bridge
to be a king
to live on a farm
to have a tarantula or half a scorpion
to have half a scorpion and half a tarantula
to have a stall
to throw myself from a castle
to make five million a year
to be a bird
to go on a cruise
dog horse fairy sun
mickey mouse squirrel
cat a fish
a mamma bear
a bed
on the beach
a fish
me you and the sun
to play doctor
to be a missile
may it always be summer
to stay with my cat
may spring last a lifetime
to belong to a circus
if only dinosaurs were still here
to help animals
to have a telescope
to go to egypt
to go to my sister in munich
to stay in the jungle
to climb up trees without hurting myself
may all the people be alive
a bed of cedar

to go to china
have myself called mohammad
to pilot an airplane
a boat
a world map from the 1600’s
an ice cream
to work to improve
to be small again
to be small
to be even smaller

Michele Zaffarano was born in Milan in 1970 and now lives in Rome. His texts have appeared in Qui. Appunti dal presente, Poesia, New Review of Literature and in various anthologies. In 2007, La Camera verde in Rome published E l’amore fiorirà splendidamente ovunque (felix series) and Il culto dei feticci nell’Italia contemporanea. His translations into Italian of these French writers, Roche, Cadiot, Tarkos, Espitallier, Gleize, etc., have appeared in Testo a fronte, Nuovi argomenti, L’Ulisse, l’immaginazione and Exit. With Gherardo Bortolotti, he edits “chapbooks,” a series of experimental literature from France, Italy and the U.S. He is also a co-editor of GAMMM.


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