by angeliska on September 14, 2003

The train from Vienna took us through the mountains,
spectacular and blue- covered with enormous firs and pines..
We roared through tunnels into the dark underbelly
and out again into blazing sunlight,
the Italian countryside rolling past the window..
After eight and half hours of train travel
and then the long boat ride through the canals
I find myself back on terra firma,
but still swaying slightly, dizzy
from so much continuous motion-
everything still feels like it is moving
and I have failed to regain my sense of equilibrium..
Venice is unreal- like no other city on earth..
Completely mysterious, I follow her
secret passages through deserted squares
over the dark water, murky and redolent
with seagull offal and tourist trash.
A nasty looking spiked chastity belt
in the ducal palace caught my eye today,
surrounded by immense swords and helmets,
thumbscrews and slim daggers..
the Veronese murals overhead,
wreathed in gaudy rococo swirls
and the swarms of people
and pigeons out in San Marco.
The Basilica reeking of frankincense,
flooding from a swinging censer.
I follow the plumes of smoke up to an open window
where one golden shaft of light pierces the dim
a sign warns-
all is byzantine gilt mosaic,
ex-votos silvery and glimmering behind glass-
A rifle hangs inexplicably beside a stautue of the virgin,
rows of penitents, kneeling, confessing..
Grandfather and I are finding concerts in every city,
orchestras and sting quartets in palaces and churches,
and my last night in Vienna, electronica with a newfound friend
in a great club below the tram station..
Oh, and we have a bidet in the bathroom at
Hotel Bonvecchiati, and I am eating gelato every single day.
And this is what I sing as I sit beside the canal,
watching lovers swooning in gondolas..
The Last Beat of My Heart

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