by angeliska on September 22, 2003

Ravenna and Padova were a blur of
subterranean crypts filled with water,
silver coins glinting on the tiled mosaic floor
and transparent fish gliding through the clear water
seeming to float there, suspended in space above the graves..
In Padua we managed to get in to see the Giotto frescos in the chapel,
and they were unimaginably lovely of course.
The Basilica of Saint Anthony houses his tongue, jawbone, and vocal cords.
I paid them all a visit, and was horrified and delighted to see
that his tongue in its jeweled reliquary does indeed resemble a shrivelled cactus.
The jaw casket, as you can see here is suitably terrifying:
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In these small towns, with our hotels situated so far away
from the city centre, and everything closed up after 11 or so
we were at a loss for how to occupy ourselves in the evenings..
Hence, we took up playing gin rummy every night-
My grandfather has turned out to be a card sharp,
and though I am no slouch myself, he still manages
to beat me 98% of the time- luck he says, eh?
We were, however, tossed out of the bar at the hotel
in Padua, as card playing in public is against the law.
Alrighty, then. We argued that we weren’t betting,
but they threatened to call the police and fine us many euros,
so we hied ourselves to the room and used a suitcase as a table.
Dangerous gin rummy players here, watch yourself!
Now in Florence, where the roar of vespas almost
drowns out the blind man playing violin beneath our window..
Viciously pointy shoes, faux-hawks, shiny sunglasses and roman noses abound.
Last night we found a concert of baroque music being played at a church nearby-
it featured a controtenore, which I hadn’t been expecting..
Marvelous to hear such a butch-looking man sing so beautifully,
like an innocent choirboy, he brought Farinelli to mind..
And the organist! My god, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard
Bach’s Toccata in Fuga on a gigantor church organ- it shakes the soul,
and I could barely contain my wild grin and urge to howl maniacally with glee-
some music will just have that effect on you..
And few things are sexier than an awkwardly beautiful (or is it beautifully awkward) man
playing violin beautifully, especially when he happens to be playing Paganini.
Out of time now,
more soon.

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