by angeliska on September 26, 2003

I seem to have caught an irritating little cold.
Likely it was last night, hunkering over my bare knees
during a surprisingly chilly outdoor performance of Macbeth.
Macbeth has always been my favorite Shakespearean drama.
It’s got the best soliloquies, I suppose that’s why.
They did a decent job of it, and it was enjoyable-
especially with the cedars rising up and the stars deep and bright.
Lately I’ve noticed how easy it is to get caught up in the habit
of watching the little red flags that pop up alongside coincidence-
It’s like watching the changing currents in the tide,
or seeing faces and burning angels in clouds-
you note their shapes and then let them pass.
I have, however, a strange predilection for
attracting the strangest synchronicities-
maybe I’ve just gotten used to it.
Florence is a shockingly small town, I’ll say that much.
The days are growing shorter, and our holiday is one week away
from its end- I don’t even want to contemplate it really..
We are taking each day in a slower stride-
Allowing more time for st(rolling) through the streets,
and wandering the museums..It was thrilling to finally
visit the Uffizi Gallery, after longing for so many years to see it.
I spent almost an hour in contemplation of my favorite Annunciation,
and seeing the Botticelli pieces- how wonderful..
Standing in front of the Birth of Venus, a print of which hung
over my mother’s bed in my childhood- some of my earliest memories
are of laying there in that big bed in the afternoons,
staring at that painting, transfixed by it.
Later we went to the Farmacia of Santa Maria di Novella,
“The best-smelling place on earth”
And it was indeed heavenly..
Hannibal Lecter shops there, after all.
I bought rosewater and Armenia Paper, and was torn between
Pomegranate Perfume, or the Colonia Russa..
The Russa won in the end, no surprise, as autumn is coming on,
and it smells like strong black tea indescribable..
I’ve been so obsessed with scent lately..
I haven’t bought much on this trip but postcards,
elaborate scarves and perfumes..
Fig Pulp, and Spiced Tea, Sandalwood and Murmure..
They sell L’Artisan all over the place, and I’ve been
struggling to resist, though it is the best..
But which one? Premier Figuer, is my absolute favorite
(in case you ever intended to try to woo me.)
But Voleur des Roses, Tea for Two, Passage d’Enfer
and the most perfect name ever: Mechant Loup
It smells like the forest, hazelnuts and pernod- extremely sexy.
I’ve been reading like mad- it’s lovely to have some time to-
So far, I’ve torn through everything I brought with me:
The Master and Margarita- Mikhail Bulgakov
Margery Kempe -Robert Gluck
(umlaut should be there, over the u, but isn’t- again, I lack the ability to be diacritical on this Italian machine.)
The End of the Affair, by Graham Greene
Someone left a battered old Bantam copy in my house. At the time it was originally sold, it only cost 35 cents. The first (I would imagine) owner marked every passage regarding belief with a fountain pen, it’s blue ink faded the milky blue of cataracts now..
The Abyss, by Marguerite Yourcenar, which I mentioned earlier and highly reccomend..
Weird Europe, by Anneli Rufus – I’d been looking for this ever since I first came across it years ago- It’s been reprinted and is essential travel reading for anyone with eccentric tastes.
Magnificent Corpses, also by Anneli Rufus – A wonderful book detailing the search for incorrupt bodies of saints and other saintly relics across Europe. Very useful, and well written.
Very special books to me, the lot of them.
But now I’m at loose ends for reading material..
What can you reccomend? I’m down to reading Grampa’s
Raymond Chandler and Andrew Vacchs, who I actually like quite alot
but I finished it in one sitting and I need something a bit more..
My grandfather stops me to give coins to the gypsy women..
One plays the same tune over and over on a battered accordion,
her infant son lolling in a stroller, his dark eyes huge.
Tomorrow we go to Rome.

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