Allan Lake, originally from Saskatchewan, has lived in Vancouver, Cape Breton, Ibiza, Tasmania & Melbourne. Poetry Collection: Sand in the Sole (Xlibris, 2014). Lake won Lost Tower Publications (UK) Comp 2017 & Melbourne Spoken Word Poetry Fest 2018 & publication in New Philosopher 2020. Chapbook (Ginninderra Press 2020) My Photos of Sicily.
Old Sicilian men who do not have fields
to tend, whose offspring sprang far away,
occupy concrete benches in piazzas,
soaking up generous Sicilian sun.
Others at cafe tables engage in loud
debate about politics which tick-
tick time-bombesque on thread-bare,
strategic island that might be a country
in its own right but settled for less.
The old men speak Sicilian but read,
write language of invaders. List long.
Greeks now gone; Italian it is.
Some wear suits once worn to work.
Others adopt imported jeans, sneakers,
T-shirts that say very silly things
in any tongue other than Sicilian.
Idiocy in English is popular,
as is flag of ‘America’, via China’s
snaking belt and road.
No urge for independence here.
Men slap newspapers that confirm
they are the sunny, detached after-
thought of a country in shambles,
smoke, drink bitter espresso with sugar,
greet familiar faces and pass silent
judgment on pale, unfamiliar fly-ins
like me. Foreigners took much of value;
now they are coming to take the sun.
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Poetry in this post: © Allan Lake
Published with the permission of Allan Lake