Gail Tirone

Gail Tirone

Gail Tirone was born and raised in New York City. Her family is originally from Italy, and she appreciates the Mediterranean region and culture on many levels. Gail has lived around the world, from Charlotte Amalie to Taipei, and speaks fluent Mandarin and mediocre Italian. A Best of the Net nominee, she now lives in Houston. She writes about the immigrant family experience and the intersection of time, place, memory and myth. Gail’s poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Amsterdam Quarterly, NDQ, Hawaii Pacific Review, Mediterranean Poetry, The Hong Kong Review, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and are upcoming in Cider Press Review and elsewhere.

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A Blind Man in Venice

Why does a blind man come to Venice?
To sense the excitement
to smell the beauty
soak it in with the scent of the
green canal waters and the
sway of the vaporetti under his feet
the frenetic pace of the other tourists
pitched against the absolute solidity
of the ancient stones running through his cane
as he passes it back and forth across them
stones silent and enduring
that render us insignificant

Cats lick themselves on the stones in the sun
lazy and indifferent to beauty
laundry hangs mundane and pragmatic
in defiance of all the fuss
geraniums grow in their window boxes
blithely attached to seventeenth century facades

Why does a blind man come to Venice?
To trace the gaudy designs on the gilt
and red cups the elaborate small glass
animals with his nimble fingers
To feel the passive absurdity of the
flat cool Carnivale masks hanging in the shops
as, eyeless, they observe
tourists sitting and grinning in gondolas
passive and happy as nursing babies

In the Piazza San Marco he listens to the church chimes
and savors nocciola gelato
tasting his lover’s lampone
— not letting any drip
At the foot of the Rialto Bridge
the man wants to purchase a heavy glass paperweight
smooth and round and containing
a cacophony of colors he can only imagine
colors rendered eternal and solid in glass
for him it is an emblem of Venice
his lover understands and complies
choosing a beautiful lush-colored orb

A blind man in Venice
falls asleep on a stone bench
head on his lover’s lap
At his shaded perch in one of the
pink umbrella’d cafes lining the canals
he sips cool Tocai, so light a white wine
it can almost be drunk like water
and toasts life, love and the future
ripples of water reflecting on his unknowing
smiling face

At the end of the day
making love on a creaky bed
on the top floor of an old pension
he falls asleep blind but content in Venice.

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Poetry in this post: © Gail Tirone
Published with the permission of Gail Tirone