Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Search for a Home

Image result for pasolini

With New Orleans being gobbled up by the Giant Evil Gentrification Machine—first it was condos, now it’s airBnB and VRBO–regular working folks are wondering how to hang on. Everyone I know is in panic mode about rising rents, so I thought it was a good time to share this poem by Pier Paolo Pasolini. His poem, “The Search For a Home” describes that feeling we all get looking at Craigslist ads for $1500 rentals:  I just want someplace to call home.

Pasolini was better known as a filmmaker. He also wrote poetry and prose. He struggled all of his life, worked as a clerk and as a teacher. Some of my favorite Pasolini poems are the ones describing his bus rides to work, looking out the window, daydreaming, whining about being a poet having to go to work as a clerk. Due to his involvement with the Communist party, and his rejection of mainstream religion, he found it hard to get work and was often censored. He faced prejudice because of his homosexuality from everyone—including the Communists. These poems were written after he was kicked out of the Italian Communist party for being gay.  (sometime in the late 1940s, early 1950s.)  Born in 1922, in Bologna, Italy, he was murdered outside of Rome in 1975. His murder remains unsolved.

If you can read Italian, the poems in their original language are strikingly beautiful. My second choice would be the translations by Ferlinghetti & Valenta. (Other translations are disappointing. Perhaps because Ferlinghetti is also a poet, he grasps the rhythm, spirit and beauty of Pasolini’s verses—the soul.) Roman Poems, one of City Lights’ marvelous Pocket Poets Series, has the poems in both languages.

The best poetry is eternal.  Blacklisted in 1950s Rome—or too broke to pay the skyrocketing rents in 2015’s new New Orleans—the feeling is the same.

The Search For a Home

I’m searching for the house where I’ll be buried,

wandering around the city like an inmate

of a poorhouse or rest home out on a pass

—–

with a face baked by fever,

dry white skin and beard,

Oh god, yes, someone else is responsible

——

for the choice. But this dull

upsetting day of forbidden life

with a sunset blacker than dawn,

——

throws me into the streets of the enemy city

to look for a house that I no longer want.

The work of anguish has succeeded.

—–

If this last youthful reaction

has meaning, wrapping the heart in paper,

let’s see: what is there today wasn’t there

—–

yesterday? Every day my anxiety is higher,

every day the grief more mortal.

Today more than yesterday terror exalts me. . .

—–

To me this part of the city always seemed joyful

but now is just horror and nothing more.

It seemed somewhat working class, good enough

—–

to walk around in unknown, vast to

the point of seeming a city of the future.

And here a “Tobacco Shop,” there “Bread and Pasta.”

—–

Here the face of a little bourgeois, dark

body-hair and an all-white soul

like the skin of an egg, neither tender nor hard. . .

—–

Crazy! He and his fathers who vainly

Have made it into the clique, fat servants

of dried-up adventurers from the Padana plains.

—–

And who are you, I’d really like to see you,

you planners of these dumps

built out of selfishness, for people without nerves

—–

who install their children and old women

as if for a secret consecration:

no eyes, no mouths, no ears,

—–

only that winking blessing,

and here are the Fascist fortresses, made with the cement

of pissoirs, here the thousand identical

—–

luxury buildings for executives

transubstantied with marble pediments,

hard status symbols, equivalent solidities.

—–

And where then to find my studio, calm

and lively, the “dreamt-of nest of my poems”

which I cherish in my heart like a Pascoli psalm?

—–

One whom the police won’t grant

a passport—and at the same time

the newspaper, which should be the seat

—–

of his real life, doesn’t value

his verses, and censors them.

He’s the one who’s called a man without faith

—–

who doesn’t conform and doesn’t renounce.

Thus it’s right he can’t find anywhere to live.

Life gets tired of those who endure.

—–

Ah, my recidivist passions

forced not to have a dwelling!

Flying to eternal summery lands

—–

I’ll fill out the forms of the world:

“without fixed residence.” It’s Truth

that clears the way. I feel its endless patience

—–

under my atrocious anxiety.

I could also play the part of the crazy, angry man. . .

Just to live!  The will to survive requires

—–

fictions which confirm

every act of being. The house

I’m looking for will be —why not? —a basement

—–

an attic, a dump in Mombassa,

or an atelier in Paris. . . I could

also return to that stupendous phase

—–

of painting. . . I already smell the five or six

colors I love, sharp perfume

between the turpentine and the glue

—–

of the frames just made. . .I already feel

the silent spasm in my throat

of technical intuitions, trash

—–

of the old school, marvelously made new.

And in the cornea, red on red

on other reds, in glorious glazes

—–

where the flame is a summit

of the Apennines, or the heat of youths

in Friuli who piss in a ditch

—–

singing in the dusk of the poor. . .

One day perhaps I’ll be grateful to you

for this poor strength that rejuvenates me,

—–

you conformists, with hearts deformed

not by the brutality of your capital

but by the heart of itself, because it has

—–

yielded to evil in other times.

Heart of man which I can no longer,

as a man, either love or judge,

—–

forced as I am down here,

at the bottom of the world, to feel different,

lost to every youthful love.

************************************

Pier Paolo Pasolini

1950s, Rome

translated from the original Italian by Lawrence Ferlinghetti & Francesa Valente

Roman Poems, Pier Paolo Pasolini

© 1986 by City Lights Books

Pocket Poets Series No. 41

San Francisco, CA

Roman Poems  by Pier Paolo Pasolini   1986

http://www.citylights.com/book/?GCOI=87286100337210&fa=author&person_id=4922

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/108658.Roman_Poems

Who Killed Pasolini?    1995 film

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0114096/

Pier Paolo Pasolini,  IMDB Biography

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001596/

************************************

Photo Credit:  “Pasolini”, theeveningclassblog: http://tinyurl.com/ploe5fm

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Why We Love the Honeymooners

The Honeymooners title screen.png

© Copyright 2015 by Sara Jacobelli

Sure. Great actors, terrific writers, but I suspect me and my brother Nicky hit upon the real reason for the show’s timeless appeal. Ralph and Alice, Ed and Trixie, and that bare-bones set. It was the only TV show that allowed us to say, “We got better stuff than they do.”

On all the other shows, whether black and white stalwarts like Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best, The Donna Reed Show or the newer color shows like The Brady Bunch, the Dads all had terrific jobs where they made pots and pots and pots of money. They wore suits to work and were accountants or attorneys or architects or in advertising. Everyone lived in huge one family homes, had extra space, extra rooms: dining rooms-dens- family rooms-play rooms-guest bedrooms. They had huge back yards, nicer than a city park. June Cleaver always looked great and never bitched to Ward about money or his drinking or gambling.

No one we knew lived like that. The men in my neighborhood had crummy dead-end jobs, like Ralph Kramden the bus driver or Ed Norton the sewer worker. The women worked as diner waitresses or department store sales clerks. One of my friend’s fathers had the most exciting occupation: fireman. We lived in crowded apartments in noisy apartment buildings. Neighbors banged broom handles on the ceiling to tell you to shut up. No one had any privacy. Financial problems and marital squabbles were instant public knowledge. Franny Ruggerio would sit on her front stoop, hair in curlers, drinking beer and announcing embarrassing facts about our families for the amusement of the whole block. “Heard your old man’s on unemployment. Heard your aunt and uncle’s getting divorced. Your phone got turned off. Your Ma’s drinking too much.” This was said to children, not adults, and the kids usually hung their heads in red-faced shame, though behind her back we’d make fun of her.

The Honeymooners were already in syndication and fairly old but we loved it more than the current shows. We also loved Lucy, of course, but the show biz world of I Love Lucy was terribly exotic. When The Honeymooners came on, I’d jump around and yell, “Look, Mom, they don’t got a living room! We’ve got a living room! They just got a kitchen and a bedroom!

She’d take a drag on a non-filter Lucky Strike. “Oh God, look at that ice-box. I remember those.” Our ancient, groaning refrigerator gleamed as the newest marvel of technology.

The stuff that Kramden and Norton did was the same stuff my father and his pals did. Shoot pool, go to the fights. Fight with their wives. Poppy didn’t bowl, but my Aunt Ruthie and Uncle Moe did. They all worked blue collar jobs. The rich, mysterious people on the other programs were strange to us. Our neighbors worked low paying jobs, struggled to pay the rent in tiny apartments, worked overtime to pay high heating bills in the New England winters. The dinners out and vacations and lavish homes of the other TV families were more unbelievable than Star Trek.

More than screaming with glee over our two bedroom apartment, living room couch, and TV set—compared to that familiar Kramden kitchen with the ice box, table and chairs and dresser–we loved the scams and schemes. No matter how many times we saw the shows, we’d always hold our breath and hope one of Ralph’s and Ed’s escapades would pay off. Every time my aunt Ruthie played the numbers, Poppy played poker, Uncle Leo got a job, I entered a contest, and Ralph and Ed invested in a get-rich-quick scheme, we crossed our fingers. If only things could work out, there’d be enough money, the grown-ups could be happy, just this one time.

“To the moon, Alice, to the moon!”

City, Moon, Buildings, Cityscape, Night

*****************

Author’s Notes:

The Honeymooners was an American TV show that aired from 1955-1956. According to IMDB, there were only 39 episodes. It starred comedian Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, Audrey Meadows as Alice Kramden, Art Carney as Ed Norton, and Joyce Randolph as Trixie Norton. The entire series was filmed in black and white and syndicated reruns were popular throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0042114/fullcredits?ref_=tt_ov_st_sm

Leave it to Beaver was an American TV show that aired from 1957-1963.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050032/fullcredits/

Father Knows Best was an American TV show that aired from 1954-1960.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046600/

The Donna Reed Show was an American TV show that aired from 1958-1966.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051267/

The Brady Bunch was an American TV show that aired from 1969-1974.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063878/

All TV series dates are from the IMDB website, Internet Movie DataBase.

************************

An earlier version of this story was published in The Anderson Valley Advertiser in Boonville, CA.

Picture Credits: “The Honeymooners” title screen. Wikipedia.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:The_Honeymooners_title_screen.png

“City, Moon, Buildings, Cityscape,”  Pixabay Copyright Free Images.

http://pixabay.com/en/city-moon-buildings-cityscape-35002/

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That bitch Katrina. . .

That bitch Katrina. . ..

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That bitch Katrina. . .

Sky, Cloud, Storm, Black And White

OK, I know. The tenth so called “anniversary” . . . oooh that’s a crummy word.  “remembrance”. . . “memorial”. . . “horrible thing that we’d like to forget but nobody’ll let us”? will soon be upon us. I know, I know, you really don’t want to relive the damn thing, and I don’t either.

But, let’s face it. It’s gonna be all over the news, on the radio, in the “The SomeTimes-Picayune.” So to head them off, if you have something you want to say about The Storm, please email it to me and I will post some of the pieces here.

Short pieces are preferred. Any genre is acceptable: flash nonfiction,  flash fiction, poetry, a one-act play, a letter.

I can’t offer much in the way of payment, but if you are a local, I’ll buy you a drink. (If you don’t live in New Orleans, you can come visit and I’ll buy you a drink too. So there.)

Why let our stories be told by others who weren’t there? Tell it yourself, in your own words. I’ll post whatever interesting stuff you send me throughout the month of August.

. . . and on August 29th, 2015? I’ll be crying, babe. I’ll be in a bar crying with my friends,  and missing those who are gone.

email:

sarajacobelli (at)  Hotmail  (dot)   com

You can include your story in the body of the email. Thanks.

***********************

Photo Credit: “Sky, Clouds, Storm,” Pixabay Copyright Free Images.

http://pixabay.com/en/sky-cloud-storm-black-and-white-614928/

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You Look so Young for Your Age!

You Look so Young for Your Age!.

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You Look so Young for Your Age!

Roses, Flower, Nature, Macro, Pink, Rose

My story, “You Look so Young for Your Age!” has been published on QuarterReads.com:

https://quarterreads.com/story.php?id=1356

Like I’ve said before, the most popular stories on this site seem to be sci fi, fantasy, horror, speculative fiction, or some combo of those. I wouldn’t dismiss the site for other stories, such as general/literary fiction, crime/mystery and whatever else you write. (But you might want to toss in a vampire or a zombie or some gratuitous time travel to get more hits.)

I’ve read some of the stories and liked them. They are good short reads for lunch breaks, or if you have a mobile device thingy, you can read them while riding on the bus or waiting in line.

At least they are paying writers. . . OK, it’s not much, but if you get a lot of hits you can make a few dollars a month, enough to pay for your Duotrope subscription.

Check out these QuarterReads reviews:

https://todayschapter.wordpress.com/2014/10/18/my-thoughts-on-quarterreads/

http://alexisahunter.com/quarterreads/

https://traciemcbridewriter.wordpress.com/2015/05/17/quarterreads-a-short-read-at-a-fair-price/

https://bruceaborders.wordpress.com/quarterreads/

. . . and an interview with Ian Rose, the Portland, Oregon-based editor:

http://badcitizencorporation.com/2014/12/12/interrogation-ian-rose-of-quarterreads-com/

*************************

Photo Credit: “Roses, Flowers, Nature, Macro, Pink,” Pixabay Copyright Free Images.

http://pixabay.com/en/roses-flower-nature-macro-pink-22802/

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