Sunday, January 11, 2009

Marco Giovenale

translated by Linh Dinh:

world dominion, XVII

the shifting of the earth’s axis, no? the collapse of the scaffolding on 4th of November Street, no? the landslide on Ischia, no? a pain on the ribs, no? the success of your last film, no? he was the son of an egyptian, from the first century, no? as elena walks by they turn around, no? a mouthful of air in mexico city, no? spike tried to get up, no? they checked the troubled breathing, no? the nurses were ready for the tracheotomy, no? the journalists arrive in small bunches, no? december hinders the ambulances, no? everyone frantic for presents, no? dust from the sarcophagus, no? she has already disappeared through the back door, no? the room spinned and the light went out, no? driving a taxi the wrong way against a check point he shot and was hit, no? they kidnap people arriving at the airport, no? there’s nothing to be done, no? now they go to notify the relatives, but there aren’t any, no? take a look, not even friends, no? the wife went out the service entrance, no? he only had beauty, no? not very brave but armed, no?

world dominion, XV

not satisfied? help us to improve_ © 2006 _supplying cross bars, a ministerial decree, and they won't be applied homogeneously to all emergencies, the production doesn't seem updated, the scientific one, of the majority of the minority group. why are there two doctors. unhappy. are you unhappy? help us to improve _ © 2007 _supplying medicine, aid, provoking a wave of responses of surprising proportion, unless specified it means that [omitted] has been prescribed for the interviewee. somewhat linked with vomitting. it's very frequent among children, and could appear as an isolated symptom, or accompanied by intestinal irritations. "it was absolutely important that we win." damages from the shed fire. at what point? help us to improve_ © 2008 _supplying workers. keep it hard. don't give up more than 100 euros, i'm not satisfied with my life at all, from the moment my mind became lost in thoughts this evening, i can't remember the password, from any assignment. "we've suffered too much." performances, odd sundays, double shots, dogs


The butcher goes: “It was a film of unheard of delicacy,” each word accompanied by a red line of cleaver falling on meat.

He smiles, forms little teardrops between his eyelashes. Raising his left hand, he leaves the tiniest gap between thumb and index finger: “An entire plotline filled with miraculous nuances,” and down goes the bone knife, on fat, traces of blood, mushy paste, oozes, of a flank.

With all that is immeasurable tiptoeing at the far end of the spirit, he brings down his forearm and smashes strips of marrow, shards of ribs, and fussily forms another larme—a tiny teardrop—recalling the film.

His audience is a little old man, crepuscular and illiterate, an anecdote sitting against the door, but then he falls asleep, soothed by the sun.

The chopping flings specks of nerves and muscles against the glass, blood and tendons pooling on the counter. The butcher stops and smiles again, his elbow on the idle blade, chin and pathos in his palm; his gaze very far away; while a fly comes and goes without pause, glowing like crazy, as if in happiness.


The murderer’s sister ties herself to a bed and sleeps without moving the entire time.

At the senate they stick a finger into their collars out of nervousness, turning red because the one responsible is among them, a fact they know well, too well.

They buy many bedsheets, thinking they’d cut them into ribbons to climb down. But first they’d have to climb up, they’d have to be imprisoned, and this could never happen without legal proceedings, incrimination, and confession of guilt…

Everyone confesses. (Everyone is forgiven).

(They kill themselves out of shame). (For this they’re also forgiven).

from They were in Danger
[text in progress]


It's very easy to catch the disease and resistance must be prompt from the first hours of the morning.

It's not easy to resist. But it is the minimal (or even maximal) degree of the acknowledged remedy. Even if, until now, there has never been in reality an actual remedy.

Once caught, the disease is essentially inside. Irreversible and incurable. The people sit for many hours, close relatives especially, observing and faulting one another without a word about their condition.

Every now and then the sound of an ambulance somewhat far away somewhat near reminds them of where they are, though it's no longer an innocuous noise as when, in plain clothes, they laughed in their own manner in the familiar world.

They were in danger.


In the evening they went to Veneto street. There, there was a distributor of uranium open day and night, so they became brilliant without knowing it.


Weak, he does not want to be born. He would gladly be born in reverse, towards the dark, shot towards the dark. He would rather be born backward, reversed, with an ample dosage, sleeping, stiff necked, recoiling to not see, dodging the hanging tin pails, ropes on the ground, traps, uncovered buckets, marble, grey rock floors, cylinders that are seating structures and straw, emptying, à rebours, rewind, always giving way towards less, towards black, towards a diminution neither generated nor general but a diminution that belongs to him, a waning of unity, of one only, lacking, letting go, away away, diminishing as stated, subtracted, shortening, once more with less stuff and personality, cough and chill, another cough further away, a pronounced chill, empty room.


Yes, like you told me, I refused to listen to music, because of the dust. On the record, yes. I didn't even read, not even a letter, for the same reason, just as stated. Stayed in my hiding place the entire time. I tried not to learn anything. Tried to simplify to the utmost my words. At any moment simplicity was even stronger than reality. I thought I was betraying it. It was full of specks. No one could verify what I said. When it was transcribed by the reporters the most celebrated phrase, relative to love, many of them didn't understand the objective. Even if I simplified everything, at the risk of lying, not everything was clear to them. Nearly nothing, really. Now as I cross entirely into deception, I'm thinking: now it will be clear, explicit. I'll always lie, completely, without rhetoric. Plainly. Everything will be deciphered. They'll want it that way. They'll understand me because it's also their language. With all the syntax reduced to zero, totally simplified. They understand the lies, the distortions. They'll read. It will be clear. I was wrong. It didn't even work like that. It wasn't working.

Marco Giovenale was born in 1969 and lives in Rome. He maintains a webpage, slowforward, and is the editor of bina and Sud, and of the websites GAMMM, Poetry Kessel-lo, Absolute poetry and others. He writes reviews for the newspaper il manifesto. He is the author of these books of poems, Curvature (2002), Il segno meno (2003), Altre ombre (2004), A rhyme mirror (2007), Criterio dei vetri (2007) and La casa esposta (2007); an e-book of prose, Endoglosse; and a chapbook of new endoglosses, Numeri primi (2006). Four translations from Baudelaire and some “sought poems”/excerpts from Les fleurs du mal make up the book Spleen / Macchinazioni per fiori, with images by Alfredo Anzellini (2007.) A gunless tea (23 fragments) is published for the 2007 Dusi/e-chap project (, June 2007, and is also available online as a pdf file at, issue 7 (see “vie et pli”.) His work is also featured in these magazines: Action Poétique, Exit, The Black Economy, Journal of Italian Translation, Word for / word, Zswound, Coupremine, forward/text, P.F.S. Post, fhole, Shampoo (n.31), Coconut (n.11), Starfish, Blackbox, Venereal kittens, (feb. 2008), and others. Five texts are in InVerse (John Cabot University, 2007.) Poems and critical pieces have also been published in Aufgabe, #7, 2008, edited by Jennifer Scappettone for Litmus Press. Other poems are in the vol.5, n.2 of The New Review of Literature (selected by A.Inglese), Otis College of Art and Design, 2008.

Gherardo Bortolotti

translated by Linh Dinh:

working + bgmole (12 paragraphs for Vivalibri, 18/06/2007)


In the middle of a scene from which he could see the end, kinch went to work, collaborating with the construction of the present and of autumn mornings. In the glimpses of shop windows, of crosswalks, of apartment buildings, he lost track of small, lazy trains of thoughts, irrelevant analogies, superfluous opinions no one bothered to register. From balconies, certain details distracted him deeply, triggering incongruent feelings and phrases such as “lithium” and “human nature.”

22. We look on with sympathy our natural propensity to live.


Successive evenings in time during which, erratically, definite decisions were made, and always in regard to the same torment or point: go on a diet, quit smoking, read Balzac, warm up towards one’s intimates. The flow of our wasted days dragged along empty detergent boxes, phone calls in the office, insignificant particulars of evenings spent with friends.

153. Arriving at the question of truth, or of goodness, we preferred to change the subject or to turn to an expert. The afternoon silence had vast limits. It insisted on an indistinct roar, a memory of first love, a profoundly wrong notion of the world.


We did not recognize the signs of the time and, at diner, continued to watch television news, following the framing of corpses in Baghdad, Putin’s visits. During mid-week evenings, we approached the conditions of real people, of normal folks who unravel themselves by shopping, go out to diner, take brief trips to Florence.

66. Digressing from his lofty thoughts, bgmole was animated by the particulars of his rooms, moving along baseboards, edges of shelves, in search of certain phrases mumbled in a low voice, of certain comforting analogies between his conditions and, for example, the passing wind. He often pitched his tent near memories that a glimpse of the kitchen, like a dimensional trap, had retained.


In the half light of October mornings, eve began to doubt the existence of her similars. The traffic noises sounded more like nature, the roar or howl of a civilization in progress.

101. On the margins of the suburb, bgmole completed the cycles of seasonal progress, made up of acquisitions and plans for integrating small daily problems (migraines, a loan, withdrawal of surplus value). During certain weeks, especially in the morning, he would be run over by someone else’s clear will.


On the crest of progress, strengthened by our hot water, by antibiotics, by wideband internet, we drove in traffic towards the future and our transitory occupations. Impressions of errors made and of messy apartments. We left the next move to fate as the knots arrived at a comb in someone else’s hand.

209. From the heights of our experience as consumers, we listened to wireless music in supermarkets. During arguments, we referred to past events as if to our own lives and cited, with a certain precision, old television shows and second rate international pop authors.


Made to recall the evidences of a season from our past, of a mild youth, solitary and squalid, we came to a discovery and admitted to have failed in everything: musical tastes, love, readings. We remained on the verge of another sad conclusion, touching a postcard found in a drawer, a Morrisey T-shirt, and thought, involuntarily, of another.

5. Conditioned, from old marketing strategies, to prefer the easy version of things, we discovered with abstract astonishment deft consumptions, premature deaths. While billboard models introduced esoteric arguments into the down times of our urban rides, we turned to the future and waited for the dream to be interrupted.


Sitting among premises that deceived him, and among his own wrong ideas about the politics of the Middle East, bgmole asked himself to which future scenario should he entrust his resources of hope and imagination. The beginning of Spring bound him to what’s coming without bringing, from the media, from the blogosphere, signals that many had been waiting for.

114. Opinions also well articulated, of no influence on the state of things and without relevance to actual course of events. Watching television news, we nourished the conviction of knowing how things went down and, because of this, changed the channel in search of a certain resolute phrase.


Surrendering himself to a present of half-solutions, of generic phrases, of low keyed projects, kinch spent the hours after dinner watching television. From the images on the screen, in the dark, he could read the horoscope for his working weeks, for mornings spent on the beltway.

87. hapax preferred the warmth of sheets, bottoms of drawers, glimpses behind heaters. During voyages through the apartment, he would rest near the details of secondary furnishings, on a peaceful plain at the foot of the baseboard where a lozenge of light, from the road, composed itself on the dust.


From the outskirts of well-being, where we were quartered during the days of our youth, we directed our gaze beyond the holidays, Saturday acquisitions, Sunday afternoons, and saw nothing. The hollowness of things was so vast that it gathered, in time, barbs and cumulonimbi.

2. In spite of contradictions, we live somewhat comfortably on the margins of capitalistic modes of production, betting on their promotions and summer sales to stay in touch with fashionable merchandises, with our similars. Evenings became moments to take stocks of situations and things that were, in some ways, not quite in order. Thanks to a simple problem of illumination, perhaps, our rooms became sad, and strange, and we crossed them filled with suspicions.


While old acquaintances became lost in cycles of acquisitions, of musical fashions, we decided to spend our vacations in third-world countries free of labor unions. On the beltway, our prospects became cluttered with occasions for waste, virtual regrets, superficial thoughts on the state of things.

38. We resumed the discourse nearly each evening, after turning off the television.


In spite of the fact that much of politics was delegated to transnational organizations, not democratically elected, bgmole equipped himself with opinions on the war, on the debts of developing countries, on illegal immigration. He perceived, nevertheless, especially when he couldn’t comprehend the sequence of news on television, a contradiction located at a vague point in the spread of arguments, a compromised assumption, such as, whatever he knew of the world, to the smallest minutiae, of whatever validity, usefulness, truthfulness.

43. Remaining open many issues regarding our attachment to ideals of fame, wealth and a refusal to work we had intuited during the long afternoons of our youth. Later, in the evening, travelling to a shopping center, we considered with detachment our position, as we stayed there, trapped inside the symptom of something.

Through the email, I interviewed Gherardo Bortolotti. I asked the questions in English, he answered in Italian, which I then translated into English:

LD: Italy is country of vast regional differences, with many distintive urban centers. Is the poetry scene reflective of this fact? Are poets in Naples much different than the ones in Milan?

GB: I’d say it’s true what you pointed out about great regional differences (from town to town even) that mark Italian culture but I don’t believe there’s a correlation between this fact and the literature that’s coming out.

It’s true that the history of our culture, and in particular our literature, was marked by the issue of language, or rather the absence of a unified language, reflecting the absence of a national political or administrative center. This issue was much debated, from Dante until the last century. The question of language was tied to the political fragmentation of the Italian pennisula. This situation has produced two phenomena that are opposite yet complimentary, recurring over and over in the history of our literature.

On the one hand, there’s the drive to construct a language and an “ideal” literature, with roots in the mythical figures of Petrarch and Boccaccio and inspired by Dante and the Dolce Stil Novo. From the 16th century onward, it has cultivated a poetry and a prose written in the common Tuscan dialect—refined through its contact with Latin—as the national model (even, from a formal perspective, as an international model, but that’s another issue altogether).

On the other hand, there’s a continuation of writing in dialects, in the colloquial languages, corrupted, even invented, which has had less success than the Petrarchian tradition but, in spite of everything, is still a fundamental element of Italian literature (just think of Pasolini and his use of Romanesco and notice, further, that Pasolini also wrote in the Friulian dialect).

In the last fifty years, however, after a century and a half of unification, with the spreading tentacles of television and its homogenizing influence, not just on language but also on local cultures and characteristics, regional norms, traditions and matters related to language have been much weakened. Although dialects are still employed for everyday use, are still vibrant, the language issue is less felt nowadays (or rather: the issue is not the definition of a national language but the impoverishment of language caused by the mass media).

As for the regional or provincial aspect of our culture, what remains is an extreme fragmentation of the literary scene, especially with poetry, which is dispersed to the tiniest provincial towns. Even authors with a national reputation would ensconce themselves, above all, in their “territory.” But this diffused literary production is also a positive. For me, it’s a sign of vitality. Nevertherless, the problem is that the various centers have almost nothing to do with each other, but consider themselves self-sufficient.

Notice that this “self-sufficiency” is not limited to small localities but is found, on a different scale, even in more important cities such as Rome and Milan (between which, for example, there is not much exchange). Notice, above all, that this self-sufficiency implies, in general, an indifference to the international scene and results in a tendency to confront questions of theories, forms and poetics in strictly personal terms, of affiliation to this or that author or circle.

To sum up, I want to point out that the web, with the birth of the collective blogs (such as Nazione Indiana or Absolute Poetry), above all, seems to have created a sort of national arena for exchange and debate that will rapidly transform the situation, I believe.

LD: Of the two websites you mention, Absolute Poetry has an English name, while Nazione Indiana [Indian Nation] refers to America. GAMMM, the webzine you co-edit, also prints American poetry frequently, sometimes just in the English originals, without Italian translations. Marco Giovenale, one of GAMMM’s other editors, has a chapbook written in English called “Gunless Tea.” Another editor, Michele Zaffarano, has a poem with an English title, “Boys Keep Swinging.” How do American culture and the English language affect Italian poetry? I remember seeing many Charles Bukowski books in Italian bookstores, but which American poets are considered important over there? Which are important to those in your circle?

GB: As far as the influence of American culture on poetry or, rather, on Italian literature, I must say that, as you can imagine, the issue is truly very complex (also because it is taking place within the global context of Anglo-Saxon cultural assertion, with its victory in World War II, the fall of the Soviet Union, and globalism, etc.).

To answer briefly, however, you could say that there has been a very strong American influence on Italian culture, especially pop culture, but in the so-called “high” culture (including literature), there has been little influence and that only recently, with the youngest generation of writers.

To understand this somewhat schizophrenic situation you must keep a few points in mind. First of, you must consider that, for various segments of Italian society, and especially with immigration starting in the late 19th century, America was the land of wealth and a freedom from a real, extreme poverty. Further, you must remember that with the Allies’ presence on Italian soil at the end of World War II, Americans became the “liberators” and, in this way, laid the foundation for their cultural hegemony (as well as a political and military one that is still in effect today—just look at Berlusconi’s support for the war in Iraq), reinforced soon after by an endless stream of pop imageries that the United States, above all, but also Great Britain, have managed to export.

At the same time, however, you must always keep in mind the diffidence of a basically idealistic and conservative culture like Italy when confronted with American pragmatism, whether cultural or social. And then there’s the gap between Catholic and Protestant values. And, also, the ideological aversion from either the left or right, even if for different reasons and in different ways. Notice, for example, the Fascist ban on a famous anthology of American authors, edited by Elio Vittorini and Cesare Pavese (who chose Faulkner, Hemingway, Steinbeck, etc., as alternative models to the Italian literature at the time). Likewise, the very strong Italian Communist Party obviously mistrusted American culture, especially American pop culture, with its emphasis on consumerism and its blindness to questions of class (and yet, the most important translators of American literature were all associated with the Communists, such as the aforementioned Vittorini, for example).

All of this brings us to the present situation, which is really paradoxical: in Italian bookstores one can find a huge selection of mainstream American fiction (and even some underground fiction) but almost nothing of American poetry, especially from the last 50 years. One can find Bukowski, as you pointed out, and one can find a translation of the old New American Poetry anthology, edited by Allen, a few moderns (Pound, above all, some Stein but absolutely no Zukofsky), something by Ashbery but, in light of the frenetic volume of poetry generated by the United States, one could say that there’s almost nothing available in Italy. To cite one example, I can tell you that even a movement as important as Language Poetry is practically unknown in Italy, even among specialists. You’ll discover this if you try to search the catalogs of Italian libraries. American poetry is only beginning to be published in a systematic way with the appearance of two very recent anthologies, edited by Luigi Ballerini and Paul Vangelisti and published by Mondadori (one of the most important Italian publishers). Otherwise, the initiative is left to a few well-intentioned individuals (Damiano Abeni, above all). One reason why we launched GAMMM was to make available (in Italian) at least a fraction of the vast American literature we were discovering on the web.

As to your question about important American poets in Italy, one must start with Pound, Ashbery and, I’d say, Ginsberg, Ferlinghetti, Corso or the Beats in general, although I must add that, for many young Italian writers, the songs of Jim Morrison or Lou Reed are more influential than the poems of Ginsberg. For us here at GAMMM, I’d say that it was shocking to discover K. Silem Mohammad and Rodrigo Toscano or, to go back a bit, Jeff Derksen, Charles Bernstein, Lyn Hejinian, etc. In our case, perhaps more than being influenced one must talk about parralels, that is, these authors had an impact on us because they dealt with, on a formal level (poetic correspondences are always tricky to establish) problems we were already posing to ourselves.

As for your question about the use of English, as I’ve touched on above, the hegemonic weight of English and American pop culture has given to the English language and imagination a specific appeal, which before came from France, and even earlier, from Italy. Nazione Indiana, for example, is called that because it evokes in some way the myth of the native american, transmitted in turn through the myth of the western (which, as you know, in Italy was stolen from Hollywood and reinvented as the so-called spaghetti-western of Sergio Leone).

Regarding this issue, there is another factor which is derived from the contemporary situation, the globalized context in which we produce our texts. In such a context, English does not come across as a national language but as the language of a globalized space, the language for a kind of weltliteratur or a transnational literature. If Marco Giovenale publishes a chapbook in English, if GAMMM publishes some texts without translation, it’s because we take into account that national literatures are changing and, from a certain perspective, losing their momentum. More and more, a transnational platform is being developed where writers can measure themselves directly against each other, without the mediation of the cultural industry, of canons or translators.

Now, the language of this forum is, in effect, English and one has to deal with it somehow. But there are so many linguistic communities on the web, as you well know. Italian, for example, is one of the most-used on the blogosphere. But to communicate beyond one’s national space, English is what is used (but in ways that are much different than how it’s used in the USA or Great Britain—just try to read the high school blogs from Hong Kong or Kula Lumpur, for example!)

To go from the theoretical to the actual and personal, I should tell you that I’ve been keeping a blog in English for the last two years, in which I post very brief phrases and fragments, sometimes composed in Italian and then translated into English, even with the help of online translation services, sometimes written directly in English or collected with the help of a search engine (according to the technique of “provocation” of databases that K. Silem Mohammad has defined perfectly with his concept of “sought poems”). It should be noted that, when I started this project, I was aiming not for an American or English audience (to whom these expressions must come off as awkward yet still meaningful within their national contexts) but for transnationals: non-Anglophone Europeans, Indians, Brazilians, Chinese and whoever, a public that speaks and, above all, reads and writes English as a language that’s not native yet not entirely “other,” is somewhat familiar, connected in essential ways to the individual, to his particular experiences, sentiments, desires and perceptions (because connected, in the end, to specific aspects of life in a globalized world—above all to our relationship with merchandises.)

This situation is somewhat ironic because, from a certain perspective, Italian literature has already confronted this problem by choosing to adopt a disembodied and “literary” language [the Tuscan dialect]. As I indicated above, one may even say that this is a structural dimension of our literature.

LD: Your work addresses the personal isolation, the ennui and meaninglessness of contemporary life, conditions that I know only too well, living in the USA. It seems to me that Italy is still saner than most developed countries, however, because it retains habits that predate the television, the automobile and the computer. People gather in piazze just to loiter, enjoy each other's company; they walk around before dinner, the passeggiata, just to look at their neighbors, chat or enjoy an ice cream; they eat a three-course dinner, slowly. Of course there's the encroachment of McDonald's and American-style reality TV, etc. Please discuss the evolution of your work, how you arrived at your themes, and how they relate to your working and living situation in Brescia?

GB: It’s probably true that in Italy there’s more attention than elsewhere to what could be called the “primary sciences of living”: in food, clothing, personal care and social relationships. However, you must not believe that my country is a kind of oasis inside the Western world and that it’s exempt from the all-pervasive process of commodification typical of industrial countries, or that the diffussion and development of the media haven’t crearted the alienating effects common to every Western democracy. It’s enough for me to remind you of the political and, above all, social successes of Silvio Berlusconi, or take you to a shopping center any Saturday afternoon, to change your mind about this matter. Even though each country could only develop in its own ways, there are characteristics of capitalism and globalism that are found everywhere and, beyond the differences, there remains always that relationship with merchandises that unites everyone, "from sea to shining sea," if you’d allow me that phrase.

The fact that I was born in Brescia, a small city once heavily industrial but now geared towards finance and the service industry, in line with all-too-familiar social and economic patterns, is a determinant factor. The neighborhood where I grew up, for example, is a place one could really find anywhere, a type of collateral product of economic development and globalization or, to be more precise, a suburban neighborhood where relationships with others are always mediated through commerce and media where there is no relationship with the “outside world” that is not mythical, romanticized or idealized according to fashion, television news or entertainment. In short, one of those places where one is framed and rooted within a globalized culture, within a new transnational dimension of experience.

In a place like that, one can have the perception of "what's going on here?"—obviously only after having removed oneself from its alienation, and it is from this type of sensations, associations and entanglements that I try to construct my texts. You must also take into account the fact that I work as a cataloger and information consultant, with a temporary contract that grants me neither vacations nor sick pay, with a rather low salary. I am, so to speak, in constant touch with the accelerated production of information as well as the liberalization of the labor market. You must understand, also, that the themes I touch upon (the market, work, the media and their rapport with our lives, perceptions and experience) are ordinary issues I live with daily.

I’ve noticed that in the last few years I’ve become increasingly interested in what Georges Perec called the "infraordinary,” those dimensions of the quotidian which we are scarcely aware of yet constitute the real substance of our days. I mean the mass of micro sensations, tiniest arguments and sublimated emotions that we continue to produce and live through during our waking and sleeping hours, as well as the ideological schemes, cognitive grids and implicit narrations to which we entrust ourselves each moment, if nearly always unconsciously. This interest has a direct effect on the kind of texts I produce, texts that are always minimal, modular, proned to a kind of list making and accumulation and that, in fact, reflect characteristics of the other theme I see flowing into the infraordinary, that of merchandises, which is truly a kind of silent testimony to our lives.

In this journey, I have always referred back to the work of Italo Calvino, above all from the 70’s and 80’s and in particular Invisible Cities and Palomar. At the same time, I also have a strong attraction towards science fiction, above all the work of Dick, Gibson and Ballard, whom I’ve pilfered from, from more than one text, at times appropriating actual phrases or metaphors. I must acknowledge also my recent discovery of David Markson who is, unfortunately, completely unknown in Italy—and hasn’t much success in the US either, if I’m not mistaken—but, in his last non-novels, seems to offer a very interesting model for modular literature, discontinuous and non-narrative.

Gherardo Bortolotti was born in 1972 in Brescia, where he still lives. He is the author of the e-book Canopo (Cepollaro E-dizioni, 2005), the chapbook Soluzioni Binarie (La Camera Verde, 2007) and the “wee-chap” tracce per dusie, 103-197 ( He is also the translator of Jon Leon’s Diphasic Rumors (La Camera Verde, 2008). His texts and translations have appeared online at Word For/ Word, Cepollaro, Nazione indiana, Lieto colle, La poesia e lo spirito, Compostxt and Absolute Poetry, and on paper in Qui. Appunti dal presente, Il segnale, Metromorfosi, Sud, Poesia, Bombay Gin and The Black Economy. With Michele Zaffarano, he edits Chapbooks, a series of experimental literature from France, Italy and USA, for which he translated K. Silem Mohammad, Rodrigo Toscano and Jeff Derksen. He is author of blogs in Italian (,, and in English (, He is among the founders and curators of GAMMM, a journal of translations and experimental literature.

Marina Pizzi

translated by Laura Modigliani:

Four Poems

the hours excised, eroded
one day I'll go from one thing to another
or with handkerchief on wrist
with vermilion forefinger to ask you again
pardon for the mile just gone


awful rag the farewell
in grape must that boils without intoxication
the elevator of solitude that ascends
to a deaf landing, an incomplete floor,
to what's funny for those still without
care givers, living dead.
vast tax vast this arrogance
of the die cast of the veto against the neck
fit for a collar without being walked.


the elastic forehead for watching God
from this shield of harangue.
insolence of action the nativity of the sea
backwashes under the arcades
nervous tic of lovers, love to be remade

from “Under the Acorns of the Oaks”

“I have conquered the empire of an attic”
Fernando Pessoa

no longer wanting to commit
the dragging on still does not mutiny.
it is not the full grave under scrutiny
nor the idol of birth without sunset.
the dip in the path shall find paradise
under the acorns of the oaks.
not reaching the soil nor the air
the hangman’s chrysanthemum.
the observatory of the forehead
is unfit as a lookout
against all the bullets.
since yesterday the dunes of motherhood
rest wisely, they know the time
of buoy, the burned satchel scored
by the harangue of the prosecutor without embers.
with throat consumed the ringed compendium
this rough-hewn fence
scarlet in the midday morning
tumult of vetoes dacha without food.
skip the snack on the river banks of expiration
of the firearm of the chimney that berths
path of the concrete foot.
lower than me is not possible
if not in death of twin dog
of the fortunes that all undo it
scrawny, meat-packing district, roof
that breaks with the straw:
useless the bonfires made perhaps for mercy.
concealed in the mother’s chest
forum of moonless father
asks now for an angle of bread
a necessary taste against the wall
of gods endured…
laughed the beautiful dialect just yesterday laughed
when august was spent on the roof
of the wafers of the sun, wafers.
old fashioned at the bar aisle
pays centesimal minutes
minuscule murderous evils
cries and chides in the death of the space.
the bivouac shall mourn the slope of the scattered
to the inert preserves to the absence of beauty.
has to release a wild goat’s trill
gullible still of having the choice
between one pebble and the other and a protocol.
has to release a slope of stagnation
a dull matter date and desert.
disheveled hovel comatose chimney
hum a refrain for all of them
the tortured hoards of fog…

Marina Pizzi was born in 1955 in Rome, where she still lives. She is the author of Il giornale dell’esule [The Exile Diary] (Crocetti 1986), Gli angioli patrioti [Angelic Patriots] (ivi 1988), Acquerugiole [Drizzles] (ivi 1990), Darsene il respiro [Let Yourself Breathe] (Fondazione Corrente 1993), La devozione di stare [The Devotion to Being] (Anterem 1994), Le arsure [Burning Heats] (LietoColle 2004), L’acciuga della sera i fuochi della tara [Evening Anchovy and Burning Vetch] (Luca Pensa 2006). Three of her unpublished (on paper) manuscripts could be found online, at these websites, Sconforti di consorte, Brindisi e cipressi, Sorprese del pane nero. Widely published in journals and anthologies, she has been translated into Persian, German and English. She is also a co-editor of the journal, Poesia, and the litblog, La poesia e lo spirito.

Laura Modigliani lives in Brooklyn, NY. Her poems have appeared in such journals as MiPOesias, Promethean, sic, The One Three Eight, Poetry in Performance, and The Blue Jew Yorker, and her translations have appeared in Fascicle. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2007 and 2008. She received the Malinche Prize for Literary Translation in 2007 and the Jack Zucker Memorial Prize in Poetry in 2005 from The City College of New York, where she received an MFA degree in Poetry. She works as an Associate Editor at Weekly Reader Publishing.


Vanni Santoni

translated by Linh Dinh:

Precarious Characters


“Five thousand years of history, an entire planet, and the nastiest things of all time happened a few miles from here, not even seventy years ago. Now, tell me why shouldn’t I fear the future?”

Elmo (July’s oldie goldie)

"Can we make love like we did at twenty-years-old?"

“That’s impossible, my treasure, not only because we’re 58, but also because at the time of our first intercourse we were twenty-two and not twenty. I remember it very well, that moment when I was twenty and dating a dear girl from Lucca.”


Is in Stockholm.


Teodoro is timid and fragile, but is adapting well to life in the high-security C. Lombroso correctional institute: he keeps to himself, doesn’t draw attention, yet notices everything. Recently he heard strange sounds coming from under the mess hall, but hasn’t worked up enough courage to go down and investigate.


Penelope sleeps more and more. When she was small, she already slept nine or ten hours a night. During adolescence, it rose to thirteen hours then appeared to stabilize when she was nineteen-years-old.

Instead, now that she is twenty-nine and lives alone, maintaining herself on profit from some real estate, she has become accustomed, within a few months, to sleeping eighteen, nineteen or even twenty hours a day. When she wakes up, Penelope is always in a great mood.


The sweet wind of Provence caresses each day Francois’ old, apparently sunbaked, yet perfectly functioning body. Sometimes it blows away his blue felt beret.

Claire died thirty-three years ago. Their son, Jaqui, nine. Francois has never been interested in anything since youth, it appears.

But he has, truly, one passion: to stay alive. He measures the temperature, the wind, the sun, his nutrition, heart beats, complexion, blood pressure, cholesterol level. A hundred and six years old. In good health. Francois laughs under the March sun.


Zippo is a clown in the Mariposa circus. His real name is Guglielmo Diné. Gugliemo has killed his cousin and two other pieces of shit over money. Has raped his sister and caused a miscarriage with his kicks. When Guglielmo is Zippo—one hesitates to say—he’d feel an infinite tenderness at the sight of children laughing at his skits.


Ilaria is totally in love with her guy! Pages of her diary are filled with this notion! She has even started a blog to scream about her love to the world! They met two weeks ago! The day before yesterday they got together! They kissed! His name is Mauro! She wrote “Mauro” on her backpack!

Tomorrow Llaria will discover that her guy has a prosthesis of plastic and aluminum in place of his lower right leg, and will become speechless.

She’ll ask herself if all of her love was located in that piece of Mauro right there, and she’ll feel infinitely empty and shitty.


Today, for some reason, the servants bought for Ugolino a milk chocolate with a filling. Ugolino hates that nougat filling. He’ll stay in a bad mood for days. At this moment, Ugolino is digging the nougat from the chocolate with a silver spoon, while screaming unmentionable insults towards Switzerland.


Galatea is a normal girl. She’s five-feet-seven, a brunette, with brown eyes. Neither beautiful nor ugly. Neither brilliant nor an idiot. Neither good nor evil. She likes the singers Battiato and Carmen Consoli, the books of Milan Kundera, Hello Kitty accessories, decoupage. She studies physical therapy and plays volleyball.

Her father, one of the greatest literary figures of his epoch, cannot resign himself to the quiet normality of Galatea, and has begun to suspect that she is not his daughter.


Five feet eight inches, 170 pounds. Black hair, black eyes, dour. A hint of a beard, a few light wrinkles around the eyes. Forty nine years old, married, without children. A bypass. Tano is a taxi driver.


Mirella feels vulnerable, and entrenches herself behind heavy makeup, boots from Max & Co., suits from Prada for the career woman, hair done every week, long and stringy and colored “hazelnut haze #06.” Mirella is in love with a cashier at the corner pastry shop, a chubby, timid punkette.


Antonietta staggers into the toilet of the fashionable club where she has gone tonight. She is beyond drunk and cannot find the bag of cocaine in her purse. She turns towards the mirror and notices a wrinkle that has never been there. Soon she will vomit with remarkable grace, considering her condition.


Markus wanted so much to be a vigorous, ruddy country boy. Instead, he’s an emaciated artist, drug addict and snob.


Tonight Federico roused himself and finally took the fluorescent spray paint bought a few weeks earlier, went before Lidia’s house and wrote on the asphalt “My pearl fogive me.” Without the R. What nerves.


Hellen makes stickers. She designs them by hand, scans them, converts them into vector graphics then prints them on shiny paper. She always carries at least ten in her back pocket to stick onto street posters, pub bathrooms, walls of the metro stations. Sometimes when she’s home and it’s icy outside, she would go out with a small knife, scrape ice from a poster to plant a sticker, then quickly go back inside. In this period Hellen is making stickers of rabbit.


The way Alberto uses the expression “starved to death” would outrage even a Nazi, but it’s nothing compared to the way he uses, from youth, “beaten dog.”


Maguerite will be married in April. In recent months, it so happens that she’d think, more and more, about an adolescent love affair (if such a brief, unconsumated episode could be called that) with a growing nostalgia.

This anguish installs itself in her mind, grows, makes itself large, enormous. It encompasses and illuminates the past, explains the present, obscures the future.


Marcello watches his son being transfixed by the Playstation, and for a moment was lost in thoughts remembering all the games he played as a child on the street, the same street right outside. How he initiated soccer and tennis matches, races, made bicycle tracks on the hillocks, poked into hornets’ nests, got into fist fights with children from the other side of the avenue, placed firecrackers inside mailboxes, and how fearful he is now of letting his own son leave the house for 10 minutes, alone.

Marcello turns off the Playstation by instinct, but does not have the courage to say “Go out!” to the sitting boy who watches him in astonishment, pissed off, and so he turns the game back on and apologizes.


Mara is the most active of activists. She organizes participates leads occupies manifests informs. Once Mara threw a rock at the window of a temp agency. The rock bounced back without leaving a crack on the window. Mara felt both mocked and relieved. Mara hides from everyone the fact that she’s super rich and says that the apartment she lives in on Campo de Fiori is rented.


Barozzo, baron of Montamaro, sent for three hundred Swiss mercenaries to defend his fiefdom from hostile neighbors. The Swiss arrived and saw that the fiefdom was vulnerable yet prosperous, so they promptly sacked it, raped whoever was rapable and laid siege to the castle. The castle’s weak defense was breached after three and a half hours, and the siege concluded with them drinking wine from cracked casks and sodomizing the baron amid loud laughter.


“You’re in your thirties, pig!” This hateful phrase wakes Roberto up every morning (at noon), screamed from the efficient throat of his energetic mother. Roberto already hated to hear such words when he was twenty eight, so we can figure what he thinks of them now, being thirty four.


Yesterday the sergeant asked Wu what is the soldier’s occupation; Wu answered “to kill” and he was punished. Today, to the same question, he answered “to die” and was again punished. Wu runs in the mud and tries to works his imagination since tomorrow he will be forced to guess again.


Tazio is a good-looking guy, with dark skin and hair. When Tazio meets a girl, the first thing he makes clear is that he has a glass eye. Sometimes he even shows up for the first date with an eye patch. Even if it becomes the center of attention for the evening, his empty eye socket doesn’t usually create problems. Tazio is always marveling at how little it has damaged his sex life.


Carmine manages a small bookstore. He defines himself as an eclectic anarchist liberal, without being any of them. Carmine is bald with a thick reddish beard, smokes toscanelli and gitanes, and will never order a book if you ask him to do it. Certain mornings he puts on an old head band like Bjorn Borg’s and goes running in the country.


Gianna bought a timeshare in Baleari. He has only been there but once, alone.


There are four types of birth: from an egg, from a matrix, from a miracle, from heat and humidity. And yet Simona appears to have come from dryness, from a shell, from a morning sleep, from paper.


Among all the tall girls, over thirty, with a helmet hairstyle from the 20’s, never absent from an art opening, Diana is the one who soaks up the most prosecco.


A twenty-nine-year-old archeologist, Marinella cheats on her man frequently, keeps her hair nearly shaven and dresses like a kraut on vacation.


In the last month Sergio has come to understand:
1) if he reads few poems he will have difficulty writing them well.
2) to make a fool of yourself cooking fish is easier than it seems.
3) Florentinians, including himself, are absolutely wicked.
4) there are even those who could use Post-it in a sensible way.


Suddenly, Francesco loses the notion of what is appropriate. He asks an acquantaince the whereabouts of the man’s “hideous mother,” insults with an evil relish other people’s physical defects, and asks a woman on the street if she wants to, by chance, “look at a prick.”


Five feet ten, one-hundred-and-one pounds, blonde, green eyes both malicious and vulnerable, Nastassja was a poor yet emerging model until a poker, hurled by her live-in lover, struck her on the mouth, broke her front teeth and busted up her lower lip. Nastassja has not returned to Poland to see her grandparents.


If you live at 8 Brothers Roselli Street, you’d know Simona’s singing, which rises high and gorgeous each evening at 7 o’clock. Many of the newest tenants believe that Simona is that cool and lanky woman who always leaves early in the morning, but they’re wrong: she’s actually that chubby one who brings the cats the leftovers each evening.


Rudy, six-feet-seven of boyishness, red hair and a regular face, carries buckets of cement.

On Saturdays, Rudy dances, drinks and snorts way too much; sometimes he would leave the disco alone, without telling his friends, and flee down the highway.


Mary-Ann is that small, fierce doctor from England in the emergency department of Pisa Hospital, all curly hair and freckles. Once, alone in the morgue, under the trembling chemical of the neon light, Mary-Ann gave a long kiss to a corpse.


This summer Roberto bought a late-model telephoto lens from Canon. To try it, he decided to take some distant shots of his three-year-old son playing on the beach.

Someone saw him and thought he was a pedophile: Roberto barely escaped from the lynch mob, and lost both camera and telephoto lens.

Roberto doesn’t take photos anymore, not even in the winter.


Almost everyone remembers Erika for her huge tits rather than her many virtues. Above all else, Erika is afraid of spiders trapped in the bathtub and has an obscure fascination with seeing, or better yet, with not seeing, the fake glasses made of blue plastic on the little round carpets at Ikea.


“Misfortune in love does not make census-based distinctions.” This sentence, read in who knows which comic book, returns to Gano’s mind today as he masturbates while sitting on the floor, in the living room.


Faustina, a little old lady with red-tinted hair nudged by white, is only a retired cleaning lady, but you won’t find on this earth a more absolute concentration of virtues. All of her children, inexplicably, are petty and cruel.


Garuda is an invincible monster with fangs sharper than a tiger’s, moreover it’s faster than a leopard but stronger than an elephant, moreover it’s invisible, moreover it spits fire like a dragon but hotter, moreover it eats men and mountains and seas, moreover its horns are of diamond, moreover its roar kills, moreover it has eyes that hypnotize, moreover, moreover, moreover…


The amount of makeup foundation on Ottavia’s face, this evening, is such that it creates the impression, on kissing her cheeks, of a velvet couch covered with dust from half a decade in an attic.


Saburo is a forty-year-old South American with curly long hair and a broken nose. When he was in Copenhagen, he made chairs out of scrap metal from the naval shipyard. Here in Florence he doesn’t know what to do. Occasionally, when there’s enough time and wine, Saburo’d tell a long story that takes place in Ulan Bator, Caracas and Osaka, from where he got his Japanese name.


When he knew he had cancer, Urbano bought a pistol. “For when the suffering is intolerable,” he has solemnly said to himself this solidly-built man. Today, when he watches the crowd from the balcony, Urbano has a strange light in his eyes.


An angel when she sleeps, a cat when she stretches, a piece of shit at work, an ice box under the blankets.


Always surrounded by his employees, Franco is the owner of an awful buffet right downtown. When the chicken salad goes stale after days, he adds more mayonnaise.


The slogan will be: “Surveillance cameras at the police station, screens at the squares.”

Vanni Santoni was born in Montevarchi in 1978 and now lives in Florence. He is the author of Personaggi precari [Precarious Characters] (RGB 2007), which started as a blog, and Gli interessi in comune [Common Interests] (Feltrinelli 2008), a novel about drugs, sex, alcohol and boredom among a group of teen boys growing up. It made a splash upon publication. Santoni is the founder of SIC – Scrittura Industriale Collettiva [SIC – Industrial Writing Collective], and writes for Italy’s leading newspaper, the Milan-based Corriere della Sera.


Florinda Fusco

translated by Laura Modigliani:


I count the bones           now that you are almost close enough

           behind the glass pane           the hand pushes but does not reach

the body bent over  to embroider a forest            with pins

                     steady, so as not to prick oneself

           wrinkles grow on the skin    like roots, trees
little by little I chop off my fingers
my tongue           the other tongue

                      covered with moss
                         all the way to the throat


put a sky in my navel                      and I will give you all my

     the bones interlaced with iron threads                      the weight of the flesh

           pressed on the earth                       the hair grown into needles

examine the body splayed its imperceptible movements            the foot light as

                     I will not open my mouth of concrete

                   to say to you

                      come back later, it is always too soon


they told me the dead                         are present at the ceremonies

              they arrive on time            they are always behind you

the women wear big hats                and long blue gloves

they carry necklaces of white beads            inviolable like rosaries

                                  you don’t notice their light step

                                                        you don’t smell their scent among
the guests

                                                you don’t see their bare foot on the

                                 the dead walk on the earth

they mingle in the hair

                                slide down the neck, between
                      the ribs, in the veins, all the way to
the nails of the foot

the day                                           they alight on the glaze of
the plates

                    or in the bottom of glasses          

                      in silence we drink them


trunks of veins            grow over me            cross me

                      in the house there are neither stones nor bones

                                                        to form into toys

I loosen my braids                      to make a blanket to cover me

                I play by myself         plant nails into the earth

                        wait for the tree of the resurrected


an ermine         struck         at the center

of my forehead                 under the swollen skin

a trickle of blood        drips         down the body         to the feet

        as I embroider the skin                 held inside a frame

           the canvases ooze

faces of ancestors  surface         from the backs of paintings

they stare at me  they answer questions  with questions  and don’t ask for

they tell me of a fragment of sky                      under the foot or
in the empty glass            of my felt blindfold stretched across my eyes

they do not make appointments so as not to meet me           they do not read me

their stopped watches            they do not invite me to the banquet of the

                     I measure the chest, the cavity,          
            the depth of the scratch, the cracks of memory

I lay down my crowns                      of the queen of lost memory

                      there is no gauze for my carpet of blood

Florinda Fusco was born in Bari in 1972. Her books of poetry include linee [Lines] (Editrice Zona 2001) and il libro delle madonne scure [The Book of Dark Women] (Mazzoli 2003), illustrated by Luigi Ontani, which received the Premio Delfini. Her critical and poetic works have been published in various Italian journals and anthologies. Her work has been translated in English and French, and published in French and Canadian anthologies. She has translated from Spanish the work of Argentine poet Alejandra Pizarnik, which won a national translation prize (2004). She has published many essays on Edoardo Cacciatore and is working on a monograph of Amelia Rosselli.


Michele Zaffarano

translated by Linh Dinh:

a prince

don’t be wolves
don’t be snakes
don’t cry for onions
let the fog cuddle you
let many mountains
let scorpions
bathe in your own tears
travel by ship
take little walks
sketch giraffes
swim breaststrokes
sprawl naked in the woods
running naked over meadows
play as they cuddle you
get dirty
climb over meadows over vegetables
chase squirrels
lions tigers made of ceramic

take a cold shower
give many kisses on the mouth
go up trees
go to sardinia
cut the cake
eat cake with cream
don’t prefer mint
don’t let dying nature die
Saturday and Sunday
make a mess of your house
keep a warm bed
joke with flowers
with death that knows ugliness
forecast bad weather
feel yourself be taken for a ride
go to bed early
go by boat
eat spinach giving you iron
play alone
don’t throw tin cans but on the ground
move about by airplane
yank up the grass the violas
yank problems from your psyche
take a boatride
go up to saturn

sit on your words
watch the sea
watch plants die
frequent a swimming pool
stay in bed
sweat to make yourselves well
be more devilish than the devil
eat bananas not fishbones
stop pollution
replant knocked down trees
play with dolls
observe the sun the moon
then eat cooked apple cooked carrot
listen to the music of benedetto marcello
then listen to propellers too
go to the sea for the view
make friends give you gifts even dead ones
buys cds of tyrannosaurus rex
watch out for earthworms and birds
make flowers rot
don’t waste any part of the pig
don’t dirty the snow or other dirty things
don’t play the murderer

look at trees butterflies prickly grass yellow flowers
enjoy chocolate slide all the way down get sick
get yourselves some war night cream the sky
arm yourselves pop balloons nature’s in ruin

go to the zoo the museum go to the airport
travel by train work rarely stay out of the wind
motorcycle around don’t take the highway don’t ex-
pire as long as you could let loose dogs monsters witches

spoil your winter the cat alone swim
climb up high hills go down on a sled
pass through a fire the countryside
the chirping of birds flowering trees

argue divide up all the cheese that you have
watch skiing stars bathroom flowering cherry trees
be sad get beaten up eat vegetables
travel with dolls with skirts ride a bike around

all the animals that you have the adventures that you have
make a snake face a white-finned shark face
be a brick fish catch the catfish
the television’s on burglars are inside the house

make all the ruckus you want heard the Spring
act like monkeys cut fish with scissors
make holes puncture rafts and more be moles
scream in Italian ski stay home all day long

a red apple

to have a horse
to be small again
may it always be summer
may life be milder
than all the animals on earth
to be a rock
to go forward and back in time to see primitive men
to have a house made of olive trees
to go by horse
to sleep on a fir bed
to go to the sea
to go far away
to go live in america
to play blindman’s bluff
may meteorites not fall to earth
may life be made of beds only
to be a friend to all her friends
to live in an enormous house with a swimming pool
to be on a galleon forever
to be a peach tree
a fox
to fly
to learn all the languages
to be a squirrel
a horse
to go to the sun

to be an eagle
to not go to work
to look at mountains from afar
to be a tour guide
to look at castles
to look at cottages of millionaires
come look in my castle
to be a ghost without head leaving the grave
to be a ghost without head leaving to frighten
a star to be
to have a magic wand and make all sorts of magic
to go into space
to know german
to have a crocodile inside the house
to see men what things they use to eat
to see men what things they use to cut
to see objects
to become a high jumper
an airplane
to live outside with the flowers
to live on the bottom of the sea
to live in los angeles but also in san francisco

to see tarzan nude
to be seven again
an adventure
may it always be spring
to stay at home
may children not harm other children
may nature not be polluted
to throw myself from a waterfall
a magical horse
to go away to mexico
to run around with my friends all night long forever
to ride a dog
to go on a rainbow
to have a garden filled with flowers
a tiger with schiavona-like teeth
to be a snake in the jungle
to know how to tell stories
to be an archeologist
a mummie
to swim with dolphins
to play with dolls
may books be made solely with pictures
to live in a cottage in the woods
if only I wasn’t blonde with blue eyes
if only I had green hair with red eyes
to have a dog
to go on a tgv train
to be kidnapped by pirates
to have as your house the sphinx
to go on a time machine and see the jurassic period
and bring back some dinosaurs to cause much fright

to throw myself from a bridge
to be a king
to live on a farm
to have a tarantula or half a scorpion
to have half a scorpion and half a tarantula
to have a stall
to throw myself from a castle
to make five million a year
to be a bird
to go on a cruise
dog horse fairy sun
mickey mouse squirrel
cat a fish
a mamma bear
a bed
on the beach
a fish
me you and the sun
to play doctor
to be a missile
may it always be summer
to stay with my cat
may spring last a lifetime
to belong to a circus
if only dinosaurs were still here
to help animals
to have a telescope
to go to egypt
to go to my sister in munich
to stay in the jungle
to climb up trees without hurting myself
may all the people be alive
a bed of cedar

to go to china
have myself called mohammad
to pilot an airplane
a boat
a world map from the 1600’s
an ice cream
to work to improve
to be small again
to be small
to be even smaller

Michele Zaffarano was born in Milan in 1970 and now lives in Rome. His texts have appeared in Qui. Appunti dal presente, Poesia, New Review of Literature and in various anthologies. In 2007, La Camera verde in Rome published E l’amore fiorirà splendidamente ovunque (felix series) and Il culto dei feticci nell’Italia contemporanea. His translations into Italian of these French writers, Roche, Cadiot, Tarkos, Espitallier, Gleize, etc., have appeared in Testo a fronte, Nuovi argomenti, L’Ulisse, l’immaginazione and Exit. With Gherardo Bortolotti, he edits “chapbooks,” a series of experimental literature from France, Italy and the U.S. He is also a co-editor of GAMMM.


Alessandro Broggi

translated by Linh Dinh:

Field of Action

Giulio proposes a toast. Everyone drinks. Berta laughs and receives a slap from Carlo, who reacts immediately. The woman who owns the café doesn’t react, Berta laughs and Carlo gives her a kiss. Bernarda plants herself before Carlo, raises her underskirt with one hand and extends an open hand to him. She sits down. The owner brings her a cold würstel and slams it on the table. Samantha skips over to Carlo. Carlo shoves one hand between her thighs and spits at Berta’s extended hand. Gustavo observes with boredom Samantha’s lower belly, then gives her a coin. Carlo stands up and grins fiercely. The owner goes towards Carlo and without saying a word gives him a slap. Berta laughs and receives a slap also. Carlo takes Berta by the hair and drags her to Gustavo, holding her face before Gustavo’s fly. Berta nods in agreement and Carlo lets go. Gustavo stands up, says nothing and bites violently a piece of bread. The owner heads towards Carlo. The handsome man, meanwhile, fixes his gaze on the beautiful woman, without looking he slips a hand into a pant pocket and without looking extends a large bill towards Samantha. Carlo wants to grab the money but the owner is quicker. Carlo sits down, panting. Berta wants to console him but he moves away. The owner heads towards the table of the beautiful couple with their hands by their sides. Gustavo eats with increasing voracity. The handsome man makes a gesture of refusal with his hand, without averting his gaze from the beautiful woman. The owner sits herself at Giulio’s and Bernarda’s table. Gustavo begins to move, kisses Giulio on the mouth, the owner on the forehead and Carlo on the mouth and on the forehead. Carlo disgusted wipes his lips to clean them. Gustavo walks towards the table of the beautiful couple and punches him awkwardly, hitting him on the shoulder. The handsome man makes a gesture of refusal with his hand, without averting his gaze from the beautiful woman. As the man gestures, Gustavo grabs his hand and places it between his legs. The handsome man observes coldly and without particular interest how Gustavo excites himself with his hand. Samantha covers her mouth with her hands and leaps up hysterically. Carlo moves closer and administers a slap to the beautiful woman. The owner yanks the handsome man’s hand from Gustavo and places it between her legs. Bernarda sneaks forward, gives the handsome man a slap in passing and places Carlo’s hand between her legs. Giulio reaches them and kneeling before the group in action begs them to stop. Berta on her feet watches the scene coldy, making an enormous bubble with the gum she’s chewing, which finally explodes on her face. The beautiful couple are dragged to the ground and brutally undressed. Carlo indicates he wants to rape the beautiful woman. Gustavo removes the handsome man’s pants while guffawing. The owner lifts her apron and sits on the handsome man’s face. Bernarda positions herself behind Giulio and waits for his erection so she could exploit it for herself. By now the beautiful couple are completely buried beneath the others’ bodies. Finally blood begins to splash. Berta is still standing at the same spot and continues to make bubbles with the gum she’s chewing. The beautiful couple are eaten. Gustavo gives Carlo a blow to the head with a piece of meat. The owner then hits him with a thighbone. Giulio remains seated, distracted, playing with the remains of the cadavers. The owner strikes Carlo with a rib. Carlo reacts immediately. Berta removes her shoes and socks and wedges a toe into Carlo’s mouth. Carlo sucks and cries. One after another follows his example, while Gustavo observes the scene with irritation. Bernarda gives Gustavo a slap, who then licks Berta’s foot while whining. Samantha kisses Berta’s ass. Berta gives one of the skeletons a kick, sits at the table where the beautiful couple were and drinks their spumante. Giulio goes to Berta and hides his face in her lap. She pours on his head a glass of spumante. He slips to the ground wearily and lies there for a moment. Samantha reaches him and gives his hand a kiss, as if in reverence. Bernarda takes off a shoe and a sock, goes towards Giuolo and gives him a kick in the ass. Seeing him offended, she wedges a foot in his mouth. Berta lifts a bone to hit Gustavo, then suddenly stops herself and slowly lowers her arm. She falls on Bernarda and shoves her head into one of the cadavers. Berta lets go of Bernarda and straightens her own hair. Bernarda hides beneath a table and nuzzles up to Samantha. Berta and Gustavo follow suit, murmurring.

Alessandro Broggi was born in 1973 in Varese, and is the author of these poetry collections: Apprendistato (Eos Edizioni, 2000), Inezie (LietoColle, 2002; with a preface by Giampiero Neri, drawings by M. Morandini); lavori in prosa: Quaderni aperti (partially presented as an e-book for Biagio Cepollaro E-Dizioni, 2005); and total living (la camera verde, 2007). With C. Dentali, he edited l’Agenda Poetica di LietoColle (ed. 2003; with a note by M. Cucchi). He has also appeared in Verso i bit. Poesia e computer (2005) and Il presente della poesia italiana (2005). His poetry, prose, essays, interventions, as well as reviews of his works, have appeared in Almanacco del Ramo d’Oro, Bloc Notes, Hebenon, Il Segnale, La Clessidra, La Mosca di Milano, Nuova Antologia, Poesia, Sud, Testuale, among other places, and online at Poesia da fare, Dissidenze, Liberinversi, Microcritica, Nabanassar and Nazione indiana. Since 2004, he has been the editor of the poetry and cultural webzine L’Ulisse. He works as a writer and editor for Condé Nast Traveller, where he busies himself with the international art scene. Broggi also has an interest in contemporary music and sound art.