Postcards written with the other hand

Published by Vine Leaves Press 

dear Ma
This morning I saw an amazing set-to at the Colosseum between a woman in gladiator get-up and the old-timer punching tickets on the way in. The way they were going at it made me think back to Uncle Joe’s door-to-door acting classes in the 1970s. It’s all theatre here Ma, and there are worse ways to spend your time, Your son,

dear Ma
The sunset over the Forum tonight and the sky was red like blood, it reminded me of the time when granddad shot my poodle clean off the winners’ podium at the annual show, best thing that ever happened to me and likely to the poodle too, yes that was an amazing sunset, I’m off for pizza, Your son,

dear Ma
Don’t be shocked but there was a traffic accident today and no, it was not me. She must have been a hundred, she got hit by a taxi crossing a crazy piazza and she fell over, I’ve no doubt she was in pain because she screamed and screamed until her mouth was all messed up and her face shone like a dinner bell from the old days, it’s a crazy town, Ma, Your son,

dear Ma
The ex-mayor who is even shorter than he looks and is a fascist and who may or may not have a swastika tattoo on his person, he never takes his shirt off, says say Hi! Your son,

dear Ma
Hello from the Palatine, ancient Rome’s Beverley Hills! I’m standing in the ruins of a villa that used to be THE hot ticket, there’s a plane flying directly overhead as I write this and it’s covered in tattoos and I’m thinking of you as its nose pierces the clouds, Your son,

dear Ma
There’s a lot of talk of food out here – and you know me and food – on every corner I hear about the size of artichokes or the right cream for the right eggs, or how a horse steak takes a couple of minutes longer in the pan and that’s without even going to the supermarket where hundreds gather to fondle food and exchange recipes they have copied from the many cookery shows, it’s not all tomato sauce and tiramisu, Ma, but I hope nonetheless you’re enjoying yours, Your son,

dear Ma
From the floor of the Sistene Chapel I hope all is well with you. It’s everything they say it is, religion and art on a ceiling, I keep looking up and down from ceiling to postcard and every 20 seconds they let go a taped Shusshing sound that fills the chapel and everyone pipes down for 10 seconds before starting up again with the usual Sistene Chapel chit-chat. Say Hi to Dandelion Jo, tell him he’d like it out here, smoke is cheap, girls are pretty, no one speaks English, Your son,

dear Ma
The police are lined up on one side of the piazza looking very serious in their rubber boots, tight ultramarine uniforms, Ray Bans and stubble with their hands twitching against their truncheons, they fit right in here at Gay Pride and I reckon you would too, Your son,