Riding into Rome by Train, 1986


 "Roma é rossa"
grafitti on concrete,
edited in haste
with weaponized spray-paint
and vespa get-away:
"Roma é (g)rossa."

 Rail travelers
see the sun
baking the message,
but passers-by only hear
Doppler effect.

 Upon a power pole:
Whosoever touches, dies.
"Chi tocca muore."
Smells of burning flesh
as lighted-windows flit
toward Piazza

 Conductor looks past
his job arranged in rows
to see a patio,
vines above and bricks below,
where half in shade
two pigeons flutter together.
One eggs the other on
to avian bliss.

 Neck thrust forward
and back─
goose step,
pigeon trot
the conductor glides back, away,
toward Florence.


─ Richard Hacken