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Volterra


                                      *

She was saying, "One arrives to the horrid
of the Balze ... corrosion provoked by atmospheric
agents, steep and deep precipices ... the Balze
terrible shelter for the desperation of
so many suicides ... have engulfed ... " But
there she was and there it was, falling away
below the walls toward the defenseless sea,
wasteland of sand and clay, crumbling even
as we watched, she, a daydream of mine in profile
facing off against my nightmares ...

                                      *

"We go," she said, and walked—oh, she walked—
ahead: "Teatro Romano—theater—the curtain rolled up
in low, thanks to a complex system of telescopes ...
dressed in marble, where the choir found its place,
therefore ... a double order of columns Corinthian,
Carrera stone, brought to light in the years fifty by
Professore Enrico Fiumi with opportune structural
interventions, in an epoch in which it was thought
that work therapy" (here she smirked) "might be
effective remedy for psychic throngs ..." —and
she a dead ringer for that girl in Tallahassee
forty years before, down to that rousing, erect
posture and tiny wrinkles round her dry, ironic eyes ...

                                      *

... sweeping her lovely hand: "From the top of the
mighty blocks of tufa an unforgettable and unusual
show can be admired, as the result of the yielding of
the sandy, em, layers of the Pliocene. Above all at sunset
the precipice engages unusual and suggestive colorations
when the shadows of the brooms, found on the gray
clays, gives the rosy blue off from the sky background.
There, beyond the abyss, on the frontal cliff tops, Badia
Camaldolese, assembled 1030 and surely abandoned
by the monks in the last century for fear that the building
will collapse" ... Nothing made her smile like Volterra's
teetering on the edge of this geological catastrophe.

                                      *

Regretting all the week's Negronis— " ... so, the building
of housing the Pinacoteca entertains the Pinacoteca and
the Civic Museum: Here are exposed important paintings
deriving from monasteries and city churches. Here, Room
eleven—Ah! Displays the masterpiece of the Tuscan man-
nerism, the admirable Deposition of Giovanni Battista di
Jacopo, famous as the Rosso Fiorentino (em, 1494-1540),
genial and uneasy personality the Rosso performed this work,
definitely the highest expression of his talent, in 1521,
as shown by the inscription in low to the right on the
table here, see, on commission of the Cappella della
Croce di Giorno— Oh! please, no, no—not to touch." A
guard turned toward us. Strikingly handsome, he looked
directly into her gray eyes, and I was a sagging ghost again,
a phantasm who had gone to Italy to warehouse spolia.


Ron Smith

Broad Street

Spring / Summer 2016


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