The First Time I Saw You (artwork – Giulia Neri)



I’d seen you before, though the where is unsure,

Not in a crowd or a place

Or a playground but inside, that space

Where impossible dreams, unafraid, occur:


Where all that you are finds itself not far,

Already there in a space

Without fear or pause, a hidden place

Left on the other side of the night, a jar


Closed tight in the day, hermetic, a way

To protect ourselves, ensure

Lines won’t be crossed: keep distant the lure

Of hope quiet, name it as fable, at bay –


So was I, to, cast, hope contained in rhymes past,

Until you stepped through that entrance,

Not door: though my lines had a semblance

Subtle change began: you made me here, so fast


That light enveloping, creating, expanding

Expounding, from you, your smiling

Dark eyes and hair, your way of standing:

You, paradise, walked in, all my fears fading,


No rules: just blending with no more pretending

False pretense – I left my own ending.

My heart flew with your smile, reversing

My self: with your eyes replacing, like budding


Flowers un-budding, the sun’s warmth transforming,

The first time I saw you unending

Still here, now still, that flower un-wilting…

For you have no end: my heart goes on dancing.




for more from giulia: The World is Full of Teapots – artwork by Giulia Neri



The World is Full of Teapots (artwork by Giulia Neri)

February tp-2

February 3:

two bars that lunge away then curve back


It’s cold outside

But not too cold, cool

Maybe, is a better word. I open the faucet, let

A stream of cold water into the usual very small pot, the same one I always use,

Shiny silver metal, two-lined bar handle

Curved back into the pot’s body. I’ve done it a thousand times, more,

This moment, the making of tea, like John.


I place myself in John and feel him doing the same,

Same reach with his left hand, holding the pot like me,

It’s strange – I feel him doing it to,

Feeling the same slight chill in the kitchen, turning the water handle up,

He listens to the shifting pitch as I do now, low at first then edging higher as

The water fills the pot, two of us mixed in me, different only in time,

Separated only by space,

Though his hands are wider than mine,

His arms stronger, his shoulders wide,

Then turning the faucet’s handle down again when the bubbling water nears

Where it’s supposed to be, that level only enough to make a mug:

We so rarely drink tea together.

This pot is too small for the two of us,

Or maybe just large enough – you never know.

It’s handle has two bars that lunge away then curve back

To the pot itself, the part that holds the water.

He left early today: his scent –

The coffee brewed earlier, rich and present,

Hugs me when I walk into the kitchen.


I place the pot on the burner – the one in back on the right.

I can be curious about things, always only the one in back, on the right, or

The  world will end, I’m sure. Or something.

Sometimes we argue, you might it call it a fight

But I’m not that way: he blames as only men blame,

Looks to turn the faucet on inside, hot, change the temperature of the water flowing,

Of me inside, violate my thoughts with his scent –

Coffee brewed too long, a something tingy,

Tin flavored, too bitter to drink. I turn the water off,

All of it, punish him with my silence. Win.

Later he sits on the old persian rug below the couch,

The one my mother left me, looks for the touch of my hand with his head –

John is tall and blond and likes the feel of my caress through his hair.

I turn the faucet on again: I know that later we will approach as we lay in bed,

His arms will take me in from behind. I will feel him below, his cock rubbing beneath.

Already moist, I will reach down and take him inside. He will be slow.


The water makes its repeated crescendo,

Small bubbles forming – the moment to turn the knob, dribble the water within,

Into my mug – Earl Gray, honey and milk.

I leave the mug on the counter and walk into the main room, passing by

My collection of teapots in the corridor,

Sit at my desk and wait for my tea to brew.


more of giulia’s work: The World is Full of Teapots – artwork by Giulia Neri






Weekend Food: Science – The smell of fear: anxiety and its impact on odor perception

Understanding anxiety and mental health stigma

On the one hand, anxiety is a serious and debilitating disorder. On the other, it can be a useful evolutionary response to threat. Understanding how anxiety works might help to destigmatise mental health issues
If you look at the facts and figures on the mental health charity Mind’s website, you’ll find that around 1 in 4 people will experience some sort ofmental health problem each year. About 10% of these people will see their doctor and be diagnosed as having a mental health problem, and of this group, a small proportion will in turn be referred to specialist psychiatric care. Of these people, precisely none resemble the breathtakingly ignorant costumes that have recently been withdrawn from Tesco and Asda. If you want to know what someone with a mental health issue looks like, just look around you.
One of the most common types of mental health issue is anxiety – about9% of people in Britain meet the criteria for mixed anxiety and depression, for example. We all feel anxious from time to time, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Isaac Marks and Randy Nesse argued in 1994 that anxiety is an important emotion that has been shaped during the course of human evolution. If we are in a potentially dangerous environment, being anxious increases our awareness of our surroundings and puts us in a state of physiological readiness to deal with any threats. However, when an anxiety response kicks in too often, and in situations where it is not needed, it becomes a debilitating problem. In serious cases, anxiety can make it incredibly hard for theperson to function.  (read more at the link above)

weekend food: Roman – Breakfast at Ciampini

Breakfast at Ciampini – shopping district

Returning to Rome after several weeks away, I parked the car in an underground garage, took the stairs going up and found myself utterly alone in the relative green quiet of Villa Borghese park. Weekday mornings in late winter you can literally stroll around there in complete solitude, except for a maybe a cat or two sunning itself on a picnic table. Sure, your can hear the rumble of cars passing by beyond some trees on via Muro Torto, (‘Crooked Wall’ street. No kidding,) but the city seems far away, the air seems cleaner, and it’s hard to believe that you’re a 15 minute walk from all the tourists, traffic, noisy remodeling, priests, politicians and politician’s, er, ‘female (and male) friends’ that dominate the old town.

The trail I was on veered left between some bushes. Once through the bushes, on my left, two horses were grazing. Though I said ‘ciao’ fairly loudly the nearer horse apparently didn’t hear my voice or footsteps until I was only a few feet from him. Startled, the horse jumped back a bit, neighed, and then did something I didn’t know horses could do: he growled at me. Moreover as I walked away the two of us made eye contact and I’m quite sure his gaze toward me meant ‘asshole’. Didn’t think much of it at the time.

Anyway, I continued on the path that in roughly ten minutes brought me to the overlook of Piazza del Popolo, “Public Square”. You get a pretty good panorama of the city, St. Peter’s in the distance, the twin churches beneath you, the Tiber between. Rome is almost perfectly lovely from that vantage point. It’s hard to think that all the way into the 19th century Romans used to gather in the piazza to have fun watching people’s heads getting wacked off, usually women’s. Seems so unlikely in such a beautiful place.

Heading down the walkway into the piazza you start to feel as if you’ve left an idyllic countryside and are back in the 21st century. Lots of taxi’s, people scurrying, mostly women, to go to work or get work done, people strolling, mostly men, to go to the bar, visit, er, their younger, thinner, better-looking ‘friends’, and people looking a little lost, mostly tourists, not realizing that getting lost in the old town is one of the best ways to take in its real flavor. On the right of the piazza you can plop into the church and take a gander at Caravaggio’s works. If instead you’re hungry avoid of the bars you see and head down the middle street, (via del Corso,) for about 500 yards or so until you reach piazza in Lucina. There you’ll find Ciampini.

If the weather’s fine, (which is, like, about 344 days per year,) they have tables outside, and frankly everything they make is usually fresh and high quality, from Cappucino to Cornetti with cream and sugar-glazed chestnuts or wild strawberries, to their ice-cream, ices (granite) in the summer, to their sandwiches (tramezzini).

After you’ve finished soaking in the morning sun you walk straight to Piazza di Spagna, taking a look at the 39-dollar purses in the shop windows that Prada and Gucci will sell you for a mere 600. Once you make it to the Spanish steps, you could take a carriage ride. I can’t, though. Every time I walk past the line of horses waiting in the square they all look at me with that ‘asshole’ expression. I’ll hang at Ciampini’s.

Weekend food: Colazione da Ciampini – quartiere del tridente (Roma)

Rientrato a Roma dopo alcune settimane, ho parcheggiato l’auto in un garage sotterraneo, ho preso le scale che salgono e mi sono ritrovato completamente solo nella quiete relativa del parco di Villa Borghese. La mattina dei giorni feriali nel tardo inverno si può letteralmente passeggiare lì in completa solitudine, fatta eccezione per un magari uno o due  gatti che si saranno sdraiati su un tavolo di legno. Certo, la puòi sentire il rombo delle macchine che passano oltre gli alberi in via Muro Torto, ( ‘Crooked Wall Street. No kidding’,), ma la città sembra lontana, l’aria sembra più pulita, ed è difficile credere che si e a 15 minuti a piedi da tutti i turisti, il traffico, i ristrutturazioni rumorosi, i sacerdoti, politici e loro amichetti che dominano ormai il quartiere . Il sentiero dove mi trovai  virò a sinistra tra alcuni cespugli. Una volta tra i cespugli, sulla mia sinistra, c’erano due cavalli al pascolo. Anche se ho detto ‘Ciao’ abbastanza ad alta voce il cavallo più vicino a quanto pare non mi ha sentito fino a quando ero a pochi metri da lui. Sorpreso, il cavallo e saltato un po ‘indietro, nitrì, e poi ha fatto qualcosa che non sapevo che i cavalli potessero fare: mi ringhiò. Inoltre mentre mi allontanavo ci siamo guardati negli occhi a vicenda e sono abbastanza sicuro che il suo sguardo verso di me significava ‘stronzo’. Comunque.

Ho continuato sul sentiero che in circa dieci minuti mi ha portato sopra Piazza del Popolo. Li su c’e una panorama abbastanza buona della città, San Pietro in lontananza, la piazza e le due chiese gemelle sotto, il Tevere in mezzo. Roma è quasi perfettamente bella da quel punto di vista. E difficile pensare  che fino al ‘800 cento i Romani si riunivano in quella piazza divertendosi a vedere le teste di persone che rotolavano giù dalla piattaforme in mezzo, tagliate con uno o due colpi secchi, di solito teste femminile. Sembra così improbabile in un posto così bello.

Scendendo lungo la passerella verso la piazza inizi a sentire che hai lasciato un paesaggio idilliaco e sei tornato nel 21 ° secolo. Un sacco di taxi, molte persone che vanno di corsa, soprattutto donne, per andare a lavorare o fare commissioni , altra gente che sembra a passeggio, per lo più uomini, spesso con, ehm, persone più giovane, snelle e belle accanto, verso i bar – che sono stazionati ogni 3 metri a Roma per legge, sembra – altre persone un po ‘perso, per lo più turisti, non rendendosi conto che perdersi nel centro storico è uno dei modi migliori per prendere il suo sapore.
Sulla destra della piazza si può fare un salto in chiesa e dare un’occhiata alle opere di Caravaggio, se t’interesse. In genere la chiesa e un pochino meno affollato di San Luigi, l’altra chiesa in città’ che ospita le opere dello stesso pittore. Se invece hai fame, eviti tutti i bar che vedi e puntati direttamente sulla strada in mezzo (via del Corso,), vai diritto per circa 500 metri o giù di lì fino a piazza in Lucina. Li troverai Ciampini. Se il tempo è bello, (cioè’, a Roma circa 344 giorni l’anno,) hanno tavolini all’aperto, e francamente tutto ciò che fanno di solito è fresco e di alta qualità, dal cappuccino ai cornetti con la panna e e fragole di bosco o alla crema con marrons glacé, al loro gelato, granite in estate, ai loro panini  e tramezzini. Dopo aver finito a godere il sole della mattina, poi alzarti per passeggiare fino a Piazza di Spagna, dando un’occhiata alle borse che valgano 29 euro nelle vetrine dei negozi che Prada-Gucci-LVMH-Hermes ti venderanno per soli 1.100. Una volta arrivato sotto le scale di Trinita’ dei Monti, potresti anche fare un giro in carrozza, se proprio ci tieni. Io no. Ogni volta che passo davanti alla linea di carrozze  in attesa nella piazza, tutti i cavalli davanti ormai mi guardano con l’espressione ‘stronzo’. Sarebbe meglio che io torni da Ciampini.

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