Farewell to Florence

POETRY FORMAT, 17 Oct 2016

Emanuel E. García, MD – TRANSCEND Media Service

emanuel-garciaI left a jacket
At the Piazza della Signoria

Not because it was a little short in the arms
Or overworn, or because its pockets
Tangled up the things I placed in them
With shredded fabric decades old that
Made it hard to extricate what I consigned

Nor because it wasn’t handsome
Or had ceased to be a bulwark to a biting wind

Least of all because of style
Which, when I bought it,
Had the stamp of ‘modern’ timelessness,
So I was told

This jacket – it was a gentle brown,
Soft, but not too delicate,
A skin whose sacrifice was compensated
By the care and skill it took
To make it lendable to me

And as a second skin it helped
To get me through a lot of

The moment of its purchase
Was a happy one, as moments go

But, you see,
The thing about moments
Is that they’re surrounded by a
Fore and aft, embedded in
Some kind of pool that stretches
Everywhere until it’s time to sink

It was the endless stream of youth at the piazza,
The fusillade of dreams under
The gaze of Perseus the other day
That made me wonder not
How innocence becomes a
Murderer or thief, but worse,
A pillar of the state

I watched these happy ghosts
Who knew bright promises could lie in wait,
Experts in hope and, in their
Necessary selfishness, the truth
About what it should mean
To be alive
Despite immortal worms of grief
That crawl inside a heart and
Sometimes stir when least anticipated –

That they could take, and
Broken loves and the incessant
Effort to be understood
With language laying siege and
Taking prisoners of every word

That, I’m convinced, they could endure

Until they reached a line

Or was it more a mien,
A mask of crusted blood that
Thickly grew with every new recruit
Who fell upon the easy side of power
And stayed –
The face of how things had to be –
Forgetting who they were or
Who they might have been?

I prayed for more to make the harder choice

And got the thought
To leave my jacket,
Late at night,
Upon the shoulder of an ancient
But decided it was better fitting
At his feet: it still had use, and
Little history to burden
The discoverer

I bought myself another on a whim,
Partly to celebrate, partly to rejoice
Because it wasn’t out of need

And I could face Medusa’s face
This time with levity


Sojourns2014 emanuelegarcia.comDr. Emanuel E. Garcia is an American poet, novelist and physician who now resides in New Zealand. He may be contacted at emanuelegarcia@gmail.com.

This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 17 Oct 2016.

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