Dispatch #1 from the Deep Orange Zone: Vulnerable at the Perimeter

Today is the first day that the town where I live, in Emilia Romagna, has been declared a “Dark Orange Zone”. No one really knows what that means: neither the politicians, nor the bureaucrats, nor the police, nor the medical personnel, nor the shopkeepers, nor, in their largests numbers, the citizenry (otherwise known as consumers).

In his book/manifesto “Poetry as Insurgent Art”, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who passed the threshold at the very ripe age of almost 102 a few days ago, counseled poets to write poems as dispatches from reality. So, in the honor of that much admired, militant, revolutionary artist that was Ferlinghetti, I am writing my first dispatch from The Dark Orange Zone, recording  in verse and photo some of the ‘phenomena’ I ran into as I took my walk along the perimeter, the area where hyenas concentrate their attack on the vulnerable. I walked the perimeter next to the fancy villas, one of them a mock gothic castle with a  ‘whimsical’ lighting installation and a lamborghini parked there and then along the Osservanza (the Observance/the Observatory) one of the decommissioned mental institutions that caused Imola to be known as “the city of the crazies”, when its facilities ‘served’ the whole region. Of course, on the perimeter is where the City concentrated its axe, cutting down trees that stood in the way of someone’s aesthetic preference . So this is  my dispatch for the day,  “brought to you by the color Dark Orange”‘, as Sesame Street might have said.


Out there on the perimeter,

where the white porcelain giraffe

stands with its baroque crystal lamp

and the parked Lamborghini

rests its orange, squatful self

a few steps from where

vulnerability stands thick set

and shallow rooted

the tooted saw of death

lays siege.



its paymaster

marks the revenue

in straight columns

as the chorus of snuffed

lives of the elderly

and the one lone sportsman

sigh their baritones and altos

from the freshly pasted manifest

of those who just crossed

the River Forgetfulness.