General 8-10-2002

Venice, 7/11/98, 6:30 pm

from Invitations to Religion series

The sun is beginning its slow descent.

The church bells announce the half hour.

The canal laps against the fondamenta.

It is my last hour here. That is what they should announce.

For a moment I have paused here to rest. I tried to take a walk, but more or less abandoned it, in the Campo S’Mareola.

The church’s backside, facing the canal, is unfinished like S’Lorenzo in Firenze.

It is a comfortable place.

I think of taking out my camera for some last remarks and then think again, wanting to save my film, but really my energy.

My eyes should be my camera.

If I look really hard, I may remember the exposed and protruding brick of the church, the pink tint of the glass of the street lights, the Turkish pallazzo across the canal and its loggia, and especially the Italian ladies gathered and growing in number, now four sitting and one standing.
I should remember it all, these last moments before I leave–how overwhelmingly pleasant it is, the seduction the city is putting forth, to hold me, so ready to leave. I should remember because it asks me to, its presentation too lacking in subtlety. There is nothing subtle about Venezia–it gives all, rocking and cradling its children, its adoptions.

I throw a coin into the fountain at Roma, but here is where I will return.

To this place that shouldn’t be: extraordinary, on the lip of the sea,

perched half in half out, everything wet and smelly and important in life.

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