Friday, 2 January 2015


If a spiral wraps the minaret and your dome’s inside a wheel, then turn them all together for some genuinely Augustan appeal.

Like a man watching you from behind a column, or people pushing in a queue, you can buy as many cornettos as you like, but you’ll never shake the deja-vu.

Arcade arches are the scenes of a storyboard whose movie circles the square, its plot is vague and its end is the beginning, like the loop of a repeating nightmare.

If a staircase wraps a sphere and your spire’s inside a screw, then turn them all together, for a touch of the Catholic world view.

Like getting caught in a demonstration, or being pick-pocketed during prayer, you can take as many artsy pictures as you like, but your loneliness will always feel unfair.

Red blistered walls are the symptoms of a disease, an itchy rash that gets under all the windows, like a clinging sense of unease.

If a colonnade wraps a spiral and your cone’s in an ellipse, then turn them all together for a display of Baroque kitsch.

Like an overcrowded platform, or electric candles in a church, you can rush all you like, but you know the historians got there first.

Tourists stare at piles of rubble like they contain the meaning of the world, and perhaps if they stared long enough, they would see how all great deeds unfurl.

If a spiral meets a circle on a rotating plate of gold, or an oval joins an ark in a tumbling ball of stone, and if you know just where to fold along the circumference of an intersected cone,

Then the red walls and travertine corridors will rise up,
in a vortex of geometry and dirt and stone,
that we so strangely try to encapsulate with the little name, Rome.

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