Poor Aussie Boy

Summer Venicea
…  a hothouse
frozen in time
then suspended
in a saltwater museum
The despised tourists
on the dock
by the boatload
Then to queue
for religious relics
and pay 5 euros
just to see them
Once they would’ve all
been led for free
and fed into the Colosseum
Like foreigners
who walk around
saying … “Gidday!”
Barbarians well known
to pisciare in the bidet

Old Churches
on every corner
Yet at times it seems
God is a million miles away
Or is he always near
in thought
in deed
and all those things
we never say?

From Roma to Venezia
the baristas know
how to crema!
Here an espresso shot
would knock your socks off!
Like a hot chilli pizza
on the set of Epic Theatre
For a night out
on the terra-cotta
“Senoré, could you lend
me a toga, per favore?”
The locals keep directing me
to the Via Asola?
I Non Capisco!

In full flight mode
via Air Italia
How will a poor boy
from Australia handle
all this rich continental?
Where the girls
are tall and slender
like a long cone of waffle
topped con duo
scoops of gelati
The boys also
are all too pretty
I must remember
to keep an eye on Lindy
And me …
just a poor Aussie boy
who can’t afford the scandal
The original roaming numeral
So I went to the Basilica
and lit some candles
Then got me a pair of
genuine leather roman sandals

Polanski now on the run
with Doris Day
Cliff Richards
and Ernest Hemingway
All going on a summer holiday
Roamin’ the Comune di Prato
… right next to Florence
Linda Amore and I
in a Fellini trance
Did Firenze put the ‘Roman’
into a Bellini romance?
As for Polanski
on the highway
simultaneously learning
the hard way
how to jet ski
and pole dance
Now being closely watched
by Linda de Venus

Here the Pubs are open air
Spilling out
from the street bars
vino and birra
here and there
Except on Domenica (chiuso)
Everyone is Frutti Tutti!
There’s Opera in the air
(e la tabacchi fumare)
… music everywhere.
Doing business
in the lavatory
to the sounds of Puccini

The clang of church bells
that rang before
the New Worlds invaded
It’s so pleasant here
I know not
why they bothered?
The caffes in the the street
People smokin’
the summer heat
“Ciao Bella”… as they meet
with a kiss on each cheek
Passions and fashions
The shop window reflections
to give oneself a tweak

It’s midmorning
For a poor Aussie boy
is this a slow torture?
Too much bellissima?
with a clash of club culture
rocking the Via del Casbah

Two coins in the fountain
Pigeons flocking
Children splashing
The young are parading
The old are complaining
The men talking
and drinking
The women shopping
and talking
Phone in one hand
the other gesticulating

A stranger fellow traveller
comes over
talking over easy
yet the whisper of danger
“Going to do the Vatican?”
“You bet I am!
I gotta see the beatification
of Jean-Claude Van Damme.”
He then be enquiring
at what hotel am I staying?
Swift in reply
my Aussie accent is saying
“Yes, I come from
the land of plenty
way down under!
Watch out mate,
It’s we who plunder!”

Is patriotism
the lost refuge
of the non P.C. rascal
searching for the
whispered “Via Asola”?
Perhaps I should ask
Marine Le Pen
and her basket full
of adorables?

In the piazza
there’s a wedding
The church bells ringing
I must be acclimatarsi-ing
Perhaps even hallucinating?
The cherub
atop of the fountain
he’s spitting, and pissing!
I’m starting to curse
in perfect Italian
I can order a cappuccino
with broken latino syllables
and a cheery “Buon Arvo!”

“Buon Pomeriggio
tu barbarico!”
Yes … I am
an Aussie true and blue
through and through
And I couldn’t give
a flying kangaroo
I now know
that the Mafiosos
are actually the goodfellows
The Polizia
the real criminals
I can even tell the time
by the clock tower
despite all
the roman numerals
Not bad
for a poor Aussie boy
in roman sandals?

Gold & glass
Stone & brass
Mosaics pimping up
the Churchs and Basilicas
The tesserae of holy graffiti
Walking the Via Santa Lindi
Enough saints here to sink
a ship full
of pistachio gelato
Yet I can’t go past the
Palazzo of sacred spaghetti
Not to mention
the Hotti~Biscotti
the Pasticceria
or the Gelateria
Nor the Ristorante Deliziosa
where once stood
the Temple of Diana

On Sunday the Duomo doors
are flung open, and
the confessionals begin
From within, a whispering
behind the curtain
“Whilst committing
this mortal sin, tell me son,
what were you wearing?”
Comes the repentant reply
“A borrowed toga
all stained with gelati”

The War Memorials here
list the names
of fallen Crusaders
from the Middle Ages
The more things change
the more they stay the same
When did faith become
some almighty power game
in the name of state religion?
From the pagan
to Carl Sagan
sages throughout the ages
What’s been lost
in the middle
to be found in the pages,
as ‘In the Beginning …’

The gambler
the backpacker
and the stranger traveller
all walking La Rambla
in peace and freedom
… till once again
the madness begins
From the desecrated streets
of Barcelona and Nice
to the Bataclan in Paris
flags are flying
yet again
at half mast
Through a crack
in the wall
of disbelief
a bell is ringing
Down below
behind a bolted door
an old hand
is pulling the strings
Seething in a hatred pure
Liberté  Egalité Fraternité
That prayer upon a wing
all humanity longs to sing

The Priests and the Nuns
they may have some
Do the many
have more or less
… or none?
Yet dressed
with a pretty euro penny
The shops all shut
to beat the heat
of the midday sun
Fitting right in
like a natural born Italian
in the cool of the evening
Dining on a big bag
of cherries
and sipping a Lambrusco
with Linda
Did I mention
here it’s midsummer?
At night the beautiful people
go down Via Santa Trinita
The Fashionistas
and the Hedonistas!
I’m heading there right now
Factomundo ~ In Prato
with La Mia bellezza
Grazie a Dio
La Dolce Vita!

As for the locals
they seem to have
this serene sense of order
A reverence
for intelligent design
with a creative flare
once lived here
A collective culture
not forgetting their past
yet embracing
for the future

Then why I wonder
since the big brexit hit
the Euro has still
more driving power
than the poor Aussie Dollar?
I don’t wish
to trump on about it, but
I suspect the exchange rate
gave this poor Aussie boy
a golden shower!

~ by David B. Redpath   © 2017


Hercules Strangling the Canary
A sculptural euro euphemism?

Hercules riding the turtle … ?


Finally found it!
The legendary  “Via Asola”.


As photographed from the back


Colosseum in Green

“What time is the Main Event?”

First glimpse of Venice, yet
they can’t keep the tourists out!

Venice has the pidgeons
eating out of it’s hands.


Sunday best for St.Marco’s Square
… and the Vatican.


Saved myself 5 Euros
by catching an offering 🕊️ 😎

Florence Cathedral in camouflage.

463 near sheer vertical steps
to take this elevated snap.

David & Linda Redpath  © 2019

97 thoughts on “Poor Aussie Boy”

  1. Ahh you poor Aussie cosmopolitan boy, this is a magnificent write, all the energy and endless marvels of history and tourism and language and modernism coming thick and fast. I felt like I was in a hustling bustling cafe in st Marcos square. Magnifico!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Hustling and bustling the summer
      tourist season. And certainly overpriced!
      But well worth the Venetian experience.
      Unfortunately many of the indigenous
      can no longer afford to live in Venice.
      Thanks for taking my economy tour 😎

      Liked by 5 people

      1. That is the price we pay for tourism….I love travelling, but sometimes I struggle with the very thing of being a tourist – the crowds, the expense, the dilution of culture… the disparity of wealth that’s often so clear between tourists and locals.. of course there are benefits as well.
        But that’s another story.
        Your poem really captured something for me. I love it.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The feeling is trench coat mutual, Rachel.
        But the more I see of the New Globalised,
        Homogenised, and Sterilised Culture,
        the more I’m resigned to the sad fact
        that you can’t change the big picture
        future. All we can do is love one another,
        the creator, and recycle our own litter.
        Thanks for taking the trip, despite the
        ‘Economy’ accommodation 😎

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Ho incontrato mio marito ad un corso di Italiano. Adoro l’Italia, la sua musica, le persone, i film, il cibo e il caffè. Imparare l’Italiano sembrava logico.
        Non posso dire di parlarlo adesso. L’ho imparato 20 anni fa. La mia comprensione è ancora buona.
        Sei italiano, , vero?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Vorrei essere italiano! Sono stato in Italia e guardo molti film italiani. Ma per motivi a me sconosciuti, non sono italiano. Gli italiani sono anime meravigliose e carine.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I loved this — the rhyming and how you integrated Italian into it. I’ve only been to Rome and I adored it. I also want to go to Florence and Venice, maybe some day.

    I also loved your Roman sandals!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Grazie molto, Basilike.
      Those genuine leather sandals,
      my one Italian souvenir are now
      very well travelled. But sadly
      I discovered they were actually
      Romanian, not Roman. Some
      confusion in translation.
      But please don’t tell anyone,
      to save me some rewriting 😎

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Efcharistó polý, Basilike 🙏
        Yes, nothing is really sacred in this age
        of globalised greed. In Australia, tourists
        are being sold genuine boomerangs and
        didgeridoos, made in Indonesia.

        Liked by 3 people

  3. Gidday back, you are so missing out on the icy winds, and rain gnaws at our golden soils. Well, at least you’re wearing Roman sandals, the only way to walk around Rome and beyond. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That was then, Susan.
      I’m back Down Under in the southern
      winter, sharing your discontent.
      But I’ve had enough 🥶 and about to
      drive the 3,741 kilometres to Darwin.
      Ive got to see a man about a croc 😎


  4. You’ve painted an experience like no other. From a tourist observation,
    your poetic expressionism is flawless and beautifully well captured in the scenery
    and photography. 🙂

    Brilliant poem and everything about this work of yours is my favorite. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much, Charlie.
      I was cruising high on extreme
      Florentine inspiration at the time.
      Apart from the occasional come
      down crashing a hatefilled crime.
      I greatly appreciate your positive
      feedback, after placing my poetic
      perspective on the line 🙏

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s one way of looking at it.
      Thanks for your insight, Dwight 🙏
      Being a free-range anthropologist, not
      a tourist, I was granted an indulgence
      by Pope Francis. But I don’t wish to
      dig up the past 😎

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Old churches on every corner … but God seems a millions miles away.
    Fantastic lines and equally stunning shots of beautiful Venice 📸👍🏼✌🏼👌🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Don🙏
      I’ll have to go back, as I’ve now got
      a much better camera, with a lens
      made by Leica. Plus, I neglected
      to take Linda for a ride on a gondola.
      Of that little oversight …
      she likes to remind me 😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The gondola ride is the height of romance. Some newly wed couples have fought for that prestigious spot at the helm of the love boat 🚣‍♀️

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Like a virgin, hey!
        Touched for the very first time
        Like a virgin
        With your paddle 💥🏓
        Next to mine

        Whoa-oh, oh-oh
        Whoa-oh, oh-oh, ah
        Whoa-oh, oh-oh

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Freshly ground quality is the key.
        Then one or two to get the day
        under way. Sugar only if it’s burnt
        and bitter. But that’s no way to way
        to treat a lady … or a cup of Java 😎

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Steve.
      I’m tempted to go back, now that
      the cruise ships are being banned.
      But in the Spring. We arrived during
      a heat wave in Summer. Spent the
      week cooking in a marble cubicle
      of a converted nunnery 🥵

      Liked by 1 person

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