Thursday, 3 February 2011


There were two parts of town. The tidy clean part where luckier retirees and their poodles lived and the old part with trees growing out of the rooftops and washing hanging across the streets like bunting. She was placed in a flat in the nice part of town--septic with two nice girls, one Irish, one Australian. The building was brick with a mirrored lift and a balcony that looked out onto other nice buildings. All so nice. Not very Italy.

I sat at a bus stop and waited. The woman next to me lamented...."tarde....tutto tempo e tarde." I only knew two words in and pasta, but had learned a third that day. "e vero" It's true. And so I  inserted "e vero" a few more times until the bus came. Down to Spaccannapoli to take a wander in the old part of town, the place I'd imagined Napoli to be from the guide books.

Mary popped up a lot. Mary and Jesus in little alcoves and homemade shrines next to worn doors and tiny lead glass windows with pinkish curtains. Paint peeled from every shutter. Trees and bushes grew out of crumbling rooftops. It was lovely. It was a picture everywhere I looked. Washing hanging out. Chickens hanging upside down. I got lost in my wander for a while until it was suddenly dark and the streets, how they twisted in their cobblestone way had me lost in a maze. I looked up the hill at the castle lit up and wondered how to get back there to cleanville where people don't sit on the stoop peeling potatoes. They do that indoors.

A procession went by. Someone carrying a banner of Jesus. Candles held, chanting. I thought them safe to follow. Better to follow them and at least be going in a direction. Perhaps they would arrive at a central point which had some links to public transport. I walked along alone with the procession, but was soon befriended by a meaty man with a large face slightly puffy from the overuse of under the counter chemicals. He smelled of scars and a life of danger. He tried to be friendly. I told him I only spoke English. Unfortunately, he spoke English too.

He was from Peru. He had learned English in prison in Denmark where he had met his wife who was a Neapolitan purse snatcher from birth. A co ed prison? Yes. They are very modern there. Good facilities. I was trafficking cocaine. He explained it all very matter of factly just like someone who had relocated to work for HSBC. I took his friendly offer and he gave me a lift home on his moped. Now, he knew where I lived.

I met A boyfriend early on. No doubt from the first glance. I was typing..."I'm having a show in Marseille. Book arts. I'm going there next week just for the weekend." I'd written it several times to several different friends as I didn't know the first thing about copy and paste or send to more than one user.

"I am Joanne Morgan. I am wonderful. I am going to Marseille." He taunted me as we left the cafe. "Look at me. I am Savario. Here is my book. I am author. I am wonderful just like you. Famous." He turned the cover over to reveal a picture of someone else...someone obviously in his younger days. We laughed and that was the beginning of a lot of laughter. "You are like octopus typing. You are octopussy."

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