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Sunday, June 13, 2010



This week's prompt is Italian.The point is to use a sprinkling of Italian words in your poem. The photos are there to inspire you. I saw these movies light years ago and they are classics. For those who have not seen 'Marriage Italian Style', 'Divorce Italian Style,' or ' Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow' I have put a video clip (strip scene) up for your enjoyment.This scene was reproduced with the same actors thirty years later in 'Pret A Porter' with a different ( and I bet you have guessed) outcome.The top photo is from a movie called 'Seduced and Abandoned' another Italian classic made in 1963. Gianncarlo Giannini in 'Swept Away' is a must see. It was made in the 70s( fabulous movie). I have not seen it since then but still remember it vividly. Guy Ritchie reproduced it with Madonna in the female starring role .It was a dismal failure.This is pt 1 of the 'Language Sprinkle Series' Other languages to be used in future poems are French, Spanish and I am still pondering German! Marianne will be able to tell her friends that she has written poems in three different languages:) When I say sprinkling I mean just a few words here and there. As Francis probably knows lots of Italian words, he is allowed to do lashings (rude ones too) but he has to tell us what they mean! Ciao bello... amore mio!


Bruno’s got his work cut out stasera
dealing with a new age breed
of teppisti malavitosi
who think that Antipasti
is the name of a rock ‘n’ roll band

It’s not just their arrogant college grad tones
that Bruno finds so seccante
They’re all wearing suits from Milano
that shout in voices louder still

And so they come to his house
and they ask him to commit murder…
(They’ve ordered a bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau
Apparently, the new Valpolicella)
…by passing on a cooking tip or two

Somebody do him a favour
Un favore, per favore

The day will never come
when Bruno cooks with rapeseed oil
rather than olio d’oliva
serves glasses of Beaujolais
in place of Valpolicella
melts chunks of Swiss Gruyère
…the new Mozarella, don’t you know?

He could be forgiven
if, at this preciso momento
he’s feeling rather proud
to call himself Italiano

Unlike someone else he could mention
like that trendy TV gourmet chef
who goes by his alter ego
of Capo Di Tutti Capi

Un duro periodo di miseria elapses

Thinks: Il capoegli diventa
an overnight sensation
disgracing his famiglia
in the process of growing rich
A complete embarrassment
to the Italian nation

This man has surely incurred the wrath
of paesani Siciliano


or should I have said
Boungiorno Notte…?

The Sun Also shines at night, don’t you know?

Yesterday, I was drunk
Seven kilometres from Jerusalem
talking to The Caiman

Was I seeing double?

He appeared to be
Come due coccodrilli
and they were telling me
Tales of Ordinary Madness

‘You know what?’ they say

La vita è bella
...La seconda volta

Volere volare
Tutta la vita davanti
La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo
Fuori dal mondo

…Come te nessuno mai’

There were no sub-titles for me
so, in broken English, they explained

Don’t move
Once you’re born you can no longer hide
The keys to the house



Stasera – tonight/this evening
teppisti malavitosi – underworld thugs
Antipasti – (literally) before the meal
Seccante – irritating/tireosome
Milano - Milan
Valpolicella – Italian wine (similar characteristics to Beaujolais)
Un favore, per favore – a favour, please
olio d’oliva – olive oil
Mozarella – Italian cheese (similar characteristics to Swiss Gruyère
preciso momento – precise moment
Italiano – Italian
Capo Di Tutti Capi – Boss of Bosses
Un duro periodo di miseria – a hard time of misery
Il capo… egli diventa – the boss… he became
Famiglia - family
paesani Siciliano – Sicilian people

FILMS (and translations)

NON CI RESTA CHE PIANGERE - Nothing left to do but cry 1985
Buongiorno - Good morning
Boungiorno Notte – Good morning night 2003
The Sun Also shines at night 1990
Seven kilometres from Jerusalem 2007
The Caiman 2006
Come due coccodrilli – Like two crocodiles 1994
Tales of Ordinary Madness 1981- also a Charles Bukowski title
La vita è bella – Life is beautiful 1997
La seconda volta –The second time 1995
Volere volare – To want to fly - 1991
Tutta la vita davanti - All your life ahead of you 2008
è - is
La tragedia di un uomo ridicolo – The tragedy of a ridiculous man 1981
Fuori dal mondo – Not of this world 1999
Come te nessuno mai – But forever in my mind 1999
Don’t move 2004
Once you’re born you can no longer hide 2005
The keys to the house 2004


  1. Thanks Joven; I'll check it out.

  2. I didn't know you could speak Italian.

  3. Thanks Changnoi; Neither did I...!

  4. I love what you have done here and about the Italian chef that is hilarious!
    'This man has surely incurred the wrath
    of paesani Siciliano'
    I am sure he has!

  5. Thanks Pamela; It's a mix of the Godfather and food snobbery, written in English, Italian, French and Latin.

  6. I love both of these poems. The first reminded me of an episode in the Sopranos. Italian sprinkles were great. The second poem is cracked.
    LOL.It is so surreal with such good lines from the films. I like the broken English translations.Thanks Stan for doing such a good job with these!

  7. Thanks Rall; I wrote the first one first, then decided I should pay homage to Italian Cinema.

  8. Clever work amico; both the food and the films!

  9. Thanks Derrick; I just scrolled through the film titles and picked out ones that seemd to follow a pattern.

  10. Your poems are splendido, Stan!!! "And melts chunks of Swiss Gruyère…the new Mozarella, don’t you know?" Molto comico!

  11. Poor Bruno! I weep with you. They have no souls who would replace tender young mozzarella with age and worse aged Swiss.

    The movie poem was a lark. Don't know many of them, but liked the play, especially the caiman/ crocs

  12. Thanks to:
    Marianne; TV chefs are always trying to convince us their recipes are better than the original.
    Barbara; The movie titles fell nicely for me.

  13. Hi Stan -- wow, you were productive on this prompt! I laughed, laughed with the first poem, especially the aged Swiss. Yuk! No! Cannot do that!

    The second poem was a gem...the way you wove the movies together. I really, really liked the last stanza...spooky yet philosophical. Much like deconstruction! But, in a French way. =)

  14. Thanks Kinda; I was wondering how to include the film titles, and then it just clicked.

  15. Sorry Linda, I kinda made an error typing your name.

  16. Thanks Linda; Perhaps I was thinking 'kinder'...

  17. Yes, food, folks & felonies - what's a little gangsta among paesani? Nice collisions!

  18. Thanks JDM; Collisions - yes it was certainly a crash course in Italian for me.