“You had your writing” by Marco Rossi-Doria, translated from the Italian by Alan Bern

photoB for accompaniment
Alan Bern

You had your writing

You had your writing
with you.
it came from a god.

Instead you cursed
and ate the years
giving the days
to the aimless to the lost
to those with no grace.

And not one protection
has come to them
nothing sound.

Now you wear
a slovenly old man’s beard
while you mix
surprising lines
that you had lost.

You will not recover them.

Stay instead
in the shadows
drink with these final friends.
And sleep

Avevi la scrittura

Avevi la scrittura
con te.
venuta da un dio.

Invece hai bestemmiato
e consumato gli anni
dando i giorni
agli inetti ai persi
ai senza grazia.

E nessun presidio
è venuto loro
nessuna sanità.

Ora tu sei
con la barba vecchia sciatta
che rimesti
i versi sorprendenti
che avevi lasciato.

Non li riavrai.

Stàtti piuttosto
bevi con gli ultimi amici.
E dormi


Headshot Marco Rossi-DoriaMarco Rossi-Doria is a Neapolitan poet and educator with four poetry chapbooks and poems published in Linea D’Ombra, Po&sie, and Paragone Letteratura. His poems have been translated into English and French. Rossi-Doria has been a teacher in Italian State Elementary Schools within the socially disadvantaged districts of Rome and Naples, as well as abroad, in Kenya and France. He also organized an experimental Street Teacher Project (Maestro di Strada) called Chance, an EU best practice. He is an expert in educational policies, having served as Undersecretary of State to Education, and now president of the Naples-based IF-ImparareFare (Learning to Make). The NGO is dedicated to training, guidance, and small business start-ups for poor young people and local educational empowerment projects for poor mothers and small children. 

Alan Bern is a recently retired children’s librarian from the Berkeley Public Library. His poetry books are No no the saddest (2004), Waterwalking in Berkeley (2007), and greater distance (2015). Lines & Faces is his broadside press with artist Robert Woods. Alan has published translations, poems, stories, and photos in a wide variety of online and print publications, from which his work has won awards and been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. Among his writing awards: runner-up for The Raw Art Review’s The John H. Kim Memorial Short Fiction Prize (2019); a medal from SouthWest Writers for a WWII short story (2019); and the 2015 Littoral Press Poetry Prize. Alan performs with dancer/choreographer Lucinda Weaver as PACES and with musicians from Composing Together.