2013-2014 turned out to be two tough years.
They opened with the escape to Italy of my wife and kids, and closed with the loss of a brother. Since then time doesn't even seem to roll as usual, and it looks like I'm still holding my breath.
In early April 2013, Paola and the two children moved to Rome for good. We had been living in Downtown Manhattan since 2005. If I look back at the first few days I remember how optimistic I felt: I would have gone back and forth a lot and in the meantime could enjoy all the perks of city living: who wouldn't like some time alone in the city?
Rock'n Roll, tho, lasted for the time of a book and a chinese restaurant, a midnight movie show and little more. I missed the family too much, being alone was hard work, all the more in such a lonely town.
The thing is, NYRs are used to being alone. They come to the city in flocks, from a large, horizonless province that offers little future perspectives and no grandiose past to contemplate. Loneliness it's a symbolic price to pay to live a life you can otherwise only dream of, courtesy of HBO cable tv shows. Hence, once in NY you get to work, and get shit done. But relationships suffer.
I, on the other hand, unfortunately, have many glorious pasts to contemplate: I'm sicilian, for one, and in my blood many different voices are mixed. My DNA knows of many ways to make cheese and sausage. I was brought up in Rome, among the ruins of an empire, the riches of the vatican, corruption of todays politics, the ragged ass abusive slang and the hooligans. I travelled, and loved intensely. And for the future: that's my family, my kids, and many seasons to come with my old lady, many battles to face, bags left unmade on the floor, many wrinkled sheets in the summer and raindrops banging on the window glass in the winter.
Still New York is, and will always be, my spiritual home.
In New York I learned how to use my belly, and it got bigger. The eyes, too, and how to use my feet, in comfortable shoes. And then I got back on my tracks and left, one foot after the other, like when you lose your keys and make your way back hoping to find them on the sidewalk. Gaze lost in contemplating your misery: how could I do this? Trying to find a good reason on the street to be distracted. Looking for my children and for Paola in our own well beaten tracks: the toy stores we liked, the hospital that we had to visit too many times, the playground, the movie theatre, the restaurants, our routes and our little routines. I used to walk these streets real fast, now that I'm by myself, I move so slow.
I really loved this neighborhood, and these streets, their legendary past of punk rock and poetry. And these spoiled children, their inhabitants, at the same time materialists and dreamers. Clouds and big skies in their eyes.
Here, now, Rome, the old cynic, depressed and out of love. The old ragged prostitute that lost all her clients, looking at me with her sleepless and hopeless eyes.
My camera on f16, most often, to look farther away. To look for them even where I could not see them , hoping to find them popping up in a crowd, or behind a bend, or a corner.
Day after night, contemplating absence and its length.
I walked in circles like a guinea pig on a wheel, like an experiment, like a character in book. one among the others, in a city of glass.