Italy Archive

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JIM IN ITALY

Jim found himself in the possessive thick-set yellow fog that comes in from the bay. He rubbed the scar on his back, the one that he’ll get when he was pushed through a window today. * *The fog is like yellow smoke. He sat on the bench and rubs his dog’s muzzle. Or is it his?

The dog licks its tongue as the evening lingered like an endless game of pool. Drained of all sense, diving into insurmountability, Jim thought about, and, if this seems like a leap, well so be it.

It was an October night. A sawdust night. The chainlink of this nearby terrace howled incipherably, like the west wind of his house’s curlicued memory. The yellow fog photographed this detour, memorized by a smoke-dream that was the fog like yellow smoke. Jim found himself in the possessive thick-set yellow fog that comes in from the bay. He rubbed the scar on his back, the one that he’ll get when he was pushed through a window today. * *The fog is like yellow smoke. He sat on the bench and rubs his dog’s muzzle. Or is it his?

The dog licks its tongue as the evening lingered like an endless game of pool. Drained of all sense, diving into insurmountability, Jim thought about, and, if this seems like a leap, well so be it.

It was an October night. A sawdust night. The chainlink of this nearby terrace howled incipherably, like the west wind of his house’s curlicued memory. The yellow fog photographed this detour, memorized by a smoke-dream that was the fog like yellow smoke.

Jim then remembered the summer he was in Italy. He had just come back from dinner and it was a warm summer night, a fine night for a stroll, down to the lake, the blue misty breeze rising from the water.

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JIM WRITES TO LOU

* Dear Lou,* * * * I wish you were here to share this beautiful weather. It is autumn, but you know that. The leaves are beginning to die and the grass is turning yellow. The sun sets earlier now, and last night there was a frost and all the flowers are dead. * * * * You could’ve been so damn much more than you turned out to be, but I don’t blame you. You left Italy for America, and, well, the forks in your road were more than you bargained for and, truth be known, more than you could handle. Test of the boomerang and all that, huh? The promised land turned out to be one big fucking promissory note.* * * * This morning, after I stopped at the coffee shop, I grabbed my Weatherby Magnum .380 and drove up to where we cut down that fine oak and shot at bottles. I am quite fond of the noise they make when a bullet explodes them. * * * * My universe, on fine fall crisp days such as these, seems to end not with a bang, but a whimper. I plagiarized that from T.S. Eliot. * * * * Truly, Jim *

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JIM AND THE LINT DREAM

Jim woke up today after a dream that Sonny Barger, who was the president of the Hell’s Angels in the sixties, had stuffed his mouth full of lint, the kind you see in dryers.  He was about to make sense of this when the phone rang.  It was his friend Tony, talking about a film he had just seen. Jim, Tony said, it was about this guy in Italy after the war. With no money and a wife and two kids, he is desperate for work. He is delighted to at last get a job hanging up posters, but on the condition that he has use a bike for work. No bicycle, no job, his boss says. His wife pawns their bedsheets in order to get money to get his bike out of hock. Then his bike’s stolen by a kid who steals it when he is hanging up a poster. The guy thinks that the cops will take the theft seriously, but they’re not really interested in the petty theft of a bike. The only option is for he and his friends to walk the streets of Rome themselves, looking for the bike. After trying for hours with no luck, they finally give up and leave. He admits to his son that if he isn’t able to work, they will simply starve. Desperate for leads and with his judgment clouded he even visits a fortune teller in the hope that she may be able to shed some light upon the bike’s whereabouts. However, she merely doles out to him one of the truisms that form her stock in trade: You’ll find the bike quickly, or not at all. Feeling cheated, he hands over to her some of the last money that they have. As he walks out of the house of the prophet, he encounters the thief and chases and corners him but he has already sold the bicycle and then the guy’s set upon by the thief’s neighbors while his son slips off to get the cops. Meanwhile, the guy angrily accuses the thief of stealing his bike but the kid denies all knowledge of the crime. When the cops get there, they see the kid lying on the floor faking a seizure and surrounded by neighbors who blame the guy’s accusations for causing the kid’s fit. The cops tell the guy that although he may have seen the kid stealing the bike, he did’nt catch the kid red-handed, doesn’t have any witnesses and that making an accusation is not good enough. With no proof and with the kid’s neighbors willing to give him an alibi, he abandons his cause. He walks away from the house in despair, as the kid’s neighbors follow, jeering at him and reminding him never to come back. The film ends with the guy and his son, sad and let down from what has just happened, walking along in a crowd, leaving us with a dim outlook for the two. Holding hands, they are both reduced to tears. By this time. Jim has forgotten about his dream.

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