Travelers busking in the metro
by fiddle or sax or guitar,
coins clattering in paper cups
Ding, grazie, Ding, grazie,
That’s lunch.
New graffiti on top of old graffiti
on top of ancient -
vandalism is timeless
as history repeats itself:
“Augustus was here.”
Guided tours of mother ducks
leading their aging ducklings
through narrowing streets
to ease their passing.
When all roads lead to Rome,
Death follows.
Indian and Pakistani aliens
hawking their shawls
and handbags
and coloured plastic flashing toys
one euro very nice,
scurrying like frightened mice
before the carabinieri.
Sharply-dressed old
debating politics and football and women
and youngsters and cars and the weather
gesturing wildly
as if it’s their national sport
it probably is.
Scooters zipping left and right through traffic
like mosquitoes between raindrops
helmets firmly fastened
as if cars aim for their heads.
Light brown boots covering white cotton socks,
tan leather belt strapping light cream pants,
navy woolen cardigans hugging striped silk shirts,
curly beards beneath curly heads:
“We’re gonna hit Milan in November,”
he confessed,
“for shoelaces.”
So many buildings
flocked by tourists hand-in-hand.
Aged marble lining old cement
reinforced by new concrete
in every square and market
blur the line between
legacy and
The City clutches its fragmented remains:
money still flows
down the Tiber.

* I actually enjoyed Rome, don’t get me wrong. It’s a great city, and it’d be a pleasure to live in it, I’m certain. But as previously mentioned, I tend to be a snarky bastard more often than not.
** I am horrible at free verse.
*** Actually, make that any kind of verse.