Spare me the weight of the cross and the Pope
and the movie-mafia cool and the antics of Rome.
Spare me the high-heeled goddesses of bling,
the comb-over emperors with coats as cloaks.
And spare me the the small town braggadocio,
the boy-racer, one-handed drivers, the passeggiata
connoisseurs of labels, shoes and shades and all
who have watched The Godfather just one too many times.
Give me instead the common cobbles of the place,
its appetite, its bite on life, its eye-to-eye with
history, the gusto deciso of its here and now.
Give me, in fact, the laity of Italy, its lit-up face
of welcome – come, sit, eat, drink, write –
and the evening benediction of its light.