by Tommi Avicolli Mecca


I understand why you came

to america

that bleak winter day

southern Italy was under

new rulers

the northern Italians who

taxed the peasants until

women stretched the dough 

with plaster from the walls 

of their ancient houses

in the streets of Philly you

shined shoes

for businessmen who

never noticed the tears

in your eyes when

you thought of Avigliano

as you stood on the shoreline

in atlantic city

you swore you could see Napoli

across that mercilessly cold ocean

what did you think of 

la bella signora della libertà

when you heard of the 

execution of Sacco and Vanzetti

or those Sicilians in Louisiana

who were hung by a mob

for a murder they did not commit

or the Lawrence Massachusetts textile

workers demanding enough 

to feed their families

did you secretly wish you could

be there with them

your fist in the air

or did you think you had it made

a little house

in a poor neighborhood

that smelled of garlic and sweat

where the voices of the past

mingled in the streets with

the laughter of children

I was one of those children

I tasted your dreams

rotting unrealized

among the rafters and the bricks

the mortar ripe with rage

I don’t know if you wanted

me to love this america

it’s not possible Nonno

I grew up a poor dago and a faggot

I only know america the ugly

I will not fight her wars

I will not work for her corporations

I will not respect her politicians or preachers

I will not pretend I live in a democracy

I will eat her rich

I will believe not in her god

but in those who fight in her streets

I will be a thorn in her side

as long as I breathe

her poisoned air

*Nonno is grandpop in Italiano

Views: 79

Comment by JMac1949 Memories on April 19, 2015 at 10:45am

For better or worse every experience changes the mix.  R&L

Comment by Zanelle on April 19, 2015 at 11:26am

America the ugly....I like your grandfathers dreams and wish it was easier to exist in this world.

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on April 20, 2015 at 4:31am

will like to put this on the air early May    :)  

Comment by Tommi Avicolli Mecca on April 20, 2015 at 5:16am

Sure, Jonathan, feel free to use it on air.


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