Copy Queen Papers, part 1.6

24 march 1996

Bologna was wonderful. I just got back a little while ago. I went for the weekend. I learned some Italian along the way. For instance when I sat in the wrong part of the train the conductor checked my coach-ticket and said to me, “Quest’è prima classe.” Which I understand to mean, “You have a very nice jacket, enjoy your trip.” The ha-ha part is that first class is always a smoking section and second class has both. So by the end of the trip (it’s been a few years since I was on a train) I was nauseated (not nauseous, that’s my poetry) and dizzy. That’s first class for you.

The girls in Bologna are wonderful, the boys are nice. They all smell like bologna too… but in a good way. There’s a lot of commies there. I have a flyer someone handed me in a piazza explaining how the commies are going to make everyone’s work week shorter and make sure everyone has a job. So I’m registering to vote communist. I want a job but when I get one I don’t want to be there all the damn time. Sure work is great and all but what about the free time you’re giving up?

The two characters in this book both moved to New York from a small city. The one is staring like a fool because everyone is so smartly dressed, the other is bumping into everyone because he is staring up at the skyscrapers. I stare at the signs. Every shop front is in a different style. They have schools for window dressers and the number of typefaces represented on a single street is incredible.

Italy has no future in the coming millennium. It is desperately retrofitting itself for the current century. In politics they are only expert at bureaucracy and blatant corruption. In fashion they tend to the staunchly conservative (Mafia Modern, which I actually would wear if I had fifteen c-notes to drop on a suit) or ridiculously futuristic (some of the spring shows make Flash Gordon Deco seem likely). Their modern art is piddling (with some few brilliant exceptions). Their literature is housed entirely in a Sicilian woman, a dead man and a couple others who write for nearly the same audience as Pynchon and Cervio. Their architecture is laughable and with such a sad history of theft and indiscretion. I can only see them surviving in a couple of ways: A) ballast for the EEC to launder cash outside of the carefully balanced money scales of Switzerland, B) heavily advertised tourism (which will only work if the slobs learn to clean up their cities; it’s a total dichotomy, the indoors of all buildings and houses are immaculate, outside they are all litterbugs), or C) (this is a Taos couple) interior design. The windows, the chairs, the kitchens here (even in cheap apartments) are perfect. They are conceived to be used, to be clean, to be out of the way, and to be ultimately utilitarian. As such they are usually beautiful when you actually notice they are there at all. These pathetically backwards engineered façades from the bad regurgitated renaissance years of the 1800s conceal the most wonderful homes and furniture and light fixtures and plumbing…

I have to go to the Turkish Consulate in the morning so I better hit the hay.

I had a dream about a young black girl. I think she might be the queen of the world. It’s funny the things that are funny to things. Oo-la. I had a dream about murder last night. I woke without remembering but got more angry as they day went on. Weird. The Turks await. And so does my pillow. Ciaonowbrowncow.

The Turks are held up in Italian bureaucracy. It seems it takes a day and a half to notarize a document here. It also costs about seventy dollars. Tell that to the next crybaby who lost five hundred million to the CIA.

I am emotionally destitute right now. I visited the American consulate and saw a partial list of regulations regarding me actually ever working here. Not favorable; in fact, practically impossible. Still, I have the most hopeful interview tomorrow night so I won’t start crying yet. Maybe whine and mist up a little. Maybe my nose was just sweaty. Did you ever think of that?

Well, it’s two weeks in the morning. My survival Italian is in place. Auito. Sì, signora, sono uno straniere…ma scusate, puoi mi dica, dov’è il bar e vuoi andare con me? Anything beyond that sort of thing and I think of it about a minute after I’m expected to respond.

There’s a girl waiting for me somewhere I’m sure. Why can’t we go back to the good old days where big guys were in charge and they just had to knock down a couple other chimps to get the best chick? It’s my only hope. I’m a really big chimp around these parts.

It breaks my heart but I guess the time has finally come to tell you of the unpleasantness of the caffe affair. I’m sitting here with the Pagine Gialle (that’s right, tough guy, the Yellow Pages). See, it’s the little things that will drive you mad.

So I came here with a frightful case of jetlag. The fact is it was just me not sleeping the week before I came but jetlag is more romantic and easier to explain to the Italian folks. Anyway… Alberto’s mom is like, Vuoi caffe? And so I’m like, Ye’ah, hell yeah. And for two days I’m like drinking this coffee but still literally falling asleep within two minutes of someone stopping talking to me. I discovered a couple days ago that the stuff she’s been giving me is decaffeinated. Can you believe it? Non ci credo.

Verity is parity. This the title for my new essay. Instead of learning Italian I’ve been amusing myself rewriting The US Constitution (Not the Faragut) and The Declaration of Independence, assorted work on the resolution of information being the coming paradigm, replacing verity versus falsity. Just one of those things, I guess.

Well, if I understand the news correctly there’s a bunch of crazy ass cows in England; muche pazze, vacas locos. Perhaps they relate this story in America. Models of viral propagation. I hope these cows don’t get into that chunnel thing. They could be in Milano in a couple days. Then I couldn’t go out at all.

Weird old world we live in these days. Oh, I just realized there’s too much snow in the alps for crossing. I am safe from crazy cows for at least another month.

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