Annette Messager at Villa Medici

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These are two of the installations of French artist Annette Messenger now showing at the Villa Medici in Rome. At first they appear conventionally grasp-able, even softly lovable. But as they draw you into them, your presumption of familiarity evaporates, and you are looking into something unsettling, wondering “Can she really mean that?”

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hermaphrodite

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DEF:  “a person or animal having both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics, either abnormally or (in the case of some organisms) as the natural condition.”

The pose of this hermaphrodite is one of the most common, but the sculpture is one of the oldest, brought from Greece to Rome around 100 BC.  It is in many ways the most subtle nd beautiful of all.

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Cleveland — The Flats

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Ruin, wreck, wasteland,

a Sunday morning poem,

a green light for seagulls:

Take it.  Take it out of

itself.  Make fences flower,

find rhythms in rust, there’s

flats and sharps on this staff,

if I make  it sing.

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Gelateria Fassi

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I am the only one left
in this deserted gelateria,
the only audience sustaining
these lovers. Even the scoopers,
who were flirting, are collecting
their coats. It will be awkward,
baggy lovers, soul-smooching
with your cashmere gestures,
for you to continue without me.
What will happen if remorse
creeps under the door? I can
stave off stinging regret too,
the thousand compromises that
will destroy you, yes I alone
keep you present — mostly
I think, because your hands.

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the sculpture of Cosimo Carlucci of Lecce

Below, “Violenza” (1960)  and two other pieces by Cosimo Carlucci at the Museo Storico Citta di Lecce. Worth a trip to southern Italy just to see these.

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Snowy Christmas Creche in Lecce – Roman Amphitheater

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First snow in ten years so no
cats in the ruins, no Pugliese
in the vicolo, but lucky for us
espresso and pasticiotto at
I’vino, where an efficiency lives
that belies Lecce’s streets.

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Le Panier quarter of Marseille

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At night, the steps up from the Vieux Port — you climb a bit faster.

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Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse

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Sometimes the view from the roof…. is even better!

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A Letter to my AirBnb Host

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The ants have returned. I know
you said they would forget us.
We did put our food in the fridge
as you advised after the vacuum
broke, the one we were using daily
to keep your place tight and white.
Don’t get me wrong: we love the view
and your rec’s on restaurants (where
they all seem to know your name).
We can deal with ants — they’re small.
But if you fixed the broken light —
it’s been a week — like you fixed
the broken TV, then we could see
the ants better and kill them
before they carry off another
spatula and our toothpaste.
They’re getting war-like and
you changed your phone number.
Is it because I mentioned the
sewer gas in the shower, and that
your dog shits outside our door
every morning at 6 a.m.? We don’t
mind, really, but the ants…
they attack in waves now.
I’ll just leave this on your door
and the keys on the table.

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The bulldog at the Bourgogne

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Bulldog, you lazy bulldog,
I always come to see you,
you never come over to see me.
Tuffy, Oscar, Max, whatever
your name is (I was told it
might be Wembly!) You stay
with the drinks, me with
the coffee, at a table.

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