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6ix post cards w ords and typography: brittany

arit a

promoted by

we take the bus to get there. might as well be a boat. a canoe. gondola we’re weaving through the streets,

cracked rivers of cobblestones. rocks, little pebbles BETWEEN. in



i wonder where the driver got his license, i wonder how many rear views have fallen victim to buses. i wonder why i don’t know where we are. i should stop wondering.

dinging of the bus bell. so constant it interrupts my soundtrack.

GETON. GETOFF. circling a statue; they have roundabouts here too. thought it was just a new england thing. scenery blurs to greens. trees to mosaics. splashes of moss. or bark. or mold. at this speed it all looks like oil pastels. we’re careening around nintey

peope i will never know.



it’s a science how this whale curves these corners without making a splash we arrive. get off the beast in a huddled group of shivering students. as we ascend, one by one, we start to turn around. to see what’s behind us; ourcity. red fingers. red nose. red toes; i’m so cold.

but stiff fingers is a small price to pay for this view. the view. i want to cry. the city, my city, emerging out of a thin fog. a group of fourteen. maybe more. we’re silent. i want to cry. i feel the bubbling, little bit of wetness starting to boil. i hold it back. what would they think? i know none of them. still, i want to cry. i don’t. i don’t want to leave. don’t ever make me leave. i can’t leave. can’t go back. there’s a church at the top of the climb. inside she says;

“ every carving is a masterpiece, feel.” i touch thousands of years in a matter of seconds. indentations chiseled by an artist’s hands. i want to fall to my knees and pray. i don’t even go to church. i don’t even know what i believe in. but i want to pray. people come to repent here; i ask what i did to deserve this. and so we leave. we pass men in orange coats, elaborate machines.

the city’s under construction; so am i.

i’m not the first person to see these things. to touch them. to want to cry. thank god.


give my feet a rest. my poor black boots. they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. their heels are peeling up. little pieces of black fabric, folding back like the upper lip of a mouth that’s screaming out something seemingly important. i’m one-hundred percent content with everything in my life at this exact moment.

my dear boots might disagree.

they were satisfied upon arrival; new and fresh; fake suede parading about the streets without salt and snow. persuading me along uneven cobblestone and i, on the other hand, a soul opposite those cracked cement two soles. grayed with age. worn, frayed from severe sleep depravation and hunger festering into subtle starvation. exaggeration; undoubtedly, but it would not cease until finally we feast on our first meal; pizza and beer. reminiscing of the past three weeks, but i’m so content my mind finds its way back to the present. to the man leaning against the lamp post a few stones away. to the sun pressing hard against the blackness of my boots.

i think i’ll stay here till the sun sets its light to rest. my feet will like this, i do believe. my tailbone, pressed hard against the grey stone, might disagree with this decision. i can never make my whole body happy; i try.

“In the end the only steps that matter are the ones you take all by yourself.” [the weepies.]

the clamor of a crowded room

the clamor of a crowded roomthe clamor of a crowded room voice, high and boisthe clamor of aofcrowded room One the clamor a crowded room terous, breaks through; clamor of a crowded the the clamor of ofa acrowded rooma searoom The clamor crowded room; of dialects, swarming around her solo debut. She the clamor of a crowded room

the sound of a dinging bell. The cling of the cash machine, ripped receipts, a coin drops. The ring finds my ears, then devoured by conversations, a thousand at one time, rising like an orchestra.

makes her exit out the sliding doors, stage left. Nails her role: American tourist. Or maybe traveler, it’s up to interpretation.

A raspy voice hollering something to someone. Dishes stacking in the distance; you can imagine the dishwasher, sweaty in stained white rags, plates in piles of tens or twenties, lifting, placing, lifting, placing. The choir of clangs, of ceramic on ceramic. Scraping fork against bowl, desperately clawing with its silver prongs.

“Vanti!” Muttered in indifference, or what I understand as indifference. Maybe the tone is just lost in translation, in the shuffle, choreography of people coming and going, coming and going, coming and going. Meeting, stopping, passing.

coming and going meeting coming and going stopping coming and going passing coming and going

“Let’s go sit on the church stairs”, a voice raises above all others, momentarily, a quick scat under the spot light, then blending back into the static, one big choral conversation.

The bell dings, selfishly calling for attention. And raspy voice appears with a face. Small frame, dressed in three shades of dark blues, thick rimmed glasses; his voice far exceeds his height. He passes by me with a cigarette and a cough. Like a stage manager, clad in black disappearing against a backdrop, running the show. A gesture. two fingers. “Due. Despite any barriers, noise or language, the gesture is understood. Cling of the cash machine, ripped receipts. The two men at the counter, calm and composed, slicing through breads and steaming meat. Staring back at a crowd of hungry, impatient eyes and mouths. Knees locked, arms folded, eyes to the cutting board, a clenched receipt in hand. A motion, another gesture, a bagged sandwich held up in the air. A spotlight descends, casting shadows on the crumpled edges of the white paper bag. Passed from one hand to the other. A standing ovation, curtains close, but only briefly, then onto the next customer.

standing ovation standing ovation

curtains close.

next customer

Reeling into the past. A brief recollection, becoming less consistent than it was a year ago. I see a painting. The face of an older woman, clenching a scroll. A freso, one of millions in this town, plastered on the ceiling, looking down on me. I recognize the eyes. Two years ago in a hospital bed, I stared into them, a blank stare back. The scent of warm vanilla lotion, masking poorly a distinct odor. I’m back in the backless chair, hunched over the side of her bed. She’s tangled in white sheets and beeping machines. I carry this with me. I am always alone in my recollections of a life I can’t bare to have lost. Alone with the fears they sparked. Alone with the moment I approached the casket, clad with elaborate flower arrangements, stuck with small place cards I had little interest in reading. Alone with the moment I walked to the edge and saw. Lifeless. Emotionless. Much like myself, the coming months. The world moved on; I stood statue still, much like David, forever trapped in his contraposto stance, a thick slab of marble, cemented in place. Trapped alone in all my moments. Yet here I am. I am sitting. Legs crossed, notebook in lap, pen sliding across delicate blue lines. A silence fills the room, just the slight creeks of a woman adjusting in her seat. A sigh. A bird outside singing something about the sun. The sun that pulsates, bright then dim. Bright, dim. I am in Florence; my new home. I am 3,000 miles and an ocean away from family. Friends. Employers. Gravestones. Alone again, in all my moments. Carrying them quietly, in my shoulder bag, slung slightly to the left. Next to the tiny silver pen, a gift from a friend, my sequined euro coin purse, the keys to my apartment; just one more thing to carry along my travels. Every person carries their moments; moments they must carry alone. As I tread carefully on uneven cobblestone, I grip my bag, to remind myself it’s there, safely sitting on the side of my left thigh. A comfort stems from the familiar touch of something my own;

i, alone can hold.

tired confused lost unaware foreign exhausted sticking out like a sore thumbed tourist

TOURIST american




rolling luggage doesn’t roll well on cobbledtone streets

stopping every minute

too often too many stares too many stairs

no map no idea no guide book no translator no dictionary no blackberry no cell phone no clue no do you know where you’re going street names blur of Italian syllllables left left right left right right left wrong turn right turn 3 hour drive to the airport 1 hour plane ride 2 hour wait 8 hour plane ride 1/2 hour bus ride 2 hour train ride 10 minute walk turned 2 hours what is another 1/2 hour

NO blue black red

searching searching searching

found home finally



first and foremost, foreign. least favorite. obnoxious, occasionally. outsider. outcast. out of place. with a camera in hand, stop and shoot, stopshootstopshoot. the sound of camera shutters, snapping continuously. constant flash, illuminating crevices, cracks of paintings, of ancient ruins, carvings of a marble statue. confused, do i order now, pay first, ask for the check? coming to terms with the exhchange rate. a pocketful of euros quickly depleting. squeeking sneakers and fanny packs. a tourist is a tourist is a tourist.

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six postcards  
six postcards  

travel writing on florence