Breath-sent Canto

Venive cruise ship

a cruise ship anchored off the Grand Canal
dwarfs the boats of Venice
it’s stacked decks regular as the ridges
of a washboard, its whiteboard side
sterile as an OR wall against
vibrant architecture— the difference
between stillness and life, between
steel and flesh set by the contrast
given by arcs of antique bridges
and arches of hand-laid stone, canyon walls
that, like canzones, rise from canals—
throbbing chiaroscuro against
a hulking digital grid looming,
as real as the sum of Venice
its antiquity vibrant as a lotus on a pond,
but a white hulk nevertheless
without the hint of  blood and sweat
or spit and bone, the drone
of machine rather than
the rising falling riffs of a
breath-sent canto


Jim Culleny