Walking early morning through the villa Doria Pamphilj gardens

is nearly disconcerting. It signals the return of the senses.

Rome can be a paradise for the body.

The scent of pine, of musk and stone, of damp and then brilliantly crisp air.

Each step carries its own clarity and unique aroma. 


The vertical lines of only those umbrella pines, black and rain soaked

standing against the dome of the sky, whose curtain is always moving,

ever changing in a theatrical performance of grand eloquence.


I stop at the dark coffee bar on my return.

The husky smell of black tobacco, Tuscan cigars,

sweet perfume (every woman is bathed in perfume),

coffee and its attendant sound of ceramic cups and plates,

the spoon stirring the sugar within it and the tap tap tapping on the saucer,

the plates clattered together by the barman into the dishwasher, 

the hardness of surface

against which the plates and glasses and cups and spoons must resonate-

marble and stainless steel

materials that carry the surprise of feel,

cold to the touch, absorbing the weather,

so volatile in its mixture between warm and cool, cold and hot.

Always the peperino.