Marsala: Caulk it all up to Experience…

Back in a long ago summer I was working on a remodeling project in the suburbs of the Sicilian town of Marsala, a stunningly beautiful place where Garabaldi’s ‘mille’ made their first landing: the beginning of the work-still-in-progress known as Italian Unification.

Contrary to the myth one hears in Northern Italy, I saw southern Italian’s working hard from six in the morning until four in the afternoon with not much of a break. I recall, after lunch, laying down on the cool tile floor before launching into the next part of the project…and this poem about the often unsung pleasures of manual labour:

Caulk it all up to experience…

I’ve had enough silicone under my nails

To make a fertility goddess of a Hollywood starlette

(or at least to make five clean breasts of it).

You’d think I’d have the bank account

Of a Brazilian plastic surgeon by now…

Fat chance,

Folks don’t pay the big bucks

To have their tiles enhanced.

Will I list this work on my table of discontents?

It could be a Tuesday.

I could be anchored to an anonymous desk

In some downtown gratte-ciel looking out a window that isn’t there

Blinking against no sunlight, thinking:

“Out, out brief candle.”

“out, out.”


then, looking down at the shame of clean and idle hands:

“If only I had enough silicone under my nails

To make a fertility goddess of a Hollywood starlette…”

To read more of the back story click HERE.

By bonniemcclellan

Mother, poet, american ex-pat from Texas living in Northern Italy.


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