|Agneta Falk, Ferruccio Brugnaro, Jack Hirschman, Maria Brugnaro at Aman Canal Grande|
|Beat Poets at Aman Canal Grande|
|Maria Brugnaro at Aman Canal Grande|
"I decided, during that week of happy camaraderie, and
because I see in Ferruccio's work a resonance that harks
back to Mayakovsky, as well as forward toward the
necessary future of mankind, to translate his poems in a
selection that might include his rage, his righteousness,
his tenderness and, through all, that spine of
lyripolitical discourse so very important for the days
These two impressive poets are no longer young (Brugnaro is 79; Hirschman will be 82), but their hearts and passions remain strong. Together with their wives, Maria Brugnaro, a former schoolteacher, and the poignant poet Agneta Falk, they delivered a spirited evening yesterday at the Aman Canal Grande for the Slow Words readers' club, presented by Paolo Graziano and Diana Marrone, Slow Words fanzine founders and editors.
|Diana Marrone and Paolo Graziano at Aman Canal Grande|
In March, 1998, here in Italy, 31 top managers of the chemical industry were put on trial for knowingly exposing their workers to harmful chemicals; 149 were dead, and over 500 were suffering from cancer. (Ironically, Felice Casson, the prosecutor who pursued the action against the chemical industry in the late '90s through 2004, was just defeated this past June by Luigi Brugnaro, the son of Ferrucio and Maria Brugnaro, in the election for the new mayor of Venice.) Ferrucio Brugnaro's poem expressed the outrage he felt when the top managers were all acquitted on the grounds that when the deaths started in the 70s, they could not have known the production's deadly impact on the workers. "Non dite, non dite che non sapevate." ("Do not say, do not say you did not know.")
|Cat Bauer and Ferruccio Brugnaro|
However, I still can't get my mind wrapped around how two parents like Ferruccio and Maria Brugnaro, who seem to have fought so long and hard against corporate greed and disrespect for human life, managed to produce a son like Luigi, who grew up to yank 49 books about tolerance out of Venice's school system, and wants to dredge up the deadly heavy metal waste from the petrochemical industry that lies on the bottom of the lagoon -- the same waste that killed his father's comrades -- to make way for the controversial cruise ship industry. Sometimes I wonder if Luigi Brugnaro, who made his fortune with a temp-worker company named "Umana Holding" ("Human Holding") really understands the dark forces with whom he has made friends.
Below there is a poem by Jack Hirschman about Ferruccio Brugnaro, and below that is a poem, translated into English, from Fist of Sun by Ferruccio Brugano.
Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog
by Jack Hirschman
When he turned
to retrieve from his car
the coat you needed
for the chill on
changed into a young man
hurrying along the street
with a stride that was
that of another
His arms dangling widely,
his steps rapid, windy,
We stood in that Chioggia street
aghast watching his form
Front face, he is a man
of gentle strength and grace,
in his sixties, and has always
reminded me of my father's
and there's a photo he sent
to his American publisher
for use in his poetry tour
in the States next month
that has the sharp, dark lines
of one who might be an actor
in silent movies.
The darkness under the eyes.
The chtonic touch from that time
when a house was
closer to the womb.
And one was genuinely
youth and antiquity
in the same breath.
And it was visible,
dramatic, poetic and alive.
From FIST OF SUN
by Ferruccio Brugnaro
WORKERS' DEMO We've gotten hold of every corner of Venice today. Tall red banners, slogans against rip-offs and Death. Urgent songs of struggle and love now rise up from blood and soul. The stones and the waters have become human, warm. Our heart runs madly to liberation. Huge joy. Today life raises the concrete future of men, of all mankind, in its fist of sun.