Two coffee shops, one left one right, ancient
History of modern Rome, post-war families saving
Ethiopian delights, surviving selling beans rebuilding
The Eternal City, bringing back normality by drugging
Insanity. I knew them both since I was a child, holding
My father’s hand while he drank, the elixir and I
Ate my tramezzino looking up at his smile. Contagiously
Spreading the good vibes as he joked, with young
Bartenders sons, of local bar owners serving
Residents. Went to each yesterday, one for cigarettes
The other, for corretto, another way to gulp a drop
Of spirit disguising, in the tiny cup, of a dark mask.
Young tapsters have grown old yet remain, brewing
In solitude, relatives absent some departed.
At the cashier two Chinese ladies discovered, to be
The wives of new owners, foreigners employing
Italians, weird products of migration, for ambitious
Populations conquering integration, as their kids
Go to the same school as mine and locals mock
The change, living in the glory of the past, when
National espresso only charged, seven hundred lire
European currency exchanged, in ninety cents for those
Who don’t know, triple its original price. My bank
Stuck in the middle of the two has also changed
In twenty years, my first account at eighteen
Transformed, me into the witness of many comes
And goes, directors and vice, bankers and services
Evolving to reward, my loyalty with fraud.
Two nights ago it shamelessly stole, fifty euros of me
Claiming, inexistent liabilities on a contract that had none.
Peanuts to unconscious holders, asking explanations
To hear clerks remark, they have no idea and will
Eventually know in ten days time, when the statement
Will sentence the crime, as legal commending me to shut
Up, accept the theft, give thanks. Going tomorrow to grab
A coffee and close, twenty years of history, mine.
[Featured painting: Les usuriers or The Moneylenders by Quentin Massys, 1520]