Fifty square yards of floor & we danced to bass drum & trumpet rhythms & the women were unstoppable we were rough & ready with all the latest hits speaking words full of love to one another with each dance the women would line up together on the sides & wait for us no man felt shy no woman was left without a man the women were hard some others light & easily led some others had firm thighs some soft as those who have known love the men were in good spirits the women beatific taking their fun some had fallen into a man’s arms for the first time some had held a woman for the first time.
Lay all of your rage into the rhythm to speak with ferocious calm each verse I’ve been able to write to put a chasm between me & them or to read as if utopia had remained only in my verses to act obscene in front of the whole audience have a good time anyway poetry is like universal blood we can give it to anyone but any other blood places us in mortal danger
By Luigi Di Ruscio
Translated by Cristina Viti
From Selected Poems
Forthcoming from Seagull Books
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Luigi Di Ruscio (1930-2011). Born in the Marche region, he emigrated to Norway in 1957. He published several poetry collections – noted for their uncompromising politics and fiery energy – while supporting a large family by working daily shifts in a factory. His commitment to culture and language won him great respect then, as it does now.
Cristina Viti is a translator and poet working with Italian, English and French. Her most recent publication was a co-translation of poems by Anna Gréki (The Streets of Algiers and Other Poems, Smokestack Books, 2020). Her translation of Elsa Morante’s The World Saved by Kids and Other Epics (Seagull Books, 2016) was shortlisted for the John Florio Prize.