One Free Summer

Italy is the land of beauty corrupted

I was there

I followed a dream

I lived

A life

Of poverty

I had no money

No job

No prospects


I took a bus to the South to bask in the shadow of the volcano.

I hopped on the bus with no ticket

I saw land


Color and work

I found the old city

I followed a tourist group into Pompei

I saw ancient death and destruction

I saw the ruin the Earth can make

I saw the sudden end of life and history preserved.

I shared a sandwich with an Italian girl

And nothing more

For free

I hopped another bus back to Naples

I again paid no fair

And fell asleep

I woke to a tap on my shoulder

I see brown eyes

Grey hair

Tan skin

A blue wrinkled shirt

A badge hung crooked

A leather strap over a shoulder

A revolver in a holster

Cop scowl

Dove è il vostro biglietto?

I smiled

Io No comprendo

He took my shirt in a heavy fist

He pulled me out of my seat

He marched me off the bus

I heard whispers of oh my God

I felt my heart thump hard and fast and scared

In the heat

On the street

Near the Napoli garbage

The cop asked

Dove è il passaporto

He was angry

I thought about Naples jail

I thought about experiencing

The world

So what the fuck

I smiled

Dove è il passaporto

The cop was getting excited

I put my hands behind my back

I wondered whether I was going to get beat

I wondered if I was going to get shook down

I remembered

I have no money.

I am in Naples

I smile

Io no comprendo

The cop took a step

Towards me

I waited to see

Instead of touching me

Arresting me

Making me suffer

He pursed his lips and phished in my direction

And waved his hand

Dismissing me

And walked away

I smiled

and turned to the bay

The sun was setting

I basked in the orange glow of a crescendoing Italian day

I wondered what to do tomorrow

Maybe catch a train

Maybe see Firenza

Maybe go back to Roma

But it does not matter

I decide once again

Italy is the land of beauty corrupted


Author: Bryan Aiello

I call NYC home and wish the subway went everywhere and Times Square didn't suck. I saw John Turturro once. Maybe it was him. He was wearing a yellow shirt and smiled at me like he knew I knew. I am an Army vet who writes. I like characters who want more then they deserve. I like genre fiction. I love space. I love paladins. One day I might write a paladin in space story. Just you wait. The university of South Florida spit me out with a degree in creative writing and I find myself questioning the sanity of going to a school that advertises a fake beach on its brochure ever since. I intuit grammar. I Got married in 2012 We had twins in 2015. I do a lot of cooking and dog walking and ranting about the unfairness of sentience. You can follow me on Twitter: @bryaiello Wattpad: My Subreddit: My Reddit profile: Like my work? Become a patron at:

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