• Paul Venzo




There are other lives I might have led

crouched in the foothills of Pordenone,

meandering along the shoals of the Piave,

stabled in a farmhouse in Maser, impatiently

pacing the platform at Ponte nelle Alpi.


They are lives crouched over endless rounds

of bastoni, played in a truck-stop bar

in Refos, or Castion or god-forsaken-Trichès;

an ever-mounting Tarot deck of


forgotten images:

here we are thugging about in Chioggia,

here we are kissing

beside the grotty cathedral in Vicenza.


I am tumbled from this archive,

strewn across the cool marble floor.

I stand marooned on private islands

of uncertainty, potential:

a vast, sweeping, uncharted archipelago. 




Sonnet for Redentore 


Dark shapes bob in the kiss of the bay,

and moorings jink a metallic symphony.

Corks pop and cutlery scrapes away

late dinner. Across military pontoons we

Jesus-step across the sea towards Giudecca;

looking back, the soot-black cupola 

of Salute looms, a Baroque full-stop to

plague days. Overhead we hear the whir


and fizz of fireworks, a cascading,

coloured fugue; the sky adrip with

Pollock flicks of dying embers, falling.

Centuries of mundane death transform

in streaks of neon-green and yellow-white,

an orgasmic and torrential rain of light.