Trip (Part of the Underside)–Italy ’65


Trip (Part of the Underside)–Italy ’65

We dried our underwear
up and down the Riviera.
It waved, not from the boot
of our car but the lip
of its sunroof,
the tourist’s multi-furcated flag (skirt-hanger), ironically
for the Sixties, one of surrender,
pretty much all
white cotton.

We lost a bra once, straps flapping free
on a mountain curve’s swerve–bigger things to think about–
than even my mom’s
double b–

lacing our way by the sea
except those times my dad missed
the turn-off, the day then passing
in granite and abyss, gray-faced–

So, what kind of artist
does that make me?
Thinking of underwear?

Though, I also remember
metal ribs, the patinaed squibs
of deified beard,
the vast muscled heights
of the Sistine,
the surprise of
its many white triangles
(so very like
that underwear
that never quite dried
hotel nights–
we’d packed
pretty light–)

the dark reflections (agony)
of the Pieta,
the foot of some saint smoothed
to a sliver of soap–pilgrims–
the sunburnt eyelids of so many many
tiled roofs–



Another draft poem of sorts–I say draft because it is so hot off the press–for the Real Toads prompt of Margaret Bednar to write a “sketch book poem.”  Margaret posts wonderful drawings by her daughter, Chelsea, who is now studying in Italy.  I include a sketch by Chelsea Bednar above.   (This has been edited since first posting.) 


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17 Comments on “Trip (Part of the Underside)–Italy ’65”

  1. Ella Says:

    You have carved so much depth out of this sketch-it feels like a compass rose-full of insight and gifts! Wonderful to read!

  2. brian miller Says:

    i think in thinking of underwear, it makes you a thoughtful artist…one that considers things usually hidden and brought to light by few…smiles..

  3. Jim Says:

    I loved this, sooo many travel memories brought. A few with Dad who missed the turn but a whole lot more of ours.
    Nothing about underwear except after acquiring Mrs Jim I had to start folding my used underwear. Before that I stuffed it into a plastic bag OR chunked it. With the first Mrs Jim I remember washing/rinsing the twin’s diapers in the Black Hills spring fed streams.
    Very nice poem, I’d travel again with your Hippy sounding bunch if there was a do-over and you’d invite me.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    Underwear may not(or actually I suppose, may) be glamorous, but it is one of those details through which we pass our identities, our lives, and here, it makes for the cornerstone of a memory that can dress itself to the nines around it. Travel is all about shedding one’s normal facade(or foundation) and in this you show us both how and why we do it. Lots of fun, k– a few typos in stanza three, maybe? Though mised might be a real word, too, in that context. and a turn might equal off.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Ha. No, it’s my bad vision and proofreading, thanks. They had a choice of mountain route and coastal route and that was the turn-off that was unfortunately missed sometimes. I am thinking that perhaps my mom’s “double b” should be “double-wide,” though my mom really wasn’t so wide–at least not by today’s standards–and I think the cup sizes must have been bigger–as she was considered to “look like” Jane Russell, which typically was a remark on her figure. (Ha.) Thanks. I am thinking of the 55. Would like to be lyrical but will probably not be. k.

  5. I love your closing and the sketch that you bring of the journey…I can see that wide arching mountainous curve and that bra flagging in the wind!! Lovely work. 🙂

  6. I could immediately relate to the descriptions, Karin.. Oh how it makes me long to travel light again.

  7. Sherry Marr Says:

    This is very evocative. I can see it all. Love the idea of drying underwear flapping about, the feeling of the open road, and the history viewed. You took me along on this ride for which I thank you! I especially love “the sunburnt eyelids of so many many tiled roofs”.

  8. What memories so wonderfully, poetically written. I am trying to travel without so much stuff! I am failing….lol

  9. Fron the oh-so-manic underwear stanza (loved it) to the conflicting emotions of viewing the Pieta, this was lovely from beginning to end. Glad I was back to see it! Peace, Amy

  10. margaret Says:

    Certainly not a “draft” any longer. This is just perfect – a bit of humor mixed in with such vivid detail. I adore this! The sunburnt eyelids is a fantastic line. Sorry it took me SO long to make the rounds.

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