Backwaters Press of
ISBN 0 - 9765231-0-8
Travel may release us from daily obligations but not from any central pain or loneliness. CarolAnn Russell's poems remind us of this, even as they give themselves over to foreign places, searching in Australia, for instance, for 'circular caves/ Where the songs come from,' for landscapes from which she can emerge 'as rock fingerprinted/with spirit.' And they rejoice especially in the welter of Rome, where navigating the streets, a difficult language, any slight interchange with another, is seen as part of the city's continuing seduction. Ultimately, it's in the middle of that wondrous confusion where even grief can be addressed. From an ancient Rome cemetery, she invites the reader to 'Blow a kiss with me/To the ashes/ The beautiful bodies/Death has dazzled into sleep.' The poet moves on, choosing life time after time, its 'one flesh,' its 'dance upon the shield.'
---Richard Robbins, author of Famous Persons We Have Known
In these poems, CarolAnn Russell travels the world bearing witness to the pain and the bliss, the suffering that lives next door to paradise. In poems of passionate spirit, she is always searching for the 'Flaming heart/At the heart of things/That keeps us human.'
---Quinton Duvall, author of Dinner Music and Joe's Rain
Lush, yet precise, CarolAnn Russell's poems travel great emotional distances, crossing borders of the spirit and the globe. Whether in Australia or halfway around the world, in Italy, they dive into the waters of the heart, and swim with intelligence and grace.
Gypsy Taxi is a marvelous collection. Get in the Gypsy Taxi in Rome and go for a ride!
---Fred Moramarco, POETRY INTERNATIONAL
When you arrive, it is waiting, the door
Held open like Cinderella's coach.
In your best bad Italian tell the driver
The address, gasping
As he whirls you past the Coliseum
Stopping for no one--
Man or machine and everywhere
Read the signs: Cambio
Cambio, his eyes caressing your face
Your neck, your breasts
His coral shirt throbbing, his smile
A photograph catching you
Like water moving
Inside the body of your dream--
Beneath a canopy of laundry,
Da lucia waiting for you
At dusk in Vicolo di Mattonato
Lounging on the steps of the fountain
In the piazza of Santa Maria en Trastevere
Veiled in spray, nameless, touching
The loneliness that wanders
Like a gyspy through the world.
Arioldi's fakes can fool
The most beautiful women.
This is how it is--violet sky
And no real cold to drain
The heart of hope, so it suffers
Willingly, falling to a glance
Each day. On the bus
The man next to you
Will not move his eyes from your face
Soulful and hungry
As though you were a feast.
In Rome women are queens
No matter how many years
They've cheated death,
Dying their hair copper
And burgundy, blonde--
Letting it tumble any which way
The wind blows. On the Spanish Steps
A man called Angelo
Will notice your hands,
And profess to love you
For your intelligent eyes.
If you walk with him
He'll take your picture
Beside enormous sunflowers
And talk about his mother, her fear
He'll marry the wrong girl.
He's thirty-seven or fifty-seven,
Gray at the temples
And has a mobile phone
So small it fits in the pocket
Over his heart. He says,
"I'll call you at six,
You can call me anytime."
A week later he kisses your cheek
And says he called you twice
While you were gone.
Over coffee, he conjugates your verbs.
The city is full of virgins
And the Trevi Fountain so clogged
With coins it will not run.
Of Cosmedin, mosaics are dull
With grime, Byzantine,
And you can barely see
The glorious proof of ruin--
Antiquity. On Ponte Vecchio
In Firenze chains gleam
Pure eighteen carat
And you are paid for smiling--
A tiny silver coin stamped in fleur di lis.
Bye, bye, Bamibini, he sings
And then he's gone.