to emulate Picasso, Hemingway
was never seen without his
in canal-side cafes, Spanish bull rings.
My fingers grease its ebon spine
over and over in tactile search
for some hidden leak of creative essence
I found Dante's house
down an old narrow street
alongside a crowd of German tourists
I did not enter only stared
at his stones, the exterior.
The hotel room is filled
with the buzz of the alleyway below,
restaurant kitchens' backdoors opening
for cooks, waitstaff, rubbish bags and oaths,
effusive shoppers admiring new pashmina
scarves haggled from vendors
in the adjacent market square.
I close the window.
The shaft of my pen is bent
and buckled, cratered with teethmarks,
the plastic pocket-clip
long snapped off.
It smells of stale ink
and lemon balm handcream,
the brass ballpoint idling
dry in its socket.
I bought myself a lambskin leather-jacket,
russet brown to match my boots
before they seeped their colour
across Florence's rain-soaked cobbles.
My feet mo