Sunday, September 13, 2020

A letter, found in an abandoned home, next to a stream of unconscious and constant agitation

[Editor's note: this letter was unsigned inside an envelope on the desk of the empty home. It could be the letter was written by the owner of the home. But we have no idea who lived there as all records disappeared after the Great American Passage in 2021.]

Dear Italy,

What I am about to write to you might not be welcome. After all, I am merely an imperfect American. And we all know now that Americans are finally being leveled by their own foolish acts after all these years. Finally, the chickens have come home to roost.

And that is what I am writing about to you today – home. Yours. And ours. Let’s start with yours.



You all spent three months in isolation, through the late winter and all through the spring. I know how hard it must have been to isolate in your room, your apartment, your chalet, your villa or your castello. You live to be with the others. And this confinement must have made you anxious for the outside world.

And so, as summer approached and as your country started lifting the restraints upon your personal freedom, seeing as the collective good was deemed to be no longer in jeopardy, you went out in the world.

Well, you couldn’t go to Thailand or New York, Singapore or Copenhagen, not so easily. But you still had Italy. And you went about country, making up for lost time.

And we all saw it in glorious color. The elaborate foods, the wonderful restaurants. Posing with the chef, sans masks. You were all so very daring. But not really. You believed you had conquered the coronavirus. Italy won in record time and had vanquished the interloper.


You took to the beaches and became as bronze as Zeus. You took to the sea and commanded the waves like Poseidon. You hiked in your mountains and became as Artemis. Because you are young and have been young all your life. As are the gods. And both immortal, as you like to believe.

But now summer is over. Coronavirus did not take the summer off. It took to the air and came to America. Here, in the realm of magical thinking, where no virus can ever conquer one’s thoughts or hopes or fears or ignorance. And here it had a field day. “Like shooting fish in a barrel,” one overheard one of the coronae saying to another at a crowded bar. “Another round for the house,” the other one said, and they laughed like the god Hades. And they moved down the street to another bar, and another bar, until the bars closed for the night.

And so it went. And so it still goes. America can look back to that first spring as the “golden days” of the coronavirus. And as the days get shorter, and the weather gets colder, and the leaves begin to fall from the trees, the work here is just getting started. There are plenty more fish in the bucket.

Meanwhile, back in Italy, you are looking to your vines, and picking the grapes. Now the pictures on your social media feed will curate clusters of ripe grapes, and bladder presses and cute little videos of fresh grape juice waiting to metamorphose into wine. And in 9 months you will put pictures of glasses and bottles of the fresh rosé on your Instagram feed, along with your perfectly arranged plates of grilled calamari. And those of us watching from our 7th circle in Hell will wish we had found the cure, like you showed us you had. And we will once again be a little jealous of your freedom and your innocence and your youth and your resilience, #LivingYourBestLife, right in front of all of us – suckers and losers – Americanos. At least, those of you who survived the winter and the resurgence and the virus that knows nothing of miraculous ratiocination and social media and posts and stories and reels and likes and more likes.


And one of you will write to me, asking me why I am so angry, why cannot I just let you enjoy your life and your country and your home (or homes). And I will not say anything more, because, I will still be home, waiting for the storm to pass. This home, which is on this giant ship of fools, flinging itself across space at speeds unimaginable.

But if you have found this letter, chances are I have not made it through the winter and am now ambling about in some bardo looking for the door out. And you will have been right, for you are still alive and reading this, and I am no longer.

And who now, will drink your wine?




wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

1 comment:

Marco said...

Lenny, a good friend whose family lived near mine in R.I., was a Marine in Vietnam during 1967-1968. One day all the men in his unit were killed except him. He was wounded badly and by chance a helicopter spotted him. He spent a year in the hospital. He carried a photo of his younger brother in his pocket. One of the bullets that found him pierced the photo. Initially it was not good for him when he returned state side. He turned it around and eventually obtained a job counseling returning vets seeking employment and remarried. He died in 2006 at the age of 56. The wounds that he had suffered in the war contributed to his death. His name is not on that black wall in D.C. but should be.

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