Napoli

The boat was beating across the bay,
we had our backs to Vesuvius,
the wind smacked our faces.
Naples was an enormous packet of cigarettes
you could smoke till you conked out:
the cigarettes were never going to run out
and nor was the coffee, the drugs,
the prostitutes, the locked churches,
the scooters, the rice cakes, the evil eye,
the boys called Gennaro, the funiculars,
the shrines to Madonna, the shrines
to Maradona, the bullet holes, the heat,
the permanent state of crucifixion.
Anyone could be crucified two thousand
years ago but to be crucified now,
to be crucified in Napoli — lift me up!

More Poems by Julian Stannard