Bilingu-e-al (how I lost a language)

Peter and Jane were my first friends,

little carefully drawn figure on rows of multicoloured Ladybirds.

first carefully uttered sentences then  pretentiousness

at 3: my father flies to London. joyfully greets me in a strange tangle of vowels and gestures – and I? I non riesco a capire. 

since then I have switches between  knowledge (arrogance)

and tripping over the same dictionary based traps that I set myself.

at 11 I can read Dickens (la Pitzorno non basta) and at 13, I am convinced I will win my school English writing contest (e invece no) and then at 18, when I should be losing the shackles of childhood, I only go and loose a language

what was an effort to write 800 became a 3 day mission

thesaurasasasasa, onstant confusion

I don’t know how to say Norfolk still.. ed in ogni caso,

everything I say these days is veiled, faccio comunque finta

i can make a 3 hour marathon, slide between a deadline and an expectation now, yet I always forget the Italian word for lawnmower


unfortunately this.. well, it leaves a space occupied by essays, commas, and self -consciousness, e quindi… quindi?


I am a confused tourist whose flag-coloured umbrella is lost in the crowds

an octogenarian whose directions on his map are decades of wrongness

a bat forced off my branch at midday,clumsily slamming against my habitat

a traveler at the train station by my house that doesn’t show arrivals

eh, c’è veramente da impazzire

I have taken flights and trains away from my language, flown over years of efforts and eloquence, clouded my glasses and brain in French hidey holes and strange Austrian towns. I cannot discuss my life in the language that shaped it.

I suppose pride can arise even if you are unaware of what I say,


though you tend to stand outside of my writing and carefully dip a toe in

you ask vague questions and I give an answer with a thousand interpretations

none of them really literary, none of them really meaningful, gocce di small talk e di chitter chatter, yes I know – I know there is pride but I cannot talk of it

I used to have favourite words yet they have shrivelled to leave me

suspended, incapable, I repeat the same ones you would know yourself

there is no hint of personality or uniqueness, no spark of what makes them mine

therefore, I just..

hope, I guess, I hope

to knead forgetfulness and fear back into my 20 year old self,

now targeting two.  Your target language, your target home.

I knew I couldn’t write well, but at least I owned a language.

I know I cannot write well, but at least I can attempt.


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