Raimondo: Snapshots of My Friend Ray

My wife introduced us
and he asked, ‘do you do lunch?’
We were old when we met
told our stories through 500 lunches,
I heard about the children he read to,
trips to Operas in New York and Santa Fe,
light poetry and slow retired pleasures.

He had style, an LL Bean credit card
American fashion style – urbane, cultured –
listening to opera and jazz, ( reclining in his Eames chair).
He was our editor and publisher of poems, –
and told tales of Scholastic Mag., (interviewing Gore Vidal),
and of his Ford Foundation Follies.

But now, retired, he longed for Italy —
devouribg Italian detective stories
(Donna Leon, Camillarie, Montelbano) in winter,
and rented apartments in Rome and Florence,
sharing them with friends, almost every year.

In Rome we  negotiated the Metropolitaneo
bused from Fermata to Fermata –
dinned at Fabricios Trattoria –
and sought  great paintings leisurely,
So,     After the glories of the Chiggi Chapel,
talking lightly of Caravaggio,
while strolling along the Via Barbuino
Raimondo found the perfect Panama hat
a grace a gentleman would divinely wear
in the evening passeggiata through Trastevere
to admire all the gorgeous Roman women on display.

Kent Bowker    12/28/11

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