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04 January 2006 @ 12:00 am
...for a bank teller  
The bank teller was perfectly calm about the whole affair, as if machines were swallowing credit cards on every other day of the week. She simply glanced at my passport and asked me to sign. I was a million times more anxious, and suddenly apocalyptic about what the card's loss might entail. It's the scholarship account, you see, and I need its number in order to do the transfers. So thank God for glorious bank-lady, who single-handedly disintegrated all visions of international begging, and thoroughly deserved her long-stemmed rose. It was red, today, which gave the event an overtone of Parisian romance. I had found the florist by pretending to be Italian, but the ribbon on the bloom surely announced my status as tourist, or clown. To her credit, the woman received the gift graciously, allowing me to step past the front of the line before calling me - in English - "a very nice man." I got that gigantic grin, again. This is a fun game.

Perhaps that's why I was the least angsty person in the Uffizi line-up. Then again, I seem more capable than most of passing passive time. I listened to Ligeti and Puccini and Bach, interspersed with the magnificent poems of e. e. cummings. One of them described a clown giving flowers to strangers, and will become the anthem of my project.

***poem 30; by e. e. cummings***

one winter afternoon

(at the magical hour
when is becomes if)

a bespangled clown
standing on eighth street
handed me a flower.

Nobody,it's safe
to say,observed him but

myself;and why?because

without any doubt he was
whatever(first and last)

mostpeople fear most:
a mystery for which i've
no word except alive

--that is,completely alert
and miraculously whole;

with not merely a mind and a heart

but unquestionably a soul--
by no means funereally hilarious

(or otherwise democratic)
but essentially poetic
or ethereally serious:

a fine not a coarse clown
(no mob,but a person)

and while never saying a word

who was anything but dumb;
since the silence of him

self sang like a bird.
Mostpeople have been heard
screaming for international

measures that render hell rational
--i thank heaven somebody's crazy

enough to give me a daisy