La Poesia italiana del Novecento - The italian Poetry of the 20th century

Massimo Rossi

Massimo Rossi was born in Venezia in July 1956. He lives and works in Mogliano Veneto (Treviso) as freelance journalist, expert of ancient autographs and manuscripts. In 1992 Grafic House Editrice published his first collection of poems Aritmie Metriche and in 1993 La Mano sulla Carne an anthology of erotic poems by him and by three other poets, with a Preface by Dario Bellezza. In 1998 Edizioni del Leone published his Minima Poetica e Altri Versi finalist at Premio Ungaretti (Ungaretti Award). In 1999 he won the first prize at theatre writing national contest "Sottopalco". His poems are reported in various anthologies, poetry magazines and Internet. Publishing director of Libreria Chiara & Co. Editrice.

last  publication: La Sorte dei Poeti (o dell'ironia) Theatre, Edizioni del Leone, March 2001.





edited and unedited





Pour rester aupres de toi

je voudrais tre le rve

que tu oublies ton rveil


Just to be by you

I wish I were the dream

you forget upon awakening.


Con tal que pueda quedarme junto a t

ser querra tu sueo

ese que al despertar olvidas

Ottobre 2000


Now I have something mine:

your beautiful belly button

north cardinal point

of the primordial desire

icon of the rebel pleasure

eye of your skin

lash-less scoundrel

with a zucchini*-shaped cap

hostel or five-star hotel

skipping small bean

juicy little diamond of the eros

over the sugary gore.










The kiss coming from your finger

is an alien signal.


emotion of the first contact.


wonder. want for feel.

amazement. want for all.







You are like the marble around the well

turning and turning but never falling

into the hole where pigeons drink.


even the finger pushing it you are and six times

I love you  love you again and would love you in rhyming rimes.


that sweet time of the marble

glass iris in the round

can come back and it will.


[Note by the translator] = The poet is referring to a child’s play common in Venice, his town. Each child has his own personal marble, which should be pushed along a well border with two fingers without falling into the hole where pigeons always go and drink rainwater. These holes are usually also full of rubbish and if the marble falls in there, the owner has to take it out with his own hands.






Time flows through river sluices

we were there abstracted and

your and my face were winter portraits

facing west while my tachycardiac heart

and the back of your  hands tingled

in vocative consonances.


in boundless rooms in mossy halls in crumbling holes

does not lie feeling but its  contemplation.


lyric intuition pure crocean* intuition.


rebel inspiration originating

beautiful but lonely words

lonely words of sun.


* Benedetto Croce (1866-1952), Italian philosopher.







Let the dusk

swallow the milk-white clouds

move to the mirror so that you are reflected

in the orange disc of the day falling asleep.


from here I will see you like Afrodite

like a divine vision taking my breath away.


I will breathe in deeply in order not to die

I will pray the exhausted sun

to get away from his sleep

thus I will be adoring you, in a never-ending sunset.


Mid - October 2000





To you sleeping beside me




A caress expected in the dark

made the room a moonlight night

for a while.

Turn away, so that you can’t hear me:

The sky is recalling tears,

rousing ghosts sleeping in my prisons

behind saline water bars harder than steel.

Is it just the beginning? Just the beginning.

In the woods hanging in your eyes filled with blue consternation

I’m afraid an immutable farewell immutable winter dwells.

- Good Night -






Here all begins



Here all begins.

The comings and goings of faint sunsets

and of dark-sick sunrises

mark my children’s age.

Living is like recovering

always: waiting

is the one remedy to madness.

Or is like a pawnshop

where they lend you one third of good,

and every six months you renew your heart

for a helpless smile.

I realise I’m growing old

by settled loans,

by paid and unpaid bills

by higher and higher dental expenses

by car and boiler wear and tear

by scrape and win lottery useless cards

by evenings in Web

seeking in the virtual the real.

I still trust you Leopardi,

but no more the vigour of the past

memory is a piteous curse

timeless without dimensions,

melancholy gave her chair

to the teacher of all teachers: the instant.

On him I depend, from him I learn

now, the friendly art.





In a natural contrary


In a natural contrary is a river reversed
from ocean to source: it flows down.
Nor of sweet, nor of salted water is its way
not half-blood water but biologic swill
where even an eel, in the natural contrary,
spinster and misanthrope for choice
would crave descent.
Beyond all intentions I observe you
with caudal fin of broad glory: you swim
by gills of less visible pain: you breath.
From source to ocean : you rise.









It's a matter of taking stocks, you said
to stun even the sacrosanct left.
Coffee with milk was and is bitter, and tea with milk too
and there is a reason: we do not put sugar.
But among one thousand and one different conclusions
our sexes have an absolute value
certainly not that past cuckolding
cherishing in orgasm a new sunrise.



It was ashes





It was ashes even before flaming

that understanding meditated as undying.

You had veiled intentions

trunks because, flat emotions

frail sliding matches.

With your head bowed

waiting for ashes

you insist on setting fire to tomorrow

incombustible as today.


And from the dormitory quarter,

where at night you lay my

sprawled body

insomnia dreariness comes up

and the suspicion that speech

opposes, defeated, to nothingness.


Planting oneself in sexless grounds

provokes hardly visible burns.

You could, reasoning, call them:

stratified solitudes.

They form oblique guidelines

like indifferent glances.




I’ve never loved!

I – have – never – loved – anyone!





From the cirrus at the first floor

I descended, as damned soul

to the basement, accompanied by a Virgilio in skirt

met at the station one night in August.

Is Hell the right punishment to the unjust

(or bonus) to sweet idleness?

I’ve never loved!

I – have – never – loved – anyone!

Wells, your black eyes, abysses

ravines, but woman’s gifts;

prizes I wish I could always have for my career

as stubborn idler.

Do you know my interest in you is there

under the goblet your lightly drawn belly?

In your breast just glimpsed?

I am not talking about love

let’s leave that to poets

but about flesh and passion

about repeated orgasms

about animal heats and sweaty skins

about liquids dried on sheets.

And I do not bag pardon for my lust

but robust loins.




Ah Wagner!


I am moving as I can, in this hell!
Memory is abandoning it day after day!
Ah Wagner!

I am moving as I can, in this hell:
among traps and violin chords
among brass and tricks covered with roses
I am following the memory abandoning it.
It is the same story without story
I am trying a non-existing reason:
death, her death, unavoidable
Life, my life, avoidable.
Ah Wagner!







Of your darkness I have but a flash:

I rang you did not answer.










High in the sky I am holding out
an hollow thought, ignoring the rowdy sun.
And I am waiting for dread to cease
when the humble moon climbs.






(28 July, 1996)



This is a sourish coloured day,
with aluminium grey sound
tasting deaf
Rain recycled from a far storm
does not ask for my permission
to join my birthday:
no harm done. I have not prepared any cake.

translated in English by Sandra Michelacci