Good news story

For Richard, who commented at
“How about at least one article with some news
that’s positive and uplifting? Grazie mille”

Illustration by Anya Lauri

Thanks to Europe’s internment camps in Libya
and to the efforts of the popularist / nationalist
Italian government coalition, this week
only insignificant numbers of migrants drowned
while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea

In another story, youth unemployment in Italy
is down to just 31.9%, from a 2014 peak of 43.3%
58.8% of all Italians are now in some form of employment
useful or otherwise

In politics, a further increase in IVA – a ‘value added tax’
on essentials like water and electricity –
which rose to 22% in 2013,
has not yet been confirmed for 2020

And now to the weather:
the Easter holiday weekend, which millions of Italian
spent at the coast or in the mountains,
was rated low-risk for exposure to solar radiation
so making sunglasses and protective creams unnecessary

© Daniel Stephens, 2019

Mouth ulcer

You swell up my cheek
like an active vulcano spewing molten pus
making eating and drinking a pain
and waking me at night
to remind me of my mortality

The Internet informs me
you’ll probably depart
within two-to-three weeks and that
I should kindly not bug my doctor
until after this period has passed

If you persist after that, though
you could be a sign
of mouth cancer, in which case
I’ll skip the queue at the doctor’s office
and call the undertaker instead

© Daniel Stephens, 2019

Sexy shop

Illustration by Anya Lauri

Yeah, I know
it sounds stupid
but that’s where
Italians go
to stock up on vibrators
and bondage gear
and so on

People here
have trouble
with the idea
that in English
a noun
like ‘English’
(the language
not the nationality)
or ‘sex’
can modify
another noun
for example:
or ‘shop’

Sexy knickers
sexy teacher
no problems there
Adjectives and nouns
go together like
whips and chains

Though sometimes
they’re back to front:
‘mutande sexy’
(knickers sexy)
‘professore di inglese
intelligente e simpatico’
(figure that one
for yourself)

Put two nouns together
rubber plus fetish
more conventionally
wedding and ring
and suddenly
everyone’s scratching
their heads

Beats me

© Daniel Stephens, 2019