It was October12, 1982
when 200,000 unemployed graduates
for want of anything better
occupied Palazzo Madama.
I too have always been unemployed
I objected to those who wanted to abuse me.
True, they threw a white bathrobe over me
and a crimson belt
but my true occupation the skein
I never foundand I die unjustly
beneath your cudgels,
even you won’t find it, friends.
Put on your bathrobes too
and we’ll be one more—200,000 and one.
After which I collapsed in an armchair
in front of a painting by Cremona
and in the turmoil only the painting was still.
When I go away for a day or two
the pigeons pecking
at my windowsill
stage a protest
as their union contract requires.
On my return an extra ration
of crumbs restores order,
which disappoints the blackbird
shuttling back and forth between me
and the venerable old man in the apartment
opposite. My family is reduced
to next to nothing. And some men have one or more
wasted on them, alas!