Creativity Magazine

Quartieri Spagnoli Fine Estate / End of Summer

By Heddigoodrich

Quartieri Spagnoli fine estate / end of summer

(Foto di Francesco Escalona,
autore di Giallo tufo [Valtrend, 2011])

Se stai soffrendo le pene d’amore, non c’è posto migliore dove stare dei Quartieri Spagnoli di Napoli. Pure il quartiere conosce l’abbandono, e ti compiange. I vicoli ti stringono in sudaticci abbracci di condoglianze. Le campane delle chiese suonano in una malinconica chiave minore. I venditori ambulanti cantano addolorati, “Marruzzielle! Maruzzielle!”, lasciando dietro di sé una scia di acqua salata.
If you’re lovesick, there’s no better place to be than the Spanish Quarter in Naples. It’s a ghetto that’s been left behind too, and it feels for you. The streets squeeze you in tight, clammy hug of condolence. Church bells ring off key. Street peddlers call out mournfully, “Sea snail! Sea snails!” leaving behind their carts a trail of salt water.
Tu invece le lacrime le soffochi, perché i Quartieri non ti lasciano mai solo con il tuo dolore. Dai balconi arrivano sfuriate, pianti, risate amare. I passanti ti accarezzano con gli occhi. Cammina cammina, sopra basoli vulcanici che sono lucenti e butterati come caramelle sputate. Anche durante il piccolo lutto della siesta, il ticchettio solitario delle tue scarpe fa comparire sull’uscio dei bassi le casalinghe, proprio come la pioggia tira fuori i lombrichi. Non dicono niente, non ce n’è bisogno. Chi ha avuto ha avuto, chi ha dato ha dato.
But you hold your tears back because the Spanish Quarter won't let you suffer alone. The balconies overflow with fighting, crying, bitter laughter. Passers-by stroke you with long glances. Keep on walking, over volcanic street slabs as shiny and pockmarked as sucked candies. Even during the brief bereavement of the siesta, the pitter-patter of your lonely shoes brings housewives to their ground-floor doorways like the way the rain brings out the worms. They don’t say anything, there’s no need to. What’s done is done.
Il quartiere di storie ne ha viste. E la fine era inevitabile, i segni premonitori già c’erano. Erano scritti negli avvisi funebri che si spellano come vecchi cerotti, e nello spray nero proprio sotto casa: Tonino mi manchi. Nell’intonaco che fatica a cicatrizzarsi dai vecchi terremoti, e nel tufo giallo sotto, il cuore friabile dei palazzi che si sgretola tra le dita. Non hai visto i segni, eh va buo’, è normale. Le calamità succedono quando meno te le aspetti, proprio sul più bello.
The Spanish Quarter has seen it all. And the end was inevitable, the signs were all there. They were written in the funeral posters peeling off like old bandages, and in the words spray-painted in black outside your building: Tonino, I miss you. It was written in the plaster split by old earthquakes and never fully scarred over, and in the yellow tufa stone beneath it, the crumbly heart of the buildings that falls apart between your fingers. You didn’t see the signs, but that’s no surprise. Disaster strikes when you least expect it, at the very best part.

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