In my late grandmother’s pantry
a leftover box of Italian sugar,
sole ingredient: “Zucchero.”
That is also the name of
an Italian blues musician.
I’ve never heard his music.
I’m ok with that, not because
I don’t want to hear it but because
I’m happy enough just knowing it exists.
I don’t have to experience everything
any more.  Not, for instance, planning
to dip my finger into the box —
I know what sugar tastes like.
I know what the blues are like, too.
I can’t know perfectly all things
in every detail, although once I slew
several of my better selves
and some worse ones
in the pursuit of such knowledge.
Driven to know everyone and
everything; such knowledge was all 
I had. I didn’t feel pretty or strong
or confident or human but the more I knew
the more I could fake those things. I bet
someone thinks an Italian blues musician
is faking it but I don’t. I don’t
know everything but I know 
blues, blues and sugar,
sour and sweet; blues e zucchero,
aspro e dolce. I got the blues
for my lost youth and my vain
pursuits. I got the blues
for my grandmother’s cooking.
She’d cook and then sigh on a chair
in her kitchen, wishing my grandfather
was still alive. He died the same year
Robert Johnson did. So did she.
It was long before I was born.
I missed so much.
I can never catch up,
I can’t be satisfied,
and I’m done trying.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

3 responses to “Zucchero

  • Eileen

    I like what you did with the name dropping! Knowing a little about a lot of different types of things does help us to sound knowledgeable in a lot of different types of groups. It doesn’t work with language though. Last fall in the southwest of France we had an unusually surly (even for France) waiter. I decided to try to get on his good side by asking him how he was in French. The trouble was he didn’t just answer in one or two words….he called my bluff with a long string of rapid French and then waited smirking for my response. I could only shrug my shoulders and laugh. He did smile then instead of smirking. My father wanted heaven to be an infinite library with infinite time to read it all. Access to the internet might have driven him crazy! I’ve spent my life in vain pursuits, but which hopefully have only been minimally harmful to others and perhaps once in a while caused a tiny ripple for good. I think your poetry is way above and beyond that for sure. Maybe the vain pursuits brought the understanding that fills your writing and probably your blues. Perhaps not so vain after all.

  • Radhika

    What a wealth of feeling! Kudos !

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