I am the first daughter of Giovanna and Matteo. A marriage of truelove.
I was born on a frosty January day in one thousand nine hundred and fifty-four, in the street named after the Erculea Proles of Palo del Colle, in the territory of Bari.
I love the road that leads me to love
I love the baby drumming
on the glass where the rain plays / the drops chasing each other.
I love this wind that slips through the crack of my window
and I love his whistle
that tells me about the life of this young Universe
and of the feast that the almond trees had this morning
with the first rays of spring.
I love buds.
I love the blossoming and the budding of branches.
Budding branches in this sea of spring.
Palo, a small Bethlehem and then Matera, the lands similar to those of Christ. One of the three oldest cities in the world, however unique having been perpetually anthropized.
What a strange spell life is! It has us born in such special places, hence within our soul we feel! And it pushes us to distinctive places.
In fact, before I arrived in Matera in Grassano, the very poor municipality in the province of Matera. The place of exile of Carlo Levi, who said: I am a forced emigrant, among Grassanese exiled to his town.
Twenty-eight years earlier, Nitti, the Italian Prime Minister, more incisively said: everyone should choose between Justice and Fortune; choosing justice meant being a bandit, choosing luck becoming an emigrant.
And both, however, chose without even knowing whether they would find justice or death, fortune or death.
Grassano, from the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission on Misery in Italy and the means to combat it, was among the fifteen poorest municipalities in Italy.
I was born in an intense time in history, bigger than me and that undoubtedly determined all of me, my thoughts, my writing, my professional choices, intellectual and literary interests, the marquetry of my heart.
From the beginning I experienced a very intense life story, a very difficult birth in which I was extracted by skilled hands with the help of forceps.
I was named after my paternal grandmother, Antonia, whom I never met, who died giving birth at the age of twenty-two.
But fate knows how to balance.
In fact, she gave me a super great grandmother, a fantastic great grandmother, an amazing manager. I only had her for seven years, but it’s like having been able to enjoy her for two thousand.
She made me discover the preciousness of the dawn, the power of the hours that shone in her hands. Get up at four for the first mass. Entering the church which is still dark and leaving it timidly dawning.
How many thousands of things has taught me!
So I arrived there, in Grassano, at six months, on my father’s sparkling Laverda, in my mother’s arms. Between heaven and earth, I came, wind and colours.
Very few joys and many tragedies. One of the largest has been repeatedly told to me. The poor village, among the poorest in Italy, boasted the Banda da Giro (Touring Band), among the most renowned in the area, since the beginning of the 1900s.
In a dark night, darker than the others, more unfortunate than the others, when the first light of dawn tried to defeat the darkness, on returning from the patronal feast in honour of San Cipriano in Oliveto Lucano, the bus crashed precipitously into the escarpment.
After one of the many sharp turns of the snaking road that connected Grassano to the rest of the world, the forty musicians, with all the minibus, ended upside down. And it still remained the challenge to climb out of the bus in that stretch of countryside and to walk back, in memory of the band members who had given the medal to the very poor town, among the poorest in Italy, yet a lover of music.
And then? And then Matera!
The city that only in 2019 has finally experienced national and international redemption, or rather the world, from a past in which history still held the miserable title from “national shame” to “European Capital of Culture“.
I arrived as a teenager in the very musical silence that is Matera, with its land of copses and stains where travel kctoschi geckos and ringed snakes,, hawks and leopardian columbri, vipers and vultures, badgers and porcupines and jays and mischievous magpies, and common toads and tree frogs, tortoises and, wonders of wonders, the last few rare examples of Italic Tritons.
Where overhanging cliffs and barren plateaus let out a thousand colours and a thousand aromas of daffodil and saffron, colchus and shrub thyme, Aleppo rue (pepper) and savory, and harmony, silent and noisy together.
Civilization, and churches, and jazz, cisterns and caves, a phantasmagoric project of love and planned civilization.
Planned gestures of love. How poetic!
And then the other passage, the vowels and consonants of Lucanian silence, divine, eternal and eternalised notes. An emotion that lasts, which is made up of one thrill on another, which nothing else in the world can give me.
If it is possible, and it is, I would say that the most correct of the metaphors is the one for which I am offered the possibility of returning to the womb.
There everything is muffled, nothing can offend me. You have to try it, and find out!
In the land of your roots, nothing violates your aura, it caresses everything because everything is deliciously filtered by your mother’s body. Music, which is in itself sublime, also takes on a higher degree of ineffability.
It is something that gives at the same time long breath, freedom of thought, opening of all pores; it seems my wings appear and give me the power to hover in the air, to expand and be able to see, at the same time, Mount Isabella in Valsinni and the sea of Pythagoras in Metaponto.
The magical Castel del Monte and the Vulture of the brigands, the diamonds of Monticchio and the crests of the Lucanian Dolomites; and again, again, and again all the melting pots of men and history that, house by house, crowd in those Sassi that speak old and new letters and syllables.
And while I inhale, I read my skin, yes, my skin is the woods of Accettura and Murgia that over there from Gravina you can see Matera.
And Matera is sovereign and mysterious.
My heart throbs with the blue, the caves of the primitives are the treasure chests of all my thoughts and the ravines are the intimate ravines of my body, those on which the secret words are written.
I write with two blues, with styluses obtained from different heights and with inks of different saltiness, pages in balance, my Apulian soul and my Matera and Lucanian soul.
Both resist my wanderings.
But my Puglia was not as poor as my Lucania and the small ancient Lucanian world, strong with humanity and inaccessible badlands, of life and death respected with equal doses of strength and tenderness that shield my tears.
That very poor archaic world pulses in me from the fireplaces where they wrote tender stories of longing souls.
Poor and eloquent as daily life was and it is my suggestion, not the ugliness of an election that has led thousands and thousands of tourists to pollute the millennial energy, inks and colours for poets and artists.
I occasionally return
I catch anguish and stars.
I bring the stars to you
son you greet me at dawn
with poems woven to your soul of music.
I love this return to the perennial stones
where every stone has the footprint of my childhood.
I love the sprouts of anguish
and those silences
and the beats that stop to listen to the sky.
I love the lonely swallow
and the hawk that takes its flight to the murgia.
I love the mantle that heaven places on earth
where I hid the soul of my heart.