Luca Campana
Poems from the collection ‘Pietra pelle’ (‘Stone Skin’)

One of the projects that Porte Aperte alla Città was planning to host in December 2020 was a reading and talk on Pietra pelle (Stone Skin), a collection of poems by Luca Campana published by Nervi Edizioni. Centered around the theme of incarceration, the event was organised by cultural association Closer that works with the socially excluded. The author has selected three poems especially for Sreda.
The poems in the collection are linked to Luca Campana’s experience as a prison teacher. They were penned in Mantova, Via Carlo Poma 3, where Campana taught literature to local prisoners and are all linked to the time spent with his students, who were open to sharing their thoughts and personal stories during lessons.

Nothing but a reflection,
This woodworm I discovered
Between the beams and the ceiling.
A reflection of a reflex habit perhaps;
Or else of sleep lost,
Or rather squandered,
Sifting evidence to the core.
A single nail in the otherwise
Crude but crackless concrete,
He marks the threshold,
Embedded and in hiding
In the dull light of mornings,
Beyond the world’s walls.

The body that absolves me
Is another body. It is
A jury of pills and impulses,
Delivering its nightly verdict of sleep
Through the bars,
Dispensing hours as yet unsecreted
By the hypothalamus,
Quieting the heart.
And my name is another name,
Transcribed for tyrants
From the tables of the tortured.
And my time is another time,
Haunting, hounding,
Tending, distending,
Boundless beyond the bars.
I call and call again, as if to a
False and heedless missing dog.
I look at his world from the threshold,
From my side of the opaque line,
From within
The perimeter fence of skin
That seals me and excludes me.

O threshold, you reveal
And sift and watch
And name the names,
Making them real
With every entry.

Whitewalled, whitewashed threshold,
The final barless, nameless sentry.

Translated from Italian by Ekaterina Margolis.

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