Keith Nunes


Looking for Her

Madhatters thin as coins
Come running down the alley
White walls, washing hanging
Mothers calling to wayward boys
The fishman has a deal for you
Here they come, pass in a swish
Lady across the alley calls to me
In Italian
Telling me I’m putting on weight
It’s okay, I say, it’s temporary
She laughs

Where is this girl of mine?
A few doors up and the American
Woman with her local sons
Asks in English
“What’s news Paolo?”
I shrug, “Gold’s going nuts,
Leonardo Di Caprio is no Da Vinci”
“What?” she says above the din
made by the scooter coming toward me
I have to move—it’s Benito,
He slows, I jump on
He makes for the piazza
“I’m looking for her,” I say
“Let’s try here,” he shouts
We come out the alley tunnel
Into the searing light
Sun dazzles, comes at us from
All four corners as we slow
I get off, “Thanks”
“Ciao” he says

The traffic is insane
Crowds of tourists flocking
To the museum, birds
Gathering for feeding time

Luigi calls from his café
“Run me an errand,” he says
The rain collapses on the piazza
Like a marquee falling in
Thunder bounces off walls
Lightning reaches across the piazza
And sucks up all the air
The tourists are agog
“Post this letter,” Luigi says
I’m dripping
A policeman curses a motorist
Two bearded men are shouting at
Two short men
I get to the post office
Where is she?

I make for the bridge shops
A lady with a pram bumps into me
She says sorry in French
I smile rubbing my knee
A bus grazes a car and the driver yells
Schoolgirls in stripes skip
Teachers try to keep up
On the bridge Mr Cavalieri is
Telling another joke
The circle of shopkeepers laugh
Across the bridge I stop at
Caesars Bar and order a beer
The new barman is gruff
He’s so tall I look up his nose
Benito comes in saying he saw her
“At the Bogdanis bakery”
I gulp at my beer
He orders and says the new
Barman is rude, I nod

The cobblestones are steaming
A German man asks for directions
To the piazza, I tell him and he
Touches me on the cheek
Will she still be there?
I cross the road with two giggling nuns
One has her arm around the other
I round the corner and look right
Into the bakery
She’s not there
I head for her home
A rainbow arches over the hills
A motorist toots at a cyclist
The rider pulls off the wing mirror
The swearing driver gets out but
The cyclist is off with the mirror
I see her
I reach her home as she leans out a
Second-storey window
“Paolo” she calls, “I’ve been
Looking for you.”
I go in, we kiss
“The church is available
on the day,” she says
“Serge will be my best man,”
I say. We kiss.



Keith Nunes writes: “I have a hairy bum—the bum is 45 years old. I love reading poetry desperately and desperate poetry. I live in the Bay of Plenty and wrestle a donkey for fun. I listen to Johnny Cash and Jimi Hendrix, have seven tattoos, love Talulah Belle’s paintings and flourish with coffee in me. I speak several languages when I’m drunk and adore David Lynch movies.” Of ‘Looking for Her’ Keith writes: “I love movement in poems. From here to there with something in between. This one came tumbling out after seven coffees and a chat to a piazza architect who lives in the dog kennel outside.”