Spannocchia Guest Book, 1964-1994


Melissa Sawatsky is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications, including OCW Magazine, Quills, Sad Magazine, Rhubarb, and emerge 2006. She continues to search for and find poetry in the most unlikely places.

A leather-bound volume on the old wooden desk in the farthest part of the villa interior offers pen drawings of dogs, Bacchus, and ghosts flanking a Chiocciola Contrada flag atop the tower. Vines spell out the word BLISS, intermixed with mice, porcupines, and surrealist sketches from ’66. Boy, am I stuffed! exclaims Kippy. A woman from the Philippines loves the honey so much she wants to be a bee. A list of names from the Summer Camp in ’68, assigned roles such as bone specialist, dirty old man, and keeper of the toys. Caterina Stefanini can’t forget the broken bed and baby scorpion from her first night, but Linda Walker thinks the sky is out-of-sight, because now we’ve entered the 70’s and Beth looks forward to a honeymoon full of nude sunbathing and orgies. Mary Jo from Toronto mounts a horse for the first time, and Leena from England hopes she didn’t drink Spannocchia out of wine. Monica, the dear, wants to gift the place with a ceramic pot next time. There are words about kindness and grace, hospitality and feasts. In ’78, guests begin to run out of words, repeat after themselves for emphasis: wonderful, wonderful, spectacular, spectacular. For his part, Peter lists all the sensational sensations: basil from the garden, red tile floors, white log ceilings. Janice gives up all together and quotes John Keats. Soon enough we’re in the 80’s and good ol’ Charlie is bat-watching and having wild tower parties. Dot would like to know, May I take that view from my room with me? Laura simply thinks this is Etruscan Bliss, while the terrace wine contest in July ’86 turns out an overwhelming win for Spannocchia.

Edie tries to sum it up in a postscript: The clock has stopped, nerve endings gone limp, but Anonymous probably puts it best with The End! of my suffering.


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