Friday, August 19, 2011

"Marisa Tomei, Marisa Tomei"

We had a fleeting affair although
it’s possible you may not remember
your briefest cameo.

By coincidence we followed the same
map of Italy while you filmed “Only You”—
Florence, San Gimignano, Certaldo, Rome,

and then Positano where I turned a corner
outside Le Sirenuse, our eyes met and
we were cast into the inevitable.

Again, it is possible you may not remember.

Tabloids would soon ask “who is this man?”
as poets are singularly anonymous but
love the word “paparazzi.”

I asked you if actresses could be trusted
not to turn each day into vastly complex
movie scenes and you laughed at me knowing

I would one day write this very scene.
“Should I trust a poet?” you scoffed. I was
stupidly miffed. A stray dog followed us into

Chez Black and you insisted he stay
over the protests of our waiter. We tipped well.

Leaving, a young boy out of a film by Fellini
ran up the street shouting your name.

—Martin A. Bartels

(Author's notes may be found under "Comments")


  1. This poem is first in a series of poems I’m writing, tentatively called “Star Cycle,” inspired by interviews I’ve done and random meetings with celebrities.

    During a trip to Italy in the ‘90s I did, in fact, coincidentally follow Ms. Tomei’s general route during her filming of “Only You.” I also passed her as she was leaving Le Sirenuse with another cast member. It may be wishful thinking that our eyes met, or that she even noticed me at all. A young Italian boy did call her name, running up a cobblestone street.

  2. Haha - what a wonderful poem - wishful thinking indeed - I love all the Italian names you have included - 'Positano' just rolls off the tongue in a lovely Italian way.