On Becoming Civilized

File source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Estasi_di_Santa_Teresa.jpg

I'm learning Italian, the language of my father's family. The "vulgarized" version of the language of the Holy Roman Empire out of which developed my beloved French as well as Spanish and Portuguese.

I'm learning to think in Italian, the language of Dante's Inferno, damning to a fiery tomb those who believe the heresy that life is worth living fully because death is nothing more than the end of life.

I'm learning to hear Italian, the language Frederico denied infants in cruel experiments to find out what language, Latin or vulgari, the children would naturally speak. Naturally, they died.

I'm learning to live in Italian, in waves of rolling rrrr's and fountains gushing from Bernini's elegant whirling forms, the Bernini whose mistress becomes Saint Theresa, her jouissance becomes in Italian, godimento, something God-like, preserved in the Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome where gilded rays of light illuminate her cloud-like bed. I am pierced with the thrust of this flame, of life beating between me and my lover, weeping in this ecstasy of union. Is this religion?

Pacia Sallomi
April, 2011