When you gave me that kiss, which I disdainfully rejected, I would have never imagined that I would dream of it so many years later. Your kiss was unexpected, sudden, tender. To this very day I can still feel the softness of your lips touching mine, tentatively, respectfully, out of desire. I didn’t want that kiss then. It was the day Italy won the World Cup. We were so happy and young we probably thought we had won the world.
Has anybody kissed me better than that?
I wonder if that kiss might have evolved into a deeper, more passionate kiss, and maybe something else. Sex? A relationship? A family I don’t think so, we were too young then. Your kiss coming back to me now, when Italy doesn’t have a chance of winning the World Cup (we’re out of the competition), does it say something about where I am at now? Back then, the reality of being champions of the world. Today, the utter impossibility of it.
If I am no longer kissable, can I still be a champion?
Is the dream kiss more important than the real one?
Something tells me that this phone call is as unexpected to you as your kiss was to me then. Do you remember that night, where we were and with whom, the playfulness of summer, the joy spoiled by my rejection? What made you think I wanted to be kissed by you? Did you think you were irresistible? I recall you were quite popular with girls. I bet you still are.
If Italy hadn’t won the Cup, would you have kissed me all the same?
What happened during this lapse of time?
I needed to know, so one day – haunted by that glimpse of a kiss, I looked you up in a social network. You replied to my message, surprised to hear from me after so many years. We exchanged a short conversation. You got married, had two children, divorced. You live in the North, have a new partner.
What do you do?
What is that?
But let’s go back in time. The present is of no interest to us. You’re still famous for your lips to me. I am not famous for my voice to you. When I told you about my job at the radio and the books I’ve written – they are my two children, I said – you were not impressed. You’d be amazed to learn that many people would like to kiss my voice. A voice that, let it be known, has conquered people by the thousands, seduced by the hundreds.
Your famous lips.
My famous voice.
If your lips are as soft now as they used to be, will you kiss the voice that is summoning you up, and kiss me again and again and again, your lips like the wings of a butterfly touching down lightly and soon taking off again?
If you do, I’ll close my eyes and pretend
We are winning the World Cup again.
(written in Katowice, Poland, during a Critical Poetics workshop, June 2018)