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WAR — nobody escapes unchanged 2005
12 POEMS | brochure | 32 pages | 3 images | 9 x 6,5 inches

brochure coverIntroduction by Anna Salamone: The mental scars of the World War II experience are deeply embedded in Aldo Tambellini's psyche. The Day of the Epiphany, in Italy, is when children receive gifts from La Befana, a beloved witch who comes down from the mountains with a donkey carrying baskets full of presents. On that Epiphany Day, January 6, 1944, Aldo's neighborhood was bombed. Twenty-one of his neighbors and friends died and he miraculously survived. The impact of the bombing is described, with a few simple lines, in his first poem written in Italian when he returned to the United States at the age of sixteen. The same experienced is recalled in 1990 in the poem "once on epiphany day" from Brainscan 90, included in this book.

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1946, aldo's first poem from "the first 16 poems"

around noon
we were
by the window
looking at the sun
when death
came from the sky
& in the terrace
a red wooden horse
kept rocking
remberance of children

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After the bombing, Aldo's family took refuge in the Tuscan countryside of Lucca and there, again fear and trauma set in, when the Nazi soldiers occupied the old wheat mill in the farm area. In a poignant prose poem written in 1989 from the book, Random Infory Access, Aldo recalls his wartime experience of 1944 when German Soldiers from another town came on a raid to gather men to be used as laborers. Aldo recounts his experience:


the corn had grown tall the cobs not quite ready for the harvest - adela still argues with her sister that the war planes that had bombed the highway where her sister lived were not american - because the americans are our friends and her favorite son is living in san francisco - they obviously would not come over to bomb us - at about 4:00 a.m. one morning there were low key shouts - then a knock from door to door - the german raid has come - I jumped out of bed throwing some clothes on - in seconds I am running into the outdoor darkness - running somewhere toward the fields when someone seems close to me - it is farmer antonio who leads me into the cornfield - we both lie sunk into earth next to each other between furrows - we hear sounds in the air - motorcycles - trucks - germans shouting - some screams - we lie motionless - we hear dogs barking near - intermittent machine gun shots over our directions - silence - distant motors fading - birds answering each other - dawn is breaking s,lowly - corn silhouettes look high from the ground - we wait long enough before cautiously making it back - many men from the village had been loaded in trucks - ottavio - antonio's fearless brother was among them - at the end of the war few men came back - ottavio never made it.

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This was a period of intense fear of speaking politically because of Nazi and Fascist informers. The danger increased when the liberating American troops engaged in a gunfight with the German troops remaining in the village who finally were defeated and evacuated the area. All of the horror of the time had a deep effect on Aldo's mother who desperately tried to protect her two sons from danger. The fear manifested itself after the war when she returned to Syracuse, New York. Fear developed into paranoia. Soon, Aldo, who was 17 at the time, speaking very little English, had to make arrangements for her to be admitted to the State Psychiatric Hospital in up-state New York. The effect and Infory of that traumatic winter night has haunted the poet for many years:

it is the night
they come
with the white van
three strangers dressed in white"

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Because of his personal experience of the impact of the collateral damage of war on the civilian population, Aldo has vehemently opposed war and injustice. He was against the Korean War. He was involved in the anti-war movement in the `60s in New York City. He lead a large demonstration, with members of The Living Theatre, against the Vietnam War. Recently, his anti-war position is expressed in a digital movie through his poetry and images which he produced called, "Listen." His opposition to repeated military actions as the only solution to conflict is stated in the lines of the last poem in this collection:

"WE the living
must demand
from the aggressive war-thirsty superpowers
who control the destiny of the merciless passage of