Giorgio Basani

Gli ex fascistoni di Ferrara
di quelli che nel ’39
mostravano di non più ravvisarmi
traversano mi buttano
come a Geo le braccia al collo
gaffeurs incontenibili
sospirano eh voi
dopo la dolorosa
pacca sulla spalla mancina
l’agape casalinga
che alfine consenta alla monumental mummy cattolica
d’estrazione bolognese o rovigotta
ai brucanti in tinello strabiondi
teen-agers incontaminati
di incontrarlo una buona volta
il già compagno di scuola talmente
il bravo
il presidente…

Hanno l’aria di insinuare
nel mentre dài piantala
non vedi che sei tu quoque
mezzo morto?
E poi scusa — continuano
uguali identici ormai
all’ingegner Marcello
al rabbino dottor Viterbo —
in che altro modo senza di
avresti potuto metterle insieme
le tue balle con relativo
appoggio di grana eccetera? Dopo tutto

potresti ben cominciare
a considerarci anche noi quasi dei mezzi…


Corrazziali? Voi quoque? Dei quasi
mezzi cugini? No piano
Come cazzo si


Giorgio Bassani

The ex-Fascists of Ferrara
have aged
of those who in ‘39
pretended not to know me
cross the road and throw
like with *Geo their arms around my neck
uncontainable blunderers
sighing oh you
after the energetic
hand painfully pats the shoulder
homespun agápē
which finally allows the monumental
catholic mommy
of Bolognese extraction or Rovigo perhaps
the extra-blonde parlour grazers
the uncontaminated teenagers
to meet him once and for all
that ex-classmate who was so very
the talented
the *president…

But they seem to insinuate
all the while oh stop it
can’t you see that tu quoque
are almost dead?
And by the way – they continue
by now just like
Marcello Rimini,
the engineer,
doctor Viterbo, the rabbi –
without us how
could you have put together all
your bull shit along with relative
monetary backing etcetera? After all

it’s about time you start
considering us, too, almost as *half…


Co-racial? You quoque? My almost
half cousins? Slow down now
Fuck do you

First of all
we die

Translation ©Matilda Colarossi 2018

*Geo is Geo Josz, the man who returned to Ferrara after surviving the gas chamber, the enigmatic protagonist of Una lapide in via Mazzini.

president: Bassani was then vice-president of the Italia public broadcasting company RAI

*I would like to thank Alfredo Mignini for his input here. Mezzo in Italian means ‘means’ and it means ‘half’. I read and re-read the text and opted for ‘means’ the first time around, because, as I saw it, those ex fascistoni were the means by which Bassani became who he was, cynical as it is and seems to us. However, I have changed it to ‘half’, thanks to Alfredo, and I thank him greatly for his advice, and especially for sending me the poem, which I had never read.

(Giorgio Bassani, Gli ex fascistoni di Ferrara, in Epitaffio, Milan, Mondadori, 1974, now in Id., Opere, edited by Roberto Cotroneo, Milano, Mondadori (series: I Meridiani), 1988, pp. 1417-18)

For more information:

Giorgio Bassani, interrupted while reading this beautiful poem:
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2 thoughts on “Gli ex fascistoni di Ferrara/ The ex-fascists of Ferrara by Giorgio Bassani

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