09  Jun
the giacomo factor

there is no hell like computer hell … on may 29 our desktop was blown out when lightening struck our building — i kid you not … ten days later it’s finally repaired and i’m able to belatedly post this month’s poem … as it’s triple crown season i thought i’d share this from last year …

i had a friend named giacomo

so when a horse with that name
won the kentucky derby
my interest was piqued
even though i have little
make that no
interest in racing

not the most common of names
at least outside of italy
and truth be told
giacomo was born “james”
to his american-italian clan

he was a real beaut
in all sort of ways
a stunner
wearing jeans or suit
so capitalizing on his natural gifts
he became a model

the italian version of his name
got him extra work at home
because it made him more exotic
while “james” got him gigs in italy

modeling was his day job
he really wanted to make movies
and set out for la-la-land with his lover
who was diagnosed with aids
on their cross-country move
dying all-too-soon thereafter
leaving giacomo bereft
and their house devoid of laughter

i had written a play
which he saw in l.a.
about the plague then labeled “gay”
he later tracked me down to say
“i can’t get that out of my head
would you let me produce it in london?”

would i ever!

thus began my giacomo adventure
one of the greatest episodes of all my days
and certainly of all my plays

he did achieve most anything
to which he put his mind
and produced the play in london
ultimately selling the california house
his only real possession
to move our show to the west end
where we were most fortunate
to cast trudie styler
a brilliant actor
and phenomenal woman
married to the rock star sting

one day trudie, giacomo and i
were standing on the stage
and trudie said to him
“i’ve always loved your name
if i ever have another son
that’s what i want to call him”
and a few years later
she did both

at the time
my friend was in a bad, bad way
and we flew to london
to have the chance to say good-bye
(the introduction of new medications
proved farewell timing was mistaken)

while we were visiting
trudie brought little giacomo
six weeks old
to see his partial namesake

though she is a very smart woman
and knew there was zero risk
of her baby contracting the dread disease
it still struck me as a brave
and generous gesture
and i treasure photos
of the giacomos together

the big “g” survived another eight years
then succumbed to the side effects
of his life-sustaining medications

the day after the derby
when the horse named giacomo won
at odds of fifty-something-to-one
i got an e-mail from kevin
giacomo’s long-time friend
asking if i knew why the horse was named that
i didn’t
“because its owner used to work at sting’s record label
and named it after their youngest son”

oh the tangled webs we weave
connecting us to worlds we know nothing of

then giacomo’s mother
whom i’d met once in a hospital
a decade ago
left a message on my machine
wondering if i had any connections
for tickets to the belmont stakes
i didn’t
but her message brought to mind
giacomo’s stories
about his family’s love of gambling

sure enough
according to his mom
all the relatives had bet on the horse called giacomo
and her husband won fifty grand
on an exacta
convincing them
their son had somehow had a hand
in their good fortune

and who could argue otherwise?

that would be just like him
to look back across eternity
and say
“i loved that family
and this will be a kick
to see them pleasured so”

or you could argue
maybe it was arbitrary
a coincidence
an anomaly
or just the way the races go

but not if you knew giacomo

posted by admin on June 9, 2006, at 1:00 am | filed under poetry | no comments »

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