Va fa' u stronzu

Sunday, 11 October, Year 12 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

Puorte 'e cazune cu nu stemma arreto, na cuppulella c'a visiera aizata passa scampanianno pe' Tuleto, comm'a nu guappo, pe' te fa' guardà.

Tu vuo' fa' l'ameriganno, 'meriganno, 'meriganno... sient'a mme chi t'o 'ffa fa'? Tu vuoi vivere alla moda, ma se bevi whisky & soda po' te siente 'e disturba'.

Tu abball' o' rock'n'roll, tu giochi a baseball, ma e sorde p'e Camel chi te li da? La borsetta di mammà ?

Comme te po' capi' chi te vo' bene si tu le parle miezo americano? Quanno se fa l'ammore sott' 'a luna comme te vene 'ncapa 'e di' "I love you"?

Tu vuo' fa'l'ameriganno, 'meriganno, 'meriganno, ma si' nato'n Italy sient' a mme, nun ce sta niente 'a fa'. Ok, Napulitan ?

Difficult to translate something quite as steeped in street-wise traditions ; but considering how well Renato Carosone's recitation flows (especially the part where he suggests domestic theft, because... well...), and also how well I've managed this sort of impossible task before...

So let's unravel then!

A guapo, the central point, the phalic axis of the first stanza, denotes the male ideal ("pretty" in Spanish ; "perfect" in Naples) ; otherwise cazune are pants and stemma is a seal, as in heraldry. Arreto is behind, puorte is "you wear", as in "you carry". Cuppulella is a small hat, like a skullcap ; visiera is the "visor" in the sense of, the thing that shades the eyes. Aizata is raised (same root as alto) whereas Toleto references via Toleto (ie, Toledo) in the Quartieri Spagnoli, close to the Piazza del Plebiscito where perhaps still lies Gambrinus cafe. Te fa' guarda' is "to make yourself seen", and so there you go : you may wanna play "the Americano" (as you might've formed the impression this "Americano" thing is, on the basis of whatever you misread off whatever was misrepresented in your facebook) -- but if any man sees you doing it, he'll give you what for. Because yes, disturba' is the active diathesis of trouble -- the exact sort of "trouble" as gives goosebumps to children (also spelled eromenos, a portmanteau of erotic and minors) perceiving men approaching. I'm sure you know perfectly well what all that's about.

So, you play whatever music you think they play and do whatever dumb pointless bullshit you think they do, but who's giving you the dough to keep this hallucination from crashing upon reality's jagged shore ? Mom's purse ? Then there's some more that's really irrelevant to today's prettybois, and finally "look here : you were born for endless night, there's nothing you can do about it." with a general tendency towards "quit pretending, it ain't doing anything."

An uplifting little tune, I thought -- and, importantly, just as applicable to the contemporary irrelevant fringe that's the center of Europe as it's applicable to the irrelevant fringe that's downtown Chicago or Manhattan or anywhere else. Everywhere else is the margin, there's no center left, you're all a buncha destitute, indigent outsiders looking in. Each and every last one.

And the "in" is not only completely imagined, but also entirely false. Fake. Lame. Forget about it.

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