Mari Shigeta

“Look up”

While walking the streets of Rome, I’ve found you’ll often see people looking down at you from their apartments. Leaning halfway out their windows, just people-watching. I wouldn’t call it voyeuristic—they’re out in the open, they don’t hide.

It’s usually an elderly person. I’ve walked by the same old man, 5 PM on the dot, shirtless, hankie in hand, observing the goings-on of Via Carlo Cattaneo from his second-floor flat. What is he thinking about? Where is his shirt?

I’m sure it’s a manifestation of the culture shock. But I couldn’t say why this specific element of the culture strikes me. Is my curiosity an indication of how much more closed off we are in the States? You hardly see people do this so openly there.

Perhaps it’s like meditation. A simple pleasure, no doubt.

Maybe I’m drawn to the expressions. Their character. Maybe it’s the feeling. Amidst the chaos of a city, here’s someone looking down, bestowing calm. A reminder, if you will, of the importance of staying still.

…maybe I also just find it a lil weird.

intimate space where Mari worked on poetry and photography

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