It’s the fishnet stockings. I always try to figure out if there’s some message that they’re intended to convey. This morning, it was someone waiting for the bus. Black fishnets, not particularly sexy old black shoes. A non-descript dark knee length skirt. Holding a Louis Vuitton logo tote bag. And then she turned around. A unhappy wrinkled face, a cheap cotton foulard, and OMG, faint pink streaks in her partially fading blonde over grey dye job. This was in a higher income neighborhood, she was obviously not a homeless person. Just someone who seemed to have given up. And the first line came to me:
The remains of a well-kept wife walked by me yesterday. Her dye job has been slipping, since her husband ran away. Her bag is still designer brand. Authentic (I can tell). Too bad the plastic surgery Did not hold up as well.
In Barcelona, you see a lot of people walking dogs, and something made me take note of an interesting dog-human pair I passed yesterday. The dog was a low-slung dachshund-beagle looking thing, and the man holding the leash walked with the slow, jerky steps of someone with reconstructed hips or legs. Neither of them was in a hurry. I thought he was a pretty lucky guy.
Dog walks man!
The dog is out to walk the man. He needs his exercise. (The man that is, he’d never leave the sofa otherwise.)
They’ve known each other long and well. It used to be the man who organized the outings to the local pipi-can.
The dog now fetches other things than what his master throws — medications, the remote control …– It’s amazing how he knows his master’s needs, no words and no command.
But if you’ve ever had a dog I think you’ll understand.
Dedicated to 3 special dogs: Penny, Brandy, and Lady
vocabulary: In an attempt to toilet train dog-owners, Barcelona city planners came up with the idea of establishing officially designated dog pooping areas in parks, and coined them “pipi-cans” (‘can’ = dog).
The patron saint of Catalunya is Sant Jordi (Saint George), the dragon-slayer. His day is celebrated throughout Catalunya every year on April 23rd in a festival of books and roses. I had a whimsy of George/ Jordi, riding home from work, tired after a hard day of jousting, or killing barbarians, or whatever, and when he gets to the village, he finds everbody’s yelling about the Princess being held captive by a dragon, and he knows his day isn’t over yet.
It wasn’t a good day he’d had.
In fact, he was tired and sad.
When he saw that dragon,
his spirits were flaggin’.
That reptile looked so very BAD!
But his Princess was caught in a tower
instead of their honeymoon bower.
So he hefted his lance,
and he took his best chance.
A legend was born in that hour!
Personally, I’ve always had a soft spot for the bad guy, the dragon.
I wonder what the result would be if every pedestrian on the sidewalk wore a sign saying “this is not a bike lane.”
Caminante, no hay camino
The cyclist rings to warn me that he’s riding in my space. If he expects I’ll step aside, he’s about to see my face.
I’ll tell him loud and clearly that wheels go in the street, that sidewalks are for walkers. And I swear by my own feet, I’ve right-of-way, and he does not, although it makes him mad.
He’s swiftly passed, three red lights run, and surprise! There is a crash. The cyclist races off unscathed. The old lady that he bashed will take a while to walk again, but it won’t make the news. City hall thinks that bikes are cool. Pedestrians, you lose!
This year, like every year, the city parks and gardens crew came out to prune the sidewalk trees. I understand it’s supposed to be good for the trees’ health, but it seems aggressive to me and I always feel the urge to salute the trees and thank them for the service they have given.
It’s Winter now; They’re coming soon. I’ve not been feeling well. Last year they cut off most my limbs. Look closely, you can tell They haven’t healed.
A younger tree will take my place. I wish her life and health. And may her arms hold many nests. That’s how I counted wealth.
May sun and rain be kind to her, and splendid be her shade. And when the pruners come for her, may she not feel betrayed, but know it is a cycle. We bloom, and then we fade.
About the previous poem…
Walking home from work the other day, I really did count 16 taxis lined up waiting at a taxi stand where the usual number is 2 or 3. As I walked past the taxis, I noticed that all the people in the driver’s seats were men. A lot of people are out of work, and it seems that a popular alternative to unemployment is to become a taxi driver. I love taxis! They are a great service to the city resident. But the number of taxis in circulation has bloated far beyond rider demand, and they spend a lot of time driving around empty, or idling at taxi stands waiting for a fare.
In the USA, in the 1930s many families from Oklahoma and other states migrated westward in search of new opportunities and new livelihoods after their farms had failed. I was amazed to read a “documentary” about their lives that said “the women took in laundry, sewing, cooked for boarders, cared for the sick, but the men couldn’t find work”. I ask my readers, what is wrong with this sentence? And why are so many men sitting around in idling taxis?
Current statistics reported in newspapers (NY Times, Financial Times,…) show that women are faring better than men in terms of economic recovery in the current crisis.
The explanation behind this poem will come in the next post!
Division of Labor
Sixteen taxis, waitin' in line,
I don't need one, walkin's fine.
They say there isn't work for all,
since the economy took that fall.
What work is that? Compared to those
Who mop the floors and iron clothes!
When crises come, it takes a man
to see no work where women can.
Beneath your dignity, you say?
Then wait in line another day!
Treasures. This city’s sidewalks are full of treasures. He was impossible to ignore as I walked past him this morning. Barcelona has a silent dress code that makes anyone who transgresses it suspicious.
The gentleman in red plaid pants
The gentleman in red plaid pants
stands waiting at the light.
I wonder if he's dressed for day,
or if those are from last night?
A younger man approaches him,
and whispers in his ear.
Hand in hand, they walk away.
I watch them disappear.
Too soon to draw conclusions,
unless you factor in
the fact his absence is so short,
and it happens all again.