Ladies who write

The phrases that start these walking poems sometimes well up from unexpected sources. I was buttoning my coat as I crossed a plaza and recalled my mother teaching me to count the buttons on my shirt with the verse “Tinker, taylor, soldier, sailor….” and somehow that segued into the image of a Victorian parent planning her children’s future. I guess I was having a Jane Austen moment.

Women’s lives were restricted but their minds were not.


Unlaced

One son to the army
and one son to the church.
Three daughters to be married off,
or else left in the lurch
of spinsterhood
where they will turn
a ghostly shade of gray.

Caring for the elderly,
looking forward to the day
the Vicar comes to bide awhile,
for then, … they’ll have a drink!
It’s only sherry, but it will serve
to turn their gray cheeks pink.

Because their corsets are so tight
convention’s laws will not be torn,
but in the attic, late at night,
what novels may be born!

novel

Poster girl

This one was inspired by the constant battery of perfume advertisements that seems to accompany the winter holiday season. The images of women who look like they have been lobotomized or seriously drugged as they float through wispy clouds and satin drapery. Ooo, la la. 


              Living with hunger

She’s learned to live with hunger
and shoes that cause her pain.
“She’s every man’s desire.”
Oh, not that crap again!

You can see her on the TV
and in posters on the street,
but she doesn’t look like
any living woman you might meet.

Now she whispers to the camera.
She’s only wearing gauze.
Your eyes are glazing over, darling.
Here’s a cloth to wipe your jaw.

It’s just an advertisement.
She’s a phantom, my dear man!
Come serve the goddess in your household.
That is… if you still can.

 

Tattoos

Another poem that started with the glimpse of a leg of a person standing next to me at a stop light. Nothing special, just a tattoo. And that made me think, how sad! Why isn’t a tattoo special? It’s because of the overkill!

If you walk around Barcelona, you will see lots of people with tattoos. Young/ old/ fat/ thin/ male/ female. At the beaches on the Costa Brava, you can probably see more ink on skin than bathing suits! A trip to the Balearic islands isn’t complete unless you come back with a tattoo! For me, the atavistic charm of bodyart disappeared when it became just another form of merchandise, part of the decor of summer beer commercials on TV.

Another Tattoo

The dragon wraps around her leg like Druid art of old. A decision on an island made when she was young and bold.

“Let’s be different!” they all said; so each one did the same. Now time has turned youth’s outré badge to a sagging faded stain.

Designer Bag

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.

The red plaid pants

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.