Walk the Baby

You could call this one “the mom rap”. On the way to work this morning I saw a woman pushing a baby carriage while walking her little dog on a leash. Efficient, I thought. A happy image. The little dog was certainly happy anyway. The mom? You don’t really know. Her pace looked a little mechanical. One person’s happy excursion is another person’s nullifying obligation. Maybe she’d rather be running. Maybe she’d rather be designing spacecraft, or coding software, or doing whatever it was she used to do that required more than 20 minutes of uninterrupted concentration. Don’t let the books with pink and blue covers and curly writing and gauzy madonna photos in the background fool you. Motherhood is not the same for everyone. 


Walk the Baby

Walk the baby
Walk the dog
This routine
Can be the flog
That gets you through
The dismal fog
Of your depression.

Have a baby
Lose your life
Just because
You are the wife.

He doesn’t care.

He’s never there.

He says his money
Gives him right
He’d rather work
all day, all night

(and so would I,

and so would I,

at something else.)

But all my time
Is taken up
With endless tasks
That interrupt
all train of thought.

No flow of words
to fill a page
while the baby
cries with rage.

No time to write,

no end in sight.

You tell the doctor
You are ill
The simple truth
Is that you feel
You’d rather die.

Why should you lie?

Walk the baby
Walk the dog
And disappear
Into the fog.

It may be best.
You need some rest.

Same old story

Another morning. I’m on the bus, and through the window I see a couple gesticulating on the sidewalk. His back is turned to me and I can’t see his face, but she is beautiful and exotic, a long mane of wavy black hair. And although i can’t hear her, I can see the anger and pain in her words. 


              Same old story

Her hair is wild, her brow is furled,
she wields her words like knives.
He stands immobile and remote,
the strategy of guys
who could care less.

She’s just another bitch, he thinks,
I was only having fun.
And I will win this argument
because I’ve got the gun.

One more cup of coffee

This poem came to me as I was waiting on the underground platform of the Barcelona Ferrocarrils. Just as I reached the platform, I saw my train depart. Gripped with the inevitable frustration, and the knowledge that I would be late to work, I remembered the advice of my friend Nassim Taleb, who says “never run to catch a train”. And somehow, Shakespeare found his way in there.


Late again

That doppler sound,
you’ve missed the train.
No use in hurry now.
Whatever had to start on time
will not.


Time can’t allow
for failed alarm clocks, oversleep,
entangled dreams…
Remember Life’s poor player
has but a single scene.


Curtain rises, curtain falls,
and all that counts lies in between


Looking for a job

This post draws from two inspirations: one, the Poolside Laureate is between jobs and looking for work; and two, the Barcelona street sweepers are a peculiar feature of our cityscape. They always seem to work in pairs (in case one of them is attacked?), and they use charming brooms that could be farm implements straight out of the middle ages. Ah! there is a third inspiration… public sector jobs here require level of language proficiency in Catalan.

O, Sister! Can you spare a broom?

O, Sister! Can you spare a broom?
I'll help you sweep the street.
I just need a little money
so the kids and I can eat.

Every job I ask for,
they say I’m overqualified!
I sure don’t understand it.
I’m frankly mystified.

I’m not too good to push a broom;
I’d like to work outdoors.
There's no shame in honest work,
and all of us do chores.

Slim chance they’ll hire me I guess,
I can't conjugate the verbs 
required on the language test
that lets you sweep the curbs.

Boywatching

A moment of joy captured through a bus window.


To the boys!

Tie me to your torso
and take me for a dance!
I just want to feel your body,
I’m not looking for romance.

Let the sun sculpt every muscle,
let the shadow draw the line.
We won’t cross it, we’ll just think it.
I know you can’t be mine.

But life is meant for living.
In this moment, let me dream
that years do not divide us
and I am still sixteen!


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.

The Business School

Until recently, my morning walk to work led me to the doors of a well-reputed business school. Usually I focussed on the beautiful gardens and buildings, as well as the people walking by. Almost every day I saw something worth writing about, something beautiful or curious. However, Barcelona, like any city, has a darker side.

The morning I saw a man digging through the garbage bins located practically at the doors of the school, the irony gave me this:

The Business School

Dumpster diving at the business school, now that's a sight to see! His family’s going hungry, but he’s got a fine degree.

He did just what they told him and he doesn't understand why the speculation failed him when he bought up all that land.

It was easy! No one mentioned he was trafficking with air. He thought that he was clever! now he's closer to despair.

He lives near his alma mater until the bank calls in the loan. That could happen any day now. He could even lose his home!

He hopes that no one sees him as he's sorting through the trash. He doesn't want his kids to know that they're completely out of cash.

He bought into a system that turned out to be a lie. You must admire his dignity. he's still wearing a tie.