City walker

Back after a long summer break. Walking to work again. Since I get lost in my  thoughts as I walk, I’m known for tripping (not that kind!) and occasionally taking a glorious fall, garnering lots of attention and immediate sympathy from any old people near me. So intermittently I have to remind myself to “walk consciously”, “be in the moment”, pay attention to where I am and the fact that I’m in motion and not to disconnect from my feet! Once again, this poem is an ode to my city, Barcelona.

sidewalk strewn2
City walker

Walk consciously, and keep your gaze
fixed on the path ahead.
Discreetly dodge the dog shit
and any pigeons lying dead
upon the sidewalk that you cherish.
Keep on walking every day.

A city has its faults and flaws,
and some have history.
This one is built on Roman stones,
has two mountains and a sea.

The sidewalk bears an artist’s stamp.
Another artist draws
with wind and leaves and cast off flowers,
an ephemeral collage.

Such beauty more than compensates
for anything I dodge.

Man with the doves

This poem has taken a while to develop. Like the other sidewalk poems, the first line was prompted by a real moment on the street. A contrast that registered.

In building the poem, I realized that I wanted to transmit the images with impartiality, the citywalker as photojournalist.

The man with the doves

The man with the doves
is asking for coins.

The man in the poster
– naked chest, naked loins –
announces a lotion
¡cash-back, guarranteed!
to smoothe your abdomen
at night while you sleep.

The doves peck at nothing,
they dance and they coo
around the old man
who does not look at you.

His hat sits before him,
a basket of hope –
originally white,
now the far side of taupe.

I live with both men,
our relationship bound
by the shared stretch of  sidewalk,
profane and profound.

Pink Glass in the Gutter

This is the 2nd Sidewalk Poem. I was walking to work on the morning after one of the recent mass protests that are being provoked by our current economic and political instability. As I passed an area that had been filled with protestors the morning before, I saw a pink plastic tumbler lying in the gutter, and this is what came out.

Pink Glass in the Gutter

A pink glass in the gutter
is all that’s left of you.
The party’s long been over
and you and I are through.

A pink glass in the gutter…
you could have been much more.
Somebody should have told you
I don’t drink cheap liquor anymore.

That glass? A car just smashed it
to lovely smithereens.
You took my love and trashed it.
At least that’s how it seems.

I’m having champagne breakfast
on a terrace in the square.
Your best friend’s about to join me.
Sorry babe, what’s fair is fair.

The first Sidewalk Poem

This poem came to me in the 30 minutes between leaving my flat and arriving at the office. I realized that as soon as I’d noticed some detail, some sight that caught my eye, I began to chain together words to describe what I’d seen.

I string a new necklace

I string a new necklace each day as I walk on my way to the office or just down the block.

The beads and the jewels are the things that I see. From those of this morning I'll just give you three:

Water pooled on the flagstones, a mother of three, (she was starved with their breeding; it was easy to see),

young man in a pink shirt -- long-sleeved, nicely pressed -- (I wish that I'd been there to watch as he dressed!)

The images grip me; They drive me to verse. Not much of a rhyme scheme, But it could have been worse.