One thing the residents of Barcelona will tell you is that the city is constantly “en obras.” Which means that wherever you are, turn a corner and there will be some kind of construction work going on. Things age, materials decay, and sometimes, property simply changes hands and new owners have a different idea.
They're tearing down the castle
that stood across the street.
Each morning when I leave the house,
such rubble at my feet!
A gargoyle's head, a family crest,...
the rotten stone must fall.
It seems that what we really need
is another shopping mall.
Someone sold the title
and a heritage was lost.
The change will bring a profit,
but it can't outweigh the cost.
First post in Catalan! This one goes out to those who too often remain nameless. Any native Catalan speaker is more than welcome to correct errors!
Compartint la vella manta
Compartint la vella manta és amor, al meu parer. Encara que siguin pobres i visquin al carrer.
La mare els coneixia, “Són bona gent amb mala sort.” Sovint és el que passa amb la gent que ve de l’hort.
La ciutat els menja l’esperit i els calés. No em preguntis pels cognoms. Són en Joan i na Roser.
They walk towards you blindly, often stopping in the middle of the sidewalk, completely oblivious to the other pedestrians. Ear plugs in, they see only a tiny device they hold in their hands, tapping it hesitantly or in rapid sequence. Addicted to a parallel universe, deaf to traffic and bird calls, blind to sunshine and landscape, dumping personal information into the grand database.
I’ll be generous; I’ll suggest a business model.
Monetize your life
Monetize your life! Put advertisements on your face! Crowdsource pursuit of pleasure, join the social media race.
Be the first entrepreneur whose business is yourself! Get some money for your data, you’ll be on the path to wealth.
Remember this my Facebook friend, what you give away for free is a product bought and sold by some other company.
So beat the others to it! Don’t be shy, (too late for that). Just turn the tables, join the game it’s only tit for tat.
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).
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!
People watching from a bus window offers a chance to view the thousand mini-dramas taking place on the sidewalk.
Two people meeting on the street
Two people meeting on the street,
I watch their dialogue.
He's asking for directions;
She's out to walk the dog.
An image that is natural
and frequent on the street.
You wonder why he's lonely.
Her words were kind and sweet.
Each had a chance to meet the one
they might be looking for.
But he was handsome; she was plain.
So, just directions, nothing more.
WARNING! Sensitive content. This poem may offend some people. Three times in the past week I’ve seen a nun in an all white habit walking along the same path I take in the morning. The question in the first line came up because you really don’t see many nuns in habits walking on the street anymore, not even here in Barcelona. And after that, thinking that in these hard times, she’s not so badly off.
I'd like to know her order's name,
that nun all dressed in white,
and test the comfort of the bed
where she spends every night.
She's married with her sisters
to a single deity!
I wonder how it works at night?
First you, and then it's me?
I wonder how her marriage fares,
is she still attracted to her lord?
Or did she choose the convent life
just for the room and board?
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.
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.