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.
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!
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 data base.
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.
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).
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.