Demolition

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. 

Demolition

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.

Breakfast

Barcelona has an active and abundant bird population. Birds are important in an urban environment. They add to the soundtrack of the city. And as often happens, a moment on my walk to work brought me to a standstill. Magpies are so loud!


Breakfast

The birds dispute their breakfast
in the bare December trees.
One worm between the two of them,
and both of them are thieves.

The magpie is a foulmouthed sort,
be glad you don’t speak Bird!
For I hesitate to translate
the things I overheard.

Poor Mr. Worm, in politics,
leans neither left nor right.
Unfortunately, the magpies do.
It was a gruesome sight.

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!


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.

Division of Labor

The explanation behind this poem will come in the next post!

                                                                                                                                                                                                             16_taxis_bcn
Division of Labor

Sixteen taxis, waitin' in line,
I don't need one, walkin's fine.

They say there isn't work for all,
since the economy took that fall.

I say,

What work is that? Compared to those
Who mop the floors and iron clothes!

When crises come, it takes a man
to see no work where women can.

Beneath your dignity, you say?
Then wait in line another day!

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.