Spanish Streets and the Meaning of Life



Calle del Principe, Madrid


Look up, look up

Above the regiment of shops.


Look up into the balconies,

Introverted like a snail withdrawn.

There is no wind, no rain, no sun,

Inside the balconies

Men are gods without knowing,

Divinity by accident, no:

By hard work!

‘Come to Madrid, little one,

Come to the Irish bars.’

Like pimps they sing.

Like nightingales they love.

The afternoons are grey and the buildings

A soft brown again like the snail.

Bar after bar, restaurant, tapas,

Like a procession of sinners in chains,

Seven visits are what the visitors must make

But for the residents:

They’re just hungry.

‘Come to Madrid, little one,’

But no one listens,

Just look up, look up.



Carrer de Sant Vincent Martir, Valencia


The hard trees call

For a soft encore

In the amber night.


The paellas go again,

Eulogising hunger

Like a Persian ghazal

To a lily.


The opera house empties itself

Once more into the street

Where the fountain dreams

Of hopeless sleep.


Another pinch of tapas

Demands another digestif

And the keel of the moon

Waxes fatigue.


The hard trees call

For a soft encore

In the amber night.


Oh and like Sisyphus

They all oblige;

It’s all they know.




Calle Santa Escolastica, Granada


My shadow stalks my memory

As it takes its last step in the womb.


From Oscar Wilde to al-Andalus

The sky is deprived of stars.


Granada is a constellation of horsemen

Galloping dictatorially through the olive groves.


My shadow is being sucked into its drooling mouth

As if into the vaginal beak of a squid.


But I hold back: I have to ask.

Is it possible to be happy here?


The crickets are an orchestra of pleasure;

But what if my soul is not in accord?


There is a glow in the ivory streets of Granada;

But what if it erases my shadow?



Passeig de Colon, Barcelona


The dawn is a rhapsody

Violet pink it looms

Over the harbour like an apple

That taunts rambling Eve

And at sunrise ejects us from paradise


Colombus looks to America

The Poet right under his nose:

Montjuic speaks silently to the gloved sun


(Let me not see what the day

Does to this harbour)


My memory and I

Are gamblers betting it all on the stillness:



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