23 Visiting Barcelona

Tr © Jonathan Rose/Carlos Miguel Suarez Radillo

Soot

blackens and blankets

buildings, buses, cement.

Showers scare

pools of mud from pores

like startled blood

poured in Civil War.

The professor speaks of

arsonists and firefighters,

advises,

“Always keep a small

spark of the arsonist.”

I’m told that they no longer speak Spanish herethat

even the street signs appear in Catalan.

No, it’s not a dialect,

but a language

too long repressed,

and Barcelona was the seat

of a proud empire

whose arms and fingers stretched

to caress Italy’s ankle;

and soprano voices echoed

in the guild hall near the port.

Those who leave their footprints

on Las Ramblas judge

gnarled, bizarre, magnificent

Gaudi,

who interrupts with images such as

La Sagrada Familia,

spires cork-screwing skyward.

“Constant reparations,

solicitations of donations,

completion would spoil it,”

confides a Catalan journalist.

The zoo still boasts

the only albino gorilla in captivity;

I wonder how he keeps a clean coat.

Tourists loiter here,

always on their way

elsewhere.

They seldom stay.

I’m convinced

it’s because of

the soot.

Cleaning machine soul by Miguel Ángel Báez

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Nagari #1 Copyright © 2011 by Proyecto Setra. All Rights Reserved.

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