Thursday, 3 December 2020

Leaving Atocha Station - Johannes Beilharz

On a spark I am situating myself 
there, in that busy, old-fashioned 
painted iron and glass structure 
in approximately 1975.

Throngs of people, arms reaching,
voices shouting and I, neither getting
the space bubble around me nor
any of the discipline of colder countries,
took ages to get my bocadillo a la
tortilla española.

In a Spain of grises and government
employment programs like state lottery 
ticket selling and park cleaning by slow
old men with iron picks and long-handled

A Spain of Paco Franco jokes involving 
sea turtles and longevity,
a Spain of long shadows over Valle de los
Caídos, of a tall ceilinged room with somber
ancestral portraits on the walls belonging
to a cousin who would not unlock the door
to let us leave. 

A Spain of one little Seat 
with the hum of an agitated insect
carting six to a pueblo festival with one
gigantic swing boat guaranteed to make
the toughest nauseous, with sweets stands
and with baile, in which I would not be
dragged to participate, on unpaved ground.

A Spain of Paloma in her white floral
dress reclining on three laps in the back,
firing rapid questions at me — seated in
front, contorted to look back — including 
“Why are you not talking to me?” 

For Paloma

Johannes Beilharz (born 1956) Germany

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