La Rambla

Here’s the poem I contributed to Western, the arts journal published in association with Life Is Beautiful. The poem was inspired by my trip to Barcelona this summer. Special thanks to Shaun Christensen, Jarret Keene, Don Revell, Olivia Clare and my dad for reading it and providing feedback and to Sam Mc Mackin for publishing it.
La Rambla
How many storms
(Arabs, Franks, fellow Spaniards)
Can a stronghold weather
Before opening wide its wooden gates,
Scarred by spears and arrows,
And falling at the feet
Of its latest sovereign?
Cultures coalesce,
Become difficult to distinguish.
Trueloves are like this,
Which is why I occasionally
Confuse you with her.
Or her.
Love is not the Po, Nile, or Ebro,
But Mediterranean Sea.
Another argument
Across the Atlantic.
High, mud-swirl ceiling.
Duffel bag buried beneath clothes.
I slip into my sneakers
And stagger out onto the streets.
Mute, impotent, invisible
I know how you felt
When you moved to the Meadows.
Nàpols and Mallorca.
Sant Joan and València.
Bailén and Gran Vía,
Where Gaudí was run over
By a cable car.
Assuming he was homeless,
They left him sprawled on the street.
He’s still there.
I hear him bleating,
As I cross against the light
And continue south.
Drifting down the Door of the Angel,
Alone amid the crush,
I spill onto the shore.
The rising sun
Silhouettes a family of four
Frolicking in the surf.
Perched on a cloud,
Columbus points toward the Gold Coast.
The tourists stand in the sand
And applaud,
As the Santa María
Appears on the horizon.
Like a mythic mortal,
I leered at beauty
And sacrificed my sight.
My marooned senses sharpen,
As I navigate the side streets
Sea salt on my lips;
The bakery, soap shop, smoke shop;
A Catalan flag flaps in the wind.
Approaching La Rambla,
I reclaim my perspective.
As I’m waking,
You’re falling asleep.

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