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NauenThen

España

A street in Cadaqués.
Because I posted a few photos every day on Facebook, vicariously taking quite a few friends along on my vacation, or so they said, I don't have the urge to do it all again now that I'm home. Plus my rule of thumb for this blog has largely been doing my writing at the time, not days or weeks later. Write now, post later—that's OK; but not Experience now, write later.

I did feel like I was embedded there, part of Mercè's family & daily life. I said of course when she asked if I wanted to just do & see what she loved, & since she is brilliant, wonderful & has great taste, I saw & had brilliant, wonderful & exquisite places & experiences: Toledo with El Grecos, marzipan ("bread dough"), & incredibly winding lost-inducing streets; an hour as we passed briefly through Madrid at the Prado for Velasquez, Goya & El Bosco (Bosch); the glorious Barcelona opera house—in a box no less!—for a family version of The Magic Flute; Girona with its Jewish museum in the former home of the Ramban (but no Jews); the medieval town of Besalú; the voluptuous beach town of Cadaqués, with its white walls and bright blue doors where Mercè spends a couple of weeks every year; her two little girls, who spent hours concocting vegetarian dishes; meeting her friends & sister; trying to understand the political situation .... all this in a week!  Read More 
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Spain in my heart

Because of my visit not long ago, & because of my dear friend & native barcelonina Mercè, I have been following the Catalan independence saga closely. Nonetheless, I don't know the ins & outs enough to have a firm opinion, but it seems part & parcel of what's going on in so many places: people rocking their pretty comfortable boat for an idea, & seem sure to be worse off no matter how things play out.

One instinct is to rush to visit before it becomes impossible (war?!?!), the other is to stay far, far away & not risk getting trapped in any trouble. I mostly don't think anything will happen but....  Read More 
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Spain Poem (part V)

V. Woman on a Train


Alone with trees
thoughts
Anthony Powell

What should my life be?

I ask that more now
than I did at 20

Is it too late to run away?

At 20 I knew:
live in country
be hippie
unconsume

I am no longer sure of anything at all

I’m on a train in Spain Read More 
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Spain Poem (part III)

III. Women & Poets See the Truth Arrive

Barcelona: New Orleans meets San Francisco meets Paris meets Berlin… on the Mediterranean!

The Palace of Music, a library of women’s studies, the Cultural Center of Catalan history where we have thick hot chocolate and Merce explains she isn’t a “Catalonia über alles” patriot  Read More 
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Spain Poem (part II)

II. If we had stayed in our world


What forms a people? The sea, the barriers, the ease or not of being fed. Did Spain die off during the plague? What makes a people cruel, sharp with money, musical, grudge-holding? Any individual may or may not be a “type” from her country, but if not, she is “against type” & therefore also typical.

Plane … plane … taxi … taxi … train … taxi … taxi … train … taxi … plane

how can I stop & live?
the words I know are wait & watch

Picasso was made honorary director of El Prado during the Civil War. The Prado reminds me I’m part of hundreds of years of Western civilization.

we are traveling 300 km an hour Read More 
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Spain Poem (part I)

The More I Drink, The More I Steal

for Alisa, Robyn, & Merce


I. Train to Seville


Ace writes on the subway
his poems exactly

—this—
long

ours is a 5 & a half hour train
keep going keep going keep going

here comes the coffee truck
solar panels like flowers

behind a field of olive trees
& logs

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Famous for oranges

Naturally I was thrilled to be in Seville, because it's where Byron's Don Juan was born, & thrilled to see many trees full of oranges, all out of reach alas (I'd need to be 6 feet tall or have a stool). I did buy this little oil on pressed board painting to hand over my desk & remind me of our trip. I also bought a little bottle of bitter orange perfume but it gave me a rash. The Moorish tiles were pretty wonderful too. Read More 
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