Beach at Night

So, I’ve JUST posted, but as I feel I’ve been neglecting this old blog, I’ll post twice. To get fully up to date, scroll down and read “Eloy” first. Or second. Whatever, you crazy whimsical creature.

You know how, for a year and a bit, I’ve been living with a family? Oli, Angela, and the adorable Liliana Seeley, who is now nearly 4, and author of such fine works of fiction as “Coconut Together” and “Dog This Big – A Tragedy.” I’ve tried a couple of times recently to get her to help me write a new story…. no success yet, but I’ll try again later this month.

I can’t right now, because, you see, I’ve moved out. Temporarily. I’m living with my friend Jo, who you may remember from this poem (wow. That’s 4 links back to my own poetry now. Talk about blowing your own trumpet). She lives outside Barcelona, in the little town of Casteldefels. It’s half an hour by train to one of three central Barcelona stations, one of which is a 5 minute walk from work. The town itself, from what I’ve seen tonight, wandering around, is gorgeous and smells fresh and natural, which is a nice change from BCN. It’s no distance from a train station, and even nicer, it’s one block away from the beach! And what a beach.

I’m here for a trial run. 3 or 4 days, see if I can survive living with Jo (she’s a little…. dramatic), and then back to the Seeleys for the rest of the month. We’ll see how it goes.

Anyhoo, walking on the beach in the dark, looking at the stars, reminded me of another old poem by me, only I’ve not posted this one on the blog before. It’s set in Mauritius.

Southern Hemisphere

Away from the music, drinks and decking
I strolled the quiet beach barefoot
with my neck craned back –

just letting my feet pad down a path
between cool waves and the supple sand,
listening to the tide –

Where a plough had been for all my life
my vision traced a scorpion’s tail
and strange stars spread to the dark horizon

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and my heart gaped wider to fit
all the new space in

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but it wasn’t big enough.

To Jo

This time I’ve tried to produce something which usually I fail at…. rhyming poetry. The first thing everyone thinks of when you say the word “poem”, rhyming poetry is great fun, but not as easy and the free verse I usually excrete.

To add to that, I’ve gone for a rhyme scheme that follows the style of  “Don Juan”, by Byron. While “Don Juan” was in iambic pentameter, I’ve chosen tetrameter, which is 8 beats to a bar, as I found it easier to work with. I’ve still not got the scansion perfect, but when I read it aloud, if I rush through a “she” and a couple of other words, it fits. Kinda.

This is clearly a skill I need to work on, though, as it has literally taken me months (of pestering from Jo) to get this done. Working to a commission, too, seems not to be my strong point.

On that note, if you want to commission a poem from me on any subject, email me, or post a message in the comments below, and I’ll get it done for you, probably in 6 months or less.

This is being written from the floor of my balcony on a sunny afternoon. Around 4 o’clock, the sunlight streams through the half-closed blinds in my bedroom, casting a kaleidoscope of leopard ‘spots across the walls… and making my computer (and myself) overheat. I’ve got my third comedy gig appearance this evening, so I can’t wait for a cooler part of the day.

So here is the poem, simply called “Jo,” and it tells the true tale of how I got bored of her talking about her weird diet(s) and started listening in on a more exciting conversation in the other corner, with amusing consequences.

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Me and Jo at Sitges in February
Jo and I at Sitges in February

Jo

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So I shall tell a tale of Jo,
a Scot whose heart is proud and true,
who can at times be rather slow,
with plans she doesn’t follow through,
she’s relentless in her quest, you know,
for love and fun and derring-do,
This “lady”‘s lived in Barcelona
For as long as I have known her.

Our tale begins one Saturday
a day fixed in my memory
the day that I am pleased to say
I first met Jo, (and she met me)
We all thought a close café
would let us chat and we could see
if we were colleagues after classes
or friends! (to good friends! Charge your glasses!)

So to a cafe on Arago street
is where we turn to set the stage
where Saturday teachers come to eat
we chat away – her name, his age
and, introductions soon complete
I quickly turn young Jo to rage
‘tween talks of drugs, or diets and food
I choose the former – rather rude!

Jo is ignored, and her teeth grind
with fury, for rejection cuts
a devious revenge she’ll find
she’ll wait a while, her mouth she shuts,
then she hears my voice behind,
“Supplemento terraza? What’s that?” “Nuts.”
(And never have we heard again
such wit explosion from her brain)

As I digest what I am told
Jo finds the old adage is rot –
revenge, she learns, when NOT served cold
tastes great – she likes it piping hot
and I, thinking her good as gold
and glad to meet a polyglot,
I trust her for her kind translation
– the seeds sown for humiliation.

Imagine, then, the barman’s look
when I ask for the “supplemento”
While Jo a mental picture took
of her success, a cruel memento
For she had read me like a book
and caused me great embarrassment – oh!
I turned in shock, her grin grew wide,
“It’s what you pay to sit outside!”

tatoo roseFrom this, a lasting friendship grows,
and when we meet, we spark and fizz
And we have never come to blows.
The moral of this story is
That after all, it really goes
to show what starts these amities
and as her tattooed foot reveals
her heart speaks how it really feels.

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P.S. It took me bloody ages to get the layered effect on the verses. I hope you appreciate the work I go to for you all. Grumble grumble.