Immunity, Teardrops, An Englishman Walks

Well hello there.

I’ll start with a quick bit of self promotion, and get it out of the way. In the past month or so, I’ve gone from co-running Improvised Comedy workshops and putting on the occasional show, to running a theatre company (B.I.G. – Barcelona Improv Group), organising regular shows, venues, promotion, weekends away, creating a website, AND running Improvised Comedy workshops.

The website is here: www.barcelonaimprovgroup.com , and it’s not finished… but it’s getting there. I’m making a little progress every day.

I spent the afternoon on a train to Sabadell to visit a friend (but let’s call her my financial advisor to make it sound more professional), so I got some bits of flash fiction done, and a haiku, and the themes of each one neatly flows into the next… sort of. So I’ll post them in the order of construction. Don’t be too critical – it’s the first time I’ve really gotten much done in all of hot, sweaty August. My brain doesn’t seem to cope well with the heat.

The first is heavily based on something I wrote once before – I apologise if I posted that, and am now repeating.

Immunity

He’d insisted: “When my son is born, we’re not feeding him that medication every day. What if he spits it up? It’s impractical. We’ll give him the injections – he won’t remember the pain.”
Twenty-four hours after the birth, when the nurse entered with the needle, he tried to leave, but his wife held his hand.
Five minutes later, the father emerged clasping his once-again quiet child. “Your first tears,” he whispered, “I caused your first tears in this world.” And he wept.

Teardrops

He stared at the train window; at the rivulets of rain that ran down the glass, gathering weight from the flecks as it fell. His grandmother slept in the opposite seat, her day smile washed off, leaving an exhausted sadness. Her reflection in the glass was half gone, and raindrop tears ran down her face.

a

An Englishman walks
with head held high in drizzle
and doesn’t get wet

Rain

Yes, Rain. In Spain. And before you even start, I’m not on the plain.

Torre de Hercules, La Coruna
Torre de Hercules, La Coruna

I’m in La Coruna, which is the North-west coast of Spain, in the lovely Celtic Galicia. They speak a variety of Spanish here called Gallego. I got a student in Barcelona to give me a few expression in my notebook, and I’ve tried using them in various situations, but I’ve just had bemused looks from the locals. Oh well.

My kids are doing their final exam, and I have kindly stuck on some music for them during it. Only two of them remain at this stage, but it’s all gone reasonably well. According to them, I am both the coolest and best teacher in camp, because I taught them to play poker (using pencil sharpeners as currency) and because, when one kid got out the guitar in front of the whole camp, I was the only one to stand up and join in with Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours.” I am now sick of this song. I loved it, even on repeat, for a good month, but this camp has just overdosed me. Strangely, these Spanish kids also love “Summercat”, by Billie Vision and the Dancers, which was my song of Summer ’07. This love had nothing to do with me, but it reminds me of old times.

Anyway, I’ve been given an honourable mention in the blog of my good friend Ted, who is on his way to being a professional comic book artist and writer. Pop on over, he’s got lots of lovely artwork, and he updates every day.

As I anticipate more people looking at my blog this week, I’d better whip out a good bit of poetry. And as it’s rained so much recently, I’ll go for something I’m actually pretty proud of. It has its faults, but in this particular case, I refuse to list them as I think its merits outweigh them. Almost the entire thing was written in one go, which is often a good sign. It’s only been tinkered with, since, and never massively rewritten.

Rain

Why, when often we shrink
from the cool chill down-the-back of the neck,
damp on the head, hunched up,
cold unbidden tears of our red cheeks,
soaked through to skin, shivering –rain night car

why, when driving through a dark-orange night,
a thick sheet of gliding water on glass,
the dancing pairs of will o’ the wisp lights
the beating crackle that feels as though it will
break through, a rush of terrible exposure –

in both, a sense of shelter. A longing, yearning,
cosy comfort, lost or maintained.
So why, one day with you, does the world spin?
When we shed our coats and dance,
our squelching feet laughing in celebration.

Sudden Rain on an Empty Bus

This week’s been  an interesting week. The comedy performance went quite well, and the hours of writing, re-writing and then reading it all to myself in front of a mirror really paid off.

I’ve been also setting myself some amibitious targets in writing, both in short stories and poetry, to the result that I have nothing new to present, again. However, we’re definitely getting progression, and I hope to have something to present by Mid Week. Amongst my projects are:

  • A Byron-esque poem for  a friend.
  • Much more poetry connected with my current life in Barcelona
  • A Fantasy short story
  • A short story about an old man starting a new life.
  • The “Enrage” poem I mentioned a while ago to go with “Disentangle”
  • The “Stairlift” poem.
  • A riddle poem called “Tease”.

For now, I’ll just post a poem from last year… it’s another poem about being on a bus in Barcelona, like this one.

I want to write more about life in Bareclona, but it’s a tricky business. Poetry works on the fine detail much better than on the bigger picture. It’s about density of expression, not density of subject. Also, when life is very day-to-day ordinary, and I’m not experiencing any strong emotion about teaching or biking to work, or cooking, then it’s hard to get into the spirit of a poem about it. However, I think this last point is more conquerable. Also, I plan on writing about specific people I know in Barcelona instead, as they’re more focussed. Hopefully in the end, bits of Barcelona will be relfected through disconnected poetry.

I also suspect it’ll be easier to write about once I’m somewhere else, and memory’s power of selectivity will tell me what to write about. Her’s the poem.

barcelona sun rain

Sudden Rain on an Empty Bus

Minutes earlier, the morning bus
was warm and heavy like the day,
windows open so the press of
hot breath and smells could escape.

Now, a rush of cold spirals in.
Travellers duck out into the clicks and spray –
umbrellas pop, hoods up, and some run.

Those unshowered who left their sweat-skin here
are showered now; hair glistens
with a new damp, a cleansing sheen.

The bus stands empty, still clinging
to the scent of its custom. Cloyed,
my nose catches a passing swirl of wet concrete.
I don’t close the window;

though I’m not cold, I shiver in shelter,
the taste of rain on my dry lips,
flecks of spray in my hair,
as my grey view blurs with water.