BARcelona

When I came in 2007
I was not mobbed by thieves,
but by flash mobbers.

Now they wave placards and Okupa
the central plaça bullying shops closed
and burning down Starbucks.

Eager to escape the confines of a flat
I found home in the coffee cups of numerous cafes.

Now I watch Newzak on the TV,
and wonder if the policeman with batons
feel like sex after beating up protesters.
Milk and sugar and stir, stir, stir.

Sorrow and pathos made me open my wallet
to the lost generation on the Metro.

Now I recognise the faces and their singsong pleas
And calculate the value of a cripple,
And marvel at the surgeon´s skill.

I give no money.

The sideways waddle of a little dog
in a woollen coat hides a want of training.
Forever hoisted up into its owner´s arms
its grows slowly insane like a furry Poe.
Another possession.
Another status symbol.

Lost in delusion, the world can not harm me.
Biting comments misunderstood,
blurred over with a Guiri smile.
Criticism here is as Spanish as Paella.
It´s more fashionable than Desigual.
We all love Desigualidad.

Bikes on the pavement ringing their bells
Cars on the pavement honking their horns
People elbowing each other
Get out of the way
Get out of my way

On first arriving I saw the culture:
books in vending machines,
the richness of subculture from goths to emos
and parties, parties to the dawn
cheap drink and bar food.

Now I see the empty glass of mimcry
The chameleon detail of the guay and the chulo.
And this year´s bestseller become last year´s
And the vending machines all gone.

Every party is a relief from the grind
of a life unlived, or worse subsumed
by needy families.
little space. little time. little minds.

And English teaching is all for
certificates, certificates, certificates
FCE
CAE
PET
And the literature is stripped to
work emails and Wordreference chats,
and cribs sheets to skip discovery.

In a world of grades, the only Excel
is a programme produced by Microsoft
and knowledge is not for sharing
but gloating
whispered in the ears of children and dogs.

And the old rip the guts
out of discarded televisions
and fish out the copper
for the metal market.

And I think
– I love Barcelona.

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