Ode to Barcelona

Don’t get me wrong

Barcelona is great
and everything
but today I would do anything
for a big-ass colour television
with a remote to surf
500 stations of beautiful nothing
and a microwave for warming
gourmet leftovers
and making popcorn
to eat while watching
newly released boxed sets
of TV
on DVD

I would do anything for
an air-conditioned Honda Civic
silver, please,
for driving to Wal-Mart
and then Chapters
preferably in the same mall
where I would buy greeting cards
ridiculously far in advance,
assorted throw pillows,
vanilla-scented candles,
a selection of magazines
including, of course, O,
and a stack of novels so high
I’d have to steady it with my chin
on the way to the cash

I would do anything for
a grocery store big enough
to warrant its own postal code
fully stocked
with 57 kinds of salad dressing,
smarties not made in Germany,
and bite-sized brownies that come in a bag

I would do anything for
huge helpings in restaurants
free refills
sauces on the side
a server who introduces herself
writing her name upside down and backwards with a crayon
then smiles

I would do anything for quiet streets,
a dryer in our apartment,
TIDE detergent,
number dispensers that dispense numbers,
Swiss Chalet’s quarter chicken dinner,
Tim Horton’s donuts,
a diet coke for less than 3.50 Canadian
and, at the very least,
the pretense of polite.

what I would do
to convince the guy
who runs this café
to change the heavy metal music
cannot be written in this poem

© 2007


  1. Oh, honey! I hear you! Love the poem… best of luck with your apartment searching! I think we found a house… you can see pics on my blog. Love to you both! Sarah

  2. Sarah.Thanks, girl! D. and a friend from school and I have been writing and editing our work together on Wednesday afternoons and on this one particular day, we had chosen to meet at a little Italian cafe called "Buenas Migas". I had been there many times before and had always liked the food and the ambiente very much. But on this particular Wednesday there was a young man working the counter and he was playing this vile heavy metal and I guess it had been a long day… or something… because when it was time to write, I just completely vented my spleen.And, as is often the case, when we have a bad day abroad we yearn for the comforts of the home country. For one (very convenient) moment, we forget that we also have some SPECTACULARLY bad days at home. Anyway, the three of us moved to a table outside and the traffic noise was much more soothing than the heavy metal. A week later, I started working what I had written that afternoon into a poem.I also think that it's important to say that not every Barcelona moment is beautiful/inspirational. We do not experience only "cafe con leche" and fresh bread moments. Everywhere, life is complicated.Love,M.

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