The buzz of mopeds. A densely packed city with many attractions. The fashionable young climbers in a parade of retro clothing. Handmade lamps and meat pies. Handmade pottery. Flowering loaves of rye. At Revolution Square, we walk up and down Calle Verde eyeing the menus. What to eat? The street is full of shawarmas. Looks tasty, I say, but also expensive. 16 euros for a plate of shawarmas. Unless it is a big plate of shawarmas & we can share it. It’s hard to know, she says. We keep walking down Calle Verde. The shawarma dishes are now up to 18 euros. We walk down the busy street with swarming people. Swerving & swerving. So many shawarmas. More and more shawarmas. The dreamlife of shawarmas.
Deep in the belly of the city, we meet the musicians, from French Quebec. It is only 5 euro. Little pops & bleeps. Crashing cymbals. Brushing the drums & breathing. Wailing into walls of sound. Francois Carrier & Michel Lambert. Francois on saxophone. Michel on drums. We chat with them during intermission. In Cork it was very intense, says Michel. So many levels. Boatloads of Murphy’s. It’s the Cork version of Guinness, says Eimear. Yes, says Michel, making a small smack with his lips. We were just in Poland, says Michel. Rumia, Poznań & Gdansk. Terrific, I say. I liked the pierogi, says Michel. Not at first. The first pierogi was too slimy, but I thought I had to try another one. The other one was very tasty. You have to have the right pierogi, I say. Have you tried Katowice, I say, my hometown. I’ve heard about it, says Michel. I’ve a friend, the head of the jazz department. I keep meaning to visit. It is a good city for the underground, even if the avant-garde is very small, I say. It is small by definition, says Michel. We sit down for part two. Saxophone, drums, & two local musicians, Diego Caicedo and Pablo Schvarzman, on electric guitars. I close my eyes. Primeval energies. Walls of sound. Swaying my head. The breathy valves. Rising & falling. Michel cuts his finger on the high hat. The electric guitar moves into space operas as he exits the stage for a bandage behind the bar. Francois scrapes a square piece of plastic on the floor. I needed that, I say.
It is 3 King’s Day. Volleys of hard candy & the buzz of people around me. Dancing fairies & parading camels. Drums & more drums. Bouncing giant worlds lit from the inside. The children weave between the feet of spectators to collect the most shiny candy. At the bar, an elderly gentleman drops a shot of whiskey into his dark beer. His long scraggly hair. Big bulbous eyes. His long face. Kind & sluggish. He curls himself onto a chair. A veteran of various failed revolutions. I am glad to see the end of the royals, he says. He cracks some nuts, adds a dab of brandy to the coffee. On the television, the elderly are practicing pool aerobics. Colourful wedgies, kicking out their feet in various directions. The fog rolls in. A giant smothering blanket. The clocks from analog to digital ticking silently.
(thank you Leonora Carrington and Salvadore Dali)
I’ve signed up for an evening class in cooking. Luciana from upstairs is in the class. Luciana with a ring of burns up and down her arms. Cat balls on her jumper. Also Isabella. Her cherry covered apron & lopsided smile. The cooking teacher has twinkling bracelets. Pencil thin eyebrows. There are so many ways to make a pie. Wild boar. Heavy on the cocoa powder. Melons stuffed with larks. Horse carrots. Butterfly zucchinis. Crayfish in viking herbs. The face has three functions: emotions, eating, and sweating. In your dreams, the smells are absent.
Marcus Slease is a (mostly) absurdist, surrealist and fabulist writer from Portadown, N. Ireland and Utah. His writing has been translated into Danish and Polish and has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Tin House, Poetry, Fence, and Best British Poetry 2015. He is the author of 15 books from indie presses, including: Never Mind the Beasts (Dostoyevsky Wannabe), The Green Monk (Boiler House Press), and Play Yr Kardz Right (Dostoyevsky Wannabe). He comes from a working class background and teaches high school in Barcelona. Find out more at: Never Mind the Beasts and follow him on Twitter @postpran
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