Sunday, April 22, 2007

Madrid, Spain

Today's posting recalls my visit to Marid in 1984. I was working as a freelance photographer in Europe and had been living in Germany for two years by then. The spring tour of Iberia was made in an effort to increase my portfolio and my chances of selling images to postcard, greeting card, poster and galleries all over Europe.

I've always traveled on a budget and Germany has a service where you go to a company and they match you up with drivers go where you're headed. The service was very popular with young people and university students during the 80s and still is. I was lucky enough to hook-up with a driver going to Madrid and for half the train fare and was delivered to one of two youth hostels in that sprawling city.

A spring Sunday was my first day there. When I travel I like to stay in youth hostels. One of the reasons (besides being inexpensive) is because you get to meet all kinds of interesting travels from all over the world. I got a chance to meet 3 girls from Australia that afternoon. They had an extra ticket to a bull fight and wondered if I might want to come along with them. I'd never been to a bull fight before, and to be honest, had never imagined myself going to one. But the ticket was free, the girls cute, and anyway, I could always close my eyes if things really got bloody I thought. So I agreed to go.

We arrived with about 10min to spare and found our seats in the vast arena under a blazing afternoon sun. It was all so colorful, what with the horses and matadors and the arena's brown dusty floor. There were six bulls killed that day. I was sure I would not enjoy it at all. I was wrong. I yelled and screamed as loud as everyone else and I watched each massacre unashamedly. Perhaps for the first time in my life, I realized how ordinary, even non-violent individuals can find violence entertaining. It was a vital lesson to learn, one I've never forgotten. From then on I'd view mob-violence from an entirely different prospective. Wonder how you would have reacted?

Here's a poem to read in the meantime:

Narrow Casting A Narrative, Coming Soon

Mostly, her violin longs for more.

With a bird in the hand and some possibility to fly away.
Drinking sangria on a dusty backroad as we throw
the spent orange peels at each other. "I normally allow
men to kiss me there only if they believe in UFOs," she
says, pointing to the electronic fence around her abyss.
"And I only like my neck bit by vampires that promise
eternal life," I reply, lying with my stomach flat against
the dividing line. And four dreams appear in a row...

waiting for the read red sky to put on its black overcoat.
With bare branches so the bird can watch... and a ditch
with its own spare shovel. In one dream we both wear
nice shoes but neither pair is comfortable. In another
we cross our hearts then jump off the bridge into frigid
rushing water at a height no one can survive. In the
wrong house, feeding the wrong dog. Or we could just
swallow the cool crushed ice and pretend its glass,
determined to mimic some of the things people do when
they're lonely or scared or want to be rescued.

This poem first published at:
Copyright 2007 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.
Visit my E-zine:
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