Alone in Barcelona
by Ellaraine Lockie
But I’m pilfered not by pickpockets
But by an Ugly American complex
that steals my security
That incites anxiety of tyrant talk
refusing to recognize any English
Fanning fear that I can’t function
Forfeiture of control catapults
me into the quiet of inner language
A foreign hum honing skills from other senses
Feasts for eyes and ears
in the heat of open-air markets
Cooled by the skin kiss of mist
from Miró’s mosaic fountain
Perfumed potent scents
from La Rambla’s flower stands
And paella taste bud explosions that parallel
fireworks’ color in flamenco dance costumes
Dance steps and guitar
sounds need no translation
All are overpowered perceptions
from a universal language
Instruction in independence
that pack-rats tourist trepidation
Leaving trust in my own company
And gratitude to be victimized
by such cross-cultural crime
A version of this poem appeared in the author’s chapbook about international travel, Stroking David’s Leg from FootHills Publishing, 2009.
PHOTO: Barcelona, Spain, with Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús (Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) as a focal point. The church, located on the summit of Mount Tibidabo in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, is the work of the Spanish architect Enric Sagnier and was completed by his son Josep Maria Sagnier i Vidal. The construction of the church lasted from 1902 to 1961. Photo by Ken Cheung on Unsplash.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem came about, of course, as a result of a trip to the beautiful and exciting Barcelona—a trip that began with anxiety and ended in such relaxation that I often stayed out alone until midnight to peruse the busy and exciting Mercat de la Boqueria on La Rambla.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ellaraine Lockie’s recent poems have won the 2019 Poetry Super Highway Contest, the Nebraska Writers Guild’s Women of the Fur Trade Poetry Contest, and New Millennium’s Monthly Musepaper Poetry Contest. Her fourteenth chapbook, Sex and Other Slapsticks, has been released from Presa Press. Previous chapbooks have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch Magazine in England, and the Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award. Her poems have found their ways onto broadsides, buses, rented cars, bicycles, cabins, greeting cards, key chains, bookmarks, mugs, coffee sack labels, church bulletins, radio shows and cable TV. Ellaraine serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, LILIPOH.
PHOTO: The author during her travels.