Thursday, January 31, 2013

Murray Jennings

Up and Down

I’ve been away.
I don’t mean just out of the house, down at the shops
looking for a lean lamb leg, broccoli, skim milk.
No. Out of the country. This country. O/S, as they say.
Months. Down salt mines, up and down rivers, in
cathedrals, concert halls, tapas cafes, trains underground
and overground, cold deserted rain-lashed stations
lugging the luggage up and down long vomit-stained
staircases, pubs with signs swinging outside in winter winds
and fires inside by nooks and benches, chips and Guinness,
feeding in-tune buskers with Euros and quids, up and down
steep cobbled alleys, in pain with a twisted ankle, in a jazz bar
where no-one spoke English but the music said it all, up on
a bedroom balcony with wine and cheese, looking down
on a river with an unpronounceable name, up in the morning
and down to the breakfast room, spooning muesli and fruit
into a bowl, spilling some on the shoes of a Warsaw woman
and sharing a laugh with her about the taste of leather
on the tongue. Up and down the steps at Park Guell, weary
with travel, but in love with Barcelona . . .
I’ve been away a long time and you may think I’m back
because we’re facing each other across this room
but I’m not.

I’m sorry. What did you just say?


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