To read Fool’s Odyssey from the beginning, click here.
Chapter Five: My Life of Radical Idealism in Barcelona (Continued)
Previously: The Fool arrived in Barcelona in search of the meaning of life. Or a girl.
The next day I had lunch with Caterína,
the pretty girl I may or may not have come to Barcelona for,
and her family who’d drunk champagne
the night that Franco died.
They had a lovely, dark, rambling fifth-storey apartment
with the skins of walnuts and olives in its walls
(you could see the Palau Nacional from there),
while the flat I was staying in was so flimsy I kept expecting
a hand to reach in and fish around for a prize.
Now Caterína was a communísta,
so that evening she took me down the alleyway
past the markéta
and the crumbling cathedrál
to a tiny cafetería.
There could have been a sign there that said,
“There is no future, there is no past,
there is only the present,”
for that’s how it seemed to me.
I began to grow excited again.
It seemed I had found a reason to hope.
“Only the present…”
I wanted to open my present,
to reach in and fish around for a prize.
What was it like, that little café de las comunístas
with its scaly walls full of sickles and hammers
and the words to Catalan marching songs?
It was like church:
There were holey sweaters and holey caps,
and cigarette censers
and holy manifestos of liberación from which to recite,
and everyone’s eyes flashed like shorts in a wall socket,
and everyone laughed and passed around the pourón,
a glass pitcher with a long, holey stem,
from which we extracted streams of holy wine
to pourón our palates.
What was it like?
It was like an anthill of anarchy,
a singing, jolly mess of Marxism!
To read Fool’s Odyssey 18, click here.