To read Fool’s Odyssey from the beginning, click here.
Chapter Five: My Life of Radical Idealism in Barcelona (Continued)
Previously: Caterina introduced The Fool to her friends, “a jolly mess of Marxism.”
That first evening in Barcelona was almost mystical,
And even though I only saw Catherine the Pretty once after that,
I began returning to the little café del comunistes
on my own, just to listen and talk.
There were many there who spoke English,
and each day we would whet our courages with the pourón,
and we’d talk and we’d talk and we we’d talk…
We were learning to play the cacophone,
and God, it felt good! God, it felt fine!
Each day I’d return and burn some more,
and drink the wine.
Of my three fantasies
this was the slowest to come into being.
It was like an intense little coal in the corner of a furnace.
Everyone wanted to blow on it and make it glow,
but I would say, “No,
let me think,” and then wink,
and the holes in the grate would grow larger
and a little more air would come in.
It was better than sin.
We were building a furnace of tin.
But each night, night after night,
I would ramble home alone
along the street they called the Ramblas,
and see the twitching alcoholics and dreaming queens,
the French transvestite who looked like a Pagliacci beneath a pound of powder,
and I would look at the screaming merchants
who “sometimes buy” but mostly sell
and wonder what our new government had for them.
Then suddenly I would be running,
the only one not rambling on the damned Ramblas.
One night I heard this refrain:
“And the Ramblas is pain,
and the Ramblas needs rain…”
I never knew where it came from or what it meant,
but it wouldn’t leave me.
So all the next day I sat
in my crackerjack flat and read
to build back up my new philosophy
with paperback buttresses
and underpinnings of typeset proof.
To read Fool’s Odyssey 19, click here.