Here in Spain, nearing the end of the first week of strict lockdown, no walking or exercising outside. Just brief and quick visits to Lidl every few days to buy groceries. 80% or so of people in masks on the street. A few people fully covered with only their eyes showing. Everyone on edge, especially the large elderly community in our small city. Numbers are spiking here and following the trend of Italy. They might have to call in more military. But who knows. People in this city, at least, are obeying the strict lockdown. Not sure it is the same in all the areas of Spain. After Madrid, this region (Barcelona and environment) is the next epicentre.
65 hour work week teaching high school online. So much sitting. Digesting the news over and over. Sometimes it is good to take a break and get the blood moving.
When I moved to Madrid, in the summer of 2016, I learned Spanish expressions. One of them was “a bug in the house.” It was also my first year with the famous Spanish lottery. Lower middle class living per always, the lottery was tempting. & we played, like so many millions (or is billions) of others.
Here is a microfiction about that exciting time, from my book The Green Monk. It is called “A Bug in the House.”
I used to deal with the body and blood of Jesus, on a Sunday, kneeling over it. I was mostly an introverted quiet kid and Jerry was stud muffin. I lifted weights in gym, but only my legs got bigger. Jerry had rock hard cleavage. His hair was perfect. He wore a gold chain when he knelt over the body and blood of Jesus. We shared the leftovers in the backroom, after.
He is a prose poem about those early glory days as a teenager in Vegas. From The Green Monk. It is called “Leftovers.”
American Horror Story broke new ground. It is horror, with a timely message. It also plays with genre. Interesting television. When I was living in Madrid, we streamed it on the computer. Sat down with it in the evenings. A kind of purge.
One of the seasons has a red moon and people playing the part of a horror movie that becomes a horror movie. Meta. They love the meta. Is it still postmodern or just contemporary?
While we were watching the show, on Halloween, we were egged. Twice.
After cleaning the eggs, I wrote the following micofiction, later published in The Green Monk. It is called “American Horror Story.”
Here is a prose poem from The Green Monk. Written in a poorly ventilated, black mold infested room in London, reminiscing about the glory days of the late 90s, bleached hair, bar dips for bigger bums. It is called “Built to Spill.”
What is The Green Monk? It is many things. Hopefully, a good journey. Here are some questions, and brief answers, about influences, images, nomadic surrealism. The great project of reconciling dream and reality. Thank you Boiler House Press.
Time is moving fast and faster. 3 years in Spain after over 8 years in London, plus many other countries besides. The thrill of new places, like the thrill of anything, has a short lifespan, but it is still good, overall, here. Madrid was the first city, before here near Barcelona, and it is a dry place, as opposed to this place, very damp. The dry place, not without its downsides, reminded me of places I used to live when I lived in the United States of America, mostly the west. The dry west. And when I left there, the dry west, and headed south, I didn’t miss it. And when I left the south, and the U.S. forever, at the end of 2005, I didn’t miss it. But then, all of a sudden, upon moving to Madrid, with all its dryness and a smattering of lizards, I missed America. It brought the good memories, and I mixed up Madrid with Mexico. The Mexican food in Madrid was the best I tasted since leaving America and living in Asia and Europe. So yes, I was taken there, to the dry desert and saucy enchiladas, with topnotch mole. I have also refound that part of me, what to call it, that is small town and rural, after trying to hide it through many years of education. Look at the onions! There is nothing in the centre!
The circle also came round in Madrid in terms of my love for the natural world. I wanted to reconnect, become earthly, after living in so many capital cities. And the sun, oh how original, the sun, is another reason.
Now here is the third circle come round in Madrid (is it an onion?). I reconnected to my love of surrealism, it’s where I started when I first started writing, but now it is filtered through, among other things, the light touch of NY School Poetry (Frank O’Hara, Bernadette Mayer, and especially Ron Padgett), as well as various other lived experiments.
So here I am. A nomadic surrealist. What does it all mean really?
Here is a prose poem, from my book The Green Monk. It was written right after moving to Madrid in 2016. It is called “Meat from the Stones.”
Collage was invented by the surrealists and Max Ernst took it to another level. Now, of course, collage is a common method, but it is still magical. There are so many ways to do it, in language and visual arts etc. Play Yr Kardz Right is almost 3 years old. It came after Rides, which was written while riding the London underground, and it uses a lot of the same methods of collage. Play Yr Kardz was inspired by the work of bill bissett, among others. There are four parts to the book. Here is a reading of part two of Play Yr Kardz Right, written while visiting Katowice, Poland for Christmas, over the course of a few years, and also while riding the London underground in London, U.K. It is nomadic and surrealist, and perhaps also absurdist. There are a lot more poems, of course, and lotsa yummy surprises. The rest of the book is available from Dostoyevsky Wannabe.