04 June 2009

Women in Spain

This poem was previously published in Mslexia magazine, July-August-September 2005, as one of the 25 winners in their 2005 Poetry Competition. I have tried for two hours to publish a pdf of the printed version but am finally giving up and re-typing it here. Perhaps Mslexia will one day make their back catalogue available online.... Or else Google, could you please make it possible to upload a pdf? from Google documents maybe? I would be so very grateful.

Women in Spain

I left the wedding party, headed for the coast.
The train lurched with well-groomed dogs and their matching matrons.
I tried to take up as little space as I could. I thought,
don't try to do anything. Just get to Alicante.

Off-season, the promenade was empty, a forlorn aisle,
wobbly chairs on one side, bare tables on the other.
I lost my way to the pension, the back streets
tracking through the red light district,

where putas stood on corners, hips jutting, coltish.
They crossed themselves as I crossed the street, trying to avoid them.
Like I might be a curse.
Or the latest competition.

At last I found the Hostal Mariá de Jesús. The Señora looked me over,
then asked for cash. A moustached sister counted it
between drags on a cigarette. For the first time that day,
I wanted my mother.

The Señora led me upstairs and unlocked my room. The door
swung inward. There was a single bed, a crucifix and a mirror
where I spent a good hour, gazing at myself in my wedding dress --
and then another, struggling to undo its zipper.


  1. Christ. the line breaks are totally not happening. Blogger not built for poetry, clearly. Gr.

  2. Try editing the html and putting <br> wherever you need one

  3. A bride in Alicante that didn't run away24 November 2009 at 21:55

    Serendipitously I found your blog AND come from Alicante. I think it also works as prose. Great story.