not to interfere

Bar Ato Huesca

mebbe 2 in the afternoon

I’d driven through the pyrennees

needed food

& I belly up to the bar

say cerveza por favour

& the man goes wha?

with his hand to his ear

&  i repeat cerveza por favor presion

& the pantomime goes on

so I point at the pump

do my own mimic indicate small

& he poured me a beer

later I suggest raciones?

point to olives meatballs in tomato

chorizo swimming in oil

he brings me bread & a fork

& all becomes good in the world

just as at the end of the bar

another pale anglo comes in

she walks up slow

looking around nervous

says un café con leche

por favor

& the mime act starts over again

as suddenly I get it

for these Spanish locals

we are too quiet

undemanding & shy

here you need volume

to beat the background noise

silently I urge her to shout

as I’ve learned the hard way

not to interfere

as her gaze sweeps over me

just another unhelpful man

in this world of sweated boys

the light coming in from the street

is so bright

all I see of the people

between me & the open doors

are silhouettes

occasionally raising a hand

for more cervesas



but I hear them


in the corner a small child laughs

& the delight in the sound

shivers the room

raising the joy

& the noise grows again

a pulse of life

on this spring Sunday afternoon

we too are stuffing our faces

bites of this

tastes of the country

olives garlic onions sausage chorizo

the hubbub lows for a few minutes

as one group leaves

to be replaced by other black profiles

bobbing shoulders nodding heads

the raising of arms in toasts

we are all in love with each other


Migas con chorizo hoy

A long desert day

stuck on a corner opposite the cantina

going nowhere but there

hoping the dogs’d prefer the dead goat

& not bother me

the guys building a house along the way

invited me in

sat me on a block

gave me a coffee

as they settled back to smoke

& one put a black pan on a small fire

chopped onions & garlic

put them in after a glug of oil

let em sizzle as he chopped up chorizo

from what looked like an old rope

this turned the whole pan red

then came ripe tomatoes

& he let the whole thing bubble

all the while they talked slow & low

in a Spanish I will never quite get

then one brought out a long loaf

& with his knife cut rounds

passing them out to each

I got a couple & a plate

as the cook ladled out the stew

the bread was old almost stale

& they mimed I should dip it into the sauce

where it softened soaking up the red

as he spoke loud for the first time:

Migas con chorizo hoy

Migas con pollo….manana

hoy es migas chorizo

& cackled long & loud

along with the others