Spanish Diet – a poem

Yesterday I over-ate,
Paella. Cooked in stock of Spanish origin.
Crisp green peppers chopped,
tomatoes softened.
Washed down with fruit; fermented,
from fine French roots.
Today I must suffer.
A punishment most severe.
Nil by mouth.
Stomach in full time siesta mode.
Café espresso on tap
to deaden
the lurking hunger pains.
Along the Barcelona avenidas.
Plane trees thick with pollen.
Passing panadarias,
bread sticks, golden
plaited loaves
fresh from the oven.
A baker opens his door; beckons.
Down to the port,
nets brimming with silver.
Tipped onto shiny decks.
Sailors in bars, knocking back brandy.
Tasting miniature fried fish
heaped onto porcelain plates.
Eating ‘till their bellies are bursting.
Into the covered market
See how far I’ll go.
Ancient salamis, with musky smell.
Catches at my throat.
Hues of brown, thickened pink, and spotted red
Swollen; frustrated longings
swinging in the breeze.
Circular cheeses split open.
Unblushing, they reveal the flesh beneath their coats,
the gentleness of churned milk,
tangy orange and creamy white.
I’m intoxicated, I’m being driven mad!
A stall of olives.
Soaked in oil and garlic
Stuffed with pimentos, coated with herbs,
green ones, pitted, or small black ones
not long picked.
Shoveled into bags.

Take, take, the man offers me a spoon.
Well just one. Just one black one.
To stem the rumbles;
to break my diet of the day.

I wrote this many years ago…. (read out on BBC radio)

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