Of Madrid

It is late afternoon, tardes, and I am sleeping.
A ringing telephone and the propellers of the fan
are whitewashed by many layers of rest.
In the enamel sink, the golden cat hunkers down
with his appetite for dreams.
A child rocks on grandmother's brown knee.
Grandfather's eyelids succumb to the wine,
his sweat-beaded head is a hat of jewels.

Spring flickered for a day then gave in
to the heat of imagination.
The sun is a pearl cutting through the smoking sky
the painter from Toledo understood.
On the Gran Vía
sausage chandeliers dangle at the Museo del Jamón.
Lobsters sink into their pre-doom siesta.
Tapas skewered by toothpick banderillas
will be obsessively aligned on the bar.
This country, like the tortoise of Fiesta, retreats into itself,
before the evening fury.


Poems by John Waldman:

The Water Month
The Heat
Of Madrid
The Lake on the Border
The Woman in the Hat
The Jewelry Box
The Corner
Huber's Tavern
The House in the Town
From the Home of Furious Wonder
From What Is Left Behind
The Den of Finitude
The Story of a Mountain

TIMES TEN: An Anthology of Northern California Poets