Thieves are brazen we were warned.
Women hold their bags tight.
Bikes roar impatience along the narrow streets.
On Las Ramblas an angel shows us mercy

for a price, Superman fails to fly
and a juggler drops his spinning balls.
The crowd drifts on.
An African in dreadlocks plays the red piano;
people dance his madness,
eyes ready for the next escape.
Next to the pea and thimble trickster
sits a man, his upper body bare
so we can see the awful scarring
where his arms used to be.

Sagrada Familia takes our breath away.
Gaudi’s temple flows,
lines almost finish then emerge
as fractals of trees growing tall to fill the nave.
We see the birth of Christ,
wise men on their knees, animals emerging from the rock.
On the façade of the Passion, the columns mimic bones.
Sacrifice is hard and ugly work.
Peter weeps.
Christ is crucified,
limbs are lost and Pilate turns away.

On Las Ramblas at dusk Dracula rises from his coffin
to bite the necks of passing girls
for half a euro.
A coal miner shows the way.
The pretty little sunflower
stretches up towards the light
though it is nearly dark.
The man with no arms is there again
with a singlet on.
It is cooler now
and a long sleeved shirt would be of little use.



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