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OSI: “Pasa Doble”

I’m once again participating in the fun that is One Single Impression. If you enjoy poetry and awesomeness (and I know you do), why not pay them a visit?

The prompt this week over at One Single Impression is “The Passing.” Of course, this concept doesn’t bring to mind only the decimation of zombie hordes (if it does, it might be time to put down the controller, nerd), but also the breaking of boundaries:  the brief ascension above the jejune world that occurs with truly great art; the crossing of Rubicons both literal and figurative; and of course, that hoariest of poetic concerns, the shedding of the mortal coil. For me, though, this prompt brought to mind a specific encounter I once had. I was in Barcelona, walking alone, and crossed paths with a beautiful woman. I was an American tourist, fresh out of high school and both proud of my fluency when speaking with the natives and self-conscious about my Mexican accent , wearing some incredibly embarrassing combination of clothing not at all appropriate to the situation (all of which is still true today, except the “fresh out of High School” bit; in fact, my “freshness” date in general is probably in the past at this point). She was dressed with simple sophistication and was surrounded by a faint but alluring aura of perfume laced with citrus and ginger. The encounter lasted, at most, twenty seconds, but it’s remained with me ever since. With these thoughts in mind, I give you:

Pasa Doble

The Barri Gòtic
is ablaze with life and light;
flooding my senses.

The air is full of
laughter & spice; I’m inside
a kaleidoscope.

One hand at my throat,
both eyes wide, heart whispering
“Here, at last, is home.”

But I am eighteen,
too in love with novelty
to hear or listen.

Instead I focus
on the architecture, the
people, the music.

Stopping to buy some
pulpo a la gallega
at a tapas bar,

I swivel my stool,
blinking in the August sun,
unwilling to miss

a single detail.

A detail such as,
(for example) the woman
passing by the bar.

She’s older, but not much;
probably a college girl,
walking home in the sun.

Her dress is simple.
Her jewelry’s made of dark wood;
I can hear it click.

Her hair’s dark, too; the
afternoon sunlight turns it
into chestnut flame.

Elegant, alluring,
she’s a living portrait by
R. Kenton Nelson

Striding beneath the
bar’s lemon-yellow awning,
She glances my way.

Her eyes are chocolate,
flecked with bits of gold; smiling,
she swipes one corner

of her pearl-pink mouth,
confusing me until I
realize I’m sitting

In the sunshine of
the most elegant, vibrant
city in the world

With a bit of octopus tentacle
drying on my cheek.

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  1. This is a lovely poem…I really enjoyed the imagery and intrigue in a foreign country. That must have been an amazing experience.

  2. Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it…that was one of the best trips of my life.

    If you haven’t gone, I recommend it heartily. The entire Costa Del Sol is gorgeous and so full of life and culture and song.

    Spain is my eventual destination, once this whole writing thing pans out and makes me a millionaire, lol. 😉

  3. a lovely, exciting write – you drew me right into the scene with your words…

  4. Thank you so much! I’m glad you enjoyed it! 😀

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