Metalanguage

Avila 2007a 157.jpg

Metalanguage I

I wonder what I’m doing here, so far from home, sitting
at the bar, with my beer before me, my face distorted
in half a dozen esperpentic mirrors, surrounded by
people half my age, or less, all smoking, cursing, using
foreign forms of meta-language, gestures I no longer recall:
the single finger on the nose, two fingers on the forehead,
the back of the hand rammed against the chin with a sort
of snort of disapproval. It’s way beyond my bedtime; yet
I am held here, captured, body and soul, by foreign rhythms,
unreal expectations of a daily ritual that runs on unbroken
cycles of time: morning coffee, pre-lunch wine and tapas,
home for the mid-day meal, a brief siesta, back to the café
for a post-prandial raising of spirits, more coffee, then back
to work at four and struggle on until seven or eight when
the bar routine begins again with pre-supper tapas and wine.
Time, divorced from this cycle now lacks meaning.
Time within this cycle is meaningless too.

El Rincón
03 VIII 2005

Metalanguage II

I wonder what I’m doing here,
so far from home,
sitting at the bar, my beer before me,
my face distorted in half a dozen
fairground mirrors,
surrounded by people half my age,
or less, all smoking, cursing,
using foreign forms of meta-language,
gestures I no longer recall:
the single finger on the nose,
two fingers on the forehead,
the back of the hand rammed against the chin
with a sort of snort of disapproval.

It’s way beyond my bedtime;
yet I am held here,
captured, body and soul,
by foreign rhythms,
unreal expectations of a daily ritual
that runs on unbroken cycles of time:
morning coffee,
pre-lunch wine and tapas,
home for the mid-day meal,
a brief siesta,
back to the café for a post-prandial
raising of spirits,
more coffee,
then back to work at four
and I struggle on until seven or eight
when the bar routine begins again
with pre-supper tapas and wine.

Time,
divorced from this cycle
now lacks meaning.

Time
within this cycle
is meaningless too.

Idlewood
24 IX 2016