Poetry/Short Fiction

Coda – A Poem About Isolation

Walking through the city on a hot summer day can be disorientating.

A film of sweat clings to your body and you feel as if you want to melt, to sluggishly disappear into nothingness. And as people busy themselves with alleviating that burning pique, downing cheap water bottles or small glasses of beer, they are part of a not-so-secret club of quenching, one you are not part of as you are forced to walk the streets, on petty, unavoidable business.

What is unavoidable is the thinking that measures your gait, and each step brings profound insight or even profound, irrational, mad thinking, the kind that’s not really good for you.

Take A Seat

So, a poem about isolation, eh? What else can I take from this work of art?

This is also a piece about different neighbourhoods around Madrid, different incomes, lifestyles and the different ways one can spend one burning afternoon.


A Poem About Isolation

A coda to something uncertain and unknown, but seen through the eyes of someone halfway between two cultures, surrounded by many more.

Without further ado, here is the poem:


He walked in circles
sometimes in triangles, around squares
around dazed lovers, beggars & tourists

The bums looked down
the tourists, up
and the amantes at each other

Aromas of neglect, deodorant
and freshly disrobed guidebooks
staggered in the heat

He thumbed hobo codes in his palms
of lines and skin
unoriginal sin, a penny petition

If Gypsies had a brand
weak slogans would see off the competition –
‘Give ’em hell for heather!’

Salamanca lushes blushing in cocktail labour
the Carpetana crew, ungainfully employed, imbibing cheap tins
he is working off the last ten months


Towling off in the changing rooms
of a Sorolla sketchbook,
his arbitrary noises

Not designed as swear words
yet they stick in the throat
like the oaths of a forgotten language

A misspelt sign at the Chinese
marks lines between words,
of alphas and betas

Dissolving the last ten months
into triangles and squares
in an indefinite afternoon

His mechanical motions
his half-baked notions
his water potions

And remember…

You can listen to our podcast here; download our App here, which offers a completely free and informative audioguide tour of Madrid; or check another article, where we talk about being an immigrant.

I hope you enjoyed this poem about isolation. Thanks for reading!

Poem about isolation

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