Author: Paul House

Poetry: Playing Cards

Julián was his partner at cards.

They rarely spoke to each other.

Occasionally, Julián might smile,

point out the soft curves of Olga's buttocks

as she walked back towards the bar,

but not to him, nor especially to anyone else.

And so he was free to dream.

Sitting back, only half-concentrating on his cards,

he would think  perhaps of 'La Concha',

the long, shell-shaped beach at San Sebastián,

the way the sand curled like a lover's arm about the sea;

to dream of running across the warm sand

and plunging into the cold clear blue water,

the salt stinging into his eyes,

the heat of the day falling away;

and then, of lying back lazily,

borne up by the water,

gazing at the solemn statue of Jesus away to his left;

to dream of turning to look

at the small, humped island in the centre of the bay,

the heads of other swimmers bobbing like seals,

and back on the beach the small specks of little boys

 played at being terrorists,

armed with gnarled machine guns of driftwood,

their voices floating out across the water

as innocent as a discarded balloon.

Sample Chapters

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Poem for Anna •  Mandelstam and Mayakovsky •  The Lighted Window  •  Alone with the Years •  The Poet Tires •  Something there is •  La Madrugada •  Postcard of a Golden Retriever •  Shellfish •  Miguel Hernandez •  At the Edge of the Ebro •  Gone •  Playing Cards •  That's Where I Belong •  An Abstract Perfection •  Pearls in a Glass •  Poem for Susie •  Mornings in MalasaƱa •  Leo •  A Garbled Message •  Gnome •  Old Friends •  More About Penguins •  Ghosts •  Poem for Nelly •  Good Friday in Salamanca •  T.L.P. •  What It Is About •  The Blind Man And His Guide •  The Smell Of Winter •  For No Other Reason •  Poem for Linda