Under Aware BBQ

The sandstone entrance of the bar welcomed me for a glass of a clear, ever so slightly sparkling liquid called Txakoli—the local white grape variety unique from lapping up sea air and rooted in soil splashed by the Bay of Biscay.

My bar stool companion immediately identified me as the lone Australian of the town and equally rapidly began to educate me about the in’s and mostly out’s of my, just-yesterday, just-the-family BBQ. I realized that unseen eyes had seen me slightly overcook the anchovies, wondered how word could travel across town so smoothly. I turned to a friend who just appeared, hoping to change the flow of conversation, yet from another corner a voice called to him: “Wasn’t that you wearing underwear at the beach yesterday?” We both smiled and strained to change the small town conversation from dry anchovies and Calvin Klein to weather and wine.



warmth & presence poems

thoughtful warmth

clouds, waves, gray days
liquid splinters of rain
coldness, disdain

smooth orange warm light
your thoughtfulness
warmth that changes everything

intoxicating presence 

one of those occasional unavoidable winter days, opaque, splattering incessant loveless whispers.
out about on street, i’m bruised, weak. if only i could shelter under the stranger’s umbrella.
“no i can manage” i blurt stumbling on, his concern obvious as he supports my trembling limbs.

i cannot yet see,
i’m drunk on me, pride briming man, scoffing past bars of drunken lustful lives,
seeing my intoxication clearly less poisonous.

the umbrella’d man sees them, too, catches a friend’s eye, and unashamedly pulls me in, against my wish, in among them, hookers and drunks.
he laughs, he drinks, with them.
i just watch. unseeing.
they mingle and chat, shaking hands to go and he asks them all back to his cottage.
they are busy. no problem, maybe tomorrow!
he leaves arm draped around the most intoxicated & bashful.

at the firelit cottage, hot bread, sizzling fish and flowing wine drift out the open door, mocking the wind and cold.
down my nose i comment on the palate of the red. “bordeaux?” i ask, aloof.
shaking his dark head, “no, from a valley, deep in the mountains. friends age it and i make it new.”

walking towards the fire, i see a worn photo of a small boy.
gasping i see it’s me.
he hands me bread, fish, wine.
i pour out my life in his intoxicating presence.
he listens, listens.
i sleep and wake to the sound of birds, waves, music from a distant orchestra.

He is still there, yet i’m back in my abode, wondering, intoxicated, less poisonous, less me, yet more who i’ll now always be.


rhythmic drops

rhythmic wet colourless drops, grey cold narrow alleys, daylight late to shine, coffee-scented doorways, people warmly coated, friendly expressions, welcoming chestnut eyes, finding home again…



plentiful thick sun-rain, winter sol kissing snow-sprinkled ranges, open arid-scape, green-vein river flow through rolling dry hills… iberia