Almodóvar’s Women

2015-10-20 11.06.48

Last October I visited Madrid for the first time, a fleeting 48 hour visit.  I have been to Spain many times but for some reason Madrid in particular reminded me of the films of Spanish enfant terrible, director Pedro Almodóvar.

Almodóvar characteristically has strong female characters in his films and perhaps Madrid is one of his favourite locations?  A bit more research and I could probably find out.  Either way, if you have not seen any of Almodóvar’s work you really must.

For the time being however, by way of a poor substitute, here is a piece of mine.

Almodóvar’s Women

Almodóvar’s women chase me across Madrid.
Long faces peering through glass counters,
Fast food formulas of Latin allure
Tempting, as I splutter “Dos desayunos”.
Almond eyes seek the shape of my sounds.
Stresses land at random in the hectic breakfast hour.
Rat-tat-tat responses rattle my ears
As my half weary holiday Spanish brain
Finally fixes the question, before forcing out
A floundering, “Si gracias!”

Almodóvar’s women are confident in bars.
Blazing red lips breathe fire,
Blowing strident rings of smoke
As attentive hombres languish in hopeful adoration,
Undaunted by smouldering indifference.
Digital, giant billboards bombard the night,
Showing young Spain parading and promenading
Across building facades and street corners,
A sensual siren call promising prosperity,
Promiscuity and nothing (yet) to pay.

Almodóvar’s women are looking very young,
In Calle de la Montera they wait for friends to come,
Tight skirts, stacked heels and a shiver,
Watchful, of the crews on police patrol.
One eye on the tourists, to spot those on the cruise,
They purse their lips and frown,
Disappointed by their mirrors.
No hint of a new Penelope Cruz around
This corner, no life changing moment,
Transforms illusion into chance.

Almodóvar’s women should just give up the ghost,
They are never going to catch me,
They cannot get that close,
As I saunter into galleries, stroll across the park,
A stranger in their city with tickets, cash and plans,
From Kandinsky to Guernica, choosing where I stand.
Enveloped by the multiplex, I watch the curtain rise
On their next movie, awaiting its sad denouement,
Hoping they can fashion the living they desire,
Yet wondering, are they the indignados now?

Steve Bishop



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