Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris

BY ZINNIA RAMIREZ

Going to Europe was very spur-of-the-moment for myself and my travel-partner, and good friend, Samantha. Sam and I had travelled together before, the summer after our freshman year of high school, we went to Honolulu, Hawaii. This time, however, we’d be going somewhere much further. We decided we were going to Europe, but more specifically, we’d be going to Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Paris.

We were much older now, we were going on our own, and we were going to be in Europe for seventeen days. You could say, we had the time of our lives. Without a doubt our experiences were unparalleled. Still, there are moments unmatched, engraved, and unfading for me. Moments collapsing against each other over the course of these days. Moments I still think about now.

Free-verse poems to describe my seventeen days:

Barcelona

Sangria in the Day//Vermouth at Night

Sangria, red like the dress I was wearing
made me feel stranger than ever
stranger, that’s who I was
Sweet like sangria
Like the strangers around me
Condensing down on my napkin
Sitting at a bar, on a stool
Sitting at a table, on a bench, on the grass, by the beach
Red, red, red, like the stain on my lips
Red from sangria, red from the rouge of the shade I chose for the day
Red like my skin, from the sun
Red like, too much exposure, too much saturation, too much time spent outside
But we’re in Barcelona, what other option do we have but to be,
Beneath a tree, scaling the slopes trying to reach anything
Anything, anything, anything, is better with sangria
Pasta, pesto, paella, pizza, especially me
I’m better with sangria
I’m nicer, and friendlier, sweeter like I’m not a stranger, but
I am.

Vermouth, you made me
Mostly not me,
Entirely not me
A version of me that sways, and sings, and spins, and squints
Because you change most of me
My limbs are lumber
My laughter is lighthearted
My lips are lurching
Vermouth, a four-inch glass
Four back to back
Four because we’re in Barcelona
We’re twenty
And it’s twenty past four o’clock in the morning
Yes the sun was rising
But we’re in Barcelona for four more days
Why not?
Why not be someone else tonight?
Or every night in Barcelona
The melodies speak with tongues
That pronounce retro like
Hip and cool
Which I’m not
Except for tonight
This is not usually me.
Mostly not me.
Entirely not me.
But I like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amsterdam

You Forgot to Kiss My Soul//Goghing Backwards

White walls
Fixed spaces
Bodies, lips, tongues, legs, hips
That swirl
Bent and contort
Poised against fluidity
A woman with neon lips
Flashing like a bolt of light
Orange like the sweet nectar of tangerines
She seemed everything but
Her face was sour
A canvas reads:
Nevertheless you are wrong; we are worse
A body splattered at a dinner table
Chaos in the form of vibrancy
Shards of faces
Barely faces, if any
It reads: Ready to crash and burn
Thank you,
I read your cry for help
I’m sorry but it’s not 1967

Filled with emotions, out of thin air
Thirteen hours later,
Or several years back
Van Gogh greets me on the corner of
Something I cannot pronounce
Cylindrical and concave
I was in Amsterdam
Certainly
I could not have just been
Anywhere but here
This cannot be real
But it is
Amsterdam you greet me with Van Gogh
I thank you already as my heart flutters with a rich history
I walk into your home
Line by line
Line by line
Line by line
Crowded, excited, congested, and tired
Suddenly it was 1888

 

 

 

France

Paris in a Heat Wave//Stop Racism

Melting, dissolving, just like that I disappear
A chameleon concealing
Im colored cool
Except im fizzing and burning
I feel like cracked concrete
The suns a little too close
Back home I blaze
But I’m in Paris
I need to feel brisk
Except im rouge and rose
Like the wine I down
To cool off
113 degrees
Skin thin like paper
Peels like an orange
Pulp or puss?
I can’t tell
My mimosa fell over.

I apologize for not saying anything
For being wedged between prejudice and mistranslation
For not understanding
For contemplating
For being every shade except the one that feels
But I did
I was blue and purple
Raging red
And flushed pink
While you were the face of misunderstood
I apologize for being everything except what you needed
This is what people don’t see from the Eiffel Tower
Because below doesn’t matter
Water under the bridge
They say
But you all are drowning
But how do you swim to safety
when the bridge is caving in
You don’t.