Ray Greenblatt

Ray Greenblatt

Ray Greenblatt has lived in New England, the West Indies, and along the Eastern Shore. He has written short stories, essays, and poetry which have been published across the U.S. in periodicals as diverse as America, English Journal, and Joseph Conrad Today.

He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and won the Anthony Byrne Prize. He was also the editor of the magazine General Eclectic. A teacher for many years Ray Greenblatt has taught writing in the Philadelphia Writers Conference as well as spoken at the John Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, California.


I came to Barcelona
for the first time in the sixties
with my blonde naked bride.
I thought the town was flat
the Ramblas dusty, boring
stretching on forever,
the only thing with curves was her
I was manic with lust
all across Europe–
every wrought-iron balcony an invitation
every crack in the wall a birthmark.

My second wife and I arrived through a mist
the Gaudi Basilica nearly completed
Catalan Impressionists rivaling the French
there on the hills I had not known existed,
the Ramblas full of hues and aromas
Don Quixote draped in mossy gray
the Green Man on a Bicycle–
then I glimpsed Dali’s “Lady with Parasol”
with her chest-of-drawers
smiling and flirting with the crowd
and the dizzying flame returned.


Soon as plane touches down
I am plunged in
currents flow through me
I am in the land of gods and the godly,
I find a small hotel
random off the main street
perform prescribed room haggling
unload my humble backpack
and am off into the throng.

Night no need of food
nor desire for water
heat is imperator here,
in middle of room
I stand naked dripping as if
just out of shower
lie on bed to soon create
a hot puddle.
From front window I hang
shop lights should be on
signs should be obeyed
cat should be making its rounds,
nothing but silence, as if breeze
had died in the street
and was rotting into heat.

The National Museum filled with gold
magnificent gold coins
golden seals and rings
a funerary wreath
the mask of Agamemnon,
but I focus on gold discs
with a god on one side
real person on the other
like I meet in the street.

Nights without sleep
brain still sizzling
eyes riveted open,
window in bathroom
faces backyard, caught
in semi-demolition
as most backyards appear
or more like caves in
a cliff face as those
in Meteora where monks
haul up food by rope,
dawn grows achingly into flame
I see a body in the mirror
turning to bronze.

Another naked morning
I have a daydream
about arriving on a beach
heavy rawhide suitcases
pulling arms from sockets,
looking round I see
the gods come to life
lying, seated, standing in cliques,
naked copper skin
gold necklaces, bracelets, anklets
gold jewels in ears and navels
women wearing long black ringlets
men like bull-leapers,
the only whiteness
teeth and eyes
flicked cigarettes.

I wander night streets
through one square into another
the Plaka below the Acropolis,
the gods have convened
on pedestals which is their due
breast and chest
curve and swerve
from thigh to eye,
with moon a marble temple
shadows lengthened and chalky
lawns cement
flowers shaped from clay
trees a new tribe
exuding heated odors of
olive, pine, lemon, fig.

In the morning soon
as travel agency
opens I will buy
a flight to Delos
where ancient mosaics intact
describe the gods’ plans
and I will understand.


Where are the oranges?
Where are the Moors?

We see many modern buildings
quivering, leaping, soaring,
in the lush bed of
a diverted river;
in the cathedral
we inspect nave after nave
of gilt altarpieces
and soulful eyes.

Then we enter the renovated
market where piles and piles
of orange orbs cluster
ready for a gaping juicy bite;
we enter the Exchange
to see stone pillars,
brick vaulted ceilings,
checkered marble floor,

realizing that Moorish dust
still floats in fragrant air.

For other contributions by Ray Greenblatt, please follow the links below:

Poetry in this post: © Ray Greenblatt
Published with the permission of Ray Greenblatt