In a Critical State Beside Madrid’s Inner Ring Road


The crumbling rumble-road lined with London planes,

Incongruously named in the land of El Cid,

With its twenty-six per cent unemployed and its jamón imported from Hungary and relabelled.

Petty corruption.

On a grander scale: the high-speed railway line that zigs and zags to hurry across Party lands,

And the airport as silent as Civil War graves that they moved from A to B and they won’t allow you root around in.

Is there a place for me amidst the bulls’ blood-spattered dust, mad-dog wandering in the death-ray sun?

Pushing past the grey tide,

All the young that were never born,

All the young that have gone.

Impatient middle age sounds its horns as traffic comes to a complete stop.

They’re running me off the road, these so-called baby boomers.

They debar me from feeling hope.

I watch the families turning over stinking, sloppy bags in the bins — dining à la shopping carte,

And the old man checking the parking meters for spare change.

It is as if the jugglers harassing disinterested drivers at the traffic lights are also playing fast and free with my optimism here by the M30.

A fumble, a slip of the hand and it lands on bone-dry ground, trickles down through pulverous, ashy soil.


About ucronin

Born in the country town of Ennis, Co. Clare, Ireland in 1975, I now live in Madrid with my partner and two young daughters and work in a research institute. While I was always a hungry reader and harboured vague notions of being a writer, as a young man writing was the furthest thing from my mind; after leaving school, I did a B.Sc. in Biotechnology in Galway's NUI, an M.Sc. in Plant Science in University College Cork and a Ph.D. in Microbiology in the University of Limerick, the plan being to dedicate my professional career to scientific research. While having written extensively within my technical scientific field, I had never contemplated becoming a writer of fiction until a road-to-Damascus moment on the N69 between Listowel and Tarbert, Co. Kerry in the summer of 2011. Since then, most of my spare time has been occupied with writing. In whatever other free moments I have, I like to listen to music, play the guitar and garden (which here in Madrid means a lot of watering of plants and spraying for red spider mite). My ambition is to become as good a writer as I possibly can, eventually freeing myself from the cold clutches of science and earning a living through my scribblings. The type of writing that excites me is honest, intelligent, well-constructed and richly descriptive.
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