Basilica



Amber light angles through stained glass, turning purple, orange and red. Blue hues soak the pews in an oceanic wave. The ghost of Gaudi strolls the chapels, using sign language to explain his master plan, forever unsayable. He has lost interest in speaking, knows gestures express more meanings than words. His mud-bath towers soar to the lowest spheres of heaven. Earth-toned sculptures tempt angels with envy. La Sagrada Familia shines infinitely, always undone. The noisy heat of Barcelona broils tourists in their own sweat. They can’t hear the crackle as they douse themselves with droplets of salt, enough poured into these Edenic entrances to fortify snaking plants on the forest-green doors. Open lovingly. I meander toward the naked Christ on the cross, his legs in nearly fetal stance, his shame cleverly covered by his athletic thighs. Signs soak into stairwells leading to the top of Spain. Catalans concoct choruses of protest, their heritage embezzled. La Familia contains billions; thousands of others believe only in Gaudi. He convinces with flourishes as mysterious as miracles. Two travelers have swooned to the floor of his painterly nave. He revives them with turpentine, serves paella. Stuffed, they revive. I sit in the front pew, consuming the altarpiece like an apple. Gaudi shapes the vitality of nature into a purple sash for the divine. Restless, I wander beside him through his architectural sleights of hand. Heavier than air, gold digs deep into the crypt. Bones applaud violently, turn to dust and ash. Once lost, stars join La Familia. Blue saturates the night.





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