Camping With The Boys In The Basque Country

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Words: Nina Halper (She/Her)

She sits by an ageing tombstone 

The sun gently fading in the sky 

And the bird song reminds her of home

But in the weeded camping fields she hides 

From three voices

Twisted tongues spitting a toxic spray of masculinity 

Marking their territory at the picnic table 

From behind their glassy thrones 

They yell 


And they tell her not to worry 

It means nothing 



Vultures circling their prey 

Their micro-massive aggression a display

Of possessed power 

She feels detached from their energy that races through the mountains 

Undesirably unstoppable 

They push each other forward 

And leave her behind 

Asserting dominance amongst themselves 

Wolves fighting their own kind 

But when the reggaeton sounds 

Louder than their conspicuous catcalls 

And their profitless play 

They have licence to surrender

To let go and dance 

And they fool her for a moment 

With their fluidity 

With their fidelity to music 

And their innocent fragility 

She recognises a suffering 

Then the spell fades as the youngest of them all screams 



Vibrations that come from his raging core and his hot head

Me cago en la puta hostia 

He roars

Clawing at his scalp with hysteria 

Sube esta mierda 

He shrills

His senses sharpen at the smell his own glory

And they praise him


With their hands on his shoulders

This isolated touch consolidates their pact 



He’s already nineteen but 

His outdated youth allows it 

Of course 

She sits quiet and says nothing

Burnt cheeks from the mountain sun,

or their blazing fury,

or her melting shame 

She wasn’t sure

And as the sun gently fades in the sky

She sits by the ageing tombstone 

To hide from the three voices 

And the bird song reminds her of fond lands 

She calls home

To dose herself with a peaceful femininity


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