An animal alphabet book by Langston Hughes

Borrowed Lines: "Going"


(from To Walk Alone in the Crowd, by Antonio Muñoz Molina; translated from the Spanish by Guillermo Bleichmar)


He has noticed

with a little dismay,

that travel agencies are becoming

harder to find,

like newsstands,


        hardware stores,

            grocery stores,




For some reason

he can’t understand, almost 


he is fond of






This excerpt is from a novel, not a poem, but it inspired me to shape the lines into stanzas and add a title. It’s from To Walk Alone in the Crowd, written by Antonio Muñoz Molina and translated from the Spanish by Guillermo Bleichmar (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2021). Muñoz Molina’s narrator is a city walker, a practitioner of “perambulation studies,” following in the footsteps of Lorca, Melville, Baudelaire, and Joyce. He’s an eavesdropper, an assembler of collages of the “verbal and visual garbage” that we usually don’t pay attention to, and one of the most astute observers I’ve read in eons. “The city is an unending show, going on all the time,” the author recently told an interviewer.

The Poetry Friday roundup takes place at Rebecca Herzog's Sloth Reads blog on July 30th.

Additional Source

Book Launch: Conversation with Antonio Muñoz Molina, on the occasion of the English translation of Un andar solitario entre la gente (To Walk Alone in the Crowd), on the YouTube channel of the Cervantes Institute of New York. In English.

Photo by ST: Retiro Park, Madrid (2019)


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This is beautiful! And you have intrigued me to pick up Antonio's book. Thanks for sharing.

You're so welcome, Becky. Thank you for hosting the roundup. Tell me what you think of the book if you read it! I just love this novel, and it's wicked unconventional. Today it was making me laugh on the commuter train.

Susan, that is a lovely visual of this portion of the novel. I love the way you formed the lines. It makes me stop and read and re-read it as a poem--words I may have missed had I been reading the prose.

I'm fascinated by found poems and this one is especially lovely. I'm also quite intrigued by the book you described and had to go read more about it. And so my TBR pile tilts a little closer toward disaster! lol

I see why you wanted to set this passage off like a gritty little jewel, and I'm grateful you shared it here because I CAN'T add another thing to my pile! Thanks.

Denise, I think Muñoz Molina & his translator have a lot of poetry in their prose, and these lines just called out to me to rearrange, so I plunged ahead.

Molly, me, too, with the found poems. Love, love, love them...and this book! The line that hit me this morning was, "It is nine o'clock in the morning and the whole day is ahead of me, and my whole life." I am continually surprised by AMM's sentences, the way I am when I read poetry.

Heidi, yes, "gritty little jewel." That describes it well! Thanks for reading.

This is a great found poem! I like the shape of your poem on the page.

Thanks, Mary Lee. I especially liked the author's unexpected segue from the stores to "birds, gorillas," and wanted to set it off on the page somehow.

Oh that is lovely! I'm going to check out the book. Thank you for sharing this today.

You're welcome, Elisabeth! Quite a few of AMM's books have been translated into English, but this is the first I've read...and it won't be the last.

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