The Excluded

The Ocean and the Bay Area

Clumsy piano notes

invade the hostel lounge

“Blowin’ In The Wind”

but failing in its sounds.

The German man insists

he wants to do it right.

Some ugly noise comes out,

everybody annoyed

yet no one dares to speak.


The hostel girl appears:

“Could you play maybe

a little less loud?”

He heard but cannot listen.

The ugly sounds remain:

Our ears, our patience…

Music classes first, sir,

and then you’re welcome back.

Yet no one dares to speak.


Before that, laying on the sofa

words spoke in his head

as if insane, tormented,

his trousers ragged, unwashed,

careless, alone, excluded.


After that, the New Yorker

wants to call a taxi

waits for me but I

am not ready yet.

Credit card lost,


Now I feel safe.

“I am ready”, I tell him.

Another strange man,

says he comes from New York

gets everything messed up

while the German man

hits ugly piano notes

still blowin’ in the wind.


The New Yorker and I

get finally on a taxi.

“Use the right lane, man”,

he says, “It is faster”.

Eritrean taxi driver

does what he can

needs to turn left.

How could he use

the other lane?

I tell that but

the New York man

does not understand.


Bags filled with food,

huge suitcase, two more bags.

How can he travel like this?

I offer my help

give him money, my part

of the taxi shared.


More complications come

at the hostel he complains:

“Why pay this tax?

Can I have a copy of that?”

Life is already difficult

then why complicate it more?

He knows no better, I think.

Want to leave, embarrassed,

yet I wait, help him

carry loads of futile,

unnecessary luggage.


Now his card key

not opening the dorm room.

He goes downstairs and

new key in his hand

that finally opens.

“Goodnight”, I say.

Another strange

difficult person,


I look in the mirror

see the shadow of a woman

who never seems to fit in.

Am I also the excluded?


© September 2018 Marta Pombo Sallés

36 thoughts on “The Excluded

  1. I so love the pictures that you paint of each character. Each description, perfect! Such a depth to this piece… And I can certainly relate to it. Really well done my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like to respond with a few lines of my own.


    Words tell a story beautiful
    Vivid and lyrical
    As the pictures roll
    Observant to the minute details
    Not a part of the story to tell
    Anguished the poet wails
    Desire to embrace
    But fearful of being absorbed
    Apprehensive of losing self
    A tune off scale rattles
    As the muse ponders
    Irony of the observer
    To be included
    And lose perspective
    Or left alone
    A path lonely
    To be traversed

    Pranab Sarma

    PS: not edited, just a spontaneous response.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are indeed most welcome, David,
      on the taxi ride that was no Uber.
      It all happened in San Francisco,
      might have been Barcelona as well
      or any other big city in the world.


    1. Thank you for your lovely feedback. I am glad that you found a nice flow in this piece and that you got a mental picture of the characters and the situations. That was exactly my intention.


  3. Thoughts or feelings of exclusion are a bother for many people (maybe all of us). We don’t always understand the other person’s (or group’s) intentions, words or actions; so we wind up feeling left out of something (the feeling might be mild or strong). I think your poem describes this quite well.

    It was an interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Ikenna. I like you say you found this piece interesting. It seems I have been able to describe these feelings of exclusion quite well. That was actually the main goal.


  4. Nice. The most insulting thing you can say to a musician is “could you play a little
    Less loud?” I did think longer line length would be suited for this poem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this thoughtful comment, Donald. You are right about the musicians. Each and every artist-writer-musician deserves to be heard and encouraged. However, this was a problem of a totally untrained person using a public piano in a youth hostel lounge. He could not even play the first seven music notes of his song and kept repeating the beginning over and over again. Perhaps the youth hostel should have another piano plus other instruments in a different room for everyone wanting to practice and rehearse. Thank you for the suggestions for improving my humble attempts to write poetry. Longer line length… I could edit a second version of this attempt, yes. I am grateful for your honesty as all my followers are usually “too nice”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I resemble your protagonist; I don’t touch the keys of a piano in public for fear of being bounced out of the room. I find that in a narrative poem or an abstract poem longer lines let the whole poem sprawl out and is easy to grasp the content of the poem. Walt Wisdom is a great example. Short lines tend to increase the intensity and poetic vibrations of a poem, but in turn short lines cut ideas in half and interrupt the narrative or philosophical aspects of the poem. For example, a simple switch of line length…

        Clumsy piano notes invade the hostel lounge
        “Blowin’ In The Wind”
        but failing in its sounds.

        The German man insists, ‘he wants to do it right.’
        Some ugly noise comes out, everybody’s annoyed,
        yet no one dares —

        Here the first line is important to setting the frame for the poem, outline, so a longer line allows the meaning to come through. The next two lines though are more resonant, so short lines allow us to absorb the poetic quality of the line. I am not sure if the German man is the piano player or someone defending him. But I would put either “He wants to do it right”:, or “I want to do it right” as a way to us dialogue as detail for the narrative’s sake and to distinguish the question of who it is speaking.

        I like your poem, and I certainly don’t mean to be negative about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you for all the tips, Donald. I am taking good note of your proposals. No, you are not being negative at all. This is constructive criticism and I do appreciate it very much. As I said, I am considering new editing of this poem and of other pieces, which I am not that satisfied with even though I get so many praises from my “too kind” followers. Creations can always be improved and wordpress allows you to do so, why not? Thank you again.

        Liked by 1 person

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