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UNDERGROUND MUSIC/H. E. Francis ON WEEKDAY mornings in Madrid any number of músicos go down into the Metro to play. Toni Valero plays the guitar at the Velazquez station. Marcos Medina plays the recorder at La Latina. Victor Salcedo plays a harmonium at Nunez de Balboa. Pepe Castillo plays the guitar and Juan Ramos sings with him at Banco de España. Luis Manzanero plays the electric guitar and Silvero Ortega the guitar and Juanea Navarro the violin and Carlitos Sanz the flute in the narrow exit to the park at Retiro. Pablo Zamorano plays the guitar at the exit to the wax museum at Colón. Pedro Galicia sings as he plays his guitar at Alonso Martínez. Raúl Ontalba boards a train at Puente de Vallecas with his accordion and like many others goes playing from car to car from one end of a line to the other and back. Weeks ago Justo Severano claimed this spot at the Fuencarral exit of Bilboa station. Justo loves loud music. He thinks of nothing but the sound of pesetas dropped into his metal cup. He empties the coins into his mochila, always leaving a couple of veinte duro coins to suggest dig deep, the bigger the better. At first he paid no mind to the far strains of strings in the overriding sounds of footsteps and the turnstiles and the voices of the marroquíes and nigerianos hawking cigarettes, belts, purses, bandanas; but in any lull it took no listening to hear it, a stream of strings, fucking classical shit. He kids with the gang, his own pandilla that hangs around, But never put, no, not a fucking finger on my guitar, you hijosdeputa, understand? and them always hoping for enough cash he'll maybe share a bocadillo, beer, vino. Pensión, no, he doesn't need—he has a mattress in his sick tia's house—and why?—when she's tight as a virgin cunt the bitch his mother's sister . Why? Because she's so afraid of dying alone she gives him a tiny mattress in the fucking closet, but at least that colchón, food— even sometimes on her saint's day she's all guilt or shame and begs intercession from the Virgin or prays to the Son, and she gets off her dead ass and goes out and comes home with a shirt, maybe vaqueros and if it's the Son's birthday Noche Buena or Reyes even shoes. Those nights she cries and says You're my sister's son and you've got the one thing burying her gave enough money for, that guitar, it's a living if you know what to do with it. Lucky? Mierda! He's her only blood, the only body, only life in the house when The Missouri Review · 65 she's down and crying she's dying, Call the clínica, go to the farmacia , get this filled, go, quick, you want me to die? What made him decide here, this spot at the foot of the second stairs as you enter, by the public phone, was one Saturday he's there above, outside, and teens crowd every bar a tope and on the streets off Bilbao circle all the restaurants, German Egyptian Mexican Chinese, a flood weekends, and he thinks My age, they'll go crazy for my stuff, look at their clothes, smell them, money and thinks And weekdays there's the cafeteria by the turnstiles, the busy Café Comercial, and Bilbao has access to five streets. What more! Cono! Toni Valero plays at Velazquez because the neighborhood's classy— well-dressed, expensively perfumed women, businessmen with gold watches like on Serrano or Goya or the Castellana. Marcos Medina plays the recorder at La Latina because he's a punk, black leather, points, wrist cords, shaved head with a coxcomb dyed orange and knows the bohemians of Lavapiés sympathize with what it's like living his way and may fork over five duros, even one, or some abuela longing for her dope-addict grandson maybe or some madre for her son. Benigno de la Fuente has his spot at...


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