Tonight, the harbour is quiet.
Whenever I tripped over,
I landed on a bed of
Stray abandoned thought-cats.
I survived their falling fire
But this explains why
I have so many scratches
On my forearms and back.
I recently remembered
How we descended into
That far northern resort
Looking like tourists lost
In a monsoon,
With razor-sharp teeth,
Drenched luggage deposited
Wordlessly on a side street
By our bored busman
With the darkest five o’clock shadow
I had ever seen –
No change left for gratuities.
Aromas on a warm squally breeze
Of palm trees, exotic and pliant,
Of ice creams with spirited titles:
Granizada, y Helado Suave o Cremoso,
The absurdity of
And mouths shaped like shuttlecocks.
Our sodden map was upside down.
If I want to, I can remember
Every item on the restaurant menu,
Every position of every dining chair,
Every taxi driver’s third child’s name,
All those feelings twenty years ago
Of misguided optimism and hope
Now that memory ploughs and harrows,
Swelling and then low like whitecaps
A stone’s throw from our hotel window.
Time’s arrow is stuck in between my ribs;
The trouble is, I do not want to go back.
Even a fast-food chain looks sophisticated
Anywhere else but home;
Home, this starless island is where
Powerfully corruptive usurpers
Paint turpentine stripes
Across our tarred faces.
Everything good we knew
Vanished without a trace
Into thick, corpulent air.