It was like a bee swarm,
but each came in for the ‘kill’
in turn. Got rid of one, in
honed another. The sun was
silver on the brown of their
skin, their nostrils flared,
and desperation leapt like
flares in the blackness of their eyes,
‘Your trousers are wet!’
That’s what she said as we passed,
the light like scales and facets,
along the ocean’s edge – in a place like
that, crystal and azure – that’s all she
said. I felt like saying ‘It’s the surf
from the sea, darling!’ – but couldn’t be bothered ...
still istening to the the murmur of the surf, planes and facets. That
and another time, wet trousers, was only, the
only time, that anyone looked at me, really looked at me,
when this guy – an ace of
diamonds – was trying to sell me
‘volcanic jewels’ – plucked me from the
shore he had – he didn’t look at trousers,
he didn’t care. He had diamonds to
sell, marijuana and coca – and what did he
care that I looked like I’d wet myself?
I’d absorbed the sea, I’d absorbed my wine
- what did he care! In my back pocket – dollars (no pesos, me)
lay creased, upright, waiting for the plucking.
Good bargaining, though: that’s more than I have; you’re
a richer man than me. But, of course, he wasn’t.
He’d threatened me with his crutch.
The light lay silver on his
skin – what did I care! Now, suddenly,
friends for life - until the next time;
me with no dollars and with
jewels in a little, grey-yellow
envelope in my pocket.
Another said, as I lay upright, released
from his that Alladin’s Cave,
where the blank boards of its outside
scoured and wizened by the sand,
hid the secret world of delights within,
ranged along the walls, begging to be plucked,
‘but you met me first’; ‘no, I didn’t’, I shouted
in desperation and despair.
He backed off – finally, someone backed off,
like the shock of tide, the tide of shock.
So now, I have volcanic jewels,
that glisten amber beside black silver,
that played with light, scales and facets,
for you - a thing of beauty,
that I’d bought in fear and rage
and hearing another’s deep despair ...