Don't Call Me Guiri
Call me Juan, Ay Wan, Eh-van;
I’ll answer rapidly,
shooting your short, hispanic vowels out
like peas through a rolled paper tube.
Don’t apologise for your lateness.
I’ll smile and shrug with you,
order coffees black and bitter from
your cousin working for peppercorn.
Take your time, speak slow, for me,
I’ll answer as a stranger,
the words like unfamiliar flavours
in my Anglo-Saxon mouth.
Don’t worry, I’m paying,
I’ll keep the receipt safe,
read the fading, foreign glyphs
until they mean less than nothing.
Footnote: A guiri is a foreigner nowadays. It used to mean just anyone from out of town