The Tourist

The hot air sticks to you,

clings to you,

your t-shirt is wet

with the smell of you,


you wear it.

The air is so different in England,

cold and hostile,

it brushes past you,

it doesn’t linger,

it doesn’t cling.

The streets buzz and hiss

with energy here.

The nighttime heat hits your face,

which is cracked with age

and England’s winters,

but tonight you are wearing your

favourite T-shirt –

David Bowie,

his hair a pyramid

on your chest.

Your wallet is thick with Dong,

in England it’s thin,

purple and blue

sit together,

bare, minimum.


it bulks.

Black hair and beautiful faces,

stand outside a bar,

they are wearing little.

You walk in,

you feel their eyes on your back,

you return with drinks for them all –

sweet black syrup mixed with rum.

You will have your usual –

a Stella.

The white froth sticks

to the top of your lip,

not dissimilar to the

colour your moustache would be.

Like a lizard your tongue

comes out to find it

‘Cheers’  you say,

holding your drink up to meet theirs,

and in this moment,

with these faces looking at you,

you can see

how smooth the skin is

around their eyes

and the youth in their irises –

they’re young,

not much older than your granddaughter.

You swallow your realisation

with a gulp of Stella –

it’s a different world here,

you tell yourself.

You say things

and they laugh,

you ask their names,

but you’re not really listening,

‘Where are you from?’

One of them asks,

‘England’ you reply,

Oh wow. London?’

‘No but nearby…’ 

They smile

and you feel patriotism

run through you

like a thick treacle.

One of them stands close to you,

her eyes glitter with eyeshadow,

and her hair is tied in bunches,

she’s pretty

and youthful:

too pretty and youthful for you.

You go to the bar

and buy more drinks

and more.

Your head is whirring with alcohol,

and now you’re kissing the one with bunches,

your hands are on her arse

and you feel in control.

You feel like a man.

You have money in your pocket

and this girl in your arms.

All the loneliness of England is long gone and

your painful divorce is over 6,000 miles away.



You are in control

and now

you feel like a man.