Man could that dude drink
and what’s worse is he could talk;
he didn’t stop.

There were dogs
in the darkness
pawing at the garbage in the alleys

the fish came smoked on a steel tray and was mostly bone
not far away
were coves

and atolls
places I had planned to see for months.

And here we were sitting in the street near a drain
the smell of rot growing out of control
somewhere very close.

his Scottish accent made it impossible to understand
anything, and the way the street light

hung over us made figures
of buildings and broken postures
enter our vision only in outline.

The next day I rode a bus of expats to the beach
and it smelt like shit, again

sixteen year-old-girls got
led by their wrists
by old Australian men who were slouched
as if they were performing self-surgery:

removing a bullet, peeling back the whole of a yellow toenail,
tying off the Vas deferens.

As it turns out it was in the shallow water
where urchins lined the rocks, and waves made it hard to stand
that a blacktip reef shark darted past my feet, faster than god
and more afraid

but I remember it as when we first jumped the tour boat
far from the coast; the water was prbly 30 feet deep
of which I could see 5

for a moment I just floated there in my life vest’s loose grip
stunned, staring down
a beast from another world, just out of view.

photo credit: Folkert Gorter via Superfamous // CC BY 3.0

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