Old Europe (2)

You don’t need to queue at the entrance
but then so dark your captions now unreadable
since the children left.
Come dine with me in a dead café.
Let’s dance in my old Turkish residence
lined with uncut books
where a cigar accords with taste
and the chocolatier snores.
You may need to sidestep the urine.
Rémy flew home in a djellaba
the armless no glory veteran
the pigeons don’t bother with the bread
the accordion’s sellotaped to wheeze a tune.
The Romanies sell puppies to lovesick tourists
but the light is what we dream,
Saron’s scything searchlight,
the Eiffel Tower a blingy earring
on the ear of Europa.
In the courtyard of a hôtel particulier
she showed me the seventeenth century
rainwashed and dishabille
with a horse in harness
and a Russian lover who won’t spy for money or love.
A warning: the shih tzu twins are locked in
patrolling my millionaire terrace,
the road a crime scene below, a day-for-night
with Citroen and café shoot-out.
You might have to step over the body.
I only come here for a summer
for language, macaroons,
delicious cod. Good thing Cheryl
got the handbag she wanted she’s
so persistent we filmed it.

Adam Aitken

Adam Aitken has published four main collections of poetry and other pamphlets. His latest is Eighth Habitation (Giramondo Publishing). He teaches at the University of Technology, Sydney.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays