He had good ideas in the shower,
he was sitting upright heroically typing away on his computer –
he improvised the filthiest, bawdiest limericks you can possibly imagine.
A magazine had commissioned me to write thumbnail sketches
 of every war going on in the world —
‘unequivocally the most disgusting article I have ever read,’ he later said.
But provocation was fun
like the unbuttoning of a stripper’s overcoat, promising delights to come.
I made a circumcision joke about snipping his name,
and he remembered the old Fascist slogan – many enemies, much honour
but my heart is far too reptilian for that.
‘Hello, comrade,’ he said, his glass already gratefully extended, ‘This is a real revo.’
He could be a real shit if you fell on the wrong side of his favour.
‘I don’t usually start this early, but holding yourself to a drinking schedule
is always the first sign of alcoholism.’
I offered him a welcome-to-the-war shot of ‘Listerine’, just to be hospitable,
or for that jumpstart he could administer so well.
‘Fuck off!’ he replied – he later wrote a paean to the expression — and then
‘I see you were feeling eeyorish about Macedonia last week.’
By 1 a.m. I was speechless with drink and he was in spate.
He and I embraced each other on a street corner like parting lovers
dressed in preposterous hot pants and high heeled suede boots:
two cheese sandwiches, a couple of bananas.
‘Brunch? Sunday? Smooch.’
I think of it as Manhattan teatime.

Fiona Wright

Fiona Wright’s new essay collection is The World Was Whole (Giramondo, 2018). Her first book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for nonfiction, and her poetry collections are Knuckled and Domestic Interior.

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