Wales to Egypt

March 26, 2008

As with Aberystwith,
we find it quite insistent
in our spaces of
remembering:

The small stone house
with it’s hard to light engine,
cold pine floor,
but warm kitchen –

is the same –

as the carpet covered lift,
seventh floor balcony, huge room
with the white sheets, tea
we got from room service.

We have vivid memories –

of cycling down hill,
rain hammering –
plastic rivers over overalls
collecting in the collars of our hoods.

We have vivid memories –

of Hatshepsuit – the female ruler with the
stone beard. The wedding cake of
wide stairs, Egyptian children
running down them with their –

arms spread full tilt.

At 5 in the morning,
listening to the – sigh of traffic –
waiting for the – sky to lighten
meaning work –

I can’t not think –

of the wind trapped hill, walk along the Nile,
man who asked for money
’cause he knew us from the
hotel.

I can’t not think

of the place we bought the calibir
the freezing cold November pier
the crammed souks,
and the dark mud –

the coat I lost –

somewhere vague
between the valley
and the deep,
of the burnt desert.

Advertisements

Egyptian Mafia

December 19, 2007

At the airport
the tour guide mentioned
‘The Egyptian Mafia‘.
The people
looking for money –
for guiding, carrying,
showing around.

Later,
we met a guy
razor scar across his eye.
He showed us the room
where he lived –
his pregnant sister,
nine kids.

In the Supermarket
on the shelf,
between the soap
and the juice, a small sachet
for clean up jobs,
translated from Arabic –
‘for removal of blood.’

Egyptian Mafia

December 19, 2007

When we got off the plane
the tour guide said:
“when we go through these doors
you will be met

by our Egyptian Mafia”

By which he meant
a number of people trying to live
by collecting the money
for carrying suitcases.

He said –
“Hold onto your bags.
and don’t let them go
whatever happens, say no.”

Egyptian Mafia

December 18, 2007

When we got off the plane
the tour guide said:
“when we go through these doors
you will be met

by our Egyptian Mafia”

By which he meant
a number of people trying to live
by collecting the money
for carrying suitcases.

He said –
“Hold onto your bags.
and don’t let them go
whatever happens, say no.”

Later that week,
arriving at Karnak,
we were met by a man
in a white shirt and jeans.

The pale vein
had cut cross his eye,
sliced down his cheek,
on it’s way to his chin.

He said:“Whatever you want-
I’ll get it for you”

When we asked where the loos were
he showed us his home

down past the stalls
with pashminas and hats
into a room
where 12 people crammed,

a pregnant woman,
her children, himself
no light – and a toilet –
a hole in the ground.

Towards the end,
we found the market
following the Nile
to buy our soap

There were numerous sachets –
for cleaning up stains, one
was translated from Arabic –
‘for removal of blood.’

Things I didn’t do

December 18, 2007

Ride a camel. Feel
the rough hewn hair
beneath my nails, soft pelt
against my Braille of palms,
fingertips around
tuft topped
ears.

Tell a man:eeb alee
which is Egyptian
for having shame,
when they said:
I had nice breast,
ten thousand camels,
lucky man.

Wear a veil, get a tan.
Swaddle over
chinks of skin,
milk-bright arms,
throat,
wrists.

Drink from taps.
Swim the Nile.
Win a haggle.
Play Draughts.

Rescue the boy
that lived in the door
who said Backsheesh
and had no shoes
and slept all night, beside
the Sheratan.

See the Pyramids.
I’m sick of the asking.
They were in Cairo –
I was in Luxor.

Second Thoughts…

December 14, 2007

just follow this link if you’d like to see where I’ve been….

Should work…hopefully….