The roads were slick
With oil and tedium.
We wandered in and out
Of cool white rooms,
Where bowing palms grazed chequered floors.
We were the chess pieces,
Easing our feet on the smooth black and white board.
A girl in blue sat at a piano,
And played and faltered and played.
She was neither good nor bad,
And someone said
"It's like Casablanca."
Brilliant canopies blew
Like ruptured feathers,
And the ice in our drinks
Melted on contact.
I drank mine through a straw,
And traced a star in the soil with my toes.
The buildings were crumbling
The ghostly living remains of other people's lives,
With clothing on washing lines
And black cats eating red geraniums on white steps.
I bought a linen shirt to cool my skin,
And sat under the biggest umbrella we could find
Until we were moved on,
It was siesta time
And the bubbles of drinks ran dry
With the shutting down of the day.