Arrows of rain shot from a July sky

and we heard music and sought its umbrella.

At an open mic was a young woman,

an ivory face in ebony light.
She caressed nee addressed this conch she held

a daughter of the woman’s town she said.

Her songs were willowy and from the North

but they soothed like lavender from the South.
A man asked if I would mind his beer while

he went out with his Turkish cigarettes.

He was muscular and from Istanbul

a tanned doppelgänger for Tom next door.
When. I came back from the gents you said you’d

talked to an obese Australian Geordie

or the niece of an Austrian squaddie.

It was a ripe rhubarb conversation.
We crossed the street and entered a former

unofficial gay bar that’s in novels.

It’s an unofficial straight bar now

not yet in any novels I know of.
At the next stop some Chinese students came

and snapped like a herd of paparazzi.

They made us speak of Andy Warhol but

we didn’t manage fifteen minutes so,
we ran back to the hotel and rain gazed

out the window to the Scott Monument.

He was in debt too was old Sir Walter

but he sought a pot of gold not tramcars.

(Previously appeared in South Bank Poetry)