Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Evening in Tangier

In Tangier, a summer evening and the sun sinks into the sea
and the sky turns a mellow red, a sad red.
In the old quarter, along the narrow lanes leading
to the eastern beach that overlooks an old fort
come the noises that life gives,
Berber men, barefeet urchins and
Riffian women with hennaed palms.
He sits in Cafe Paris, in the old quarter, smoking Kif,
and he sits and sighs, he sits and smokes,
planning to abduct the girl he loves,
the girl he thinks he loves.
He hears some drum beats in the distance,
old songs hummed outside the cafe, he feels
the din and bustle and the early melancholy of the hour.
Tough business this love is, he thinks as roguish policemen
accompany poor Riffian women to dark despair.
It is completely dark, his resolve tested, mind decided.
I will wait for her, he decides, smoke more Kif and
listen to the saddest songs.
Tall Berber men in soft hushed tones speak of
revolution and love as he sinks into his chair.
It is going to be a long night.


Roxana said...

i like this more than i can say - one of the most touching poems i've read this year - a kind of dark violence throbbing under a veil of sweet yearning, honesty of heart and eye (i think Tangier will forever be like this for me, unless i will travel there one day, or perhaps even then) - and possibly despair...

Kubla Khan said...

Strangely, I only wrote these lines a few days ago after reading a novel called "Look and move"on by Mrabet, a Bowles translation, though I have been to Tangier a couple of times prior to reading this novel.
These lines were written in the mood of that novel. Bowles creates an atmosphere of sparseness, an economy of expression but the melancholy is considerable.

If you want to see "funeral" pyres along the shore, go to Tangier! However, these lines are entirely my own and were composed in my head whilst in a cafe called Cafe Roman. I typed them after getting back.
Are you well?