Dalya was sitting
with her brother
beside me
in the 9 seater


mini bus
the Yank girl
was at the front
with the driver/guide


and some other prat
who was a teacher
we'd passed into Germany
and were travelling along


to the next base camp
I was reading
Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag book
what's that about?


Dalya asked
Russian labour camps
between 1918 and 1958
I said


she said
haven't you
anything lighter?


I said
I only brought this
to fill in the time


between camps
looks boring
she said
the death of millions


can never be boring
I said
some of my relations
died in the Nazi camps


she said
her brother said
Auschwitz Uncle and Auntie
died in and our grandparents


so not boring then
I said
Dalya shrugged
her shoulders


guess not
she looked away
I read on for a while
I thought of Dalya


the evening before
at the first base camp
after putting up the tents
she said


that Yank bitch
did nothing
to put our tent up
stood there yakking


to the driver/guide
she in her leathers
and tight pants
and I have to


share with her
and it's all about
what she's doing
and how the guys


are all over her
and she with the posh
sleeping bag
and Dalya went on


over drinks
at the base camp bar
you can always
share with me


I said
why would I?
she said
why wouldn't you?


I said
I’ve only just met you
the other day
she said


what do you
take me for?
a pretty girl
out for a good time


in a foreign land
I said
I can't anyway
she said


she's in my tent
and my brother
shares with you
she was right of course


but the thought
was there
even if
the opportunity wasn't


she glared
at the Yank girl's head
in front
I read about


the NKVD
or whatever
they were called
and sensed Dalya's body


next to mine
her thigh touching
against me
I closed the book


and looked out
at the passing view
at fields
and trees


and the sky
of washed out blue.

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The show's not over
till the fat lady snores,
I should know,
I was there, 1973  
or 74 and Mahler
still playing
on her Hi-Fi,
the last movement
of the Ist symphony.


We liked that, made
love to it, wondering
what Gustav
would have made
of that, the fat dame
and me, empty
whiskey glasses
on the table, curtains
drawn against
the night sky and moon.


The first time
she snored,
her soft whiskey breath,
her globes caught
in moon's glow,
her closed eyes
like upturned shells.


Her Scottish tongue
soft but sharp, her
flab sufficient
to keep warm
if needed,
but it was along ago,
she's gone now,
so I heard, my fat
dame lover, my sex
making love bird.

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Oslo that summer
having left the base camp
and the tent
with the Australian guy


(he was with the Yank girl)
you walked about
looking at the sights
Moira beside you


in her denims
and white tee shirt
and her hair frizzed
after a shower


(which she had taken alone
worse luck)
and she was talking
about the Yank girl


with whom she shared
her tent
O the perfume she wears
I’d rather sleep


in a tent
with a camel
than with her
and her voice


fucks my head
and do you know
I've heard about
her love life


from the very beginning
I’d rather spend the night
listening to a duck quack
you nodded


and listened
taking in her fire talk
her four letters words
filling the air


floating there
like black
angry birds
you can share with me


any time
well you could
if I didn't have
the Australian guy there


smelling of beer
and talking about Sheilas
and how he did this
and that


you said
Moira said
and have them


talk about me too
no I’m not that
kind of girl


how would we work it
to allow that to be?  
don't get so angry
about things


why do you Scots
get so moody?
it's not just us
she said


it's the fucking world's
view of us
as wee tight bastards
when we're not



she went on
giving you the stare
what do you


know of Scots?
lived in Edinburgh
for a while
you said


nice place
so much history
well there you go
she said


anyway what’s that
got to do
with the Yank bitch
and her perfume


and the love life
of a fucking rabbit
nothing I guess
you said


I think she's over here
studying art
O then
that explains it


the way she has

the I-couldn’t-go-a-day
-without- a man's- dick


kind of talk
and philosophy
Moira said
spitting out words


like broken teeth
what about a beer?
you said
chill out


and take in a view
and have a smoke
and I can tell you
of my love life?


the beer's a good idea
but I’m not so keen
on the tales
of your fuck life


she said
so you found a bar
off a street
and sat outside


with two beers
and a couple of smokes
and you wondering
how she bedded


and how indeed
to get her into your tent
and what to do
with the Australian guy


and the Yank dame
and off she went again
moaning about
the Southend


teacher guy
did you see him
at the from
of the mini bus


giving it all
that talk of history
and that Lancaster bitch
all ears and fucking teeth ?


you sat and smiled
listening to her
talking of herself
and the world's grief.

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