Atara loved Dubrovnik
loved the old city walls
the shops and cafés
the churches and narrow streets


she liked sitting
drinking coffee
outside the restaurant

reading her
Schopenhauer book
a cigarette held
between fingers
watching now and then
people passing


Naaman had gone
to see a few sites
he said
rid himself
of his hangover
more like
she mused
by the sea edge
of the previous night
and too much wine
or Silvovitz


she sipped her coffee
even sex
had to be aborted
room swaying
he pronounced
although it was doing
no such thing
least not
in her head
lying in bed
wanting to sleep
not sex


she heard him snoring
some time after
from the bathroom
sprawled on the floor


the Schopenhauer book
was good even if
somewhat pessimistic
with that Eastern perspective
regarding the Will
and negation


she sipped the coffee
once more
but held the mouthful
sampling the flavour
the sense on tongue
the sensation
on the inner skin
of cheeks
warm and wet
and strong
but not bitter


she swallowed
and smiled
better than
the attempted sex
or that achieved
in recent months
and days


she loved Dubrovnik
and Naaman too
but he must
she mused
inhaling smoke
change his ways.

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It was the summer of love,
at least that's what they said.
There were guys with long
hair and beards and beads,


with wide trousers, and loud
shirts, and girls with long
hair, and dresses like nuns,
or short skirts, showing off


their not so good legs or thighs.
There was Hendricks, Beatles
and Stones and playing, music
loud, live. Julie was out for


the day; the hospital quacks,
giving her a day pass, no
shooting up, no pill popping.
She met Ben in Trafalgar


Square, tight skirt and top,
hair held in a ponytail, bright
eyed, big smile. He was
by the fountains having a


smoke, eyeing the girls,
listening to some long
haired guy strum a guitar,
his skinny girlfriend doing


a dance, her bony legs
looking breakable, tits
non existent. Been here
long? Julie said. No, just


a few moments, he lied,
not wanting to give her
reasons to moan or row.
She wanted to go for a beer.


So he took her to the bar
off Charing Cross Road
and ordered two cold beers
and lit up some smokes.


She spoke of some nurse
who almost lost her her pass,
all about some fuck up, over  
drugs, she’d forgotten to take.


She said the quacks were ok
with it, the tall one is hot,
she said, shouldn’t mind him
poking around in my parlour.


He told her about the Charles
Lloyd jazz album he'd bought,
how he'd met him outside Dobell's,
got a sign copy of the new L.P.


She drained her drink and he
ordered another two, she took
one of  his smokes and lit up
and sat back, crossing her legs,


her black short skirt riding her
thighs, sucking in his eyes.
No place for sex, she said,
unless you know of a bed


and room going cheap for
an hour or so?  No luck,
he said, wishing he did,
remembering the fast shaft,


the quickie in the hospital
broom room, amidst brooms
and brushes and buckets
or boxes and all. She said


her parents rang, and they
argued, and she slammed
down the phone. They said
it was the summer of love,


but where they sat, boozing
and smoking, it fell pretty flat.

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