Nightmare

Another terrible poem I hope nobody who likes literary talent bothers to read. Yet this is some way of dissipating anger at the unjust conversations taking place around me:

‘I had a nightmare getting to the doctors,’

says the lady,

about her cosmetic surgery,

on her luxury holiday.

I wish to lean over and say

that a nightmare

getting to the doctors

is something faced by a sick Syrian

seeking refuge from a war,

and not by you.

Instead I see the inside

as her newfound all-inclusive friend

boasts

about her work

at an HMP she names

but I will not

as a clinical psychologist

who works in pubs

(I wish to ask her which it is).

‘We can’t call it category A, but it is, she

says … I don’t know why… but it is.’

I hope this lady

is not bound by

confidentiality

given the looseness

of the muscles

in her cheeks.

‘My husband’s diabetic.

I want the fridge to work.’

Ok fine, fair play,

but just ask

nicely.

‘It’s our honeymoon I want an upgrade.’

OK not fair play.

I’m pleased for you but

you do not deserve

extra privileges.

Meanwhile the lady having

her cheeks lifted

shouts and clicks her fingers

across the pool

‘excuse me … HELLO…’

she wants an instant drink.

Then their zenephobic hatred begins.

Germans this and Germans that: ‘they

treat locals with less respect but give

more tips than us – that’s why the Turks

like them.

I pray the lovely Germans

nearby

cannot hear.

‘These Muslims

have no respect

for women

they say next.

Timed as a Muslim waiter

collects their empty glasses.

I wish to say

please don’t be

racist,

zenephobic,

entitled,

classist.’

But my poor mother begs,

‘it’s not your business,

and anyway,

it reflects badly on them.’

Reluctantly I put my headphones in.

Yet I can’t help

but feel that my silence

is a form

of dreadful complicity.

When should we

stand up

for ourselves

and for each other?

And when (if ever)

is it right

to turn the other cheek?

I guess I’ll never know,

or get it absolutely right.

All I – and we – can do

is try

to do our best.

As I try

not to hear her

through my headphones

she says people must

‘stop being judgemental

it’s annoying.’

I try to stifle

my horrified amusement

at her blind hypocrisy.

Later she clicks her fingers

at the owner

to demand

a honeymoon suite

with fridge

and bells and whistles.

She’s too entitled

(and possibly too drunk)

to stand up

and walk over

to him herself.

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