Walking in Marrakech
An afternoon coated with raw meat,
curry, urine, leather, donkey shit.
Multilingual chatter of the souk:
so many bells and wagon wheels,
motorcycles and metal welders
and, in the thick of it all,
the hiss of a cobra.
Henna designs spilling up my arm
scarves suffocating my shoulders
stumbling over chicken heads
all bloody in the corner.
You can trip
over begging children
and unamused, snoozing cats.
Turbans, lamps, woodworks, jewelry, cloth
and shopkeepers napping on their floors,
one eye open, brandishing that Ramadan
stare: hunger, pride, envy at once.
Flies tickling your ankles
like charms come alive on anklet.
Weighty sunshine soaking
your brow and above your lip.
It’s Ramadan and no one eats or drinks.
They just throw monkeys at you.
“100 Durham, 100 Durham…”
Drums, wooden flutes, cymbals
all hollowed, calculated sounds of salesmen.
Tiny slits for eyes.
Piles of olives three feet high.
A whole dead cow dangling
and the “chop” as it begins to lose its limbs
one by one.
It’s all kinds of dusty.
Sort of smells like oranges.
And then you walk smack dab into a camel’s teeth.