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.