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Jack Houston



proper romantic innit


a windsurfer fulcrums board & sail over the crystal waters of the bay & lifts 

from a pulse of the ocean to float from mundanity of wind-power into airborne princess-

     kissed tailless amphibian 

regal under the sun’s play from the waves 

the soft light of another fading day scattering a late radiation 

over the beautiful me 

over the beautiful you 

over the beautiful people thronging the sand cocktails in hand half-coconut cupped 

& brought to us by smiling employees the bland affluence of our two-week nothing-to-do 

springboard-bellyflopping into the hotel pool the water swiftly slapping together 

in its chlorine-scented wake

ours this week & a half of reclining while trying 

to show anyone watching how deep our pleasure plummets

as the day is packed away by more smiling employees 

employees who have been underpaid to keep smiling as they undertake to sweep the beach


of every cigarette butt every empty half coconut-shell cocktail receptacle 

every half-thought-through notion of tropical paradise as we ignore

any & all unfairness that may make affordable a flight halfway round a planet

an imprisonment

within a compound of luxury chalets 

nothing more 

to do but climb into the chauffeur-driven golf-cart 

& have the driver ask how we’re enjoying ourselves so far 

which of the restaurants we’d like tonight perhaps Le Récit

it’s that or El Cuento or Il Raconto either way the same as what we ate 

not more than three-odd days ago & though we’re aware what is seen through its window 

does not always reveal the nature of an establishment’s entrails 

the maître d’ gently guides us to a table in the middle of the room 

away from whatever business ends the restaurant may contain & I ask for breadsticks


with a seeming carelessness 

the illusion of myself as man remaining undisturbed

obviously a man with stupendously ripped abdominals 

& a ridiculously small pair of swimming shorts as we sit & wait to be fed 

the man with the abs & the teeny bathing costume kicking down through crystal waters 

     to the nearby coral reef 

wearing only a snorkel two flippers 

& as I may have already mentioned a very petit pair of trunks 

diving deep deeper as both he & the sea hold their breaths & we clink our glasses of  

     fizzy wine 

& I dip my spoon into the soup bowl of my imagination & the man flexes

those ripped tummy muscles as he twists & picks up the trap in which are caught 

the unfortunate delicacies the waiter brings steaming & well-presented to the clean china 


laid on our table & I am busy listening to the conversation just to the rear & slightly to the 

     right of our own 

another couple discussing how lovely it has been how they do not want to go 

& I am filled with pity for them & joy for us & is it always like this? you ask 


& I wonder what you mean & you say tell me about the man 

with the snorkel & flippers & insufficient swimwear 

& I 

unaware I had spilled his skin-diving equipment 

sculpted midriff & miniscule bathers 

onto the starched white tablecloth between us

say oh 

I guess what with tonight’s catch already in the kitchen he’s nodded his goodbyes 

to the head chef & skipped barefoot to the end of the jetty & after gazing for a moment & 

      lovingly at the star-bejewelled sky

dived into a riptide to shimmer with the fish

& you relax back into your seat & close your eyes & smile as the man butterflies into 

     your synapses

& the couple behind us brush past as they leave & it’s now 

I know I need abutment

as the waiter returns & asks if we’d like to see the cakes

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