I remember the plane making it's final descent,
into Miami, into Florida, into America.
Wondering if any of the other passengers
had a hidden agenda,
maybe one of them is an air marshall.
One of them must be, surely?
But so hard to spot, obviously!
Down below, the land is printed
in geometric squares and rectangles.
The dignified spread of urban sprawl.
And blue rectangles within the shapes.
Ah, America. Land of swimming pools.
This nation has a surfeit of land,
an infinity of segmentation
within an unthinkable hugeness.
And yet American Airlines has brought me here,
safely to this modern Floridian metropolis,
to the land of ten thousand makers
of third-rate pizzas and insipid beer.
Some things never change, and some things do.
The panhandlers here are Mexican.
In this land of opportunity.
The taxi driver takes an experimental route
through narrow backstreets,
to shorten our detour caused by sports fans.
He says the Dolphins will out-tough the Broncos.
I defer to his knowledge.
I am conserving my wilting debating powers,
made listless by jetlag.
Some time later I eat snow-crab salad with pickle,
in a diner from the time of
Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The chef is a fat Greek bloke
with faded tattoos on his forearms,
I watch as he fries burgers on the griddle
and shouts through to the back
for "More onions Doris, for chrissakes..!"
Later it rains, heavily.
Soft, warm rain
that bounces on the roofs of the retail outlets
as I arrive at the mall.
A store cashier charges me for six cans of Dr. Pepper
when I actually only had two,
from a six-pack.
The idea of justice is so fatiguing.
I succumb to indecision.
A woman is playing at a piano.
She has, so far, played 1650 tunes from memory,
According to the radio personality with the microphone,
in her bid to get her name
in the Guinness Book of Records.
I stand and watch, then walk away
singing 'Transmission' by Joy Division.
I bet she couldn't play that.
I have this inner life.
I think of my mother lonely in England.
I think of myself lonely in Miami.
I have been reading poems by Ginsberg again.
As a result, I have generated thoughts.
Poetry is not just about the
notation of sensibility,
it is more than that.
I feel chilly fear
on the edge of my consciousness,
like an ice cube in the corner of my stomach.
Sitting on a park bench later,
I drank a Dr. Pepper,
then another ten minutes later.
Watching the bums argue and drink god only knows what
from bottles couched in brown paper bags.
I had taken photographs.
Later, I collected the prints
from the one-hour camera shop,
and felt disappointment
when I looked at the results,
expecting something better than I had.
I thought Miami was interesting,
beneath the veneer,
beneath the charade.
So in my mind
I gave the word four emphasised syllables,
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