A dreaming man

‘She doesn’t have a Beyoncé bum, that Miss Too-Good-By-Moonlight,’
my ex-wife said, referring to a woman with an odd pseudonym,
after accusing me of ogling a photograph-laden blog on the world-wide-web,
whose strands were spreading across my chest, saying,
‘What a flighty madame, pontificating on subjects she’s no right to discuss.’

I woke up with a start, then quickly asked for a drink,
from the steward on the Johannesburg to London flight.

The realisation I had suffered that old nightmare again,
sparked by the reoccurring memory of those villains
I’d encountered on the high veldt, particularly one,
laughing wickedly under a leopard-skin hat,

while I cowered under a prickly bush, hit me like a cold shower.

I realised I needed go to Ireland, visit that island off the coast of county Clare,

and relax in the eccentric hostel, A Refuge Of Quiet Retreat,
bedecked with gaudy paintings of men who did nothing but look at me.

It was run by a transgenderist,

a word I’ve just made up, a fella called Brian,
and his sister, Beatitude, 
a former marketing

executive who still spoke like it, 
despite claiming to have embraced an earthier existence,
whom the locals would gossip about as ‘that little lesbo’.

I was welcomed by that ‘very cool’ pair,

who I’m ashamed to admit,
irritated me with their cliche-driven phrases, her constantly ‘going forward’,
like a government minister at a press conference,
and her football-mad ‘bruv’, forever getting ‘a result’,

looking backwards at days of sporting glory.

I laughed when I was gently chided for calling her ‘luv’,
saying, ‘I’m from Lancashire, and that’s an example of dialect’,
and her brother reluctantly agreed with me,
as he was from the Yorkshire town of Middlefeckan,

and could not quite forget inter-county rivalry.

That nigt I had that dream again – wearing a vest and shorts, in which I was chased by a lion,
though competing in a championship cross-country race,

while the two hostel owners were watching, Brian shouting,
‘Nice legs’, and I responded, ‘yes, but shame about the face.’

To which he answered, ‘No darling, you’re gorgeous.’

Then to my relief I saw my father elbow him away,
but whispering, ‘He’s straight, I sent him to conversion therapy,’

then he shouted, ‘Come on son, you’re flying!’

I smiled through the pain when I heard him,
knowing that as a kid he’d really wanted me to bend a ball,
like that fellow Beckham.

But he knew I couldn’t control one, and athletics was good for my mental health, 
even though I did occasionally score an own goal.

The next day I was strolling along the strand, 

when I heard a snatch
of that enchanting song, The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face.

I wondered was it being sung by
Miss Too-Good-By-Moonlight, whom I espied upon a rocky prominence,
wearing that leopard-skin pelted hat,
being ogled by my argumentative friend from the place I’d retreated to

Was she following me, I wondered, along with her rival,
Magical Multi-layered Madge, another daft pseudonym,
who boasted an even better blog wherein she dices with death,
herding ostriches on the South African Karoo?

Then they both took me for a naked dip, where we just swam,
and I told them about my dream.

Miss What’s-her-name, with the nomenclature ending in Moonlight –
suggested I take up mindfulness, a form of meditation used to clear the mind,

while Madge said, ‘I use that technique, it’s good and – could I lie with you?’

I considered this request and, after a quiet chat she shook hands with her rival,
and all three of us meditated enough to conjure an

image of us drifting away on imaginary beds of feathers,

carolled by harmonious sea gulls, their beaks filled with baby seals,
these charming creatures did a comedy routine, 
full of non-PC gags, with Mick, Pat and a Glaswegian called Jimmy,
while we supped wine and played charades
(I was James Bond, finally lying with Miss Moneypenny).

My, we had such fun!

Waking up, I said to the steward, ‘Can I have the same again?’

By the way, he did have a Beyoncé bum.









◄ Mary Lou wanders

What makes us human? ►


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