Poetry

Tangier

The alleyways twist and turn like a labyrinth I had no idea
I was entering.
Claustrophobia threatens to sink in as I am
pushed up against strangers around me but
a sense of adventure and curiosity of the unknown
propels me forward and urges my feet to keep moving.
Colours and flavours and smells that are normally unrecognisable
swirl through the air and embed themselves into my
nostrils and tastebuds until it feels
like I’ve known these sensations my entire life.
Orange; aquamarine; coral; azure; violet; magenta; peach
all dazzling and vivid
even more so in the sun.
The heat of the medina is amplified
with locals baking their own bread and brewing their own tea.
Couscous and tagines steam in their ceramic pots, and
my mouth begins to water.
Food stalls teem with produce.
Vegetables; fruit; olives; spices; herbs –
is everything brighter here or is it a trick of the light?
People are shouting in all languages
‘Un euro!’ ‘5 diram!’ ‘Les olives sont fraรฎches!’
I can almost taste them just looking at them and
temptation gets the better of me.
I buy a bag.
There are people in front of every stall
vying for the attention of every passer-by.
Selling their wares, making a living, drinking tea, smoking cigarettes.
People everywhere; in every nook, cranny
and corner that I can see, emerging from shadowy
doorways onto the multi-coloured streets,
blinking as the sun suddenly glares into their eyes.
It seems everyone knows everyone here.
Every second person we walk by shakes our tour guides hand
like an old friend they haven’t seen in years.
Everyone is smiling.
They shout to one another in a language I don’t understand
loudly, brashly, and in a way that makes me think
they could be both fighting or declaring love.
Looking down on this scene we must all look tiny.
Little ants scurrying around a maze that has
no rhyme or reason.
Trapped by the walls of the Kasbah
With the promise of adventure glinting in the sea beyond.

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