Don’t look now (I said don’t look!)
I’ll tell you when you can look), just lie back
as if we were–well, as if
we were talking. Try to behave
as if we were by ourselves,
that’s why I brought you here in the first place.
The trouble with these rooftop
refuges–the one place in Tangier
you can see a touch of green,
something alive besides men and camels–
the trouble is, there’s always
a roof higher than the one you’re on,
a man looking down, watching …
Why bother getting really
comfortable if someone’s … Inanycase
I’d never dream of dragging
my best Bokhara out here–this old
Ardabil is lovely still,
they never lose their … The colors are fixed
by making the camels piss
all over them, then washing them out
in the canal: harsh treatment,
you’d think, but it works–look at me!
All the suppler for the way
I’ve been manhandled, you must admit …
Now look: you see what I mean?
That’s a man up there, standing
where he can … No, not Mustapha! Someone
he’s put there to spy on us.
On me! What does it matter to him
whether I’m up here with you
or one of the bath-women? He has to
know, that’s all, it affords him
some kind of gratification (more
than he gets from anything
he ever does with me!) … Try some of this,
she put the rose-petals in
just this morning, it tastes really fresh …
Oh! now I see: that … person
is nothing like Mustapha’s
usual parasites. One thing I do have
is a good memory for
men’s bodies. You must have noticed him:
a sharp-faced foreign devil
always lurking somewhere and staring so?
He takes it all in as if
life were the scene of the crime, even
the pair of us, harmless enough
on these irreproachable hassocks. Look!
I know he’s the one, crouching
with a notebook in his artful hands:
he’s put us in his picture!
As far as art goes–and art
such as his goes far enough for spying:
you don’t suppose Mustapha
sold rights to the roof?–we incarnate
your typical Tangerine
dalliance. Can’t you just hear the giddy
little screams once he returns
to his studio: “My dear, how
positively classical!” …
Never mind, he’s leaving now. Some more
fresh loukoum? The tea’s still warm,
and so am I. Do just as you like.