its all Rome now

what they never tell you

in the tourist guides brochures

is how Rome is overrun with feral cats

fed by old ladies dressed in black

that the smell of urine is everywhere

until it becomes possible to tell

whether it is fresh or has been

added to & added to over the millennia

& now major cities everywhere

have all become Rome

the stank of piss on all corners

the feral homeless feeding on scraps

tended by officers in various blacks

& none of this is recorded

in tourist brochures guides

the digital snaps shown to friends

but never kept in albums

gone midnight

I’d heard the chimes from the church clock

& then no sounds for a while

shush of owl feathers as it flew overhead

then a slow shuffling grunting

from the other side road side of the hedge

where I’d decided to sleep the night

worn & sleepy from a long day

of nothing quite working out

lying on a slight slope looking up

into the stars looking for Sirius

finding Orions belt pole star

the shuffling grunting stopped

I could see a dark figure 20 feet more away

as he begins to piss hear the soft aah

he has no idea I’m there

slight mutter talking to himself

I needs this he goes I needed her

but tonight was not my night

mebbe I’ll be lucky another night

or mebbe it’ll be her that’s lucky

he chuckled coughed zipped up

shuffled on as the stars slowly whirled about

unmoved uncaring about the million stories

happening here before we get to sun

drinkin’ in LA

hiding out from the hotel

the lesbians going at it

knives curses fists

& worse

the make up love after

talking with Silicon Valley nerds

& when they hear

you’re from out of town

the finer points of baseball

cost of living in the city

smog masks v hero death

stink of piss in the air

panhandlers not really trying

avoiding the personality test

blind eye to turnstile jumpers

cheap gold Mexican jewellery

& later when they feel

they got to know you

death & rebirth

of their dream

be warned

non gendered

pissing shitting

in france spain

they seem not to be frightened

of the vagina the penis

whatever bits you have

bars cafes restaurants hotels campsites

have one toilet toilettes servicios

a half wall covering one pissoir urinal

& going past that

a row of maybe two sit down toilets

where who you are

what you need to do

is your decision

the choice responsibility is yours

you are expected to behave

& act accordingly

the rest of europe

is not so sophisticated


be warned