In that lost year in not so tropic night
waiting to fly out early there wasn’t
much to do
slump in a bar
with a not so good threesome, a ukelele trio.
the bus to Nadi
township, like we had when we were country
kids: slat/slab seats, roll curtains.
It should have been a Reo or Republic with
an ooraoora horn. Not better to travel than arrive
at the Bula Festival. That’s what
called it. That, man, was festival
eyed bloke cadging whatever to help hike himself
back home outside Suva because he hadn’t found
work in the canefields.
could believe him, without
being naïve. When he scarpered back into the bar
he was welcome to it. We’d looked in there
after a short trot around fish stall,
a no way puppet booth, watched tennis
to the airport with our colonial
guilt’s leftwing indignation. For more than one
this trip, a dishonesty different
in kind, this was an all jazzed
national airport. Between walkway
dutyfree and coffeeshop,
smooth a working.
Maybe the gone Bula Festival had more style to it:
bus pulling out, curtains flopping,
victim of colonial
outrage making it at the last moment,
away from us beside the driver,
rolling his walleye.
Guilt is common, or fear of being found out
as he went to work on the next lot.
a failing cry “Joseph!” from an Indian
accountant under the arcs, “It’s my serve.
the hotel the trio
still played tiredly. Your last drink tastes
of anger. Was it all like this
the Treaty Ports?