Today is a Saturday and
people either work half day
in an unfamiliar branch
or they resent their jobs.
They put your bowl of chicken noodle
on your table without a smile or spoon.
You decide what not to like more:
the cold-cut chicken breast
or the old and insufficient spring onion.
I go to a bank to cash a cheque
and the manager in his small room says,
‘Go to the end of the hallway,
pick up that red phone
and dial the Lost Card number.’
Then he corrects himself,
‘I don’t know if the phone is red.
I don’t normally work here.’
I go to a chain bookstore
and ask for the book explaining
the English language in 100 words
and the boy at the counter is perplexed –
he does not know where the language books are:
it isn’t his usual branch.
My landlord and landlady tell me that
before I move out, I must arrange
to have someone
remove the blue sofa,
which I picked up from the recycle centre
for free on a whim.
In the evening when walking to the cinema
two drunken strangers yell at me,
‘Hey, hey! We’ve just got engaged!’
The woman shows me her ring
and the man says,
‘You don’t need to buy us a drink today.
But maybe tomorrow!’ I say Congratulations
and they are gone, gone to join
their friends who are strangely,
just around the corner.
I run across the street to reach a pub
where Chelsea vs Bayern is showing on big TVs.
I have no interest in football
but just then I want to know the score.
From outside the pub, I look through
the crowded heads and beer glasses.
I hear the cheers but can’t see a thing.