Alice In AmsterdamYou sit next to Randal
By the river. He brings
Out the postcards he’d
Bought. Best send one
To your mother, he says,
Don’t want her worrying
About you and how you’re
Doing. You take the offered
Postcard and put in on your
Knees. Amsterdam. Randal’s
Been here before, he knows
The place well. Came last
Year with the French girl.
You wonder why he dropped
Her soon after their return.
Maybe she wouldn’t let him
Or maybe she did too often
And that put him off. You
Look at the picture on the
Front of Amsterdam at dawn.
Ann Frank’s Haus yesterday.
You remember that. Haunted
You; you felt some aspects
Of her were still there. What
To write to Mother? Why bother?
Part of you thinks, she’ll look
Between the lines, see things
That aren’t there, imagine things,
Suggest you did this and that.
She never trusts. Randal writes
His scribble fast, usual crap:
Weather, food, whatever. He’ll
Not write to say he shafted you
Twice the other night between
Hot sheets. His parents don’t
Know him; think him so sweet
And clever. Shaft girls, smoke
Weed? Never. You take a biro
From your bag and neatly write.
Dear Mother, we are well and
Enjoying the sights (guess what
We do at nights? Leave that out)
And the weather’s fine and food
Is plentiful and yes, I do change
My underclothes each day and yes,
We have separate beds in the hotel.
(Lies are cheap) you pause. Randal
Has done, he licks a stamp, presses
It onto the back. Finished? He asks,
Placing his hand on your knee, giving
A squeeze, sending a buzz between
Your knees. You smile, nod, and
Hand him the card. He reads and
Shakes his head and grins. All lies,
He says, and all those hidden sins.