Adam Aitken, ‘For Effendy, Emperor of Ice-cream’
For Effendy, Emperor of Ice-cream
Effendy, I like the way you avoid work. It is saintly.
You stay up late, endlessly smoking on your porch
listening to the owls.
When we turn back on the freeway, we take a detour,
find strong tea in a maligned part of town.
Someone driving past in a Cadillac
reminds you of flat plains and cafeterias:
Ahh Utah! Big women of the prairies!
Back in the chai shop the light bulb factory workers gossip
and watch Tamil musicals on a giant Sony.
Lightning once struck the skewer
embedded in a Hindu’s tongue.
Shall it do so once again?
But we are the virtuous and disconnected:
stroll about the kampong sucking toothpicks.
We made no ice-cream today you said,
with a look of triumph. Inshallah. Pray
for a sugar-led recovery; life so sweet
and sticky with discreet luxury.
We were never destined to make fighter jets.
Those yuppies need new flavours you said,
but I’m traditional. Tea is fine, or beer.
And home we went to ‘Saving Private Ryan’
on your new DVD.