Poetry – Give us your Fat and Elderly.

Give us your Fat and Elderly.

Give us your fat and elderly

And we’ll extract every penny

They possess

For the service we provide.

Gives us your pampered, naïve and inexperienced

And we will confuse their eyes

And lighten their load.

Give us your trusting, wealthy and gullible

And we will convince them

We are their friends.

The game is real.

Opher – 20.3.2019

It is called making a living out of the gullible.

Yet who is using who?

Poetry – Resentment

Resentment

Busloads of fat rich tourists

Unload and unload

In an endless stream,

In the land of

Poverty and dust,

Where each penny

Is precious.

In the land of minarets

And prayers

Where faith

Is the only hope,

They have to believe.

But these tourists

Have no faith

And little hope

But plenty of pennies.

So they are catered for

And their every whim

Is addressed –

At a price.

Perhaps the price

Is resentment.

Opher 20.3.2019

While tourism is greatly needed as a source of income for people who have so little, it is not a something that is always an easy relationship.

Bringing rich foreigners, with all their hedonistic values, in contact with a poor populace who have a prescribed religious lifestyle is bound to create friction.

Sometimes the resentment is obvious.

Poetry – Does the cat protect the rats?

Does the cat protect the rats?

Last night dark menacing clouds were broiling,

As lightning flashed in the sky,

Lighting up those rolling black clouds

With jagged flashes of orange,

But there was no rain.

The lightning was contained.

None of those branching streaks of electricity

Reached down to earth.

The anger remained in the heavens

Unvented upon the world.

I listened for the thunder

But could hear none.

That strange violent spectacle

Played its game in the sky,

Promising fury, but instead

Sped on its way.

A security guard checked under cars

With mirrors.

Outside our room,

In the middle of the night,

Another security guard

Talked on his walky-talky.

Unheard, unfelt –

Something is brewing.

Opher 20.3.2019

As far as Muslim countries go Morocco seems fairly laid back. You don’t see many of the full facial covered burqas and full body clothing. Many of the young girls are fashionable and uncovered. There are plenty of women to be seen.

It does not seem that radical Islam has intruded too much.

But the poverty and inequality is obvious. Many people are living as if it is 1819 – not 2019. They are still ploughing using oxen. There are donkeys, horses and carts and hovels.

The ruling classes live in luxury houses worth millions. It is obvious that the vast wealth from the phosphate, oil, olives and fruit is being siphoned off into certain pockets. The ordinary Moroccans are not benefitting.

Under the surface there may well be trouble brewing. It’s fertile soil.

Poetry – Beggars, hawkers and touts

Beggars, hawkers and touts

Beggars, hawkers and touts,

Vying for the tourist dollar.

Plying garish tourist tat

And giving it a holler.

Watching every move we make

Like the proverbial hawk.

Ready to pounce with a line

Should we stop to talk.

Living on the very edge,

Reliant on penny trinkets.

Watching your eyes

Should you blink it’s

Straight in with the hard sell

Foisting tacky crap

Into the gullible hands

Of the affable tourist chap.

Opher 20.3.2019

There are stalls laden with more goods than they can possibly sell. Who buys it all? Is it all for show?

Most of it is shoddy rubbish – mementos for a holiday. But the stalls are all empty of purchasers. Nobody is buying. The stall holders stare out morosely.

But should you stop to look, or betray an interest, they pounce and you are trapped within a situation. If you do not want to buy the only way out is with insistence and firmness, but they will still have none of it.

Best not to look. Best not to stop. Best not to talk.

They are their own worst enemies. But desperation drives the need.

Poetry – In the land of tips

In the land of tips

In the land of tips

Everything has a price;

Nothing is free,

Everyone wants their slice.

Orchestrated to extract

In some overt pact

Using pantomime from the dawn of time

Where reality is the greatest crime.

It’s a plastic pastiche

Of what once was.

Glimpse the culture

Through the gloss.

As each act unfurls,

The set uncurls

And cast repels.

It’s all so very nice

While the audience is prepared

To pay the price.

But if they deign to pass?

Opher 20.3.2019

Long ago I can imagine the market square was quite a sight. The performers were there to impress and gain reward from the local populace. They performed the things which the locals enjoyed or were amazed by.

Now it is a plastic replica of those by-gone days. A repugnant and extremely pushy bunch, perform a pantomime for the tourists. Nothing is real.

Everything is OK if you have the means to pay, but should you turn away, the mood rapidly changes.

Poetry – Among the Phosphate Mines

Among the Phosphate Mines

Arid plains, rocky terrain,

Trees in straight lines,

Sanitised brains, driven insane,

Among the phosphate mines.

Opher 20.3.2019

It seems that most of the world’s phosphate comes from Morocco. It grows apricots and olives. It has oil too.

It makes you wonder why all the people are so poor.

Where’s the money going?

Poetry – All the Ers

All the Ers.

Phosphate miners,

Café diners,

Water diviners,

Language signers,

Oil refiners,

Tagine liners,

Cool piners,

Excess whiners,

Orange shiners.

It’s Marrakesh.

Opher 20.3.2019

Travelling around in the sweaty heat, through the countryside of Morrocco, looking at how it all hangs together – the mining and irrigation, the oil and crops and the people caught up in the centre of it.

Poetry – A Way of Life

A Way of Life

Minarets and loud speakers

Dispense the call to prayer.

Imams and korans

Instruct on what to wear.

Incorporated into culture

Becoming a way of life,

Force of habit,

Passed along amid the daily strife.

Headscarves and few laughs

Customs and practice,

Prostrations and genuflections,

Actors and actresses.

Opher – 20.3.2019

It was all too prescriptive for me. It looked like mass conformity and a loss of identity.

The emphasis is on getting to some future paradise.

Not for me.

I do not believe in any god that acts that way, any after-life. This life is good enough for me.

Religion is too stifling and reductive. I want more truth than that offers.

Poetry – Evening in the Square

Evening in the Square

Dressed in their finery,

The locals wander

With the tourists

Among the snake baiters,

Strange geezers,

Monkey jailers,

Story tellers,

Fortune seers,

Fire breathers,

Lizard teasers,

Water pourers,

Belly dancers,

Acrobats,

Orange squeezers,

Poseurs,

Music makers,

Pot sellers,

Olive vendors,

Store minders,

Garment merchandisers,

Horse riders,

Ostrich pleasers,

Coffee splashes,

Haberdashers,

Sweetmeat hawkers.

Amid the clamour,

The din,

Stinking dustbins,

Watch peddlers,

Fly infested nougat meddlers,

Cake dispensers,

Tourist tat,

And gaudy crap.

All vying for attention,

All fighting for a dollar,

All struggling in the squalor

Of the market square.

Opher 20.3.2019

In the evening the square came to life as the locals, all dressed up in their finery drifted around mingling with the tourists.

I wondered what the locals really made of it all?

Did they find it amusing that all these people came from afar to boggle at the spectacle? Or did they resent the way we found their customs and attire quaint? Did they find it insulting?

It seemed that everything was aimed at the foreigners. They weren’t averse to fleecing those foreigners.

But then animals were deployed, monkeys on chains, snakes prodded to perform and camels hit with sticks. I did not like to see animals being abused this way. Who was perpetuating this? I guess we were.

But the square was obviously the focus of social interaction. The locals came out to meet up. After prayers and meals they dressed up and met up. It was a place of great social activity.

Poetry – Moroccan Realities

Moroccan Realities

Nocturnal creatures

Creep furtively

Through the rubbish

Seeking scraps

On which to be sustained.

Barren wasteland,

Heaps of rock,

Piles of soil,

Regaled with rubbish,

Awaiting sanitisation

Into a sterile future.

Arid flat plains

Of rocks and dust

Bedecked with pylons

Patched with clumps

Of weeds.

Police checks

And border stops,

Eroded mud walls

And highways.

Olive groves,

Conclaves

Of square houses,

Palm trees

And baking sun.

Dusty brown

With blue skies

Motorbikes on trails,

Flocks of sheep,

Minarets and headscarves,

Donkey standing patiently

In the parched glade,

Man sitting in the shade.

Opher 28.3.2019

Morocco was a place of strange contrasts. Out in the countryside, often green but usually dusty, it is a life like it has been for centuries – flocks of sheep with shepherds grazing on what looks like arid sand and rock. Then they get on a motorbike and head home.

In the cities it is a more modern life but with ancient overtones. There are barrows of fruit, beasts of burden, spices, olives and tat for tourists. But the cars and satellite dishes tell a slightly different story.