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Haggle

Scrambled conversations,

in the market, Tunisia.

Arab state, Muslim nation.

In Souse where the game seems easy.

Rugs for barter, gold for plenty.

Silver jewellery, is it really?

Sly men for selling fag breath, rough skin,

white van man, tough and dodgy.

Use words like “Lovely jubbly,” they know the jive.

Sell their nation on a plate.

Lady Fatima who offers blessing for many dinar of course.

Exchange pounds for dollars then dinars.

The race is on. Who wins? The cheating schemes of Arab men,

British white receivers seeking out cut-priced deals at any cost for beggars crusts?

“Our shop will close, my family starve.”

“I have heard it all before,” says English grandfather.

“You haggle like my mother, I give your wife a free purse.”

Finishing a deal, the tough tackle, the hospitality, their lives on the line.

While we won’t even eat their salads, yet we wonder why they don’t like us?

In the scrape of Souse, the strictness of Tunis, a veiled woman throws a stick at white girl

whose shoulders are bare.

The flesh will not yield to the African sun.

We got our deals, the journey done.

 

About Geraldine Ward

Geraldine Ward has been writing and performing various forms of poetry and prose from an early age, and is a regular contributor at the London Farrago Poetry Slam nights. She has published a number of books including the "Now" collection, and has featured in other publications including Katie Metcalfe's "Beautiful Scruffiness" series of magazines.

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