An Ode to Assimilation


The following is based on my experience whilst living in the UK

Surely it wasn’t this hard for T.S. Eliot
Surely he had that inherent worldliness,
That inborn sophistication,
Necessary to become British.

The waste land I know is one of my war-torn Americanness.
How did he get on?

Surely he got on well, but was never doin’ good
And when he didn’t, surely,
it was not a problem to ask:
where the nearest offie is, for gin?

Where the loo is?
The flat?
The lift?
The car park?

Passing comfortably through corridors, never hallways.
And he was never broke, only skint.
As in, he didn’t have a crown, nor a fiver or a tenner.
As in, he couldn’t even afford a take-away curry for ten quid.

If he were to go to out on the town,
he would be in the city centre.
Possibly ending up on the High Street.
And we can only assume he’d wear both pants and trousers for the occasion.

He may end up in a seedy place,
Where Sex Pistols Clash in floozy-infested pubs
With Man. United hooligans
who use “cunt” like punctuation marks.
Perhaps a full stop.
These punks would ask him,
simultaneously challenging and greeting him,
Mate, you OK?

The morning after,
he’d do fuck all,
having been knackered,
but he would crack on.
Switching on the telly,
checking the expiry date for his milk
to take tea.

Surely all of this came naturally to him.
Surely he never stuttered saying farewell to the grocery man:
Both sides of the Atlantic would never claim me for their anthologies.


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