Ishmael

Call me Ishmael: the desert stretches
like a gospel song before me, all chorus,
treeless, filled with promises,
promises. Let me yodel
in the flatly foreign wastes, my mouth parchment,
my trousers round my ankles. Stuff
these mortgaged lips with old locusts:
and do not wave goodbye. Just
hand me the battered sandwiches, and I'll
take to the barren valleys like
a duck to a spit. Shave away the words
from my luckless tongue, and
flatten my face with an iron, to mark my
words and face as outcasts. Steal my tent-pegs.
Steal the instructions on how to put up
a bedouin for the night. I will wander
every acre of the scorched earth,
earning crusts, darkening the doorways of strangers,
smashing gas stations in ghost towns
for scrags of cash. Yes, call me Ishmael.
Or perhaps Nigel.

From Robinson Crusoe's Bank Holiday Monday