White Christmas at the British Embassay, Hyar Itam, Malaysia
with the blazing red crepe
snaking across the mottled white ceiling,
and the shiny green leaves by the walls
draped wth tinsel,
and studded with small cotton balls.
Drink up, says Stevens, you’ll get used to this place
before you know it.
And make yourself nice and comfortable, says Squib.
I’ve been posted here for 12 years.
They promised me I’d be out in 6.
I keep dreaming about my father, says Mrs. Roy,
nursing a tear. He died 2 months ago.
Stevens starts cursing his wife, who left him
last month for a local.
That bastard still serves me drinks at the club.
My posting was for 3 years.
But I knew I’d be lucky if I got out in 5.
No wife, no girlfriend,
and not one good bottle of scotch
on the whole island.
I look around the table--
tired prickly men in weedy clothes,
and cynical women with long forgotten breasts.
Merry Christmas, I shout, getting more sober
with each gulp., And peace on earth
and all that rot.
I wave at the leaves in their pots.
Dressed up in tinsel and small cotton balls.