A Mariner's Holiday



A Mariner's Holiday

“I met a pretty lady

in a café today

who spoke beautiful English…”

especially her eyes

   and expressions

soft, tiny hands tugged


at the inside of her

  sweater sleeves

straining my heart-threads

“…she was so cute

and cuddly”

yet so out of reach


sitting at a bar

beer soaked

in stale, angry Marseilles

a threshold of scaffolds

and dark, scowling arabs

welcome Christmas, New Year’s

and the sixth fleet


no holly, no tinsel

no bullshit good cheer

santa’s little helper is

the one armed barmaid

(they say she lost it

in a car crash

several years back)

pictures on the wall

attest to her beauty

and former limb

“madam – Heineken

and a double Pastis!”

dark sunglasses hide

bloodshot, baggy eyes

but the lines on her face

reveal unwarranted shame

and incredible

nearly unbearable


an old hooker, painted

like DaVinci’s Madonna

with bad, broken teeth

keeps smiling at me

and licking her lips

“buy me drink?”

good god…

don’t they have a pension plan?

i bet grandpa

captured her love

during the liberation

then left her starving

god bless America


a dog teases the sailors

with newspaper and string

mike from Minnesota

was feeling homesick

but good ol’ bar dog

sets him at ease

ut-oh, there he goes

after a poodle in heat…

can’t say i blame him

“d’ya see the tits

on that bitch?!”


Marseille, France ‘89/’90

Intro Image - "Writing Hands" by  jggy
Empact Image -
"Bellusa Cafe No.2" by Sascha Meyer

Play "A Mariner's Holiday" recited by Phillip Martin







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