Florida dreams

Driving around Florida was perhaps the happiest I’ve been.

This was back in June when responsibilities were low and expectations were high

when the orange-clad Disney-donning streets always led us to Chick-fil-a or Moe’s at the height of hunger

stomachs beaten by pangs, the allure of burrito bowls and buttery milkshake broths awaiting.

We stopped in at all the parks and scaled iron-fisted fortresses and dropped

down vicious clanging paths

took oodles of pictures for the ‘gram and drank pint after pint of poisonous soda

to ward off the southern sun, bleeding onto our skin…

while fabric Mickeys and Minnies gasped for air

through the winter-laced fibres of their bulbous heads

probably paid a pittance

to stand in the sun and boil like broccoli

skin wretched and pasty at the end of the day; ours firetruck-red.

We went to Medieval Times because you said I ought to get a taste

of American pastimes

there we watched horses charge up and down with stout little fellows on their backs

wielding sticks and swords

jousting like they might have done back in the day

while we hunkered down over a medieval meal

turkey leg, garlic bread, tomato soup and enough Coke refills

to disintegrate a steak, and rot my molars.

New Orleans

We plodded down south in his red little car, the sun spewing its rays onto the chipped windscreen and me with my knees bent, resting against the dashboard, inches from my eye sockets.
Rolling into New Orleans listening to a mind-bogglingly awful podcast about American diabetes, we took shelter in somebody’s shed at the bottom of somebody’s garden. We were greeted by air conditioning units (thank Christ), a fluffy queen-size mattress and a bathroom whose toilet hung onto the wall by a thread. The previous guest, a beastly cockroach perched in one of the shower creases, had to be escorted out somewhat forcefully.
Beads of sweat covered me during those first few days in New Orleans. A boozy tapestry of dim-lit bars, brightly-coloured beads and dirt-ridden vagabonds met us at the entrance to Bourbon Street. Locals and party-goers chugged slimy-looking cocktails out of red plastic cups and then tossed them into the gutter, narrowly missing the little black boys’ feet.
They banged on upturned buckets and cones in a bid to hustle a few cents and I myself stopped alongside them a number of times, watching the sweat pouring from their brows to their noses and soaking their lips.
As we meandered down this hellish time capsule where street boozing and pissing in alleyways is par for the course, somebody hurled a load of beads at me from a raucous balcony and Boyfriend went berserk.
When the fire in his eyes finally died down, we sipped Amaretto sours in a quieter pub and watched a jazz ensemble empty their lungs into the pores of their instruments. We stumbled across voodoo stores with eerie dolls peering from the windows and great big sinister lettering plastered around the walls. We didn’t go in, I was a bit too afraid.
And then we capped our nights with feasts of authentic Jambalaya, orgasmic and unparalleled. Rice flooded the plate, shrimps tossed and turned beneath a sea of salty veg and silky meat. We made our way home, bellies full and lips moist, and then headed to Nashville.


As we rolled into Florida,

Pink, tasteless, gut-wrenching, blossom-coloured buildings

Adorn the sidewalks with big lettering

And lopsided decor.

Wide shopping strips full of Disney discounts

Arouse passers by with promises of cheap thrills

And bloated rollercoaster rides.

Applebees, Taco Bell, Red Lobster and Krispy Kreme kiosks

Make young mouths water and old wallets yawn open.

Guzzling Dr Pepper at a Chick-fil-a,

That famous southern hospitality surrounds me.

Please and thank you and door holding and excuse me’s ring through the air,

Orlando residents go about their busy days,

Ambling along highways practically co-owned by Disney,

Or at least it seems that way. Big, bulbous billboards featuring Mickey, Minnie and Pluto

Sit next to Florida orange juice deals

While Universal’s coasters perch idly in the background.