an Aotearoa poetry journal | ISSN 2744-3248

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Ovid at the Trillos Cabaret Lounge

While in Rome
I swear I saw Ovid
sitting in the Trillos Lounge
sipping on a cocktail
and trying to write
with a feather quill.

Rascal.

But it wasn’t Rome
now I think of it
but the bus station
in downtown Auckland.

1989.

Shielded by glass I
looked out to the street
at the Bedfords breathing fire.
Trillos then was a boozy dance hall
beneath the Air New Zealand
building. A smorgasbord
of porn perms, drag queens
and hairy-matted
chests.

A place
to
accumulate
the exiles.

I never did escape.
I went with Ovid
we discussed Tacitus
in broken Latin.
Yet there’s a memory still
of a small café in Rome
near the Spanish Steps
where I left my shadow
after smoking hashish
after getting drunk
on limoncello
eating spiked
tiramisu.

Realising
I never left.