Marooned for three years, Ben Gunn was
‘sore for Christian diet’. He dreamt of cheese,
Doctor Livesey always had about him
a piece of Parmesan in a snuffbox.
When he heard about the dreams, he said,
‘Well, that’s for Ben Gunn!’
But we never find out if the ‘half mad maroon’ savours
the King of Cheeses.
Maybe he eats it and thinks of Cheddar.
I was walking up the Farnham Road in Slough.
I passed an off-licence run by Sikhs,
a general store selling Halal meat
and a Caribbean take-away.
In front of me, a youth was walking.
From a pocket in his blouson,
he took a banana.
He meticulously peeled, gently ate it.
The empty peel hung from his left hand.
When would he drop it, cast it to the gutter, fling it at me?
He stopped –
and placed the peel in a bin provided by the Borough.
On the end wall of the erstwhile refectory
of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie
– which is merely a stone’s throw
from where a mob of Milanese women
and hung the corpse from a lamp post –
hangs Da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’.
One day, a woman from Woodside, Queens,
asked the guide three timely questions:
‘These are Jewish men, right?’
‘This is the Passover, yes?’
‘So, where is the matzos?’bananasBen GunnblousonBoroughCaribbeanCheddarconventDa VinciDoctor LiveseyFarnham RoadHalalJewishmaroonedmatzosMilaneseMussolinioff-licenceParmesanPassoverQueensSanta Maria delle GrazieSikhsSloughsnuffboxtake awaytoastedWoodside‘king of cheeses’‘The Last Supper’