I nipped over to Hong Kong today in the company of my friend Lucy, an old Pal from the UK who now lives in Macau. Our day was to be one of trash trawling Chinese street markets, enjoying some food and drinks, and maybe some live music in a bar as the day became night. However, in a rather bizarre and unexpected twist the pair of us found ourselves in the company of a small group of poets at a back street ‘artists bar’ curiously named ‘Joyce in not here.’
The event was not some rowdy drunken night of prose, but rather a very librarian like gathering that I imagine wouldn’t look out-of-place at a book club. I thought maybe we would listen to one or two poems then make a polite exit. However, the poets warmly welcomed us to their writers circle whereupon we introduced ourselves like participants at an alcoholics anonymous meeting.
Still with one eye subtly trained on the exit, I sipped my glass of Shiraz listening to the poets recite work. The others were listening intently, nodding slowly at various points like connoisseurs of fine words. I was convinced that Lucy was hating the way the evening had veered off into random rhyme, and that when we would finally manage to diplomatically depart from the company of these wordaholics, she would vow to exact some kind of searing revenge upon me. But instead, just as retreat looked possible, Lucy accepted their invitation to read something from the mystery box!
From there we might not have become poets, but compensated by free wine for reading material from the mystery box, we abandoned ourselves to an evening in the company of these friendly wordsmiths. Like Adam in the garden of Eden biting the fruit Eve had already tasted, I shrugged my shoulders and also took a poem from the mystery box. A generous glass of sumptuous Shiraz appeared before me, and there in a back street bar somewhere in Hong Kong, I read poetry to everyone but Joyce.