Beethoven (A Poem)

Life in Taiwan, Poetry / Sunday, December 24th, 2017

The food waste is full;

It smells like something,

Nobody would eat.

You hear Beethoven in the distance.

You rush to the kitchen,

Before he leaves.

You all stand in the street,

With your bags and tubs of smelly waste,

Listening to a symphony you forget the name of.

You tap it out on your knees,

As you wait,

Watching a neighbour chew betel nut,

With his blood-orange teeth.

Your neighbour upstairs sees you,

Just as Beethoven is at his loudest.

You all scuttle to the back of the truck,

Throwing in everything unwanted,

All holding your breath.

Your neighbour waits for you,

Fumbling in her purse.

She hands you 1000 New Taiwan Dollars,

All because she hasn’t seen you in a while

You try to say no thank you,

Both in English,

And in her mother tongue,

But she doesn’t understand anything you say.

You feel bad,

Because you’re certain it’s just because you’re British;

A novelty.

You put the money in your wallet.

You tried to say no!

You tell yourself,

Just as Beethoven is running off,

In the distance,

Getting quieter and quieter.

Beethoven; the taker of trash,

The bringer of cash.


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